Nikon Quality Assurance and Marketing Gone Wrong

As I was writing my Nikon D7100 vs D600 comparison article a while ago, I had a lot of conflicting thoughts that crossed my mind and made their way to the article. I then decided to refrain from making the comparison article negative and rather move my thoughts to a separate post, because I thought that it would be worth the discussion with our readers…

Reikan FoCal Nikon D800 Test

Nikon Quality Assurance Gone Bad

Nikon has been quite active since last year. We have seen a lot of ups and downs of the company, most notably with the amazing D800 and D600 cameras that became available last year, both of which were accompanied by quality assurance issues and escalated into the “Nikon D800 autofocus fiasco” and the “Nikon D600 dust issue“. And as you may already know, these problems were covered rather extensively on our website through detailed posts and reviews.

On one hand, we have been praising Nikon for their amazing cameras that have no equivalents on the market. The Nikon D800, for example, is a remarkable camera – a tool the photography community has been longing for a number of years, featuring superb dynamic range, beautiful colors and enough resolution to even challenge some of the medium format market. The Nikon D600 is no slouch either, with similar sensor performance and more impressive specs than its direct competitor. Without a doubt, another win for Nikon.

On the other hand, we have been heavily criticizing Nikon for the quality control issues that seem to be accompanying each new product launch lately. Nikon’s dead silence on these issues has not helped either, despite our attempts to provoke Nikon with fake press-releases, hoping to see some kind of action. And when Nikon came back acknowledging the dust problem on the D600, just when I thought “finally” after seeing the headline, it turned out that Nikon did not care to take real action and rather chose to once again ignore its valuable customers by telling them to clean the dust themselves and send their cameras to its service centers if the issue did not go away. Seriously? Why is it so difficult to admit a mistake and do right by your customer? Mind you, most D600 and D800 owners and potential buyers are not newbies – these are experienced users who know their stuff. And when Nikon says that dust is a regular fact of life on the D600, just like it is on any other camera, these folks know very well that Nikon is being less than truthful. Not after watching those videos that clearly demonstrate dust accumulation and not when the Internet is full of people complaining about well-documented and tested D800 autofocus problems. Heck, even the “review” sections of the D600 and D800 product pages contain a boatload of negative comments on these specific issues. Nikon does not seem to care to read about what their customers are saying on their very own website.

When a product is defective, you know how it rolls in America – you get sued before you know it. We see it every day on the news: from crazy hot coffee spill stories at McDonald’s to Toyota’s sudden acceleration recalls. Thousands of similar cases with all kinds of products. My point is, when you buy the Nikon D800, it does not come with a disclaimer that says “this camera can potentially have left AF point issues”. Or when you buy the Nikon D600, its label does not state “can initially spit oil and dust all over the sensor”. You pay thousands of dollars for a product and there is nothing wrong with expecting it to work out of the box. You do not expect it to have problems, requiring you to send the product at your cost plus insurance, do you? Nikon seems to think otherwise. It expects you to find a problem in the camera it made and it wants you to pay for shipping a damaged unit, waiting for weeks, if not months (with several trips back and forth) until the camera is fixed. How cool is that? People take their iPads back to the Apple store, expecting a brand new unit when they see a slight imperfection and here we are – stuck with a company that makes the best cameras on the market, with the some of the worst possible quality assurance and service. How did it come down to this?

Marketing Gone Bad

What pains me even more, is to see how we get manipulated by Nikon, ready to spend our hard earned money on intentionally crippled products. Camera announcements several times a year, with other overpriced crap that accompanies them. And we buy and buy and buy…it never ends. Always doing our best as consumers. We buy overpriced products just because we can afford them and we want to pay even more when we see something a little more exciting. Rumor sites are thriving, because we want to know now what might come out tomorrow, even if it is just…a rumor. We see a list of features with some image samples and we are ready to pay now for a product that we might get a chance to touch in the not-so-distant future, if the manufacturer supplies enough units. God forbid when we have to wait for a few months in agony, while some guy out of Taiwan is happily shooting with his camera and provoking our lust with sample images in Flickr. We are willing to fight for our pre-order spot at a local store and we make sure to place those pre-orders at multiple places at once, just to make sure that we get it first.

We realize that the piece of gear we buy today will be worth nothing in a year or two, but we still want it. Lust, envy and pride do their job in making sure that we walk around with the most expensive gear hung on our necks. And most of us have no idea that the gear we hold in our hands was designed to be inferior from the next model, so that another model with better features could be pushed on to us next time. Manufacturers even created multiple camera segments with entry-level to high-end cameras, with all kinds of cameras to satisfy every need and budget. These segments are carefully crafted: with the cheapest cameras having the least number of features, to the high-end cameras having the most features at obviously premium prices. And when it is not enough to differentiate between these segments, some features are intentionally downgraded, even if it costs more money to do it. Sure, it seems crazy, but that’s marketing at work for you.

Nikon clearly demonstrated its marketing ingenuity when launching the D600 and the D7100 DSLRs. A full-frame camera with an old and inferior autofocus system and a cropped-sensor camera with the top-of-the-line autofocus system. Doesn’t sound too bad at first, but let’s take a look at this in more detail. The Nikon D600 has 39 autofocus points that are tightly placed around the center of the viewfinder – I covered this in my previous reviews and articles. The Nikon D7100, on the other hand, is the complete opposite of the D600 in that regard. It uses the autofocus system from high-end full-frame cameras, with 51 focus points spread out across the frame. Compose any way you want and place those AF points anywhere in the frame, even close to the borders. And if you use the 1.3x crop mode, those focus points are right next to the extreme borders. Now let’s take a closer look at the difference in focus point spread between the two cameras:

Nikon D7100 vs D600 Viewfinder

To me, this looks simply idiotic and funny. Use a high-end FX AF system on a DX body and use a lower-end DX AF system on an FX body. By using the 51 point autofocus system on the D7100, Nikon demonstrated that it costs nothing to use a high-end autofocus system on any camera. So using the lower-end AF system on the D600 was intentional, similar to the 1/4000 shutter speed or the 1/200 sync speed limits. Nikon clearly did not want the D600 to compete with the D800, so it crippled the camera by stripping off important features. Did you really think it was a move to keep the cost of the D600 low? You would be very naive if you thought so. Even if there is a cost difference, it is very minor. Not in the hundreds or thousands of dollars that Nikon wants you to think.

The small buffer limitation of the D7100 is also equally intentional. When the D7100 was announced, I made a hasty statement that it possibly marked the death of a high-end DX line. After I discovered the buffer limit on the D7100, however, I reconsidered my thoughts. Why would Nikon intentionally cripple the D7100’s buffer capacity? Another ingenious game by Nikon’s marketing – get plenty of attention to the D7100 so that a lot of people buy it, but cripple it enough for sports and wildlife photographers to either have them switch to the expensive D4, or wait until a D400 comes out (if it comes out). Do you really think that extra buffer memory is going to cost a lot of money? Of course it doesn’t. The Nikon D7100 seems to have around 256 MB buffer memory. Guess what the cost difference of putting 256 MB versus 1 GB memory is? Pennies on a dollar. I bet it costs the same, perhaps even more to put old 256 MB chips on a circuit, than use higher capacity storage.

But wait, there is more – firmware limitations. More crippled features to differentiate between camera segments. Why would one camera have 2-3 frames of bracketing (D600), while another 2-9 (D300s)? There is no cost involved in making 2-9 frames of bracketing available versus 2-3. The same line of code could be copy-pasted between different models. But no, Nikon won’t give you all that, because only “premium” cameras can have such options. Any time you see differences in camera menu and firmware between different camera models (of the same generation), those differences are intentional.

I know that some readers might argue that there is nothing wrong with intentionally limiting a product. After-all, software companies do it all the time – you buy one software component and pay more to unlock more functionality. However, cameras are a bit different; they are more hardware than software – at least for now. How upset would you be if you bought a computer that was intentionally crippled? Or a car that has a 6 cylinder engine but only engages four of them? Doesn’t sound OK anymore, does it?

Marketing at its best.

A Captive Audience?

One of the main reasons why Nikon and other product manufacturers make such product decisions is that many people are “locked in” to a given brand, because one cannot easily switch products. This has the effect of limiting competition and choice – or at least making it expensive and/or time consuming. And even in segments where the name brand manufacturers have competition, such as flashes and lenses, it is only from third parties that makes products specific for that brand. Thus, Nikon and Canon are insulated from competing with directly competing with each other for flashes and lenses.

As an example, if you wish to change dish detergents, there is no cost – simply buy a different one the next time you visit the grocery store. If you change PC brands? No problem – monitors, printers, software, disk drives, etc. can all be switched. Switching from a PC to a Macintosh (or visa versa) is a little more difficult, but is eased by the fact many software companies provide both the PC and Macintosh version of their software in the purchase price, and printers and monitors may be interchanged easily enough with the right adapters.

Change a camera brand? Now you have to stare at your growing stable of branded equipment, which for many serious amateurs and pros, includes lenses, flashes, flash triggers, teleconverters, extension tubes, filters, and contemplate selling it all on eBay, dealing with the daunting logistics and time commitment associated with the sales, and purchasing the competitor’s equivalents. If you have ever switched brands after accumulating a healthy amount of brand-specific gear, you know that this is not a casual exercise. Even if you fare pretty well on the sales of your lenses and flashes, you will likely burn the equivalent of a few days to a week taking pictures, creating your copy on eBay, answering questions, packing, shipping, etc.

Camera manufacturers are well aware of this “exit cost”. This gives them a bit more flexibility to control their product line features, without necessarily dealing with competitive pressures. If you have been involved with any form of engineering or software development, you know that there are a variety of “standards”, which enable products to work with one another through defined interfaces. If so, you probably also realized that having an industry standard for lens and flash attachments could easily be created. This isn’t a technological issue, but rather a business issue – companies have no incentive to generalize/standardize such interfaces, since it would only lead to additional competition based on price. This could lead to increased sales if some companies were more efficient or had some technological edge. But it could also lead to reduced margins. Apparently Nikon and others decided that it is better to have a captive audience and forego the potential of selling lenses to those that own other equipment brands. Good for them. For you? Well…

A Quick Update on D800, D600 and D7100

It has been a year since D800 was announced and over 6 months since the D600 came out and I am still receiving emails from our readers about potential issues. Is the D800/D800E asymmetric AF issue completely resolved? Are dust spots no longer showing up on the D600? These two are very common, so I will do my best to address them both in this article, based on the feedback I got from other readers, from recent camera acquisitions and from talking to local photographers.

Although the Nikon D800/D800E asymmetric focus issue seems to be more or less contained, reports of misaligned left AF points are still coming up occasionally. Not as often as they used to before, but still quite a bit. Some of them could be related to bad testing methodologies, but some I know for a fact are legit, coming from experienced photographers. I first thought that the units showing up as faulty were older ones from the initial shipments, but these are reports coming from B&H, Adorama and Amazon shipments. Those three sell most cameras and they do not stock old shipments anymore, so these are brand new Nikon shipments, with the latest serial numbers. There was some talk on the Internet about some specific serial number being “golden”, meaning that if you get a camera with a higher serial number, that it would not be faulty. Well, I found this to be untrue. Even some of the most recent serial numbers are showing problems. Again, the ratio of bad to good is quite low, definitely not what it used to be in the beginning. If 8/10 tested bad in the beginning, now we are talking about 2-3 out of 10 having the AF problem. Still pretty high if you ask me…

As for the Nikon D600 dust issue, that one has also gotten a little better, but it is definitely not 100% contained. I tested another brand new D600 recently and it surely accumulated some dust. Gladly, this one is not a deal breaker for me, because even in worst cases cleaning the sensor 2-3 times after several thousand actuations takes care of it. I wet cleaned my D600 twice and I never saw any dust/oil show up again.

In summary, both D800/D800E and D600 issues are still out there, albeit in lower numbers.

As a bonus, here is a quick update on the Nikon D7100. The unit that I am testing does not have any problems with dust / oil. Preliminary tests show that the AF points are also quite accurate across the board.

A Note to Nikon Management

If anyone at Nikon reads this, I hope they forward these concerns to the upper management, from people that love their products and use them every day. Here are 5 suggestions we came up with, based on the feedback from our staff and readers:

  1. We know it is not cheap, but please do increase your QA acceptable “tolerances”. Standards from 5-6 years ago just won’t cut it anymore, not when you sell 36 megapixel cameras.
  2. Do stay in close contact with your service centers and improve your communication. When a large number of your customers report a problem and it is no longer a small acceptable variance in production, please do acknowledge the problem. Customers should know when they are potentially affected. Issuing a small press-release and apologizing won’t hurt your reputation. In fact, it will greatly improve it, because your customers will appreciate your honesty, integrity and care.
  3. Make sure that service centers can share their findings and help each other out in resolving problems. Many of the service centers did not know how to deal with the D800 AF issue and only a select few received proper instructions initially. We know communication is there, but perhaps serious issues should be expedited, with faster training to help close out issues.
  4. For affected customers, do offer an incentive – whether it is in the form of free repair with free shipping back and forth, or perhaps a discount on the future purchase. Asking customer to pay for shipping a defective product is not nice and it only costs you more in the long run, since many choose to return the item or exchange it for a different one, instead of getting it serviced.
  5. Spend some time talking to your customers, your distribution channels and your own employees. They will gladly provide great feedback and things you could improve to gain customers and retain existing ones.

Lessons Learned

  1. Stop pre-ordering gear – as we have discussed in previous articles, think long and hard about whether you are willing to deal with the challenges of new product launches that are often fraught with issues and manufacturers and customers alike struggle with quality issues, software bugs, and other unforeseen issues. For some products, new product introductions are not very eventful. For complicated equipment such as cameras, however, you can bet that from time-to-time, you will get a lesson in why they call it, “the bleeding edge” of technology. If enough people hold off purchasing new products until there is sufficient reason to believe that most of the new product introduction snafus have been worked out, camera manufacturers will think twice about delivering products that clearly have issues and staying “mum” about the existence of problems.
  2. Use your camera until it dies – reconsider how much bang-for-the buck you might get out of a new upgrade. For some product introductions, you can count on significant new features and functionality – at least by the specs of the new product compared to the previous generation. But how much will you get out of these new features? If you read enough photography forums, you might get the impression that most photographers constantly need an aperture of f/2.8, a minimum of 24 MPs, the need for clean 6400 ISO images, 7-9 frames per second capability, and generous image buffer that will enable them to take nearly unlimited RAW files without a delay. Really? No doubt that some photographers will indeed make use of such capabilities more than others, but being realistic about our shooting needs is the first step in making wise decisions regarding new product introductions. If we are honest regarding our needs, we will be less enticed to jump on the bandwagon and buy more gear than we need.
  3. Don’t pay attention to new product announcements – give the rumor mill a rest and enjoy the equipment you have! It may be interesting to scour the photography forums for the latest gossip, but most of us would likely be better served by learning more about photography, our gear and how to use it effectively, and improving our post-processing software skills. It is entertaining to poke fun at gear junkies at times, since we always think it is the “other guy”, but the truth be told, more of us should look in the mirror! If more of us got off the Internet, spend more time shooting, and getting to know our gear better, we would likely find that we might not feel the need to purchase every new gizmo that comes along.
  4. Shoot and enjoy photography instead of being a gear junky – aren’t you getting tired of all this?
  5. Be willing to change brands – we are all familiar with the proverbial “fan boys” who drone on endlessly about their devotion to a given brand and will defend a company and their products to the point of silliness, despite any evidence to the contrary (even as I write this, there are those in the Nikon camp that continue to deny that the D800 ever suffered from focusing issues). If you talk to some wise pros, however, you may be surprised to find that they are not quite as “religious” as some of the serious amateurs regarding brand loyalty. They buy what they absolutely need and don’t obsess about every minor product distinction of every new piece of gear that is announced. And they are sometimes much more willing to change brands than some of the serious amateur crowd.
    How can you minimize the “pain” of switching? Pair down that collection of gear that you no longer use. Buy and keep only those lenses that you get value from. Many serious amateurs cringe at the idea of switching brands – for a good reason. But if you look behind some of their concerns, part of this fear is that they have to deal with the growing collection of lenses they rarely use. Every now and then, ask yourself “How much value am I getting from this lens, flash, or other piece of equipment?”. If you find that a given piece of gear spends more time on the shelf than on your camera? Sell it. Having a stable of good gear that actually gets used thus serves two purposes: 1) It preserves your hard earned money, and 2) If and when you decide to switch brands because situations change and you are no longer with the products and service of your existing brands, you will have a much easier time.
  6. Summary

    If it seems like I am fuming a bit, I am. To be sure, Nikon has introduced some wonderful products and significantly moved forward in providing the photography world with new technologies. At the same time, there are legacy aspects of the camera manufacturing business that inhibit true competition, reduce the availability of features and functionality within product lines, and make it difficult for customers to switch brands.

    The good news is that the Internet has significantly improved our ability to share and disseminate product-related information in real time. And we have so many choices. Even entry-level DSLRs selling for $500 are far and away better than those that cost $5-7k just a few years ago. If we are rational about our product choices and prudent in our buying habits, we can indeed spur the camera manufacturers to introduce more feature rich products and deliver the service they aspire to and we deserve.


  1. 1) Padmanabhan
    March 18, 2013 at 4:21 am


    This article will make everyone introspect. Neatly written.


    • 1.1) Global
      March 19, 2013 at 12:49 am

      I thought it was good. And you didn’t even mention that Tamron & Sigma are starting to make lenses that are BETTER than Nikons.. and not just by accident, its becoming a regular occurrence… How poorly does that speak of Nikon, when their lenses cost nearly twice as much?!

      Your notes on the D600 are exactly why I am keeping my D700. The D600 is a cheap trick, at a high cost. The average consumer would be far better off with a D7100 or a used D700. And its not clear that Nikon was committed to the D800’s success. How stupid does a company have to be not to properly respond to its customers? This isn’t a political scandal that needs to be hidden from one’s wife and public — its just manufacturing. Nikon needs to get off of its loose ego and get back into manufacturing & designing the best tolerances for cameras/lenses.

  2. March 18, 2013 at 4:41 am

    hi there,
    all what the nikon marketing guys can do , is outmarketing themselves. I am thinking of the incompability of older nikon lenses or third party lenses. Sometimes nothing works. IIf ua are a glad girl or boy
    u are about to use older stuff without light metering. No way to buy a nikon body again. The older nikon glases hapily working on canon, sometimes pentax dslr or on mirrorless bodies . So no need to buy a nikon body again.

  3. 3) faz
    March 18, 2013 at 4:44 am


    Wow, You have written everything which was onto my mind. With the kind of service i have got from Nikon, i am truly disappointed. My D800 autofocus issue is still not resolved. a month back i had taken the camera body to the service centre and they did some calibration(dunno what process they follow) and returned my camera back with even more focusing issues. Thanks to Nikon Mumbai India centre, now my right centre focus is out of focus than left side. Now i am collecting some data before sending a strong mail to the head of Nikon India. They refused to refer to this website for the autofocus issue and said that the resolution chart is not the correct chart for testing focus issues. I was surprised with their amateur approach. I have got in touch with few well known photographer for confirming the issue. Post which i would be sending out the data to the concerned department.

    Can you please let me know if there is any mode of channel which could help me escalate the issue to the right department in Nikon?


  4. 4) Ozmanguday
    March 18, 2013 at 4:48 am

    Nice article Bob.
    Using the D7000, looking for second body. My focus was on a D600, for better low light abilities, and the POV that I will get with a 35mm lens on it, even if the AF is only 39 points. And yes, comparing it with the D7100 it looks like somebody switched the AF modules.
    If the D7100 will come close in High ISO to de D600 (I never expect it to be as good as a D600, but being as good as the D700 would be welcome), and will remarkably better as the D7000, I might consider the D7100, along with the new Sigma 50-150 OS (will save me some cash on a Nikon 70-200), I would just need to find a good substitute to get an affordable prime that will give me an approx 35mm POV with low to non-distortion.
    On the other hand, I might just skip both and find a used good D700 till Nikon will come up with something “normal” and that makes “sense”, like a D600S or so…

    • 4.1) Henrik Manoochehri
      March 18, 2013 at 7:18 pm

      Forget it. Get a used D700 and be happy. You won’t know the difference unless you are star gazing or printing larger than poster size. Seriously! The D700 is the last good camera nikon (lower case deliberate) made.

