When Things Go Wrong…

From time to time, as photographers many of us face issues with the equipment that we have purchased. It could be a problem with a camera, lens, various types of studio equipment, or with camera accessories. How a manufacturer and the selling dealer address the issue and bring it to resolution, or not…can have a significant impact on our continued patronage of that brand of equipment, and the dealer that sells it.

When Things Go Wrong

DMC-FZ28 @ 54.4mm, ISO 100, 10/50, f/8.0

Like many photographers, over the years I’ve faced a few product-related issues…and luckily all of them ended up being resolved to my satisfaction. The most serious one was with my dust-plagued Nikon D600. I absolutely loved the image quality of the camera, and the size, weight and features of the D600 made it a very easy-to-use, practical camera. Unfortunately I was an ‘early adopter’ of this particular model and I had a litany of issues with dust/oil on the sensor. And, not just a few specs…I’m talking about dozens and dozens of splatters after just a few hundred shutter actuations.

My first copy of the camera went back to my selling dealer a number of times for no-charge sensor cleanings, and also to Nikon Canada a few times. The first time it was completely disassembled and cleaned. The second time it had a new shutter installed. And, was inspected yet a third time when the problem stubbornly persisted.

I received a replacement body that unfortunately was plagued with the same issue. That one also went back and a second replacement body was arranged. It too had a dust/oil splattered sensor after about 100 actuations. If my work had been still photography I could have worked around the issue to a degree in post, but since most of my client work is video-related, a chronically dirty sensor is simply a deal-breaker.

It became apparent that after trying three different copies of the D600, no fix was imminent for that model. And I was not the only person that faced this particular issue – both Tom Redd and Nasim Mansurov in our team had very similar problems with their D600s. I personally was able to move up to a Nikon D800 and I haven’t looked back since. The D800 has proven to be a workhorse for my business, producing stellar images and great quality video.

While all of this was very frustrating at the time, the concerted efforts of Nikon Canada and my selling dealer to try and rectify the problem were greatly appreciated. It is possible that because I was dealing with the commercial department at my Nikon dealer that it may have made a difference with the level of attention I was receiving…I’ll never know for sure. Throughout the process I felt that everyone involved was doing their best to correct the situation and I never felt that I was being ignored or shuffled off into a corner. Looking at comments we have received on related articles, seems like others have had worse experiences with Nikon service.

Most recently, I had an issue with a Dahle 28-Inch 554 Professional Rolling Trimmer. The guidelines painted on the surface of the cutter began to rapidly wear off within the first week of use. When I contacted my selling dealer, I was referred to Dahle. After discussing my issue with the customer service folks at Dahle, I learned that my unit had a very rare problem and after providing Dahle with some photos of the premature wear, they authorized a replacement unit which was quickly handled through my selling dealer.

I’ve also had some smaller issues with defective memory cards, a bad memory card reader, and a poorly performing pop-up green screen that were all quickly addressed and corrected by my selling dealer.

While it can be frustrating and very inconvenient to have to deal with product problems, the way that manufacturers and their selling dealers work to address specific issues can go a long way to build and maintain our personal loyalties to brands and with the camera dealers with which we do business.

What kinds of issues have you had with photography gear that you have purchased and how was the problem addressed for you?


    • 1.1) Thomas Stirr
      August 4, 2014 at 5:19 pm

      Hi Robert,

      I agree with you totally that the D600 was a huge negative for Nikon. They simply dropped the ball and tried to hide from the issue. Many of the early D800 cameras also had problems with focusing.

      While my personal experience was likely better than most…in the roughly 7 months that I owned various D600 units they were in at Nikon service for about 4 months of that period. Luckily I still had my D7000 at the time!

      I am somewhat encouraged by Nikon’s quicker reaction and more open reporting of EVF issues with the Nikon 1 V3. Perhaps Nikon has learned something about customer service from the D600 fiasco.


