June 4, 2007
Nikon Is Ridiculous
So I accidentally broke one of my D2X bodies while I was in Indonesia last week. It was a dumb mistake. I had the camera mounted on the tripod but forgot to tighten the clamp on my ballhead and when I let go of the camera to reach for something else, I heard the most sickening sound. My fisheye lens, which was mounted on the camera, took the brunt of the damage. The built-in hood shattered and the front elements cracked.
The camera body looked okay. It is a "pro" body after all. It's supposed to withstand some abuse (not dropped from nearly 6 feet I'll grant you that). I tested it, it turned out the AF mechanism was busted. Everything else functioned normally. So I ended up focusing manually with that body for the remainder of the trip.
The point of this post is not to tell you how I damaged the camera but how ridiculous Nikon is. I took it in to the service center in Taipei (where I am living at the moment) and was informed that since I did not purchase it from the official distributor in Taipei (I bought it from Nikon USA when I lived in New York), the only way they will even look at it is if I paid them NT$10,000/US$302.39. That is just so they will look at my camera. And then I still will have to pay for the actual parts and labor. Isn't that absurd? That US$300 is essentially Nikon Taiwan telling me "fuck you" for not buying the camera from them.
I understand them not providing warranty service to cameras bought out-of-market to protect their own interests (though in this day and age of the global nomad, that is frankly very anti-consumer), but this is going way too far.
Does Nikon do this in all markets? Does Nikon USA charge you a US$300 penalty if you brought in a gray-market camera to repair? And for that matter, does Canon? If Canon does not do this, or at least has a more reasonable policy regarding gray-market cameras, I am going to switch back (I used to use a 1D). I move around the world (in any given year I might be living in Taiwan, China, Canada or the States for example) and I need to know that I can walk into an authorized service center in any country and have my cameras expertly repaired in a timely manner without paying a hefty penalty.
 Well, technically, it's not "Nikon Taiwan", but Nikon's Taiwanese distributor. But Nikon is equally culpable for allowing its distributor to treat its customers this way.