      • 4.1.1) Sandeep
        March 18, 2013 at 7:52 pm

        I am crestfallen that I missed the boat on the last great body Nikon made.

        Shot this with the “Oh-so-terrible” D800.

        I’m sure if I had spent that time shooting brick walls and test charts instead, I’d have some material to support your crusade with.

        • Henrik Manoochehri
          March 18, 2013 at 10:52 pm

          I don’t shoot Brick walls. I (rather, I and my wife) shoot my two year old son’s birthday party, using a D7000 and D700 and download to the computer to find all the D7000 photos suddenly back focused after a couple of years of correct focus. my wife tears up, realizing she would have had higher quality shots had she used her cheapo point and shoot and I realize after days of research that I’ve probably wasted $1200 on a camera that should have lasted a lot longer than 5000 exposures before taking a dump on me.

          • Sandeep
            March 18, 2013 at 10:59 pm

            There’s so much missing information in this example. Did you buy a new lens? Did you bother to do an AF fine tune? Was there user error? Did you use AF-Single instead of continuous on a moving subject at the narrowest of DoF? Do you have a portfolio to show to exhibit your competence in operating complex cameras like these?

            Sometimes, it does make sense to go for a PnS camera with a wide DoF and comfy margin of error.

            • Henrik Manoochehri
              March 18, 2013 at 11:40 pm

              The lens I’m having the most pronounced problem with is the 14-24 F2.8 AF-S. I’ve had the lens since it hit the market. It works just fine on my D700. Not enough AF fine tune on the D7000 to compensate. after noticing the problem (The camera lens combination had been performing fine til a couple of days prior to this issue arising). Afterwards I did a battery of tests with both D7000 and D700 bodies, on Carbon Fiber tripod and high end manfroto ball-head, at high shutter speeds above 1/500th with flash. Checked focus point on View NX2. Focus point on the eye of subject and area of sharpest focus on hair behind the ears at one meter and two meters distance even after fine tuning. all focus modes tested. Other lenses tested including primes and high end zooms; i.e., 70-200 F2.8, 50 1.8, 105 macro 2.8. All these lenses focus perfectly of the D700 and off on the D7000. The D7000 was performing fine for about 5000 exposures. I take religious good care of my gear; wrap the strap aroound my arm if not around my neck. Always return to the camera bag and even keep the bag in a temperature and humidity controlled environment when not in use. I’m a bit OCD when it comes to my tools and gear; especially those costing thousands. I’m not a pro like you, but I have read about fifty photog texts and had about (a guess) 50,000 exposures in my learning curve. I am not a studio photog. I use the cameras for therapy and for documentation of my trade and my life. I shoot landscapes, street, pseudo-architectural, family events. I’ve owned Minolta X700, Nikon F2, F100, D70, D200, D300, D700, D7000
              was happy with all except D7000 recently. The D7000 was a pleasure to use til it took a dump on me. I love Nikon and am hoping their quality assurance improves before I commit to my next body upgrade but now I’m very wary and will seriously hesitate to pull the trigger on a new purchase. I don’t have thousands to throw around. and I’m very sorry to be so disturbing to you, but I hope others like me are reading this and being a bit more careful with their purchasing power. I’m not saying they should absolutely not buy Nikon gear. I’m just saying they should put Nikon on notice that we’re watching them and are not sheepishly following the herd anymore. If you want more of my money, give me sometihing worth the time I spent to earn it. That’s all.

            • Sandeep
              March 18, 2013 at 11:54 pm

              For an ultrawide lens like the 14-24, unless you’re right up in the subject’s face, everything should be in acceptable focus, even if the lens front or back focuses. Use the technique described in thsi link:

              To see if you have an issue. Another thing you can do is to focus on the same object once with phase detection and then with Live view-contrast detection to see if there’s a shift. If there still is a consistent difference, it’s not the end of the world, take it into service and they will fix it.

              FYI, even $50,000 PhaseOne digital backs go into the service shop from time to time.

              p.s. I’m not a pro. Just a self taught enthusiast who likes to shoot often.

            • Sebastiano
              March 19, 2013 at 8:30 am

              Well, I don’t think photographers used to have good, and, in same cases, also execellent in focus results, have become dummy in on day. Unless Harry Potter has done some kind of magic on all of us :)

              Come on, if many users are stating their camera have problems we cannot say it’s always an user error. We can say it’s sometimes an user error, but who can use a DSLR camera knows also how to improve from his erros, do you?

              Best regards, Sebastiano

  5. 5) Ozmanguday
    March 18, 2013 at 4:50 am

    ….I mean nice article Nasim!

  6. March 18, 2013 at 4:55 am

    Thank you for a good refreshing article.
    We can all learn from this.

  7. 7) DavidL
    March 18, 2013 at 4:55 am

    Thanks Bob,

    Great article, I couldn’t have said it better.

    I’m a D7000 user and have been looking for an upgrade for a while and the D600 is looks to be the perfect fit but I’m waiting. Waiting for

    • 7.1) DavidL
      March 18, 2013 at 5:05 am

      ……Waiting for improvement in the AF and the dust/oil situation. But, I also have another option, and that is I can look at another brand. I’m moving from a cropped sensor to full frame so at the moment I can do what I like.

      The problem is that I’ve got to get the decision right because once I’m 4 or 5k down the track, its very hard to come back.

      Sorry about the disjointed post but I posted the first one before I was finished

      • 7.1.1) Henrik Manoochehri
        March 18, 2013 at 7:22 pm

        Glass is more important. Check out Fuji if you’re shooting people and Olympus if not.

        • DavidL
          March 19, 2013 at 6:46 pm

          I agree. I could buy good nikon mount lenses to use on my d7000 and have for a full frame upgrade later but I don’t want to spend that type of money in case I end up using another brand.

    • 7.2) DavidL
      March 18, 2013 at 5:11 am

      Thank you Nasim and please accept my apologies. I too, thought that it said that Bob wrote the article at the top when I first read it

  8. 8) Nivas
    March 18, 2013 at 4:56 am

    Nice article!

    On the D600, Live view focusing helps me out. It is relatively fast! Had some great shots! Still checking the percentage success!

    By the way, on the email it says that Bob wrote this article.

  9. 9) Alex B
    March 18, 2013 at 4:56 am


    You’re point of view is honest and correct, however incomplete.
    You never put yourself in the shoes of the chief officer in charge of marketing for Nikon, or any other company for that matter, in regards to how different products are crippled – of course you would want to make profit, have a great year, get a bonus, feed thousands of employees, and you are going to differentiate your products in such a manner that all of this is maximised.

    You said “How upset would you be if you bought a computer that was intentionally crippled?”.
    Well, you simply would not buy it – all the specifications are posted up front, right before people press the “Buy” button, so nobody is making this choice for the user after all.

    There is one more behaviour I don’t understand, given that I am looking at this from an eastern european perspective – americans/canadians who can afford to pay this much for cameras, have quite a substantial income ($3000 – $6000 per month), when compared to the average eastern european who’s got no more than $500 – $800 per month. Why in the world would you complain for having to pay $10 to ship off a camera to a service center? (I am not questioning the ethics of Nikon behind this, just this point).

    Again, try to think from a company’s perspective – if you pay $10 shipping, you’ll need to do this for each newbie who doesn’t understand how DOF works and thinks it’s the camera’s fault for not acquiring focus.

    Where does this take you, globally? Having 1.000.000 shipments can cause a 10 million dollars loss – of course you would take this decision yourself, to unload the insignificant individual shipping costs, wouldn’t you?

    Please don’t consider my reply as personal in any way, I have absolute respect for both you and the entire “Mansurovs” team (I am still greatly attached to the old site name & logo). Just trying to point out a few things that I believe need to be considered, thank you so much for your consideration!

    • 9.1) Fatkhulla
      March 18, 2013 at 5:52 am

      Alex: Everyone understand that they need to make money. But the issue being raised is the extent of manipulation and total disregard to customer satisfaction. That’s what troubles me also.

    • 9.2) Scott
      March 18, 2013 at 6:30 am

      Hi Alex….

      I am from South Africa and can answer your question (from a South African perspective) regarding the costs for sending the camera into a service center in the following manner:

      Given that I have paid well in excess of full USA/Canadian/European retail price for my equipment in this part of the world, I expect that equipment to work as per specification. If it does not, I have three options open to me in law; I can return the product for a full refund, I can opt for a replacement, or I can opt to have the equipment repaired. These options are all available to me within the first six months of purchase, should the product prove have a manufacturing defect, irrespective of any guarantee.

      In my view, it would be in Nikon’s best interest from a marketing perspective AND from a customer service perspective, to ensure that every camera released from their factories is in PERFECT working order. While this may be wishful thinking for this to happen, it should be Nikon’s aim to achieve this. If they cannot achieve this, they should inform their customers of any common issues being experienced by their customer base, and ensure that their customers equipment is repaired and/or replaced, AT NIKON’s expense, including shipping/insurance costs. Why should the customer have to carry the cost of Nikon’s inability to appropriately quality assure their own products, prior to shipment to a distributor / customer?

    • 9.3) Art
      March 18, 2013 at 1:24 pm

      Why in the world would you complain for having to pay $10 to ship off a camera to a service center?

      Read more:

      Shipping a D800 from Hawaii to a service center is $130 insured, maybe if you ship USPS in a sack uninsured its that cheap, but I am not going to ship a $3000 camera uninsured or by USPS, if it were just $10 I would not complain.

  10. 10) PeterT
    March 18, 2013 at 5:05 am


    You know what I like about this website? That occasional Rant and Rave that makes me go ‘Tick’ and I end up reading a very interesting article that every photographer … Novice, Amateur or Pro will appreciate. Yep! I agree. It is really frustrating when you do not get the same customer service that you got when you bought an expensive piece. Worse still, nobody wants to say anything reassuring. We can only rely on great articles coming out from you guy’s on websites like these to keep the heat on. Thank you for that very extensive write-up.

  11. 11) Ndy
    March 18, 2013 at 5:20 am

    Such a nice article Nasim. Thanks for writing (and collecting) our long-live problem.

    However, recently I’m considering to moving to another brand. Nikon has done good job regarding image quality&lenses, but there’s a bigger problem here (Indonesia). Our Nikon distributor sucks. It’s really really hard to find accessories (and some lenses). I’ve waiting for a month for a SB-910, and until no shop sells them (they said no stock from distributor). Other Nikon accessories other than speedlights (ex vertical grip, battery) sold without warranty.

    My biggest disappointment when annual photography bazaar held several weeks ago. Fuji, Canon, Olympus, Sony had their complete product line available (even Canon had 600mm as demo unit!) while Nikon only had DSLR kits & Coolpix. And yes, no third party shop had SB-910 in stock. We don’t have Adorama nor B&H. Amazon doesn’t ship here too. I’m not comparing Nikon with others, but product availability is a big issue for customer & the fact is Nikon loses grip here in every way-marketing, events, buyers/users, etc.

    I think Nikon Int’l should & must take care of their product availability, especially in third world countries. Sure; green cast, left focus, oil spoil matters but nothing more severe than availability issues -here.

    Just my 50 cent addition. Sorry for bad English. :)

    • 11.1) Henrik Manoochehri
      March 18, 2013 at 7:32 pm

      nikon’s behavior makes me wonder if they (nikon execs) are not squeezing the last buck before jumping ship and selling out to the likes of Sony! Either that or they suffered unexpected losses after Fukushima and can’t get their act together?

      • 11.1.1) Ian
        March 18, 2013 at 9:25 pm

        Why on earth would Nikon kill their QC to squeeze “the last buck” before selling to Sony?

        I would think you want the value of the company at peak when you sell, since that’s how you make the most money, not kill the value and THEN sell.

        Nikon missed the boat on a few camera bodies, that is VERY clear. Part of me wonders if they made the AF on the D600 and saw how badly they missed and made up for it with the 7100. But the other stuff? Yeah, it’s being careless with what a number of photogs care about.

        I’m hopeful, since I’ve begun investing in some nice Nikon lenses and have some photog buddies with nice Nikon kits I can borrow that Nikon comes around when it comes time to upgrade what I shoot. That said, I’m still working with a 3100, and have successfully shot indoor sports with it, trying my best to kill the buffer, while using a simple 11 spot AF. So maybe I’m a bit deluded in what features are must haves :)

        • Henrik Manoochehri
          March 18, 2013 at 11:02 pm

          I’m just throwing stuff at the wall to see what sticks. Don’t pay much attention. The issue is I was terribly disappointed to find my D7000 took a dump after 5000 or so exposures and very careful protection of the camera and am trying to be very careful with my next DX & FX body purchases and yelling at the top of my voice, so to speak, hoping Nikon will hear other consumers of my ilk who arn’t pros but have a lot invested in Nikon glass and are wary of Nikon’s seemingly abusive marketing practices. I’m not rich. I can’t drop one or two grand down the toilet at will and I’m not the only one.

  12. 12) John Gio
    March 18, 2013 at 5:29 am

    Excellent article Nasim,

    This might explain why the companies stock dropped by 19% when they forecasted decresing demand. Improving on their Quality Control might reverse the demand, something upper management should consider seriously if they want their stock to take value and us as cunsumer in return have better quality products.

  13. 13) Cam Price
    March 18, 2013 at 5:40 am

    Thank you for your honest and insightful article, Nasim. I am a long time reader of your site, but I’ve never commented until now.

    You touched on something very important, thoug not directly related to Nikon quality control or marketing strategy. I’m referring to point #2:

    “But how much will you get out of these new features? If you read enough photography forums, you might get the impression that most photographers constantly need an aperture of f/2.8, a minimum of 24 MPs, the need for clean 6400 ISO images, 7-9 frames per second capability, and generous image buffer that will enable them to take nearly unlimited RAW files without a delay.”

    I agree that there are photographers that can and will take advantage of every single advancement. But I wanted to share a recent conversation I had with another photographer. The only caveat is that this following conversation is really only applicable to enthusiast photographers like myself and most of the people out there.

    I recently met another photographer to make a lens trade. While we were testing out each other’s respective lenses, he asked me why I was still shooting with a D300 despite having some other nice pieces of equipment. I responded that for my style of photography (a hobbiest focusing mostly on landscapes while shooting at base ISO) and the maximum size I print (8”x12”), Nikon hasn’t really offered me a compelling reason to drop $2,000 – $3,000 for a new body. When pressed for further details, I responded that while it would be nice to have certain features associated with newer bodies, they just aren’t necessary for the current photographic visions I have in my head, and that the only two things at present that I want (though not need) are “normal” DOFs and larger viewfinders that are associated with full frame cameras. I don’t think he quite understood where I was coming from, but that’s alright. Hopefully he’ll remember that conversation next time he upgrades his dslr body.

    I think as photographers, we’re all a little bit equipment-centric. And honestly, there’s nothing wrong with that, so long as we remember that the primary limitation for most of us is skill/creativity of the person behind the camera snapping the shutter.

    • 13.1) Henrik Manoochehri
      March 18, 2013 at 7:36 pm

      I miss my Minolta X700!

  14. 14) Erica
    March 18, 2013 at 5:43 am

    Hi Nasim,

    I have a D600 and have no problem with the “small” autofocus area.
    I usualy compose and recompose. I did that with my D7000, ’cause I couldn’t be bothered to switch autofocus points. I always use a single autofocus point anyway.
    As for the dust problems, I haven’t found them yet.

  15. 15) Fatkhulla
    March 18, 2013 at 5:47 am

    Completely agree and thanks for making us aware of this. Didn’t know the extent of manipulation until now. Apple products are the worst manipulative despite the fact they have a apple stores you mentioned and greatly designed products. You don’t know whether to love or hate these companies…

  16. 16) ok
    March 18, 2013 at 5:49 am

    Very well written….as I said before, all brands have the technology to improve the cameras, however, how much technology do we release this year….must save a bit for next model.

  17. March 18, 2013 at 6:09 am

    Well, I am SOO glad I went for broke and bought the D4. It may have less pixels than the D800, but I feel well protected with wanting to upgrade. That plus a Fuji X kit and I am really happy. I do feel for those that always want the latest and best, without actually using what they’ve got to anywhere near its capability. Case in point is my very own D300(non S), which has only taken under 6,000 shots and now has the same resale value as a Point & Shoot! Which is why I will keep it as a backup/wife camera.

  18. 18) Sebastiano
    March 18, 2013 at 6:13 am

    Do you know what happened to Alfa Romeo and Lancia, two golden italian car brands in ’60, claimed for their design and technical solutions, in ’90s?

    They made several “marketing errors”, that caused financial problems to the Companies and stopped the development of some interesting cars, may be more appreciated by their customers.

    Now think what did in the same period Audi, BMW and Mercedes. The first two raised their quality, and became a reference point in the car industry. Mercedes, who just was an innovation leader, was “forced” to keep the absolute quality that had built its excellent reputation.

    When Toyota, Kia and other far east company cars decided they could efford more investiments to improve and better differentiate their products they started the success path.

    It is not how Nikon is doing that pushes the revenues up. Ok, building cameras is not the same as selling cars, but IMHO Nikon should seriuosly pay high attention to how thosegerman premium car companies have differentiated their products.

    They haven’t any car that cannot be equipped with the most powerful engine, neither they put limitations to how you can choose the interior equipments, or they do in a way less stupid than Nikon did with the D600, D800, D7100 and D4.

    None of those car companies aim at selling only their top end premium S Class or A8. They know that products have to be different, but that choosing one against the rest should never make you feel frustrated, because you got a “poor” model.

    It’s ridiculous to listen to people that still claim you can do excellent and in-focus photos only using the central AF point. Oh, yes, you can do if you frequent subjects are trees.
    But since there is no limitations at coupling the best in class Nikon teles to any camera body, neither is any limitation to use a professional flash on a D3200, to aim at forcing experienced photographers to but ONLY D4 is very stupid.

    Also, D800 is a great camera, but is not as versatile ad D700 was. Many people don’t need 36 Mpxl but like more a professional body ad D800 is.
    Do you think the cabriolet version of the Mercedes E class is killing the SLS cabriolet sellings? To think so is really stupid.

    Nowadays its crucial to properly engineer the product. I’m an engineer, I’m an electronics engineer, and I know how not so expensive would be to have a 51 premium AF system on all the Nikon Fx cameras.
    Also I know how not so expensive would be to have a 2GB buffer on a D7100.

    So my comment to Nikon is when you create a product let each one who buys it to feel “good”, because they have bought “Nikon”, the best on the market.
    You can force nikon users to stay with Nikon lenses and gears, but you have also to think to how still doesn’t have any DSLR, and might buy Canon.

    think about it ;)
    Bye, Sebastiano

    • March 18, 2013 at 1:49 pm

      Hi Sebastiano,

      That’s an interesting line of thought. I disagree with your specific examples (Audi, BMW, Mercedes) because those companies only make high-end cars. To bring the analogy back towards cameras, they only make FX (and medium format) cameras. They skip the largest part of the market entirely.

      But there is a useful example there I hadn’t thought about previously. Honda and Toyota got into the US market largely because of poor QA at the US companies (and, for a very long time, an unwillingness to address that poor QA), and that was their differentiator. Nikon should certainly take note (especially because, unlike the other camera companies, they don’t have any other markets to fall back on if cameras become unprofitable).

      • 18.1.1) Henrik Manoochehri
        March 18, 2013 at 7:42 pm

        Again, I’m wondering if nikon isn’t thinking about selling out?

  19. 19) Ken Hill
    March 18, 2013 at 6:20 am

    Interesting perspective and very to the point in this day and age. How does any company deal with issues when facing a myriad of consumer laws that exist in multiple jurisdictions all having enormous public perception and/or financial issues. Compounding that issue is the fact that the local dealer is no longer a camera store, leaving the repair centers as the first point of contact between the company and the consumer.

    In days past the consumer would return to the store with a product and have many of his/her questions or complaints dealt with by a knowledgeable sales person or local repair technician. This is no longer the case because the camera stores is no longer there and/or the electronics and technology used in production are way beyond the testing and repair abilities of most local shops.

    I have a D800 that had some dust issues and the customer service in Melville both infuriated me when they seemed to go overboard in telling me how to change a lens. When they were presented with the fact that the issues were detected on a new camera using a new Nikkor lens they stopped with the lecture and got down to business repairing the issue. I got my camera back to me when the said they would and so far so good. I would have liked to have an explanation of what was found or done to it but that’ll never happen.