    • 1.2) Patrick O'Connor
      August 4, 2014 at 6:23 pm

      Just curious if you had a D600 with problems or you’re reacting to the problems of others. I’m not defending Nikon or trying to minimize that situation but I honestly have no idea how pervasive the problem actually was. People like Thomas and Nasim had the problem but I, for one, didn’t. I hope it’s not like news programs, endlessly reporting on one incident so that it seems like it happens everywhere, every day.

      • 1.2.1) Thomas Stirr
        August 4, 2014 at 6:29 pm

        Hi Patrick,

        As far as the D600 goes it seems there was some ‘luck of the draw’ at play. I know a few folks who also bought D600 and never had any problem at all with them. By the time I was on my third body I felt a dark cloud was following me around.


        • Patrick O'Connor
          August 4, 2014 at 6:35 pm

          Are you familiar with Cat Steven’s song, “Moonshadow”? ;-)

          • Thomas Stirr
            August 4, 2014 at 7:05 pm

            Hi Patrick,

            Yup…..and “I won’t have to cry no more”…since moving to the D800.



          • William Jones
            August 4, 2014 at 9:39 pm

            Perhaps, because of the D600 problems, should reword/retitle the song to be “Doomshadow”?


            • Patrick O'Connor
              August 4, 2014 at 9:42 pm

              Gee. I hope this isn’t going to turn into a D600 Bashing blog.

      • 1.2.2) Robert
        August 4, 2014 at 8:03 pm

        Hi Patrick,
        I did have the problem and under the program Nikon initiated after so many complaints (on this blog and many many others), I was very fortunate to be able to take advantage of it. As I said in my response to Thomas, I had a positive experience.
        My big issue is that I struggled for 6 months on my upgrade from the D300, and shift to full frame. Do I stick with Nikon or switch to Canon. I’m sure this was/is a common option. I read so many articles and spoke to Canon and Nikon owners. The shift is expensive, the body is cheap compared to all the new glass I had to buy. I finally jumped in. Only to be blind sided by a release of the D610. Yes I am bitter, and regret the decision. I don’t know if the issue is fixed and what else Nikon did on the D610 to improve quality and reliability. I feel betrayed by a brand I have used and trusted for many years, in both underwater and land cameras. The only way I can vote is with my wallet.

        • Patrick O'Connor
          August 4, 2014 at 9:40 pm

          Well, your “big issue,” as I’m sure you know, doesn’t really have anything to do with Nikon or Canon. It’s something most FF photographers dealt with when they came out with those cameras. I don’t really understand what you mean about the D610, though. The D600 is a great camera and the D610 is barely, measurably better. And in the meantime, I assume you took a lot of photos with your D600. I love mine and reserve my jealousy for the D4s or as yet unreleased D400/D9300/Dwhatever, which I still might get if they ever release the dang thing!

          So, what kind of underwater photography do you do? I would love to learn how to scuba dive and, eventually, do underwater photography. My wife always rubs it in that she’d done all that stuff before we met. :-(

  1. 2) Emil
    August 4, 2014 at 5:15 pm


    Not too long ago I purchased a Nikon D5300. After my first outing with it I found that all my pictures had severe back focus issues. They where taken with a 35 mm f1.8 @ f4 and upwards. I brought the camera back to the shop and they contacted Nikon who in return quoted a service charge of 150 USD for calibrating my lens and camera. I was not very happy. The shop had 4 other 35 mm lenses in stock and they all back focused on my camera. Yet the Nikon service center would still charge me for calibrating when it was likely the camera which was a fault. Luckily I was able to get a full refund for the camera and bought a Fuji instead. Fokus accuracy on the X-T1 is out of this world :)

    • 2.1) Thomas Stirr
      August 4, 2014 at 5:25 pm

      Hi Emil,

      This strikes me as classic case of a manufacturer like Nikon not seeing the big picture…and losing you as a customer for the sake of a $150 service fee. Makes a person scratch their head to try and see the logic.