    The points you make are valid and the same for the cars, TV’s and cell phones that you buy and can longer be locally. I don’t think it will be getting better and it sure won’t be like it use to be. /KH

  20. 20) Satisfied user
    March 18, 2013 at 6:32 am

    wah wah wah. Just switch to canon and shut up already. Lets see if the grass is greener on the other side. Or better yet, ask Rob Galbraith about it.

    While people on the Internet whine, I go out and shoot with my D800 every week with stellar results. I haven’t owned a better camera in my life. And no, I didn’t bother shooting test charts, I shot real people.

    I used to love reading articles on this site, but now it had become a whiner’s haven. In case you didn’t know, you’re the vocal minority. The happy majority prefers to spend their time shooting instead.

    • 20.1) Henrik Manoochehri
      March 18, 2013 at 7:46 pm

      You’re lucky you didn’t get a faulty body. If you had, I wonder how your tone would change?

    • 20.2) DavidL
      March 18, 2013 at 9:00 pm

      You sound just like another blogger that I read when get really, really bored.

      But you can’t be because he’s switched to Canon cause he’s got upset with Nikon.

      Maybe KR does make sense!

  21. 21) daniel
    March 18, 2013 at 6:34 am

    I have so much Nikon equipment and I must admit, there isn’t much I don’t use. Being a long time Nikon user, I try to get the bang for my buck. My latest camera is the D200. For the last year I have been contemplating purchasing the D800. It seems every time I get ready to pull the plug and buy it, I read an article like this and I pull back. I hate to admit it, but I can honestly say that I wish I could switch brands. That being said, Nikon is missing out on a sale of a D800 as I am sticking with the D200. The other bad thing for Nikon is that being around younger aspiring photographers, when they ask for camera recommendations, I’m afraid it is not Nikon. Thanks for a great article.

    • 21.1) Henrik Manoochehri
      March 18, 2013 at 7:49 pm

      Don’t buy the latest. As I replied to someone else earlier, the D700 is the last good body nikon made in my opinion. Get a used D700 and you’ll be very happy.

  22. 22) Richard
    March 18, 2013 at 6:35 am

    A timely post Bob as I have my D7100 on order! I was lucky that my D800 saw none of the problems that earlier models did and hope Nikon start to update, or even re-write their QA methodology. I sometimes wonder if their pursuit to keep ahead of the market is a major reason for the problem, in other words “more haste = reduced quality”.


    • 22.1) Henrik Manoochehri
      March 18, 2013 at 7:51 pm

      Check where your body was made. Maybe moving their manufacturing to China might have something to do with the QC issues they’re having.

      • 22.1.1) Sandeep
        March 18, 2013 at 7:55 pm

        Please stop spreading misinformation. All D800 bodies are made in Japan (Not that it matters, but that’s how it is). The only Nikon bodies made in china AFAIK are the 1 series bodies. Every other DSLR body is made in Thailand.

  23. March 18, 2013 at 6:45 am

    I’m rarely the first to jump on a new piece of technology, whether camera or computer (unless I’m beta testing it for the company). I waited quite a while to jump on the D70 bandwagon (my first DSLR), about a year after it was released. I happily used it for 6 years. I gave it to my sister-in-law and it’s still taking beautiful photos today, 9yrs later. I gathered a few full frame lenses and eventually made the tremendous leap to a factory demo D700 after it had been out for a little over a year. Three years and 112,000 photos later and I’m still very happily shooting away with my D700. I’m pondering a D800E, but I’m waiting to see factory demos of them sometime later this year or next. I wish I had waited longer on purchasing my SB-900 flash, as Nikon’s fix for its overheating problem was the SB-910. I’ve been extremely happy with my used and refurb purchases over the years. Saved enough to get more lenses which has helped me take better photos than more camera bodies would have achieved over the last decade.

  24. 24) Sid
    March 18, 2013 at 6:53 am

    Nasim, this is one of the best articles I’ve read on Photography Life! I really hope Nikon improves their QC and customer support. Like many others I have heavily invested in Nikon gear and really dont have a choice to switch brands. I currently own a D7000 and I was expecting a good (fx) upgrade to the d700 that can be used for wildlife/action photography but I feel all the three latests announcements by Nikon (d800, d600 and d7100) have one aspect or the other missing required for action photography :( I feel the d700, one of the best fx cameras in the market never really got a successor…

  25. March 18, 2013 at 7:18 am

    Another explanation for the focusing system on the D600 that isn’t as nefarious as you have described is that Nikon had a bunch of these already manufactured and laying around in a warehouse waiting to be used. Nikon may have decided that the best way to clear out their inventory of these older focusing systems was to use them on the D600.

    Yes, this still means that there will likely be an “improved” version of the D600 with a better focusing system in a year or two. However, it would be costly for Nikon to leave a large inventory of focusing systems laying on the shelf unused and then have to write them off. Businesses need to make money and simply “throwing away” otherwise usable product inventory usually isn’t a winning business strategy.

    This sort of engineering to a set of “marketing” specs isn’t confined to Nikon or even cameras. It occurs in automobiles, other consumer electronics and many other products. You just have to realize what is going on and decide how you want to “play” the game.

    Many times you can “win” the game by NOT buying the latest and greatest when it comes out and instead waiting to buy near the end of a product cycle, not buying the high-end model or buying used.

  26. 26) Jason Yap
    March 18, 2013 at 7:33 am

    Proud owner of a D600 of just few months old has now being turned down instead… My first FX being compared to the DX D7100… Is a joke??? Ouch!

    I should have opted for the D800E then. Not very wise indeed my choice. Shattered dreams… :(

    • 26.1) Sandeep
      March 18, 2013 at 7:57 pm

      Did your D600 suddenly stop working because the D7100 is out? No? Then go out, shoot and enjoy your camera.

      I bought the D800 when the E was out of stock everywhere. Do I feel a bit sad about it? Sometimes. But that’s not stopping me from shooting with my D800.

      • 26.1.1) Jason Yap
        March 19, 2013 at 12:31 am

        Thanks for the cheer up, Sandeep.

        I guess it should be about how we weigh things and how we see it instead. I will still love my D600 no doubt, but I do see that what has been compromised in comparison to the features as being mentioned in this article against the D7100.

        The price tag says it all perhaps, that the D600 was once almost the most affordable budget FX camera out there in the market.

        Cherish and be proud of what we own should be the way for now. :)

  27. 27) Viktor Suhov
    March 18, 2013 at 7:40 am

    That’s bad, for sure, quality for such pricey products should be higher, i agree with your article, but be honest and write about Canon too, light leak issue, grip rubber that causes allergy, beside of that you talked about af system in D600 as cheap. Well, maybe, but back to Canon then – 11 af points and older af system for 6D – thats what really bad. Also, Canon seem to set higher prices for similar\worse products. They are really lazy, because they cant even update sensor manufacturing technology. Many people can’t understand this and wine about DxO results. But they are totally legit. So, in summary, Nikon not as bad as it seems))

  28. 28) Ronald
    March 18, 2013 at 7:44 am

    Well written, I fully agree!
    Love my new D600 though, cam from a D200 so very happy.

  29. 29) Gordon Kummer
    March 18, 2013 at 7:45 am

    Wow, best presentation of the issue we all face when buying cameras and gear. I especially go thru the thought mill when buying lenses. While some lenses are technically superior, will you actually see that difference in the finished image? Compare the f2.8 pro lenses to the newer f4 lenses at a much lower price. Or my recent purchase of a Sigma 15mm fisheye compared to the Nikon 16mm fisheye. To me a fisheye is a toy and to pay more because it says Nikon is a waste. Or consider the MB-D12 battery base for the D800. Its just as easy to change batteries as it is flash cards, especially at Nikons price.

  30. 30) Nate B.
    March 18, 2013 at 7:50 am

    Thanks Nasim (this was so needed)

    Excellent critique of Nikon as well. It seems as of lately that they are doing themselves a disservice. I was really considering giving up on Nikon and selling all my gear because I couldn’t believe or understand what they were trying to accomplish with these new cameras and features. I really hope they learn from this snafu and listen to their customers in the future.

  31. 31) Mike
    March 18, 2013 at 7:53 am

    Wow Bob, well ranted, you will be pleased to know that my D600 (Bought Oct 2012) was picked up and returned in 2 weeks, repaired and cleaned, all FOC by Nikon UK in early March. The staff at the repair centre all seemed to feign surprise that I had these dust problems, that, I found difficult to believe, but I suspect they were all toeing the Nikon party line, admit nothing. But in the end Nikon were forced to come clean because of forums like these and protests from consumers like me, so what did the head in the sand attitude achieve apart from creating a negative image view of Nikon, my Canon wielding friend has had a field day at my expense, guess I will just have to show him my superior images.

    I had just returned from a 3 week trip down through the US Rockies and had got thouroughly fed up with having to go through the spot removal routine through Lightroom for every decent image I had, which thankfully there was a few.

    So far the few shots I have tested seem Ok, but as I am having also a go at Star shots they don’t seem to bother the sensor (only joking).

    Apart from the dust issue the camera performed brilliantly, Battery life especially, which despite the low temperatures was extensive even though it spent time a good time in the open as I moved from shot to shot, I spent a day in Yellowstone snowmobiling, I had the 50mm lens (1.8)on and just kept it in my jacket, weather sealing also seems effective with plenty of snow showers to deal with.

    All together very interesting article to read with many salient points to think over.


  32. March 18, 2013 at 8:07 am

    This is the most sensible article I have seen on this subject. Sometimes I feel that many people posting on the web are compulsive gadget freaks who would prefer chatting online than take actual photos. We can only be manipulated by manufacturers if we allow it. I would like to get my PhD in sociology studying this situation. Keep up the good work.

  33. 33) MAX
    March 18, 2013 at 8:23 am

    What got wrong with Nasim? he was so protective!! for nikon product and hide the limitations between the lines of many reviews. Always gave the correct info but with conclusions the many reader didn’t agreed. (He said little chance for d400, minor problem with d600 dust etc etc)

    Now Nasim is back on track with wonderful article (say the true in the face as is), and i got me again as his fan.

  34. 34) Cenk Oğurtanı
    March 18, 2013 at 8:31 am

    Excellent article… I agree with every word you write Nasim… Thank you…

  35. 35) Neil
    March 18, 2013 at 9:18 am

    Lol, you and Thom Hogan should collaborate on articles like this. I certainly agree with both of you — and have followed those “rules” already like selling what I don’t use, etc. the question is whether the Nikon culture will allow itself to admit fault and change nor will they fall into a hardline decline due to inflexibility.

  36. 36) Dvir
    March 18, 2013 at 9:21 am

    Very well written Nasim. Really nice article. I think in the age of everything new, every minute of every day, it has been imbedded in our personality to always want the fastest and the best, and with cameras it is no different. It is nice to see an article written at least partially about that, great article!

  37. 37) Pat
    March 18, 2013 at 9:22 am

    I own a D800E and the “trinity” set, but ever since I picked up the Panasonic GH3 and the 12-35/2.8 I found myself using the D800E a lot less. And it does led me to question whether DSLRs with the mirror is still relevant in this century.

    Quite frankly the GH3 is a better camera, baring the small sensor. It takes *much* better video, the EVF/flip-LCD works like a charm, it is much more responsive (despite selling for 65% less). The 12-35/2.8 performs similarly to the Nikon 24-70/2.8, and it does have IS/VR. You lose 1.5 stops worth of sensitivity compared to the D800/24-70 combo, but the weight is also 1.5 stops less.

    Had Panasonic pushed it a bit further and enable to the GH3 to make 7-9fps continuous shooting with AF (now it only does 4), I would start selling my long lenses.

    All the recent QC issues and crazy prices – the $2699 price tag on the new AF-S 80-400 is pretty insane – does led me to wonder whether Nikon FX is still worthy of the hefty price tag. Selling a $3000 camera with defective AF is now acceptable. Nikon seemed to forget they can charge $3000 for a pro-sumer camera because the brand “Nikon” used to mean quality engineering, at least in the pro-grade products. Something is really, really wrong with this company.

  38. 38) FrancoisR
    March 18, 2013 at 9:36 am

    Hello Nasim,

    The words of thruth and you have all my respect. But still you finish on a positive note, our rigs are getting better and better (against all odds).

    Thank you again for this site and openness

  39. 39) B!
    March 18, 2013 at 9:38 am

    Great Article!!!

    On point and didnt really miss anything. I switched from Canon and haven’t looked back. The switch wasn’t as painful as one might imagine. I bought a used D2X years ago when I switched and now am proud owner of a D4, near perfect camera but at crazy price (I admit). Contemplated the D800 but way too many isses reported on the web.

    Why does everyone keep saying great article Bob, it clearly says by Nasim under the title. The writing style (ranting/fuming) is Roman’s though; nothing wrong with it, as IT’s ALL TRUE.

    • 39.1) MartinG
      March 18, 2013 at 3:02 pm

      The email link I got says Bob wrote it. The web site says Nasim did. Perhaps it is a joint effort.

      I’ll wait for tests of the 7100 which look closely at quality of image. I love the D800 I use. I am interested in all Nikon gear. Perhaps a second body would be nice, but so far nothing appeals. Personally I think the quality of Nikon lenses released in the last year is impressive. The 800 is magic but challenging (a good thing).

      Rants are good from time to time. Switching is silly. Patience is a virtue. I guess I’ll wait for around 12 months to see what happens.

      • 39.1.1) DavidL
        March 18, 2013 at 10:52 pm

        My twitter link also said Bob

  40. 40) Art
    March 18, 2013 at 10:02 am

    Nasim, thanks for the great article. I totally agree with your opinions on Nikon’s marketing & quality problems. I have been using Nikon’s products for the last thirty five years from my first serious camera a FM to my latest a D800. Only since my purchase of my D800 have I ever thought that I may have made a mistake of buying a Nikon product. The D800 had the dreaded autofocus problem which Nikon has never admitted to be a problem. It took a trip back to the service center to get repaired of which I had to pay for the shipping. They did pay for the return the shipping 3 weeks later when they repaired the camera but they would not refund me the money for the cost of shipping the camera to them. When I bought a D70 in 2004 it locked up on me (the dreaded blinking green light), but Nikon covered the cost for the shipping both ways and I had a working camera in 1 week vs. 3 weeks. Yes it bothered me the D70 was defective but Nikon backed up the product by covering the shipping both ways and promptly fixing and returning the camera. Also a friend of mine had the same problem with his D70 and Nikon fixed the problem and covered shipping even though the camera was out of warranty. Now I thought that was great service and I was committed to the brand. Forward in time to 2012, customer stuck with shipping costs for defective camera, no camera for three weeks, and Nikon never admitted to the problem so getting the camera fixed out of warranty for free will probably be nothing more than a fantasy. This experience has reduced my confidence in Nikon as being a company that stands behind its products and does what it takes to achieve customer satisfaction. I do think you hit the nail on the head on what Nikon has to do to get back on track again and I hope they are listening.
    I had saved enough money to purchase a D4 but my D800 experience made me think twice about buying it. So instead I saved a little more and purchased a Canon 5D MK III, a 70-200 2.8 IS, 16-35 2.8, 50mm 1.4, and a 580 ex ii flash. I always wanted to try Canon and Nikon now gave me the excuse to actually do it. I have been shooting for about two weeks with new gear and so far things have been working out pretty good. In fact I just might buy a 300mm F4 IS lens with a 1.4 tele-converter since I have been waiting for Nikon to add VR to the 300mm F4. So Nikon did save themselves the cost of shipping my D800 to them, but they lost the sale of D4 because of it and maybe a 300mm F4.

    • 40.1) FrancoisR
      March 18, 2013 at 10:52 am

      Hello Art,

      I use both a D800 and 5D3 also. The Nikon equals to more magnification and the Canon is better in low light. I have the 300 f4 IS (great lens). I tried it with a 1.4 Canon TC and I’m not too impressed by this combination. I prefer the 400 L 5.6 . If you plan to keep your D800, maybe you can wait for the 300 f4 VR and buy the 400 L providing about the same reach on the 5D3. You will end up with two long end solutions. I’m waiting for Nikon to finally hatch it’s 300 f4 VR and if it’s as good as the 70-200 f4 VR I just bought, it will be worth the wait (then you could alway get a Nikon TC 1.4). Remember that the 300 f4 IS is quite old technology. I have a 300 f4 ED that gives about equal quality to the 400 w/5D3 for about $650.00 but with lesser AF.

      • 40.1.1) Art
        March 18, 2013 at 1:30 pm

        Thanks for the info, it is greatly appreciated. I did not even think about the 400L 5.6, which is a lens Nikon should also have in its line-up.


  41. 41) Gene Duprey
    March 18, 2013 at 10:32 am

    Nicely written article. This quality issue was faced a few years ago by Leica when they brought out their M8 digital rangefinder body.They had reliability , dust/oil issues and the biggie was the Infrared sensitivity of their sensor.

    Lucky for the customers, they fixed every reliability issue of the first bunch by replacing bad pc boards, and also gave those customers a voucher for a discount on the purchase of a new lens of their choice. The dust/oil issue turned out to be a case of too much oil in assembly which was corrected right away and customers cameras cleaned. The infrared issue it turned out was a design issue they made for best image quality. They solved this by offering 3 free IF filters of the users choice of size. The ultimate solution came when the M9 was introduced with better if filter built into the sensor. Their QA issues have dropped to almost nil, but they do pop up from time to time, but they jump on it right away and get it fixed.

    Nikon does need to address these issues and not be so secretive doing it. So far my D4 has been problem free, and I love it. I also still use my Leica’s, and will until they die, but due to ever increasing prices ( up in the stratosphere) I do not plan on buying any more lenses or bodies from them (at least new ones).

  42. 42) David Colton
    March 18, 2013 at 10:41 am

    Thanks for a thoughtful, insightful, wise essay. Especially wise is the advice to enjoy the equipment we have. In my case it’s the amazing D7000 and my assortment of Nikkor and Tamron lenses. I expect it will be some time before my photography skills catch up with the capabilities of my equipment.

    Your comments about Nikon’s lack of integrity and consumer support also applies to Tamron. My 18-270 lens did not autofocus smoothly. It was unclear to me whether the problem was in the lens or the shutter mirror. The support guy on the phone at Tamron told me that the little “jump” while autofocusing was an intentional feature of the lens to let users know that the autofocusing was working! I didn’t buy that bit of smoke, so I emailed Tamron support. They replied that the lens was faulty and to send it in. Like Nikon requires, I had to pay for postage and insurance, about $30, for their error. The returned lens came back a lot better but still doesn’t focus smo0thly even after a year of heavy use.

    I intend to keep this camera and my lenses until they hold me back or wear out. Then, I’m seriously considering switching to another brand with better customer service. I bet that Sony and Canon gear will be great two years from now. Or, the best point-and-shoot cameras in two years will have 3/4 or full size sensors, perfect for the bird and wildlife photography that are my passion along with hiking!

  43. 43) Max
    March 18, 2013 at 11:00 am

    Good article. Everybody buys “better” camera’s, “better” lenses but where are the “better” pictures? I do not really see an improvement in photography the last 25 years…

    • 43.1) tchaves
      March 21, 2013 at 11:53 pm

      Checkmate! Nice thought!

  44. March 18, 2013 at 11:03 am

    Excellent article. You hit the nail on its head. When recently talking about the D800 autofocus problems, a Nikon Switzerland representative admitted that the “Japanese face-saving attitude” of being unable to admit mistakes almost drove them (the Swiss Nikon technicians) nuts. He claimed that with the calibration software sent from Japan the problem can now be solved.

  45. 45) Nick
    March 18, 2013 at 11:04 am

    Great article! You said so many things that are in line with my thinking, and yes I’m pissed at Nikon’s quality assurance and marketing department especially on high-end gear. I usually stop buying products from companies that sell high and treat me like crap when I have a problem with their products. To be honest Nikon was on that (I’m done with you) list for a few years. Because of the success and rave reviews of the D3s and D700 I decided to give them another chance.

    I have been a Nikon user for over 20 years, and I’ve stuck to them because like you, said switching is a pain. If it was simple I’d probably own Canon Gear. When people ask my opinion about what camera to buy, I usually tell them to look at Canon or Sony before I recommend Nikon. I’ve been doing that for years. At the end of the day I’m loyal to my pocket book first, not Nikon, Apple, Sony or any of these companies that are driven by their marketing department. In regards to product upgrades, I went from a D70 to a D800. I got my D70 when it came out and I got my D800 last year. Almost 8 year with one camera, and yes I used the hell out of my D70. Along the way I rented a few cameras for special occasions including a Canon 5D markII (for the hell of it), and the D700. I have a nice collection of Nikon lenses and as far as I’m concerned I’m good for the next 8 years, maybe even more. Do I have issues with any of my Nikon gear, yes, are they major, no. Will I send them in for adjustments? I’m not sure it’s worth the headache since I can work with them. Am I put off by the fact that I’ll have to wait week’s maybe month to resolve minor things that are covered under warranty, absolutely! Will I buy more Nikon gear, most likely, but I’m in no rush.

    On another note I must admit I’m totally put off by the performance margin between Nikon’s high-end gear and gear that cost hundreds or up to a thousand dollars less. The 50mm’s, 85mm’s and the 70-200mm’s all come to mind. When I buy a high-end lens I expect it to be significantly better than the consumer grade version (great lenses reviews btw). Way to go Nikon! Thanks for devaluing thousands of dollars’ worth of lenses that have only been on the market for a few years. I figure it’ll be another 10 year before I buy another lens from Nikon and that primarily because of what’s going on. Will I switch, like I said most likely not, but I’m so off the bandwagon again! At the rate Nikon is going they should expect to lose even more market share. Some good products yes, but they really need to get it together if they want to be a leader.

    Anyway, thanks again and keep up the good work. I’ve learned many good things from you and your team. All the best!

  46. 46) Gary
    March 18, 2013 at 11:06 am

    I am anxiously awaiting Nasims D7100 review. I liked the one liner that states…so far so good on his test. I have a d5000 and sorry wouldnt know how to wet clean my camera.

    Not that I NEED a new camera (yes Nasim is right why do I NEED a new camera) it just did not seem right that there is only 39 points on the more expensive D600 vs the new D7100? And even if the dust and oil problems are getting better? why would I should I take a chance buying one? New or even used or refurbished. Sure dust if you take the lens of in a dusty area normal use…all I have been reading and Ive read everyones comments and comments from NIKONUSA and other sites is just ridiculous

    Nasim is spot on. Right out of the box I should say wow…I got a brand new nikon…I love to take a photograph….I should not have to think for a moment about dust.

    everyone new version should be an improvement on the last version. Maybe silly but why leave off the protective cover on the new D7100 vs the D7000…otherwise on specs it looks like7000 to 71000 is improved….if you don have a D7000 already it may be worth…But again we wait for Nasims review.

    Thanks for this review.

    By the way you should probably put a link to go to this article from the D600 review. Since you originally gave it some good marks…there should be a big caveat there too.

  47. 47) Kumar Dosi
    March 18, 2013 at 11:17 am

    Nasim, very well written, but may I also say that you have defended dust issue of Nikon D600 for a long long time saying that all technical junk has some or other issue, that you swiped yours clean (you still mention that), that it is a great camera despite congested focus points and so on.

    No offense sire, but for a person of your knowledge and calibre, isn’t this article too late of a realization?

    BTW, I bought Nikon D600, largely based on your review (and photos), and am relishing it. Without it, my first wedding and first kid photos shoot would have been a failure. I got dust and got it cleaned by local Nikon centre (I got agreement for this before purchase and luckily in India, Nikon gives 2 years warranty :-) ).

    So no offense, but I am surprised at the turn of opinion, especially re. D600.

  48. 48) Mike
    March 18, 2013 at 11:53 am

    The article was written by NASIM and not BOB. While I have seen some good article from Bob, this one is by Nasim.

    I noticed so many people thinking it was from Bob, that I had to comment.
    Not sure why everyone’s so confused.
    Perhaps the first person made a mistake and everyone else plays the sheep :)

    • 48.1) Nivas
      March 18, 2013 at 12:20 pm

      It is because notification email states that the article is written by Bob.

      • 48.1.1) Mike
        March 19, 2013 at 2:01 am

        When I first read the article it was headed by Bob

  49. 49) Subhasis
    March 18, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    Hi Nasim:

    Thank you for summazing the current state of Nikon affairs so well and especially for your wisdom in the last section “Lessons Learned”.

  50. 50) ertan
    March 18, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    D800 is perfect, with serious focusing issues. D600 is brilliant, with lots of dirt to clean even brand new from the factory. D7000 was amazing with the same dirt&oil problems.
    I already started to sell my unused Nikon lenses and flashes last week. My next serious purchase will probably not be Nikon. I may even consider Sony.
    Now, who lost?

  51. March 18, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    Well, Nikon lost one of their main plants in the tsunami 2 years ago, and all the workers at that plant lost their homes. The photos I saw of the Nikon plant and the town after the tsunami showed total devastation.

    If General Motors had had those losses we’d all be paying for it for years to come with massive government bailouts.

    I don’t know what Japan did for Nikon, but I’m sure Nikon knows they’ve been under the gun ever since to try not to lose ground against their competition.

    2 years after Katrina, entire shopping plazas with Home Depots and Walmarts still looked like the hurricane hit yesterday.

    I think it’s the mark of a superior company that Nikon had any new products or any innovations at all in the last 2 years.

    • 51.1) Sebastiano
      March 19, 2013 at 8:56 am

      Hi Emily,
      you’re right, really right. The Tsunami in March 2011 was really a disaster and has severelly hit many plants, non only Nikon’s.
      Despite other in Countries, Nikon donated 100 Mil yen to help the Japanese Red Cross Society.

      Anyway, even if people lives are extremely MORE important than cameras, wouldn’t be a problem to admit the new cameras are having some problems. They had to face with this “side effect” and simply help theu customers. They are doing, repairing, but costs are customers’, and it’s not good.

      Also, tsunami apart, how cameras have been placed and equiped is a different problem.

      I wanted to buy a D600, preferring to D700 because of the video. When I realized the D600 had dust problems I tried to buy a D700 as new, but they were retired immediatly. Now I’m wating the problems get solved, since I don’t want to pay 1300€ for an used D700, without any warranty, when a D600 as new costs about 1700€.

      So, how products D800, D600 and D7100 have been engineered and proposed has no deal with the tsunami, I think, but is more related to what cameras Nikon has imagined to force selling us.
      But this is more like the Ford T story than how companies try to catch customers.

  52. 52) Jabari
    March 18, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    I’m with you 100% on your points about quality control and customer service. However, your marketing arguments is where we part ways.

    If you don’t like a particular product because it lacks features, simply don’t buy it. Nikon, and just about any other company, will listen to sales reports over blog posts. If people are buying a product in large numbers then they (rightfully so) assume that they are on the correct path as far as marketing goes.

    Also, why would a company purposely cannibalize its sales by creating competing products that generate less profits? They made that mistake once with the D3X & D800. They exist to make a profit. You ccan’t expect them to implement bad business practices simply because you want the latest and greatest features for yesterday’s price points.

    • March 18, 2013 at 3:07 pm

      Jabari, I totally understand the issue of potentially cannibalizing sales – I wrote about that in my Nikon D800 review, where I stated that Nikon cannibalized the D3 sales with the introduction of the D700. The fact of the matter is, the D600 is still a more premium product than the D7100, with a bigger sensor and higher price point. Using the same 51 point AF as on the D800 would not have cannibalized the sales of the D800, because it has more resolution, better build and many more features that are absent from the D600. All I am trying to say here is that the cost difference between premium parts and lower-end parts is very small. Nikon could have easily used the 51 point AF in the D600 and charged the same amount. The D7100 could have had more memory at the same price. Lastly, firmware features absent from lower-end cameras are intentional to differentiate between different camera models.

      What I recommended is not a bad practice. If Nikon used the same 51 point AF on the D600, it would have sold a lot more of those cameras and probably converted a lot more DX users to FX. One of the biggest complaints on the D600 is its small viewfinder – check out some feedback on this site, dpreview and other major websites and you will see that it is one of the most talked about subjects. And I simply don’t see how a product would compete with a premium model if it had the same bracketing options. That’s just silly.

      Here is another example that might be worth mentioning. The Nikon D600 does not have the same customization option as the D300s/D800/D4, where you can program the center multifunction button to zoom in to an image. Guess what – the Nikon D7100 has it, along with other features that are not found on the D600! Another intentional marketing trick for you.

      Nikon does not need to do this. Using lower-end body build, less buttons, smaller camera body were enough to differentiate the D600 and the D800. Stripping off important firmware features and using an old AF system on a full-frame camera was a mistake in my opinion. Actually, I was fine with this until the D7100 came out. Now people are even more confused about whether they should get the D7100 or the D600 – see some of the comments in my comparison article.

      Here is what I believe Nikon should have done:
      1) Nikon D7100 with the same firmware features as the D600, but with a 39 point AF system or other newer AF. Buffer limits are the same as on the current D7100.
      2) Nikon D400 with a 51 point AF, same sensor as on the D7100, but with a better body build, much bigger buffer and fast fps for wildlife and sports shooters.
      3) Nikon D600 with similar firmware as the D800, but with a 51 point AF system. Same shutter speed limitations are fine, fps limit the same.

      This would have been a much better product placement in my opinion. D7100 is for those that want to get started or moving up from entry-level. D400 for sports and wildlife shooters. D600 for those that need higher image quality than DX in a compact and more affordable package. D800 for specialized high-resolution work. D4 for sports and wildlife. None of the cameras would overlap or potentially cannibalize sales…

      • 52.1.1) Sandeep
        March 18, 2013 at 4:24 pm

        It’s fairly easy to make such accusations, but remember that an FX sensor still costs a LOT more to make than a DX sensor. That’s where most of your USD 2k is going in a D600. To sell that camera at that price, they will have to cut corners elsewhere. And Nikon still cut less corners than Canon did with the 6D. I’m willing to make a wager than anyone who is familiar with the logistics of sensor design and manufacturing wouldn’t agree that the D600 could have higher end features and still be priced at the same level. Thom Hogan for example has a lot of valid criticism for Nikon, but this isn’t one as he has worked in the industry. In fact, he was quite astonished that Nikon managed to sell it at this price.

        I’m surprised that as an experienced pro, you’re still comparing the 600 and the 7100. Aside from the fact that they are made by the same guys and have the same lens mount, they are entirely different cameras. One’s a cut price D4, the other a cut price D800. They have some overlap, but not very. The D600 user buys it to get the most out of his FX lenses, not because they want to chase cheetahs with a 600mm. Most real life D600 users I know are actually very sedate tripod based landscapers and they are very happy that they can finally use Nikon’s legendary ultrawides on a body that fits their budget. Not one of them complains about having “Only”39 AF points.

        If we are to use car analogies, you’re complaining that a BMW M3 is faster than the cheapest 5 Series they sell. Think about it.

        • Profile photo of Nasim Mansurov Nasim Mansurov
          March 18, 2013 at 5:53 pm

          Sandeep, if it seems from the above article that I am mad at Nikon and wanting to switch to another brand, you got me totally wrong. I love my D800E and my D600 – both are phenomenal cameras. My #1 concern here is quality control, something Nikon can clearly improve. The second “marketing” part is my criticism towards some of Nikon’s decisions. Yes, I am aware of the fact that a full-frame sensor is more expensive to manufacture and integrate into a camera than a cropped sensor. However, my point is that some features are cut intentionally from products where they should not be. OK, let’s say the AF module of the D600 was in fact overproduced and Nikon decided to use those without wasting stock (although I doubt that). But stripping down firmware features like bracketing and custom button control? That’s clearly intentional. Please do not try to convince me that it is cheaper to make firmware with less bracketing capabilities or skipping out on button customization that is already present on other Nikon DSLRs. Ever wondered why Nikon never goes back and adds more firmware features to its older DSLRs? For example, the Nikon D700 could easily handle the new Auto ISO, HDR and other features found on the D800. But it will never get the firmware update, because Nikon wants to only make those available on newer cameras. Firmware only gets changed when bugs need to be fixed – practically no new features are added to existing cameras.

          And I disagree with your assessment of D600 users. You are wrong if you think that the D600 is only popular between landscape photographers. There are many portrait/wedding photographers that are shooting with the D600 and they are now puzzled with the D7100 announcement. It is not the number of the AF points that I am not happy with. It is the fact that Nikon should have used the higher end AF system on the D600 and a lower-end AF system on the D7100, not the other way around. 39 AF points on the D7000 worked out great, since the mirror and viewfinder are smaller. On the full-frame D600, the 39 AF point spread looks even smaller, as illustrated in the above image. If Nikon wanted to market the D7100 as a premium DX camera without the D400, then the 51 point AF makes sense. Then you have a 39 point AF on the D5200, 51 point AF on the D7100 and all full-frame cameras get the same 51 point AF system. As of now, the D600 seems to be more like a D5200 than a D7100. And you and I both know very well that Nikon took the D7000 guts to make the D600…

          • Sandeep
            March 18, 2013 at 7:37 pm

            Hi Nasim,

            thanks for taking the time to reply. There’s several issues raised in your post and I’ll try to address them one by one.

            1) D600 vs D7100:

            You’re making the deduction that just because the D7100 has a smaller sensor and is cheaper than the D600, it is somehow an inferior product. Far from it. One is a flagship DX product and the other is a budget FX product. Two separate product families. Both come with tradeoffs. With the former, you’re giving up sensor size, but getting features that make it useful as a semi-pro action camera. With the latter, you’re putting sensor size as the first and foremost priority. I’m sure camera buyers these days are enlightened enough to know what they’re getting into before they make a purchase. If Nikon is to put all that into one package, it ends up costing 6K and would be called the D4. To go back to my car analogy, the M3 has a more powerful engine than an entry level 5 series, but the buyers of the latter don’t complain about that. They have different priorities in mind.

            2) Missing features in D600:

            Is it possible to add more features via firmware to the D600? Certainly possible. But it’s not a zero cost affair as you point out. With my project management background, I can safely tell you, there will be internal costs involved for coding, testing, ROM programming and so on. When one is making an FX camera at a bargain bottom price, every cent counts. Look back at the first full frame camera from Canon. How much did that cost? Or look at the 6D. Costs more than the D600, yet has less features. One may argue that both manufacturers are gimping these cameras to protect their higher end models. In that case, look at Sony. Even with no turf to defend, they are unable to produce a $2k FX camera. Their product, while impressive, costs almost as much as a D800 with inferior features almost across the board.

            The simple fact is, the logistics of producing a $2k camera is easier said than done. I think we should all cut Nikon some slack here. Their offering, while lacking in some areas is still ore impressive than what the competition is offering.

            3) Firmware upgradation:

            Again, you make it seem like it’s a Nikon only issue. Fact is, apart from the video capacity enhancements that Canon did for the 5D Mark II (And only because they realized they suddenly have this new market segment available to them that they hadn’t thought of while designing the product), the entire industry is not known for such value additions. Does it suck for a user? Yes. But if we all are to buy one camera and enjoy firmware updates for 10 years without buying any new gear, these companies will go out of business in no time. As a hard working man who paid for all his camera gear, I fully understand and accept this.

            One only has to look at fallen heroes of the medium format scene (Bronica, Contax, Sinar etc.) to see what happens when you give your customers zero incentive to upgrade. Now compare that with the strategy of HasselBlad and PhaseOne (Minor updates to existing bodies, huge updates reserved to new products) who are still in business to see which business model works out better.

            What Nikon could do is follow something else that Hasselblad and PhaseOne does. Offer loyalty programs that guarantee a minimum price when they trade in their old gear to get something new. I’m sure many of us would love a “Nikon certified used cameras” program too whereby Nikon services these traded in cameras and sells them at a slightly higher cost than the open market, with the assurance of everything working perfectly.

            4) I didn’t actually say that all D600 customers are landscapers. I am aware that there are people who use it for other applications such as wedding photography too. And yes, I am aware that yourself and your wife are in that business too. But I disagree that the current AF system in the D600 is a dealbreaker for this application.

            Let’s look at what a lot of wedding guys have used over the years: A 5D Mk II that has only one usable AF point. in real life. They’ve done great work with that alone. Or let’s look at what someone higher up in the ladder uses. Hasselblads, which still have one AF point (And that was terrible before they introduced Truefocus) or Phaseone that used to have one, but now has THREE (!) AF Points. Even the Pentax 645D has only 11 points. And pros still work with these just fine. The D600’s focus point spread more than fine for acquisition (At a greater accuracy than the competition) and is found lacking only in tracking (Which isn’t high up on the priority list for wedding shooters, let’s be honest).

            From personal experience, I can confirm that the D600’s outer points are more sensitive and accurate than the D7000’s. So it’s not like Nikon took some surplus parts and threw them into the newer camera. They actually did some work on it, be in hardware or software.

            Lastly, if one is a successful working pro, getting a D800 or a D4 isn’t a big deal as it will pay itself out in a few gigs. If one is a beginner, I would think the smart thing to do is to get a DX body (And more importantly, DX lenses to go along with it, which is a much smaller investment than FX lenses).

            Again, as mentioned in point 1) I strongly disagree that the D600 should be getting the better AF system just because it has a bigger sensor and (consequently) is more expensive.

            …and yes, I don’t think anyone, let alone Nikon, is pretending that the D600 is anything but a parts bin special based on the D7000. In fact, the only reason it exists is because it is made that way. A lot of people should actually be thankful that they have access to FX now, which wasn’t possible a year ago. And if I am to buy a parts bin camera, I’ll feel a lot more happier that it has the D7000 guts rather than terrible 60D guts.

            • Profile photo of Nasim Mansurov Nasim Mansurov
              March 19, 2013 at 3:44 am

              Sandeep, great valid points, thanks for the interesting discussion. I agree with some of what you said and disagree on some points. You stated “One is a flagship DX product and the other is a budget FX product”. Yes, D600 was marketed as a budget FX product, but the original D7000 was a bridge camera between the D90 and the D300s – it was never released as a flagship DX to replace the D300s. If the D400 comes out later this year, then you won’t be able to call the D7100 a flagship DX anymore. The D600 was released with many of the features of the D7000 originally (similar build, button layout, features, etc), with some differences like sync speed and 1/4000 shutter speed. That’s why I compared it to the D7100 in the above article. Further, you stated “If Nikon is to put all that into one package, it ends up costing 6K and would be called the D4″. I am not talking about adding a lot of features into the D600 – just the same 51 point AF system, or at least similar firmware. The current way of representing the D600 and the D7100 is quite confusing for many. If I want to buy a camera, I have to decide on what to compromise – better image quality with worse AF and weaker features, or great features, but lower image quality? This leaves out two large existing groups in the limbo – existing D700 and D300s owners. Neither group got the camera they wanted. The D7100 does not have the buffer speed or the build, while the D600 does not have the same great AF system and is crippled with some features.

              My comments on bad marketing are not unique to Nikon – the same applies to Canon. Both follow similar practices for product differentiation and I am very much aware of the 6D being a worse camera than the D600 (we wrote about it on our site before). Here is another part where I disagree – firmware updates. I have been in IT all of my life. I did a bunch of stuff from programming to enterprise SAP project implementations. I am also quite familiar with product development and associated costs. Taking firmware from an existing camera and duplicating it to another one is easier than duplicating the firmware, then stripping out some features. From development and testing perspective, the latter actually costs more money for the company.

              As for firmware updates, I am not saying that Nikon is the only company that does it. Other manufacturers, including Canon also often follow a similar route. However, take a look at what Canon is doing with the 7D, which has seen a version 2 firmware with many more features than the original version. I am not saying that Nikon should do the same and I can relate to what you said about surviving in the market. I just brought it up as another fact that we – consumers should be aware of. I like your idea of loyalty programs – that would surely be beneficial to customers.

              As for the D600 AF, I never said that it was a deal breaker. It is still a superb camera that delivers outstanding results. However, let’s not go into MF or other products with less AF points that seem to have worked great in the past. For a wedding pro or a wildlife/sports shooter that uses the D700, the AF system on the D600 is disappointing. 15 versus 9 cross type sensors, less spread in the viewfinder. And then you look at the D7100, which is the other way around. Which camera are you going to get?

              All I am trying to say here, is that Nikon could have crafted a better route for its existing user base. If the D7100 was supposed to be the new high-end DX, it should have had a bigger buffer and some other features from the D300s. The D300s users feel betrayed right now, after 3+ years of waiting. The same thing with the D700 owners that have been waiting for a replacement for a while now.

              But you are right – the grass is NOT greener on the other side right now. Many Canon DSLRs just can’t compete with Nikons and Canon is plagued with even more issues/limitations. But at least they are acknowledging their problems and taking care of their customers. Which goes to my first point – Nikon really needs to improve their quality and service.

              Once again, thanks for sharing your thoughts, I really appreciate it.

            • Brian Imaging
              March 23, 2013 at 1:28 pm

              Sandeep, thanks for your detailed thoughts. Admitted, your M3 vs 5 series analogy makes perfect sense to me.

              It is not just Nikon that does this MANY companies (virtually all car companies) do this. It is simply the nature of the beast.

              If one is not happy with product offerings luckily we have the ability to switch and pick and choose.

              In the end, I am fabulously happy with my D600. My only gripe perhaps is they don’t offer the one button zoom to check in at 100%. I am a little perplexed for sure.

        • Mark
          March 19, 2013 at 8:18 pm

          I don’t think that USB 2.0 saved many dollars.

      • 52.1.2) Sebastiano
        March 18, 2013 at 5:36 pm

        Totally agree with you, Nasim.

        I’d prefere to buy a more expensive camera which is not missing some details than buying a “cheaper but downgraded” model. For less money you can use a Dx camera, and make wonderful photos.
        You don’t always need an Fx camera if you don’t use some kind of features. And if you appreciate them you need them.

        Sometimes to create a better product doesn’t require more money but being more clever at designing it.
        For example, one feature that is really very simple to add to any camera is to allow P* bursts.
        This can allow you to mantain the same exposure while varying the DOF (very useful in macros). The camera has all it needs to do so, so it’s only a very simple firmware issue, but none has ;)))

      • 52.1.3) Carmelo
        March 18, 2013 at 5:58 pm

        Hi Nasim!

        Your article is very good, because you point out how it would easy for Nikon to satisfy their customers. I own a D600 and I have a lot of troubles with hotpixels at 1600 Iso which are not easy to eliminate by the Nikon service. Why they don’t integrate a hotpixel correction feature into FX-bodys like the feature in the 1 Nikon V1? For each hotpixel correction on the sensor, I must to go to the Nikon service. This is a very bad organization of repairs!
        The shutter plate unit of my D600 was changed because of this annoying lubricant problem. It’s certainly not dust or oil! Nikon was aware of this problem before us, but didn’t had a solution until february or march 2013. This is the reason why we didn’t get any information from Nikon about this problem for a lot of months.
        Last year I bought my D600 because I need a more little and lightweight FX-camera as an alternative to my bigger and heavier D700. I still use my D700 with my Nikkor 24-120mm/f4. But for traveling the D600 is better for me. The AF-system of the D600 should be much better. The more pixels the better the AF-system should be. A Nikon D600 with similar firmware as the D800, but with a 51 point AF system would be the best FX-camera for people that are not enough rich to buy a D800 and a faster computer with bigger harddisk. But this will probably be the D600S or the D610. In that case we will sell our D600 and spend again a lot of money for a simply AF-upgrade in a lightweight FX-body. That’s only because of Nikon’s marketing department! :-(

      • 52.1.4) DavidL
        March 18, 2013 at 11:50 pm

        I’m with you Nasim.

        As a D7000 user I wanted to upgrade this year. When the D600 came out I thought, perfect, this will be my entry into FX. But once the specs hit for the D7100 I felt let down. There were some features on the DX camera that weren’t on the FX.

        I shoot landscape, long exposures, and my family, so for the first 2 a 39point AF is no worries. But try tracking my kids around the playground. I need as much AF coverage I can get. Even Nikon described the 39 point AF as “high density”.

        In other words compact.

        I want to shoot with better glass. I don’t want the D800’s MP’s. I know Nikon’ systems. I don’t want to change brands partly because of this site. The lens and camera reviews here are fantastic and I haven’t found site that’s completely independent that does Canon or Sony so extensively. So thanks Nasim and a big come on and get this sorted out Nikon

  53. 53) Peter
    March 18, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    Nasim, I’ve made similar comments to yours on this site and got “jumped on” by the photoequipzealots.

    You spoke the truth about this entire situation, especially about the “lessons learned.” The 100% truth!

    Now, my last comment, to allow the photoequipzealots to jump on me I will paraphrase Aristotle:
    “Those who see the truth and do not follow it are fools.”

    Note: I have a Nikon D700 and love it. I will not buy another DSLR until this one dies, then I will consider a Canon. I’ve been a Nikon customer for 55 years.

    • 53.1) Geir Hansen
      March 18, 2013 at 2:39 pm

      When your, and mine D700 dies, Nikon has changed their routines and come up with DSLR’s that have no such faults. They have done it before and will of course do it again :-). The problem among many of us is that we shall buy the newest asap, but everyone should know that bying things with SW in it, we should wait for an update before we purchase :-), also the price will be lower when time goes by. I was in position to get me a new body, but would never buy D600/D800 due to the problems they have, instead I choose D700 and will wait until new models are available some time in future, since I believe that Nikon will not end up in same mess once again :-). But of course, no ecuse for bad qa, it should be better.

  54. 54) Adrian
    March 18, 2013 at 1:50 pm


    Fantastic article. I have a D600 and the issues of dust, AF module and bracketing have really bothered me. Thanks for summing up the frustrations of so many Nikon owners. I hope you succeed in you plea. Here’s hoping there’s a D600 firmware upgrade for the bracketing issue at the least…

  55. March 18, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    Excellent article, overall, Nasim. Nikon really does need to do a better job with the QA issues. Trying to sweep things under the rug never works for anyone.

    I do have to ask, though, what your point was in talking about the focus point coverage of D600 vs D7100. My D4 has roughly the same viewfinder coverage as the D600 you show (51 points, yes, but covering roughly the same area as the D600). That’s not a product marketing decision. That’s because nobody’s found a way to get reliable phase-change detection more than X degrees (whatever X is) off-axis. Take a look at the medium format focus point pictures at this page:

    Those are even more limited than the D600 in their viewfinder coverage.

    I get what you’re saying about 39 points vs 51, but that’s really a tiny difference. Maybe there’s a difference in number of cross-type sensors in there that makes that more significant than it otherwise would be; I’m too lazy too look up how different that aspect is right now. But it’s still not going to be a large difference.

    Of course, would economies of scale help to make up the difference if they had only one focusing system? I don’t know, but it isn’t inconceivable. It’s also possible that it has something to do with which factory is making which model (no, I have no information about this; it just strikes me as a possibility).

    (Incidentally, you did make me wonder what the viewfinder looks like on my D4 in DX crop mode; I’ve never checked. Now I’m curious and will have to look when I get home.)

    There are some marketing differences you didn’t talk about. USB2/3 in D4/800; XQD also (how big a burst could the D800 do with XQD storage?) were ones that occurred to me while I was reading the article.

    But hey, let’s look a bit at the bright side. How much different were the various models back in the film days?

    • March 18, 2013 at 4:26 pm

      Huh, just looked at a direct comparison of D600 viewfinder vs D800 one. Suppose I should have read your review on it. :)

      Now I see why you’re talking about that. Weird that they would make that much of a difference between the two.

  56. 56) Jorge Balarin
    March 18, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    Dear Nasim,
    I completely agree with your ideas. It is sad to see that lack of honesty has replaced old work ethics. When you do something you are supposed to try your best. To intentionally cripple a product without a valid, honest reason is repulsive, and from my point of view also stupid. Nikon doesn’t need to update their products every week, they must do it only when they have something substantially better. I didn’t buy the D800 or the D600, even when I was anxiously waiting for un update of the 700 (a honest product), and If I could find a new D700 in Vienna, at a fair price, I would buy it inmediately to use it as a second body, because it is a camera that works without giving problems, and it has fair features.

    A good product sells good for a long period of time. With a good, reliable camera, I could use my money to buy lenses and other accesories, instead of wasting it with crippled cameras. Greetings, Jorge.

    • 56.1) Sandeep
      March 18, 2013 at 4:36 pm

      There’s some hyperbole if I ever saw one. You make it sound like Nikon is swindling you by selling you old Kodak brownies for 4 figures. Keep in mind that none of the working professionals have “Given up”on the Nikon system and are in fact, shooting amazing images with their cameras every day. Can it get more reliable than that? These are people who get paid for what they do. If something is underperforming, they WILL replace it without a thought. Like a lot of sports guys did by replacing their NIkon gear with Canon in the 90s.

      If Joe McNally, Scott Kelby, David Hobby, Moose Peterson and several others can make incredible images with these cameras in every weather condition imaginable, then maybe, just MAYBE, the internet is making mountains out of molehills.

      • March 18, 2013 at 6:04 pm

        Sandeep, nobody says anything about giving up here. We want Nikon to improve – that’s all. If things continue the same way, you know very well that people will start switching to the other side. Unfortunately, the grass currently is not greener on the other side. Canon has its own issues and its even worse than Nikon with some of its product offerings, re-using 5+ year old AF systems and old sensors in its newer cameras. If Canon had something better to offer now than the D800, many would happily switch (especially those that went through the whole trouble of getting their D800 units fixed). People are sticking with Nikon, because they are making the best cameras that are unfortunately plagued with quality issues. If Nikon fixes its QA problems and does better product placement with the right features in its cameras, it will not only retain all of its customers, but will also gain many more…

        • Sandeep
          March 18, 2013 at 7:48 pm

          Exactly. The grass ISN’T greener on the other side. People are looking at Nikon like it’s a singularity and complaining about every little thing, but the truth is, nothing in the industry is 100% fool proof. Nor is there a product in ANY segment in the industry that has a featurelist that makes every single person happy.

          The truth is, as a Nikon customer, we’ve never had it this good.No offense, but a lot of people who comment here seem to be immature folks who got into photography very recently. Some even seem to have bought too much camera for their skills and are microanalyzing every issue to great depths. Look back a few years ago. I’m sure you remember the era of the D2H, where it was very hard being a Nikonian and not being tempted to jump ship. Right now, the strongest products all across the industry are under the Nikon umbrella and while there are issues, none of them are dealbreakers. You and I are both shooting images just fine with them. Utilizing features that the competition can’t even dream of having. All I’m asking for is to step back and realize how thankful we should be for what we have instead of cribbing about what we could have.

          Does that mean we shouldn’t voice our concerns to Nikon? Certainly not. You, as an influential photographer could write straight to them. Talk to their reps. Give feedback. That’s certainly a productive thing to do. With all due respect, writing a blogpost that attracts 400 hateful (And a lot of them, irrational) comments isn’t helping Nikon do a better job one bit.

          • Henrik Manoochehri
            March 18, 2013 at 10:33 pm

            Dear Sandeep;
            You seem to be extremely defensive of nikon. I don’t know about other people on this thread, but I for one am a devoted Nikon user (non-pro) but would like them to improve and if my ribbing is disturbing you, I hope either you’re connected to Nikon PR or Nikon PR is also paying attention. I just want them to improve their quality assurance. I don’t want to buy a D7000 as a non-pro to shoot my son’s 2nd birthday (for example) and find that the AF system took a dump just after the warranty ran out. Fortunately I had my D700 and some of the shots were sharp. But that apparent lack of concern from nikon for someone who is compiling lifetime images hurts and I just want them to feel for me a bit. yes I’m venting, but I’m also speaking for many other people who are not Moose. They’re people who’s wife cries when She looks at images of her son’s birthday party on the computerscreen for the first time and realizes they’re not really usable and her point and shoot might have been a better choice.

            • Sandeep
              March 18, 2013 at 11:04 pm

              Nothing infuriates me more than the default internet response of “Oh, you defended this product, so you must be a shill for them” argument. Listen, I paid full price for all my Nikon gear (And my Bronica gear and all of my lighting gear). I have used them at their limits. I have a portfolio to show as evidence. And till date, my gear hasn’t let me down or failed to help me achieve my creative vision. As I mentioned before, your example lacks so much information to confirm if it’s user error or a device malfunction.

              Contrary to what you might think, Moose Peterson doesn’t have a special D7000. He uses the same one as you do. But in all probability, he sets it up better than you did. This is not a slight, but highlighting the fact that most people buy too much camera for their skillset and blame the equipment when they can’t achieve the desired results.

          • Sandeep
            March 18, 2013 at 11:47 pm

            And yet again, I see that someone has deleted my reply. So it’s OK for someone to call me a Nikon shill, but it’s not OK for me to clarify my stand?

            • Profile photo of Nasim Mansurov Nasim Mansurov
              March 19, 2013 at 3:57 am

              Sandeep, I only deleted your comment once, when you corrected the previous reply. I fixed the text based on the second comment and deleted it. Other than that, I do not see any more comments that are deleted. Do not worry, nobody is trying to silence you here :) It is an interesting debate and I thank you for participation. Let’s do our best to stay positive!

            • Peter
              March 19, 2013 at 8:33 am

              Sandeep, take a look at comment 130 below.

          • Profile photo of Nasim Mansurov Nasim Mansurov
            March 19, 2013 at 3:53 am

            Sandeep, I tried to reach out to Nikon without any success. I believe I am not the only person that tried. Yes, Nikon is making great products, but if they do not take care of their quality issues and service, it won’t matter at the end of the day… People will start switching to an inferior product that works better.

            I tried voicing my concern to Nikon. When all failed, my hope is that they will see not just my feedback on this site, but feedback of many others that experienced similar problems and went through the pain.

      • 56.1.2) Jorge Balarin
        March 21, 2013 at 8:37 am

        Perhaps people like Joe McNally, Scott Kelby, David Hobby or Moose Peterson have enough money to buy 25 copies of every Nikon product until they get a good one; normal people not.

  57. 57) Peter M
    March 18, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    Hi Nasim,

    I’m totally agree with you.
    ‘Shoot and enjoy photography instead of being a gear junky.’
    ‘Be willing to change brands’ ……….. or system.

    I’m not a serious photographer. I was a Canon user before. Now I have Nikon SLR, with many lenses (a lots of money……and ……I use only three) and a mirrorless camera with only two lenses. In fact I prefer this later one to that SLR.

    Thanks to your instructive article.

  58. 58) Anthony
    March 18, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    Very nice article Nasim/Bob!

    Isn’t it amazing that NOBODY writing online that I know of has written about Nikon’s response (or silence) to these problems. As an amateur/hobbyist, I do not have access to Nikon Professional Services people, nor am I buddies with Joe McNally or Scott Kelby or other pros who must have spoken with Nikon management by virtue of their high standing.
    Hasn’t anybody heard from Nikon “through the grapevine?” Any NPS members out there?

  59. 59) Anthony
    March 18, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    Congrats for that very very good article! One of the best i read so far. I hope this article will be read by Nikon.

  60. 60) Peter
    March 18, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    I propose that the part of your article called “Lessons Learned” should be renamed “The Photograpers Five Commandments.”

    I have already send the “Five Commandments” to several local camera clubs and was notified 30 minutes ago that 40% of the members that have seen the “commandments” were admitted to local hospitals for cardiovascular issues, 40% went home crying, and the last 20% commented that they though every person with an IQ of over 100 knew this.

    I’ll update the forum as things change. I conjecture that the 40% who went home crying will need psychiatric follow-up.

  61. 61) JJ
    March 18, 2013 at 5:48 pm

    Good, balanced, and professional article. I appreciate you taking the time and risk to share your thoughts, and attempt to positively influence the future direction of product development.

    Personally I am ready to upgrade, but am sitting on my wallet for the exact items you noted.

  62. March 18, 2013 at 7:44 pm

    Thanks Nasim for another well considered article.

    One of the reasons I enjoy checking out your site on a regular basis is that, for the most part, it is a positive place to hang out. Unfortunately I can’t say the same for many other sites of late, including one run by well known Nikon expert who’s been waxing on about Nikon’s poor business practices for months. Frankly, these endless negative posts are taking the fun out of photography for me. Why is it that in an age of truly outstanding technical achievement by the world’s best camera companies, that we consumers just find more stuff to complain about?

    I agree that there seems to be a logical disconnect in Nikon’s latest product offerings, and was truly surprised by the D7100’s feature set after having just purchased the D600. But getting upset about a newer, better featured camera model relative to your own is like getting angry because your neighbour just bought a nicer car than yours. And it’s not just cameras; the smartphone market is even more frenetic with its endless upgrade cycles supported by a slavishly consumptive, envious, and competitive buying public. This behaviour speaks volumes about our values as a society.

    Maybe we should all just chill out, recalibrate our thinking about what’s important in life, and start getting out of bed a little earlier to enjoy the world around us a bit more. And if the light’s right, perhaps even take a photo or two.

    • 62.1) Sandeep
      March 18, 2013 at 7:49 pm

      I wish I could upvote this comment. Finally, someone with some common sense. :)

      • 62.1.1) Al Bundy
        March 19, 2013 at 2:13 am

        Wow! It’s nice to see finally two Nikon employees hanging around the right place – a place where they will hear back from the customers that they’ve turned their back long time ago. Better late than never, I guess.

    • March 19, 2013 at 4:11 am

      Ted, I agree – negativity does not help. I had this post saved from a while ago and I was not planning on posting it to be honest. But I decided to post it after receiving yet another recent report of a brand new D800 unit that turned out to be defective from an experienced photographer that I personally know. It has been over a year since the first shipments of the D800 were distributed and we are still dealing with the same issue? That’s pretty sad…

      You said “getting upset about a newer, better featured camera model relative to your own is like getting angry because your neighbour just bought a nicer car than yours.” I am not sure what made you think that I am upset that the D7100 has better features than the D600. I am not upset at all – I actually welcomed the D7100 and talked very positively about it in my other articles. I just think that Nikon would have ended up with more happier customers and a lot more sales if it had used the same 51 point AF system on the D600. See some of my replies to Sandeep above and what I think of the situation.

      But I agree, we all do need to chill out and spend some time shooting. I think I have been spending too much time reviewing gear instead of enjoying photography!

      • 62.2.1) Mikhail
        March 20, 2013 at 10:40 pm

        I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that D600’s (and D800’s) shortcomings were a result of Nikon trying to push out the product as soon as they could. From what I read, they’ve been behind Canon for years on camera features and perhaps thought the benefits outweighed the risks. Who knows…

        Perhaps they will release an update in a year or so – D610??? :) – and take care of the AF system, etc.

  63. March 18, 2013 at 8:28 pm

    Brilliant article Nasim, just bang on.

    Perhaps this is planned obsolescence in action? Wait for the D610 or whatever camera to succeed the D600, and it will have the 51point autofocus points.

    It has always been about the push and pull, give some features, take some features, leave some for the next version. It’s a shame that Canon and Nikon dominate the hill that they can do this.

    We are naive if we think this is the very best they could offer. For example, Nikon could have built a 24-70 VR years and years ago but chose not to.

    • 63.1) Mark
      March 18, 2013 at 9:46 pm

      please add informations to your photos. example nikon D600, 1/60 sec @ f/2.8

      • 63.1.1) Mark
        March 18, 2013 at 9:47 pm

        so we can learn from your photos instead of only enjoying em

  64. 64) Mark
    March 18, 2013 at 9:44 pm

    Hi Nasim,

    you wrote earlier many times, that a FX AF-system is allways superior than a DX AF-system, because of size or something. Is this rule no langer valid and the AF-system of D7100 really better performing than the one of D600?

  65. 65) Markus Arike
    March 18, 2013 at 10:41 pm

    QC can affect all camera manufacturers in an increasing global marketplace. Perhaps the author has noticed all the constant complaining on Nikon forums by people not understanding DOF or who simply make up crazing stories of buying 6 D800s in search for one without an AF issue. And having noticed this topic of QC is popular for Nikon users looking to bond and commiserate over gear, perhaps the author thought a good way to get page views would be to right a scathing indictment of Nikon.

    Don’t own a D600, but my D800 is perfect. I sometimes wonder how many of the stories we read online get exaggerated.

  66. 66) Mako2011
    March 18, 2013 at 11:03 pm

    So far, every Nikon camera has been better than the one it replaced. The D600 was the very first low cost FF camera for the masses. A great buy in that regard. Seems a lot of folks are quite please with it. D800 focusing issues seem also a thing of the past for the few who had them. No more oil issues, and through the D600 dust announcement didn’t meant some expectations…the issue has been solved. I see no reason to jump to a lower IQ system. I liked this site better when it focused more on photography. It was unique in that regard, fresh, and a very pleasant place to learn. Now it seems to have gone the way of Hogan. Oh well.

  67. 67) Richard
    March 18, 2013 at 11:29 pm

    You missed the part where Nikon isn’t gaining new customers fast enough so they ladle on 50% or more price increases on lens upgrades: to soak their existing customers.

  68. 68) Wim
    March 19, 2013 at 3:46 am

    Very good article Nasim, I fully agree.I still shoot my ,old,d2x and my d700 and will do so till they die.
    People at Nikon ,,, read this please

  69. 69) Rod
    March 19, 2013 at 3:46 am

    Hi Nasim,

    I quite agree with your post. I am still a Nikon user (just) and am holding on to my D700, having read the negative press that you mentioned, I have little confidence in Nikon products and won’t be spending anymore money with them for the time being. For me, it is all about quality – product and image.

    As you said I have switched manufacturer, I recently needed a tough travel camera for a trip to the far east and Australia. The D7000 was just way overpriced compared with Pentax K30, which I chose with their 18-135 WR lens. I can report that the Pentax worked great and despite its quirky look, it is every bit as good as the D90 which it replaced. It is has a tough quality feel and although only having a 11 point focusing system, I had no complaints with the speed – it locked on subjects reliably in low light. IMO, Pentax’s menu system is more logical, functions of the buttons are very convenient. I even did not miss the top LCD Panel. IQ of the RAWs and JPEGs were detailed and sharp. All in all, it is a real gem and great bargain.

    So, I think we as consumers need to vote by spending our money wisely, it is the only way Nikon will listen when it finally affects its bottom line!! There is life outside the world of Nikon.

  70. March 19, 2013 at 4:19 am

    Another spot-on Nasim article, thank you for saying what needed saying! It would be interesting to get a honest reply from Nikon as to why a once great company, has failed to meet the demands of the consumer in all respects.
    Being a D7000 owner, I’m looking at going full frame next year. The Sony A99 is top of my list, need I say more?

  71. 71) Iqbal
    March 19, 2013 at 5:02 am


    Great article! I wish you someday become Nikon Product Advisor… period.

  72. 72) Jorge
    March 19, 2013 at 7:03 am

    EXCELLENT ARTICLE. I see that you’ve touched some sore spots from the fanboy comments above.
    I started digital in 2001 with a Fuji Finepix S1 Pro. I then moved to the S2 Pro. Two years out of warranty my S2 developed a bad sensor — a straight horizontal line right down the middle. I drove it to Fuji in Edison NJ on a Thursday morning (I was on vacation) and asked them for only an estimate as I figured if it’s too expensive being out of warranty I would just get another body. On Monday afternoon I get a call telling me my camera has been repaired and ready for pickup; I GULPED. I asked the young lady how much this would cost being that I only asked for an estimate — she said: “No charge. We replaced the sensor, and the shutter assembly.” Talk about shock on my part! HEre was a camera two years out of warranty!! From that camera I moved to a Nikon D300 which was perfect,then the D700 another great camera. The D800 has been a disgrace and a disaster with left focus point issues, back focus so bad fine tune did not help. Nikon in Melville is a joke. Lousy website, bad navigation, they just don’t care. Two weeks later I get the camera back and it’s better, but not perfect. While the camera was in for service I got so fed up I went and got me a Fuji X-E1 system with a couple of lenses. When I was setting up the Fuji I had a couple of questions I could not find the answer to in the manual or online. I called Fuji (again in Edison, NJ) and got a gentlemen named Gil who answered my questions by walking over and getting a X-E1 display model and walking me through setting it up. Again: AMAZING customer service!!! Fuji gets it! Now my D800 is gone (sold) and I’m only keeping my D700 because with a two year old grandson and I’m sure more on the way I want something that can capture those moments — I use multiple speed lights, and lots of Nikon Glass –though some of my less used lenses are also for sale. Nikon quality is just not there. You would think they would up their service game to compensate but no that has not happened. So, I’ve come full circle back to the camera company (Fuji) who took care of me when needed. Thank you Fuji!!

    • 72.1) Peter
      March 19, 2013 at 7:18 am

      Good info on Fuji. Will remember for possible future purchases.

      Keep that D700. It will become a classic, if it isn’t already. Nikon should do a case study on the D700 camera to see what went right! I’m not joking .

      • 72.1.1) Jorge
        March 19, 2013 at 7:22 am

        @ Peter:
        Thanks. Fuji is an amazing company. I live about an hour away from their HQ. Great people. Great service. And I gotta say the X-E1 is un-freakin-mazing at 1/4 the weight of just a D700 or D800 body and all the way to ISO 6400 equal to the 700 and that’s just the jpegs.

  73. 73) Peter
    March 19, 2013 at 7:50 am

    Nasim’s article supports the Forbes Reputation Survey (below) that was published in June 2011… “while Nikon — a dominant player — failed to even make the cut.” It looks like the evidence regarding Nikon is mounting. A survey of 48,000 is a BIG survey and hard to rationalize the results. Read it and weep!

    “Forbes released its list of 100 most reputable companies in the world earlier this month, and a number of camera makers made the cut. Sony placed 6th, Canon 8th, Panasonic 13th, Kodak 41st, Samsung 43rd, and Fujifilm 47th. The Reputation Institute conducted the study with 48,000 consumers:
    What we found strange is that Kodak — a company struggling to find its place in the photo industry — placed relatively high on the list (41st), while Nikon — a dominant player — failed to even make the cut. What’s with that?”


    • 73.1) Vinayak
      March 20, 2013 at 12:11 pm

      Hello Peter,

      Quality Assurance and response at service centers are main two things which led to this results.

      My two year experience with Nikon is 50-50…… D5000 my first body- no issue…… D7000 which I recommend to my friend which actually turned up to be a mistake… back focus issue.. local service center person said there is no issue with camera… which was resolved ‘Luckily’ through one of Nikon technical support person… took lot of time……sleepless nights….. ohh no!!!!!!!! service center persons were not updated and even not knowing how to check a back focus problem….the D7000 owner, My friend, very much afraid of purchasing new Nikon products…..

      Hello Nasim, this is excellent article, My thought was the same when I show buffer capacity of D7100 and D600/ D800 issues.

      I am predominantly shooting birds and I am still waiting to upgrade: I require DX body, high FPS, large buffer, fast AF, good metering system, good resolution all in one body…..

      Current/new Nikon line up is not for Advanced amateur wildlife photographer……. One or the other required specification is missing in each body (except D4 which is out of my budget)…..seems like deliberately Nikon is doing this….. As I am a Nikon fan, mind says Nikon is doing this for rumored D400!!!!! God knows!!! :-)

  74. 74) Mayank
    March 19, 2013 at 8:25 am

    Dear Nasim
    With all this article, what you suggest should a new people who are planning to invest in Nikon product should start focusing on Cannon.

    I thing in nut shell that would be the right decision. Since in vis a vis comparison Canon is not bad as well , but with all these customer complaint with product i think that is a wise decision to move


  75. 75) Rafael
    March 19, 2013 at 8:48 am

    Excellent article.

    I’m a Nikon gear owner, started with a D40 back in 2007 (I still own it) and went through D5100 (sold after 3 months) and D7000, which I still own too.

    Once the D600 was out, I was willing a FF camera and then started the plans to sell my D7000 and purchase the D600.

    But I got to a point where I realized that I don’t NEED it. I still use my D7000 a lot, it excels in every field I got with her, be it travels, concerts and family portraits. It is an excellent camera and I decided to not go with the market trend, I’ll keep the D7000 with me as much as possible. Perhaps till it dies or for another 4-5 years.
    For a total 6 years usage, that’s a mere less than $200/year (I purchased at the $1.100 price range), very acceptable if she gets worn and such. Even better if still working like a charm, then I’ll feel ok to bite the dollar for a new camera, with modern features, even better than the D7000 and etc.

    Cameras nowadays have a life cycle, and that’s enough for me, amateur photographer. I purchased my D7000 in Oct. 2011 – it has about 26.000 shutter actuations now. I expect it to last until 2016-2017, except if there’s a really HUGE step in camera’s hardware evolution that would justify the cost of retiring my D7000 earlier than expected plus the new camera’s purchase.

    That’s it. For my typical usage, the only thing I could get from the D600 that D7000 couldn’t give to me is the shallower DoF on wide angles and a (slightly) better ISO 6400 performance.

  76. 76) sangesh
    March 19, 2013 at 8:58 am

    seeing the price and after d7100 release i felt like i have been cheated :( guy like me i felt i paid 400 USD extra for d600 with that money at least i could buy one good prime lens

  77. 77) Claude
    March 19, 2013 at 9:03 am

    Hi everyone,

    As I wsas reading this article on D800 ans D600, I could’nt stop telling myself how Is
    It possible that such companies like Nikon or Fuji act in such à manner Wotherspoon their customers.

    Last april, I was cracking for Fuji X-pro1. I bought à body and 35mm lens. Price tag, 2500,00$
    6 months later came the XE1 camera. Without the analog finder.
    The price of the X-pro1 dropped fromage 1699.$ to 1399.$. And to give the ” coup de grâce” to
    their best clients, Fuji packed bundles with body and 35mm lens at 1699.$

    The same kit I paid 2500.00$ was 6 months later 1699.00$, that Is insane!!!

    But this Is marketing new products. No respect for the people who pay
    the big price for the “dernier cri…” object, which becomes obsolete à
    few months after it’s release.

    I guess Fuji lost me as a customer for good!

    We have to stop buying the crap from marketing department
    of all mine!!!

    Have à good day!!!

  78. 78) peter
    March 19, 2013 at 11:40 am

    Following the spirit and mood of Nasim’s Five Commandments (aka Lessons Learned), I just returned from UPS (United Parcel Service) after mailing my Nikon teleconverter to B&H Used Camera Department for a very good price…the best of all used camera/equip buyers as far as I can tell. They also paid postage.
    I’ve bought about 90% of my stuff from B&H over the last 55 years, now I know where to sell it…back to B&H.

    Another thing I did was to not renew any of my photo magazine subscriptions. That should be included in Commandment 3.

    I’m just getting warmed up!

    • 78.1) Jorge
      March 19, 2013 at 11:43 am

      That’s funny. I too stopped ALL photo magazine subscriptions – pop photo, popular photography, Outdoor Photographer. Nothing but glorified hardware and software catalogs and I don’t miss them one bit. Also stopped listening to all the various photography related podcasts.

      • 78.1.1) Peter
        March 19, 2013 at 12:00 pm

        You have seen the light and will be rewarded for your actions. Follow the commandments of our wise leader, Nasim, and your photo experiences will be joyous and everlasting (plus you’ll have a lot more money left in your pocket).

        Deviate from this straight path and you will become the Sancho Panza of the quixotic photo marketing machine and join rocinante on an endless journey.

  79. 79) Kadidal
    March 19, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    For my purposes, the most significant area in which Nikon and Canon have intentionally crippled their cameras: lack of sensor stabilization! It should be cheap to implement (I would think $50-$100 per high end body), and so useful to those of us with a collection of older, non-stabilized primes. (And all my old lenses are Nikons! Where’s the love?)

    One other point worth mentioning here: the crazy wait times for receiving a D800 in the spring and summer last year were what convinced me to order my D600 the first day it was launched — thereby violating Nasim’s first rule here, “Don’t Pre-order,” which is very good advice. Perhaps Nikon was cranking out as many (made in Japan, not flooded Thailand) D800s as they could produce to meet the demand, or perhaps it was all well-thought out artificial scarcity to get us to jump at future products when they became available.

  80. 80) jason
    March 19, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    Amen, yea verily. I’m also chapped by all of the above. What gets me is the secrecy. Why hide and keep quiet your product plans? Take Fuji for instance. They released a lens map for their X system. That’s awesome! As a perspective buyer, you know their committed and their product offerings are available in advance so there’s no speculation. Nikon could learn a lot from Fuji. I bought a D800. And now, I just pre-ordered an X100s. Fuji listens to their customers and doesn’t cheap out on them with crippled models. Cover the spectrum. Make the customers happy! Honestly Nikon, we will buy MORE if you do.

  81. 81) Roël
    March 19, 2013 at 5:43 pm

    An exceptionally good article and all of your points are well stated. Thank you for posting this.

  82. 82) Alex
    March 19, 2013 at 6:01 pm

    Great review Nasim,
    I been reading you site for about 6 month, have to admit that your professionalism is outstanding.
    About above article, let’s enjoy what we have and hate when other people complaining. There is nothing wrong with Nikon, Apple, Cannon and other brands, we as a consumers have a choice to like it or not.
    I been using Nikon for about 5 years and i just bought it D600 month ago and guess what i am very happy with it because it was my choice and not what i read about it all over internet. I believe it’s the best FX camera on the market for the value.
    Always enjoy reading your reviews. By the way I from Uzbekistan, came here 1979 and very proud of your achievement.

    Regards, Have a great Day

  83. 83) Sheila
    March 19, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    Really liked the analysis of Nikon’s latest introduction of cameras. I have a D300s and a D200 but had considered moving to the D600 or D800. I have handled the D600 but not the D800 but have changed my mind on moving to either camera. The D600 lacks something in feel and finishing. The problems people have expressed do not build confidence in the products. If I pay as much as Nikon wants for either of these products, I do not expect to have to return them for repair.

    • 83.1) Colin Scott
      March 20, 2013 at 3:03 am

      If you use your D300s for wildlife or sports, Sheila

      I agree with Nasim; the alternatives are D4 (or used D3s) or wait for the mythical D400.

      For other purposes, the D800 will take a lot of beating IF you can avoid a lemon. Which seems to be the problem with Nikon QA at the moment. It has to be said though, there seem to be a lot of people out there very happy with the D800.

      Obviously, you need some sense of security for that sort of outlay (around £2000 in UK) and it doesn’t seem to be coming from Nikon at the moment. If Nikon cannot see the tragedy in all this, they must be looking in another direction.

  84. 84) Gregory
    March 19, 2013 at 7:08 pm

    Great article. Reading web reviews and arguing on fanboy sites wastes time that we should be spending taking photos! Every Nikon since the D200 has been capable of brilliant shots with the right choice of lens, some thought about lighting and composition, and a little imagination.

    I have a D200 and find it to be an excellent outdoor camera. Quality at ISO100 is plenty good enough for me. It was a replacement for my F90x. It is a better camera all round and I don’t have top keep feeding it Ektar 100. With a couple of fast primes the results are quite acceptable. I will think about something else when the shutter fails, if ever. Buying a better DSLR won’t make me a better photographer. I am more likely to buy a mirrorless camera for low light work – a Fujifilm X-Pro 1 perhaps unless something better comes along soon.

    • 84.1) Henrik Manoochehri
      March 19, 2013 at 10:20 pm

      Consider the XE1 too. I am. The only thing stopping me from pulling the trigger on trading in all my Nikon gear for Fuji is that I own lots of great glass and Fuji is very limited in that department; although, from what I’ve read, the quality of the glass they do have is superior to nikon or Canon. Also the ergonomics is really great too. I wish Nikon would take the FM3 A and fit it with autofocus and a 24MP chip; something like this. I’d love it!

    • 84.2) Henrik Manoochehri
      March 19, 2013 at 10:30 pm

      Seriously people; how difficult would it be for Nikon to develop a digital back for their old manual control film bodies. Those back doors did come off, didn’t they? I know it’s wishful thinking, but it’s a dream of mine. I used to have so much fun shooting my FM2n. I don’t get the same thrill shooting the new bodies.
      I don’t know how they’d handle auto-focus on such a body and I’m not saying it’s necessary, But I think Nikon is missing some marketing opportunities here;;; or not.

  85. 85) Ben
    March 19, 2013 at 10:06 pm

    Greetings from the bottom of the upside down part of the world (Australia).

    I bought a D600 when they first arrived as we were going overseas I could get the GST back, so it was effectively a 10% discount straight up, so my D600 cost in aussie $$ ~$2200, roughly what it is now.
    This body came with free dust/oil on he sensor and wrecked a few of my photos from the trip – usually long exposures or small apertures.
    Anyway, I took it back to place of purchase and they sent it off to Nikon OZ. 2.5 weeks later a new body arrived. They didn’t say what it was or ask questions about my use, just swapped it for a new one. A part from the inconvenience of not having it for a few weeks, I can’t really complain about the service.
    The new one suffers a few little spots here and there but blows away with a rocket blower.Most of the horror stories seem to come from the U.S.

    • 85.1) Robert
      March 20, 2013 at 12:32 am

      I also come from Australia. I waited a while before buying a D600…but not quite long enough. I wouldn’t say I have a horror story, but I’ve got spots (hundreds by now if I’d left them there), they appear in a definite pattern on the left side of the image, and they don’t blow off. I didn’t bother returning the camera to Nikon. They were in denial mode until just recently. The shop where I purchased the camera told me that only 5% of D600s had the issue…which was their way of telling me they weren’t interested. So I just wet clean every 300 or so shots. It’s a bit expensive to get the swabs and other gear required, but it’s far far cheaper than sending the camera off to have the sensor cleaned every week or month or whatever. Can’t say whether I’m getting fewer spots as I approach the 3,000 mark, and provided I stay at f/8 and below the spots haven’t been an issue in any case. I fully endorse Nasim’s comments. I haven’t invested too much in Nikon glass yet, so for me, a move to Canon at some point in the future is an option. I have a 2nd hand D700 which needed a minor repair…but now it’s up and running again I like it more than ever. It’s my go-to camera. It doesn’t have the image quality of the D600, but it wins on nearly every other count as far as I’m concerned. It doesn’t have a spots issue either.

  86. March 20, 2013 at 12:26 am

    Nasim I know as somebody who is ery careful inhis postings sometimes I felt to defensive. I happy to aggree with you 100%!

    It started (caused by some management cahnges?) with the D7000; planned as follow up to my D300; It (the body) had back focus and the auto focus system was real crap compared to the D300 ones which I still had for comparison.
    The D600’s focus module will be upgraded with the D600s or something else I expect.

    Then the halfhearted approaches to mirrorless repeated with Nikon A; There is too much fear to cannibalize own products – but without it nikon will loose the tech-train.

    Nikon has entered the bad wide road : Money counts (Customer – what is that???) – that’s our business – and will fail in the long run.

  87. March 20, 2013 at 12:56 am

    – The D700 is the last good camera nikon
    fully aggree – d3s, d4 seems to be an fx exception no issues known wit these

  88. 88) Johny Wong
    March 20, 2013 at 1:13 am

    Reading this article, I realize Nasim has so much love for nikon. So does one nikon expert, who criticizes nikon’s business practice for months. Unfortunately, Nikon seems to ignore all of that input.
    What makes me worry is if nikon doesn’t even care about people, who really love them, do they even care about ordinary customer like me ?

  89. 89) Dan
    March 20, 2013 at 2:21 am

    Awesome article.

    If switching system were free, i would not still be shooting nikon.

    I have completely stop buying any nikon related gear for the time being.

    I just dont understand why there are still people out there defending Nikon. The evidences are mind blowingly clear.

    • 89.1) Colin Scott
      March 20, 2013 at 3:30 am

      The thing is, Dan

      When Nikon get it right, they make great cameras and lenses. The problem they have seems to be with QA and their response (or lack of it) to issues such as those with the D800 AF. Which as you imply is indefensible.

      Are the other brands any more consumer friendly?

  90. 90) Dan
    March 20, 2013 at 2:34 am

    One more thing.

    Why hasn’t there been a class action law suit against nikon?

  91. 91) Bob
    March 20, 2013 at 2:39 am

    Nasim, a perceptive piece of journalism, congratulations.

    I have a D600 and so far It has no dirt or oil problems. My camera’s shutter count is low but of course I’m anxious about the future and would like to know if a dirty sensor, contaminated from inside the camera, is inevitable or whether it’s a problem made worse by internet rumour and only affects a tiny percentage of D600’s.

    Do I sit tight and wait for it to happen or do I send my virtually new camera in now for a new shutter assembly. There’s no way of knowing from the information Nikon has made public and it’s the “not knowing” that worries me.

    Nikon’s announcement doesn’t go far enough for me. I want to know how many D600 cameras have the problem and what exactly is causing it. We can theorise but it would be nice to get some proper answers from Nikon themselves.

  92. 92) Sachin
    March 20, 2013 at 8:00 am

    Nice article but would have more perspective on all those review sites who provide glowing reviews that lead us to those pre-orders. D600 got a Gold Award – 87% on inspite of one of the cons being dust on pictures.

    If Nikon sees all these glowing reviews, which they post it on their site, why would they be bothered by looking at this article? Seriously even if Nikon D600 has 39 autofocus points that did not stop if from being given the Gold Award mostly boosted by value.

  93. March 20, 2013 at 9:21 am

    Indeed I do think there are people who make mountains out of molehill. In the end of the day these cameras still make awesome pictures. Sure there is room for improvement but honestly Nikon doesn’t make most of its money selling SLRs, they do a great many other things.

    We are fortunate enough that there is plenty of choices out there. I sort of cringe every time I hear someone say something like “I’m not going to buy d600 dust problems.” But what if you don’t? You would have missed out on many great shots. I brought my new d600 to vacation and when I got back to my dismay there were dustspots that were annoying to fix in post. However I wet cleaned the sensor and the problem never returned. I still love the camera.

    • 93.1) Peter
      March 20, 2013 at 9:51 am

      You know that trite phrase now making the rounds in US: “Guns don’t kill people, people do.”

      Here’s another one: “cameras don’t take ‘awesome pictures’, people do.”

      Both are true.

      Ansel Adams would have agreed.

      • 93.1.1) Brian Imaging
        March 23, 2013 at 1:32 pm

        Guns are just tools, as are cameras.

        Sometimes (not always) a better tool helps to do better work.

        I feel this is the same way with cameras.

    • 93.2) Marc Henry
      March 20, 2013 at 10:30 am

      Well said. My sentiments and my experiences almost to a “T”.
      As Nasim said, just Google camera problems, and you will see how trivial dust really is.
      I am loving my camera and my images.

  94. 94) Alex Chen
    March 20, 2013 at 11:27 am

    Use your camera until it dies – Very good one.
    My D80 is still going strong since my purchase in 11/2006 on THE original battery! ~300 shots/week. Any new body after D80 is capable of getting the cleaner ISO. I know that. I learned to use flash due to this. I air blow once in 2009 because I was working with camera in our wafer lab. D80 didn’t have the issue of dust spots, fine focusing issue, nor left side sensor issue. I just used it over the years. I am hearing these issue because I feel I deserve an upgrade and that’s when I ended up on nikonrumors.

    About switching brands. I love my lens and I know how they perform. its okay to let them stay in my bag for several years waiting for a chance to be on the body.

  95. 95) Peter
    March 20, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    On taking good photos, here are some things very few people mention, since they always “focus” on hardware.. cameras and lenses.

    1-Post-processing can improve your photos by 25-40%… IF…if you know what your doing and don’t overdo it.

    2- HDR produces some great shots (I do this all the time with a Coolpix P7100 shooting RAW and processing in Photomatix and CS5) My regular camera is a D700; the Coolpix is my “car glove compartment camera.”

    3- If you have the ability to SEE a great shot it will be a great shot, assuming a reasonable camera and you know photo fundamentals.

    Lastly, go to a museum and see how the great artists saw things. Monet will tell you a hell of a lot about bringing “feeling’ into a landscape. Renoir for portraits and light, etc.

    You DO NOT need the latest DSLR to take good photos, right Alex Chen?

    • 95.1) Alex Chen
      March 20, 2013 at 4:45 pm

      I post-process all my photos with Aperture for 3 years, before that was ViewNX. A little bit more saturation, a little more contrast, re-adjust exposure, gives me a chance to review how I captured my kids moments. D80+50mm 1.8G+4GB Sandisk Extreme. I will need a new body for ISO more than 800 on D80, but then I have SB400 in the pocket the whole time. I will miss the mass storage option if I buy the new body. As long as D80 is alive, I workaround and do not NEED, but I WANT a new body to play around with large sensor Video capture. 6 years in technology makes big differnce, no doubt. Pay $2000 and not knowing if the new body is going to be oily after 3000 shots, I should continue to use what I have.

      About lens, if I sell multiple old lens, money doesn’t want to stay in my house. But these old lens stay.

  96. 96) Reza
    March 20, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    great articles!

    This is why i still using D300s, the last best all around Nikon camera ever made. After the flood in Thailand, Nikon QA’s performance really bad.

    D800 and D600, indeed great cameras but many of them are defects.

  97. 97) Ms. Jen
    March 20, 2013 at 6:15 pm

    Dear GearHounds,

    [if your humor bone is out of joint, please skip this comment.]

    Rather than having a bad case of cranky about a (many) company(ies) with no social media/digital/customer service relations skills who may somehow make it to the 2020s with no skills in that category, go either mild or cold turkey on the GearHounding and love what you have and still take awesome photos.

    Mild turkey: Set a strict gear budget for the year, only buy or trade on Craigslist, eBay, or via the used dept at your fave camera store. If your year budget is nearly over, then sell current gear to buy more used gear. Stick to your budget, don’t cheat. Rent if you can’t stand not trying out the newest X23R5003 _____ (insert name of lens/camera/astroblaster).

    Cold turkey: Get a camera body, a nifty fifty, a wide in the 20s lens on eBay, a prime or zoom in the longer range (also through fave source). The just stop. Really stop. Every time you are tempted to buy the newest X23R5003 for $$$$$, stop. Instead, go open your favorite airline’s website a buy a ticket to a place you have never been. Take your camera body and nifty fifty. Walk around and take photos. Revel that you are in Finland/India/Texas taking photos & having a great experience rather than back home in Lakewood/Patterson/Melbourne lusting after gear you will rarely use.

    Whatever you do, don’t stay at the Omena Hotelli in Turku over Midsummer’s weekend. But – hey – the rest of the Finland trip was well worth the Nikon 70-200 f2.8 VII that I did not buy!


  98. 98) LuciB
    March 20, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    If olny I could have read your post last year! I had bought a D3100 back in 2011, then in 2012 I acquired a D70 (because it was very cheap and I wanted a backup camera, as well). I soon realized that the second wheel for adjusting aperture is really helpful and that the D70 produced lower-noise, with a better color range, nighttime images when shot from a tripod at low ISO (actually, my first stock photos were taken with the D70).

    So, in November, when the D90 was heavily discounted for Black Friday, I got mine. Guess I did become the tech junkie you mentioned, or at least one chasing for respect (in the photographers’ clubs and associations, you were seen as inferior just because having a D3100, it didn’t matter that you didn’t care about sport photography or fancy fashion shootings, but only did urban photography).

    Which means that basically now I have three semi-obsolete DSLRs – which I intend keeping until breaking their shutters. The thing is I would have bought a Pentax K-30 instead of the D90, but the D90 body-only was half of the Pentax with the 18-135 lens (I’ve had a compact Canon and am definitely not content with it, that was one argument for the D3100 in the first place)… but hopefully Pentax will launch its rumored full-frame camera in three or four years, by the time the D90 becomes like the D70 is nowadays (lookis like I’m thinking in tech specs again :D ).

  99. 99) Roger
    March 20, 2013 at 8:32 pm


    This is a well-written and necessary statement on Nikon’s deteriorating reputation due to its declining quality control, as well as its obvious manipulation of features and specs on new camera models.

    I bought my first Nikon in 1967. It’s a Nikormat FT with a 50mm f/1.4 I got from an AP photographer who spent a few days in the boonies with my Marine battalion near the DMZ of Vietnam. I paid him $100 for both, and both still work! I went through the Nikon film bodies to the F5, then starting with the D1, I’ve owned many of the Nikon DSLRs including a D300, D300s and D700. All of those Nikon camera were well engineered, well built, and devoid of manufacturing flaws. Nikon gear was excellent.

    Today, I returned a D800e to the store for a refund under their return policy. The camera produced splendid images with stunning detail, colors and dynamic range. I saw no moire, and it made all of my lenses look better when I figured out to push the ISO up to 800 to raise the shutter speeds.

    But the D800e had a fatal glitch – it seized up at least a dozen times in a month (not only when reviewing photos, but also when merely working in the menus). It came with the B: 1.01 firmware update to fix the lock-up problems, but that didn’t work. Rather than keep the faulty camera and deal with the Nikon’s unpleasant warranty program, I sent the camera back to the retailer. They will ship it back to Nikon.

    I saw these recent QC problems with my first D7000 (built before the tsunami) which had AF glitches. I sent it back to the store for a refund within the first month. I later got a used D7000 off ebay that works OK.

    I have always resisted buying a new model from Nikon until it’s been out for at least six months. However, I just ordered a D7100. When it arrives, I will test it vigorously. If there are any flaws – including the tiny buffer – I will return it to the store for a refund too.

    Nikon needs to learn that here in the U.S., and in many other cultures as well, when a company denies problems with its products in the face of mounting evidence, when it cheats consumers on hardware, and when it costs consumers to get their new but defective cameras repaired, that is seen as an arrogant and insulting corporate attitude. Nikon also needs to know that they are damaging their own brand reputation, customers will leave, and it takes a long time to get them back.

    • 99.1) David
      March 21, 2013 at 1:13 am

      Well said. Your first paragraphy sums it up!

    • 99.2) MadManAce
      March 22, 2013 at 11:12 am

      Exactly, I bought my first D800 Mar 22, 2012, and almost a full year of quibbling with Nikon Service, which included a replacement body and six trips to Melville. I am borrowing my friend’s Canon 5d MkIII this weekend to see if it works according to specifications. I know that its sensor is not even in the same ballpark as the D800, but having photos in focus with a lesser sensor is better than having all the dynamic range in to world and a blurry photo. I shoot weddings professionally and I do not have the option to miss a shoot because of faulty equipment. I do shoot landscapes on my personal time, and here I will miss the D800, because it does static landscapes better than any camera I ever shot, but I do not shoot enough landscapes to warrant keeping the camera and will likely sell it to my landscape-shooting buddy.

      If Nikon QC was up to par, D800 is the best camera (not including pro sporting events) bar none, but with Nikon’s QC, D800=Best Landscape, 5dMkIII=everything else. I have a pair of D700’s and although they served me well through the years, one is starting to lock-up frequently and I no longer have any faith in Nikon being able to repair any camera. Plus, I shoot primes and I want greater cropping ability in post-production, which is why I bought the D800. It is going to cost me switching over all my beautiful primes.

      In the end, I think both manufactures missed the mark, Canon built the perfect camera with a crappy sensor, and Nikon built the best sensor with the crappiest QC and small ergonomic shortcomings. My bet for the next generation, now that Canon built the perfect camera, they only have to concentrate on obtaining a better sensor, while Nikon needs to improve their manufacturing and company philosophy. I predict Nikon well rest on their laurels of having the best sensor and look for other cost cutting ways, in fact they are already looking for a cheaper location to build their equipment, not a good sign for things to come.

  100. March 21, 2013 at 12:51 am

    Dear Nasim,

    Thank you for an excellent article. As a Nikon admirer since 1982 and owner of the D60 (2008), D7000 (2010) and P7700 (2012) I have moved on to the petite Olympus OM-D E-M5 (2013). Don’t think I’ll ever come back to APS-C or bigger cameras. Parting with your first love is always painful but (sigh!), life goes on…

  101. 101) David
    March 21, 2013 at 12:59 am

    Great article. I wanted a D800, but already subscribed to you guideline about being an “early adopter”, so when the autofocus fiasco became evident, I passed. I have a D7000, which I like. when the D600 came out, I was disappointed about the same autofocus, as that, and the 3-bracket limit on the D7000 were my two biggest gripes. So no D600 for me, even before the dust issue.

    I am seriously considering switching to Canon. I listen to a log of photography podcasts while at the gym. The Canon folks praise the Canon professional program, which only costs $100/yr. Customer service is VERY important to me. For the time being, I will shoot with my D7000, as it still makes fine photos.

    I’m sorry that Nikon has taken the turn it has. I have used Nikon cameras since 1995. I purchased a D700 in 2009 that had a huge blue spot in the same place on the sensor. I sent it back and kept shooting my D200, until I bought the D7000, which seems to be OK. It’s sad when you fear “upgrading” because you don’t want to deal with quality control testing that Nikon should be doing.

    Thanks again for a great post. I hope Nikon is listening.

  102. 102) Tim
    March 21, 2013 at 3:40 am

    The f5 is the last really good camera Nikon made.

    • 102.1) Brian Imaging
      March 23, 2013 at 12:02 pm

      *rolls eyes*

  103. 103) Lord Beau
    March 21, 2013 at 8:19 am

    Sad but true – my new D7100 has the left AF issue. It seriously backfocuses using the left points. Centre and right are fine. Now what do I do? Try another D7100? Dear me. How can they get things so badly wrong?

  104. 104) Emanuele
    March 21, 2013 at 10:08 am

    Nasim, good article. Really.

  105. 105) agemlife
    March 21, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    Thanks for the excellent article Naism and all the comments. It has been very helpful.
    I am a D800 owner and was initially concerned about the autofocus issue. I have taken many pictures in the past 25 years and now I try to FOCUS more on taking “good” pictures and not so much on autofocus points that I may never use or may not be a problem. The D800 is an excellent camera body with all its apparent issues. Don’t we all have issues that we have to deal with, nothing is perfect on this earth.
    Enjoy photography!!!
    Best to all.

    • 105.1) Peter
      March 21, 2013 at 2:51 pm

      My D700 is perfect. Figure that!

  106. 106) Spy Black
    March 21, 2013 at 6:54 pm

    Just for the record Nasim, I just bought a D600 at B&H two days ago. I’m not even 50 frames into it and I see oil splats on the sensor. Now, I came into this knowing this would happen and that I would have to live with it, so it is what it is. But basically all I can say is that these cameras are coming out of the factory oil-splattered. I have to say I wasn’t ready for THAT, but I’m will to deal with it simply because this camera is otherwise everything I want in an FX camera.

    If you’re not ready to accept dealing with this kind of thing, DO NOT buy a D600. Otherwise buy it and IMMEDIATELY clean the sensor, because it’s already oil-splattered before it’s out of the box!

    • 106.1) Roger
      March 22, 2013 at 9:48 am

      What Nasim is trying to tell Nikon is that a brand new DSLR they sell should arrive in good condition, without flaws in the systems or parts, and work correctly as advertised. This reasonable expectation by consumers applies to equally to new cameras that cost $500 or $5,000. When occasional problems occur, Nikon should act quickly to fix or replace defective units, and try to please their customers rather than antagonize them. That’s covered in Business 101.

      It’s one thing to shrink the size of the buffer while increasing the size of the files, but quite another to sell malfunctioning units to unsuspecting buyers, ignore or deny the problems, and then require the customer to pay to ship the faulty units to Nikon authorized repair centers, and wait several weeks for their new cameras to come back – maybe fixed or maybe not.

      A pro shooter who needs his camera to work right every day probably knows how to clean the sensor safely, and is capable of assessing whether it’s worth the cost or not. But an amateur probably does not. Neither should have to spend time and risk damage cleaning oil off the sensor of their brand new D600. Not even pros can repair a bad AF system, or a DSLR that locks up.

      In addition to the apparent QC and design problems Nasim called them out for, Nikon risks alienating pros and amateurs alike when their customers begin to see the company as selling too many defective units, and being indifferent to consumer complaints. It’s about perception as well as reality, and about buyers expecting quality for their money.

      • 106.1.1) Rafael
        March 22, 2013 at 11:32 am


        Nice synthesis of the subject. :)

      • 106.1.2) MadManAce
        March 22, 2013 at 1:48 pm

        +1 Exactly, well put.

      • 106.1.3) Spy Black
        March 23, 2013 at 4:43 pm

        I understand and agree with what you’re saying. I just made my comment to point out that the issue still persists with the D600.

  107. 107) Joel
    March 22, 2013 at 7:40 am

    Hi Nasim,

    Can anyone of you please tell me which model would be good for to go as of now, Will it be D7100 or D600, i do wildlife photography and presently i am using D7000 and AF-S 70-300 Vr lens.

    I am picking up the new AF-S 80-400VR

    • 107.1) Colin Scott
      March 22, 2013 at 9:13 am

      As this thread is concerned with QA, Joel (see comments 178 & 183 above)

      I might suggest waiting for potential problems to be identified and sorted out before deciding though, you might find the DX crop factor of the D7100 helpful unless you can get hold of a long telephoto.

      I have no experience of the lenses you quote but I do know the D7000 coupled with a 300mm f4 prime can be a killer combination (even though it has no VR). In good light, this lens can also be used with teleconverters for extra reach.

    • 107.2) FrancoisR
      March 22, 2013 at 10:23 am

      Hi Joel,
      Last year while in Nevis I took a few good shots at a pelican in flight with a D7000 and 70-300VR. There was good light and I was surprised at how good they turned out. I kept the D7000 for two months and traded it for a D800. I also traded the 70-300 for the new 70-200 f4. IMHO if you are serious about shooting wild life, get a D600 (at least). Nothing will beat a FF sensor with matching lense. Yes there is the DX crop but if you want to take those nice shots you see on the internet (that make you salivate), you will have to invest at lot more than a D7000 and a $400.00 lense. As for the new 80-400 VR, I’m waiting for the 300m f4 VR and I’m quite sure it will do better and cost less. I have the 300 ED f4 and it’s got superb optics but not for action ( in flight shots). It belongs to a tripod and forget about tracking. This is all about light and capturing it. You want VR for action, FF to catch all the light and the right glass to see it. I don’t care about 9, 51, or 61 points and crop sensors when FF is there. Don’t want to be silly here but a Canon 6D (or a used 5DII) with 300 L IS for action and 400 L for reach will do you better today and be dirt cheap. The 400 L and 300L combined will cost same as 80-400 VR, if you shop a bit. There are plenty of good used ones for sale since they have been on the market for 10+ years. My D800 with it’s 36mp and 300 VR f4 (when it arrives) will do as good as a 400 L on 5D3 or 6D (for reach). If you prefer to stick with Nikon, a D600 with 70-300VR won’t ruin your budjet and give you great opportunity to experiment in the meantime… I loved that 70-300VR (paid 350.00 used) but could’nt cut it with the D800. BTW all my Canon bodies have been flawless. Maybe I’m lucky but my Nikon ones also.
      Once I switched to FF I never looked back.

  108. 108) B!
    March 22, 2013 at 10:59 am

    Comments are mixed on this topic and thank god this isnt about Apple product or apple fanboys would already have a bounty for your head.

    Keep it up Nasim, this is what bloggin is all about; the truth.

    Hopefully Nikon only improves from here.

  109. 109) FrancoisR
    March 22, 2013 at 11:34 am


    Better try the 5D3 first, lloll.

    • 109.1) MadManAce
      March 22, 2013 at 1:53 pm

      That is the plan for this weekend. If AF works equally well with 24mm 1.4 and 85mm 1.2, that will be my next camera, assuming of course Canon does have higher QC and my actual camera works too. I guess Nikon will not feel the pain of me changing systems since I already spent about $20k in Nikon equipment, but at least they will not my next $10k :)

  110. 110) Ask
    March 23, 2013 at 3:39 am

    Not sure what you mean about pre-ordering gear. I think Nikon is pretty good at having new gear available at launch. At least compared to Sony, Fujifilm, Panasonic, Olympus and Leica. Maybe some of the other manufactures just announce gear too long in advance?

    I was surprised to find the Coolpix A in the stores the other day. Was it just a few weeks ago it was announced?

  111. 111) Pierre Blattner
    March 23, 2013 at 4:08 am

    Thank you for this article. Its time that we tell Nikon, that we don’t agree with their strategic behavior! We consumer are not only her to pay and accept every thing without telling some thing.

  112. March 23, 2013 at 12:07 pm

    I’d also like to add, that things that people read on the internet are a compilation of problems issues etc. Keep in mind most satisfied users will never say a thing and continue happily on shooting.

    And it seems like a lot of people get riled up by other people complaining about issues etc. Nikon sells hundreds of thousands of dSLRs. I would still get a Nikon with confidencne.

    The internet houses and records all the issues and problems people face – let’s face it, if you took someone who wasn’t familiar with humans to your local hospital’s ER room, you would that the human body is weak and terrible, plagued with problems.

    It’s all about context.

    • 112.1) Peter
      March 23, 2013 at 3:54 pm

      QA is all about numbers, Brian. Nikon HAS A PROBLEM! I’m not alone. See the data in my comment 130:

      “Forbes released its list of 100 most reputable companies in the world earlier this month, and a number of camera makers made the cut. Sony placed 6th, Canon 8th, Panasonic 13th, Kodak 41st, Samsung 43rd, and Fujifilm 47th. The Reputation Institute conducted the study with 48,000 consumers:
      What we found strange is that Kodak — a company struggling to find its place in the photo industry — placed relatively high on the list (41st), while Nikon — a dominant player — failed to even make the cut. What’s with that?”

      Me thinks you doesn’t protest too much. Reality is reality; numbers are numbers. Facts are hard things to run away from.

      PS: I own 2 Nikon cameras and very happy with them. I have owned Nikons since 1958. Nikon NOW has a problem, period!

      • 112.1.1) Brian Imaging
        March 23, 2013 at 4:06 pm

        I’m not too sure why you are so riled up. That is not data, but opinion.

        “The scores were statistically derived from calculations of four emotional indicators: trust, esteem, admiration and good feeling. ”

        Hardly scientific.

        I don’t see Ford, HTC, ASUS on that list either.

        Should I not buy an ASUS computer?!?

        Also, Olympus isn’t on that list. Does that mean we shouldn’t buy the OM-D or the excellent E-P3 or that those cameras are no good??

        Sometimes you have think, what value these ‘studies’ or opinions actually are.

        • peter
          March 23, 2013 at 5:08 pm

          Brian, opinion is reality. Let me repeat: opinion is reality. Opinions are facts and they affect sales. Companies listen to opinions. Why do they do that? Answer: money.

          Man is not a scientific entity. He is a feeling creature and has MONEY! How he feels affects how he will spend his M-O-N-E-Y.

          When people think something is wrong, Nikon has a problem whether it’s scientific or not.

          If you are over 50 years old you will understand what I’m talking about. If you under 50, you will hope I am wrong because it makes no sense.

          • Ed
            March 25, 2013 at 4:08 am

            Wrong Peter,

            Opinions are facts for idiots (excuse me saying so)…..if you are under the opinion that the moon is made out of blue cheese and NASA staged the moon landing on a Hollywood sound stage, you will be not alone, but that does not make those opinions facts.

            Opinions can be manipulated (a whole country once though a guy named Adolf was the best deal (convinced by a guy named Joseph), to be proven wrong by some hard fact 1,5 decade later (convincing evidence provided by a guy named Dwight). Clever manipulation of opinion and some verry hard fact finding. And a guy named Ronald was under the opinion that Ketshup was a vegetable and thus healthfood. Less threatening and consequential but equaly wrong. And today a lot of europeans are under the opinion that EU and IMF funds are resqueing Spanish, Portugees, Greek and Cypriotic citizens while in fact those funds flow straight back to the northern European banks that (irresposibly) lended out huge sums of money to those countries banks to be able to supply larger interrest rates to there greedy north european customers.

            Facts are indisputable for instance:

            Fact: A Leica M (whatever) costs roughly 2 times as much as a Nikon D800e

            Opinions are always up for discussion:

            Opinion: A Leica M240 is a 4 times a better camera then a Nikon D800e (let the discussion start)

            And I’ll be 50 this december (also a fact and not an opinion, allas).

            Greets, Ed.

            And to end with the famous words of a guy called Randolf.

            “Facts are expensive, opinions are cheap”.

            • Ed
              March 25, 2013 at 4:38 am


              Olympus is not on the list, but neither is Leica or Nikon, nor is Arca Swiss, Phase One, Hasselblad, Schneider, Zeiss etc…..fact is that no stills camera maker pur sang, made the list. Canon also makes copiers, video camera’s and what not and so does Sony…and Panasonic. So I would state the fact that the list is more or less meaningless if you want to compare camera quality or brand loyalty,

              Nikon sales in 2012 were up 4.3% and operating income was up 48% (facts as hard as economic facts can be) derived from the Nikon annual report 2012. So no problems there I would say (although their QA needs some Kaizen definitly some Kaizen).

              Having said that Olympus lost a great deal of reputation due to some market manipulations carried out by overzalous executives….but that does not influence the quality of the camera nor the quality of the service department.

              Sony can earn a rock solid reputation selling Playstations but create lousy camera’s (which they don’t) or suffer damages in their Hifi branch (damned I like my 20 year old ES set) and still hammer out great camera’s.

              So while (sort off) nice for investers, the Forbes list is sort of irrelevant to customers.

              Greets, Ed.

            • Peter
              March 25, 2013 at 7:23 am

              Ed, it is a FACT that some people have negative OPINIONS about Nikon. That’s what I meant. Their opinion is their reality, and they spend their money accordingly. Good companies understand this point. If your boss has a negative OPINION of you as a worker, you better find out real fast.

              Companies that don’t pay attention to consistent negative OPINIONS will eventually get into trouble. Where there is smoke there is fire. Why do you think there are so many imported cars in the US? The US auto industry never paid attention to customer opinions, so along came Nisson, Toyota, etc. etc. in the 1960s. I own a Toyota and a Subaru.

              You’ll agree with me in December :)

            • Ed
              March 26, 2013 at 3:56 am

              Yeps, Peter,

              In fact I have negative opinions about Nikon products as I stated their QA sucks BIG TIME and their customer care matches this. And yes Nikon should take care. I drive a Mitsubishi, I live in Holland and it was build 50 km from my home town. I made a living as a software QA engineer for 1.5 decades, so I know a thing or two about quality (and I stopped because finally the discussions about it with management of the various companies I worked for/was employed by drove me into a nice big fat depression).

              When Olympus found out through it’s customers that cracks were appearing in the housing of the back panel LCD, Oly responded by checking it’s production lines and reducing the problem to a few thousand bodies and having them checked.

              When Nikon found out through it’s customers that oil was contaminating the sensor of th D7000 and the D600 it did nothing but blame the customers until deniyng the problem was no longer possible. The they issued a sorry help yourself and if you can’t help yourself we’ll help you statement, that did nothing to reasure customers.

              When Nikon found out through it’s customers that the D4 and D800 had backfocus issues it did nothing (it told D4 customers aka professional photographers, that they were using there camera’s the wrong way), until a updated software cured the problem (for some).

              Quality control and customer care are verry important especially since every fuck up (pardon my french) gets blown out of proportion by the internet. But that is exactly what happens. Opinions are made and are made around exceptions. Nikon sold millions of D7000 and some developed a problem now that can happen, camera’s are mechanical beasts and tollerances in manufacturing sometimes work to enhance themselves untill a problem arises. So lets say 1 every 1000 develops a problem with oil. Those 999 photographers who are completely satisfied with there camera (some will never notice the oil anyway since in order to see dust/oil in a picture you have to stop down quite a bit), will not post on the web. The 1 that has just spend 1100 dollars (hard earned cash), and has his pictures ruined will.

              So the fact is that Nikon still produces great camera’s, but the opinion sneaks into the mind of the public (aka potential customers) that Nikon does not. That is a fact (about opinions).

              Now what Nikon neads to learn on the double is to adress these issues the way Olympus did.

              1) Excuse the way any good Japanees company should excuse. I buy Japanees not without a reason. Some chivalry remained in Japanees and German manufacturing that was lost in Anglosaxon manufaturing due to the Anglosaxon style of mamagement (if the customer keeps buying who cares that the battery of my iPod isn’t replaceble), with full focus on shareholder value.

              2) Adress the problem in the best way. I red some reports about Nikon Australia that replaced mirror assemblies in D7000 camera’s , but I don’t live Down Under. So a consistent approach should be formulated (as Japanees and German car manufacturers do when the made a fuck up). For instance clean first, make testshot with cleaned sensor and check for oil development. If complaints persist (and yes oil is distinguishable from dust in the fact that it can only be cleaned wet), replace mirror box. This in a clear statement to all customers.

              3) Change the quality control…..shoot each shutter a 1o00 times and check for oil. Put a leaflet in the box explaining the shutter count.

              Now that is the stuf you refer to right Peter. Now that is what I agree with, totally. But the overall standing of a company as depicted in the Forbes magazine is not that worrying and has no relation to absolute or percieved product quality in the camera department of all these companies, only to their corporate branding.

              Groeten, Ed.

  113. 113) shorebreeze
    March 23, 2013 at 4:48 pm

    Thanks, Nasim. This is an excellent and necessary article and I’ve not too much to add, other than that other manufacturers with more progressive attitudes to quality and service than Nikon are finally showing glimmers of hope that they may be able to catch Nikon’s technology. When or if that happens, Nikon will face a crisis, and I hope they don’t respond to it with further dumbing down. I’ve used Nikon for more than 20 years and witnessed more or less continuous dumbing down of quality and service during that time, but at least when they faced a serious technology crisis in 2003/04 with the D2H in particular and DX in general, they responded to it constructively. What they’ve so far failed to do is respond in the service and quality department, and I begin to wonder whether they have the capacity or self-awareness to do so.

  114. March 24, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    Who cares? The world comes to me As the Nikon icon (aka, and I solved all these problems by upgrading to canon in march 2012. No problems since!

    • 114.1) FrancoisR
      March 24, 2013 at 12:43 pm


      What a pleasant surprise! :D

    • 114.2) Wings42
      March 24, 2013 at 1:19 pm

      Ken, say it isn’t so! Oh, the humanity! Who will be my Nikon guru now?

    • 114.3) Peter
      March 24, 2013 at 2:04 pm

      In the beginning was the word of King Nikon. Now, cast aside the old and worn, and seek the new Canon of the convert apostle, Ken of Rockwell. The truth be known that Ken of Rockwell lives in California and cannot afford the cost of camera repair. His taxes strip him of all his senses, and he has run to the new land of Canon. Pray that he regains his wealth, moves out of California, and again picks up the Nikon torch .

      • 114.3.1) Aaron Priest
        March 24, 2013 at 6:41 pm

        Hehehe, that’s great. Especially the taxes! :-P

  115. 115) Mano
    March 25, 2013 at 3:11 am

    A great article and many of my nikon friends (i hope) to read this and i’ll do my part in forwarding this article to them.. Couple of months back i was so pissed off with canon lens price hike in india , that i almost wanted to sell all my canon gear and move to Nikon , but nikon has its own share of flaws as well.. I hold back a bit and has not taken implusive decision. Keeping Nikon vs canon or other brands aside , Nikon should start listening to its consumer and canon is not far behind in this.. Canon service centers are equally bad in this part of world.. I think we as consumers are giving them that edge of being rude to us in constantly upgrading our gears (whether we want it or not) and this makes them feel like “Oh yeah.. go ahead and complain” .. I really hope they(these brands) do recognize the importance of consumers and start respecting our opinions and grief(of course related to individual brands) :) ..

  116. 116) Ed
    March 25, 2013 at 3:47 am

    Best peace of advice given on the web,

    I changed to micro 4/3 (from Nikon customer since 1963 and I’m 50 indeed, but my first Nikon was an F handed down to me in 1972 by my dad) because:

    1) Nikon screwed up one to many times for my liking when a 18-200 needed a new AF motor after 3 years of sporadic (my dad’s camera) use at a cost that could have bought a seconds hand lens as well. Service was great though.

    2) Olympus and Panasonic use the same bajonet so it is essentially an open system as Sigma and Schneider have found out as well (not to mention Samyang).

    3) It is a fraction of the weight of a FF Nikon (or even a DX one)

    4) 16 Mpixel is enough for my work (I own a R2400 printer that defines my max print size)

    5) It is a fraction 1/2 of the cost of a FF Nikon (or even a DX one), lenses included.

    But having said that…..I couldn’t give rats as about the camera I use since as most amateurs tend to forget, it’s what’s in front of the lens that’s decisive for the quality of the picture not what’s behind it :-).

    Greets, Ed.

    P.S. Section Lessons learned, should be heathed by all, I bought a new OM-D when my GF1 started to desintegrate and saved a HDL-6 in the proces (price cuts are nice).

  117. 117) Carlos
    March 25, 2013 at 8:28 am

    “Use your camera until it dies” Excelente Articulo Nasim, muy bien escrito! This type of articles, coming from some one who has access to top camera gear is all a statement….well written and to the point!

  118. 118) André
    March 27, 2013 at 11:00 am

    Excellent article. For us change brands here in Brazil is very complicated, because the cameras cost three times more due to taxes. Tmabém would have to change all the lenses 85, 105, 80-200, 24-120, 16-35, and this is very expensive.
    I bought the d600 instead of the d300. How had the d700 need a new camera, since the difference between the d700 and d300 was too big for my work. It is not a question of consumerism, but a matter of survival. Yet the d600 came with dust on the sensor and it was very annoying.
    I had to spend a fortune on equipment to clean my sensor as the Nikon cameras do not clean the Brazil bought in the U.S. (I bought mine on Amazon).
    All this left me disappointed and sad … not counting the green white balance … ridiculous.
    Such is life …
    Very good article! Note 3 for Nikon in recent “releases”

  119. 119) Greg Heller
    March 27, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    Excellent thoughts Nasim — I couldn’t have said it better. I agree that the most frustrating part of Nikon’s QA issues are the lack of acknowledgement. I though, do find it hard to believe that upper management isn’t aware of the D800/D600 issues. I believe they do know but with the cost of the flood in Thailand and Tsunami in Japan and the financial problems that Nikon is experiencing from those issues, I believe they made a business decision to ignore these manufacturing problems. I don’t think that they need the service centers to tell them about these issues, they allowed it the only exception being to report back the number of units or the degree of impact these issues are creating for their customers. Maybe like you said the only way to jar them back into reality is a class action lawsuit. I would prefer not. As for myself I am not willing to buy another Nikon product until things straighten out . Shame too, because I really would like to upgrade my current camera, but I am not going to go through the hassle of sending a 2-3000 dollar camera back to them multiple times hoping that it will someday get fixed.

  120. 120) Adam
    March 28, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    Excellent write up Nasim. I was wait and wait and wait for D600 and I don’t dare to buy any of them now. Too bad that I have invested a lot in Nikon lenses. I want trouble free camera out of the box like D700 was.

  121. 121) Frankie C. Che'Francois Photography
    March 28, 2013 at 8:50 pm

    That was the perfect article…and yes dont preorder…make Nikon ern their money and put out a great product…Cannon DOES…so why cant they…otherwise theyre gonna loose alot of customers for sure in the coming years.

  122. 122) Robert
    May 8, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    Thank you Nasim sir for a very nice web-site even for newbies like myself who is just starting out in the DSLR world. I have recently purchased a Nikon D7100 and I think its a great camera.

    My newbie question / comment is:
    After shooting for about a month with my D7100 I discovered some dust in the viewfinder / focusing screen or the prism area.

    The dust is not visible in the images and it does not have any affect on image quality becos the dust is not located on the sensor. Its only visible when looking carefully into the viewfinder and you can see a few tiny black spots on the edges of the viewfinder screen. On the Internet this particular issue seems to be quite common for both Nikon and Canon camera viewfinders….

    Is this a normal thing and something I have to get used to when shooting with my D7100 ?

  123. 123) Calvin
    May 29, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    I’ve also been extremely aggravated by Nikon.

    I’ve been a Nikon owner since the F2 but I owned a D80 that my local shop couldn’t fix because they couldn’t get the part from Nikon, although they’ve been fixing Nikons for at least 30 years. I considered upgrading to a D7000 or D700 but at the time they weren’t available anywhere and Nikon refused to communicate.

    In spite of Nikon’s attitude I did decide on a D700 about 1 year ago and I love the camera and the 24-70 and 70-200 lenses that I bought at the same time but Nikon’s customer service/relations still stink.

    Re: “crazy hot coffee spill stories at McDonald’s ” , read one of the accounts not spun by McDonald’s lawyers. Here’s one:
    or watch the documentary “Hot Coffee”. Subsequent to the law suit, McDonald’s changed their operations manual to have stores serve coffee at a lower temperature.

  124. 124) SweetNana55
    May 30, 2013 at 8:32 pm

    I was really interested in the D600 until I read so many complaints about the oil/dust on several review sites. I’ve waited months to see if Nikon would make the needed changes to eliminate this defect. I’m so disappointed that it still seems to be an issue. Boo, Nikon!!!! It’s time for me to start looking at other manufacturers. :(

  125. 125) Silkway
    June 15, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    come on
    i think full frame nikon d600 is just perfect for perfect people
    and camera is not a car

    i mean yeah car for comfort
    but when you buy tractor you dont look for that

    so drop down all the DX rubbish
    and go for d600

    coz its not so crazy as d800 and not so old as d700 and not so expensive (and also crazy) as d4

    so you have no choise

    other manufacturers
    just doesnt make good image quality at all
    i mean canon and such ones

  126. 126) William
    June 30, 2013 at 5:34 pm

    I have to say that I believe this Nikon AF system is flawed. Both the D800 and D4 seem to have had issues. TBH I’m not sure Nikon’s AF has been adequate for a while. I checked my D700 and it too exhibited a flakey left AF point problem. Not so noticeable due to lower resolution but I wonder how many D700 owners would see it too if they looked.

    Anyway this is the only possible reason for Nikon stonewalling on the subject. If it had been fixable they’d have done it. It isn’t so they can’t. Cameras are still shipping with the issue and being sent back to Nikon who are not capable of guaranteeing a repair and so they botch it, lie to you, and send it back in the same or worse condition as it was in the first place. That was my experience with Nikon with the 3 D800 bodies I tried.

  127. 127) Joel
    September 12, 2013 at 9:11 am

    I have just re-read this post. The first time I read it was just after I discovered I had an issue with my D7100. The shots I was getting were “OK”….but…..I had spots on the photos always in the same areas and the focus on my D200 was far superior than a brand new 24meg D7100. I contacted Nikon support and the reply that I received was that I had to calibrate my lens’s. Never heard of that before, especially since I was getting great shots from my D200. I checked twice more from Nikon and never got a satisfactory answer.

    What I did discover that there may have been an issue oil on the sensor. Which made sense because of the spots on the photos. After having worked with the Visible Dust product for a number of years, I decided to give the sensor a cleaning. Unfortunately the swab I was using broke apart during the cleaning and YES, scratched the sensor.

    I took the camera in to the Nikon service centre and explained the situation. They said that the repair would not be covered under warranty. I needed the camera so I asked them to repair it. After about a week Nikon contacted with the estimate. I asked the tech what they found and he said that there was a problem with the focus “system” and that there was some issues with the sensor, other than my scratch. I asked them to proceed with the repair.

    In the meantime I contacted VisibleDust to explain my situation. They were very good about and we came to a reasonable agreement, which I am happy with.

    I guess my big beef is why in any of the contacts with Nikon, not one of the techs suggested that I bring the camera in to inspect it. I have documented proof of this. As you mentioned above, why admit an error. I am sure that Nikon could have afforded the repair without me having to shell out $$$ to have this repaired……since it seemed to be a manufacturing fault, in spite of the scratch that (I) happened….


  128. 128) Nikon User
    September 14, 2013 at 12:01 am

    I cannot agree with this article more. I have been gobsmacked how poor Nikon have been. I will never buy Nikon again and I am ready to jump like the rats off the proverbial Nikon ‘Titanic’. She was a great thing to look at berthed in Southampton and on paper better than ever seen previously, when she was used for what she was designed for she failed miserably. Just like my D800, great on paper, nice to hold, in reality it is literally a paperweight.

    I am on my 3rd body – yes 3 bodies and all 3 have been defective. The 1st the LCD screen would only display half the image. The 2nd and 3rd have had the famous oil issue. Basically oil/debris leaks onto the sensor creating multiple spots, after 500 shots I had 100+ spots alot were large and rendered the camera useless. The 3rd body had been sent for repair. The job card said they only cleaned the sensor, 10 photos later I have 10 big spots. 100 photos later I have too many to count.
    It has the potential to be a great camera, but I’ve decided to jump from the Nikon ‘Titanic’.
    Adios Nikon!

  129. 129) vikveda
    November 6, 2014 at 2:07 am

    salute to NASIM
    let it roll

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