  2. 3) William Jones
    August 4, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    I purchased a refurbed 135 DC direct from Nikon. Upon trying to calibrate with my D800E, I could not get any pictures in focus. I contacted Nikon, and they requested samples. I posted the samples to a gallery on my website, so they could view and/or download as needed. At which point the fight started. They refused to take the lens back, did not want to issue an RMA for a refund. Eventually I told them that I would dispute the charge with my Credit Card company and E-mailed to them: “Refund or war, your choice!” They finally sent me an RMA, so I did get a refund. As a consequence, however, I will no longer order anything direct from Nikon, ESPECIALLY refurbed items.


    • 3.1) Thomas Stirr
      August 4, 2014 at 6:24 pm

      Hi William,

      Thanks for sharing your experience. It reminds us all that disputing a credit card payment is one of the best tools consumers have at their disposal when facing an uncooperative vendor.


  3. 4) Patrick O'Connor
    August 4, 2014 at 6:31 pm

    I guess I’ve been lucky.

    I had problems with a 70-300 Nikkor: Nikon fixed it quickly and sent it back no charge.

    I had a non-dust related issue with my D600: Nikon fixed it quickly, replaced the shutter without me complaining about the dust issue, and sent it back no charge. This was before their current policy to replace them for any or no reason.

    My last problem with Nikon is really a non-problem. I bought an 18-35 G, refurbished, and it came with a lens cap that had to be removed in order to install or remove the lens hood. I would have been happy to pay $10 more to get a Nikon lens cap. No big deal; I bought one and that was that. But, I don’t understand why they would include a cap that was useless for all but shipping.

    • 4.1) Thomas Stirr
      August 4, 2014 at 6:59 pm

      Hi Patrick,

      Thanks for taking the time to share some positive service experiences!


  4. 5) Wfp
    August 4, 2014 at 6:56 pm

    No mention of the SB900/910 debacle yet? As a wedding photographer moving from the SB800 to the 900 ended up a very nasty surprise at one wedding as the kiss shot became almost unslavageable when the latest and greatest from Nikon failed to fire and started beeping. Luckily this is an easily repeatable staged shot but it was a very rude shock.

    The D600 issue was also a body blow. I am an NPS member and have a good relationship with Nikon but they continued to refuse to acknowledge either problem. When someone is needing to update bodies this is not a good thing to have happen.

    In the end I replaced my second body with a 5Dm3 and I bought a set of new lenses from Canon under their CPS programme. It’s not a viable option for most people to run two or more systems, but has become my work around. Nikon could have, should have, had my cash. In the meantime I can cherry pick the best lenses from either system which I guess is a plus.

    • 5.1) Thomas Stirr
      August 4, 2014 at 7:02 pm

      Hi Wfp,

      Thanks for your input…if I put my ‘corporate marketing hat’ back on….it’s never good for a company when it loses any ‘share of wallet’ with their existing customers.


      • 5.1.1) Steve
        August 5, 2014 at 9:46 am

        I’m wondering if all these ‘servicing nightmare’ issues that some have experienced is really a Nikon corporate issue or is it likely a more local ‘place your country here’, Nikon subsidiary issue?

        • Thomas Stirr
          August 5, 2014 at 10:09 am

          Hi Steve,

          Either way, Nikon is ultimately responsible for how its customers are treated. If subsidiaries are not providing the level of customer service that is expected then Nikon has an obligation to step in and make sure subsidiaries act responsibly.


          • Steve
            August 6, 2014 at 12:24 pm

            Yeah, true! But union busting is so 1990’s…

  5. 6) A Happy Customer Overall
    August 4, 2014 at 7:01 pm

    My husband bought me a D600 after much research. During a photography class to learn all of its features I was made aware of the issue. I sent my camera back twice for cleaning. Each time the customer service was exceptional and I received my camera back (fixed) sooner than expected. When the camera produced oil spots a third time it was no more mister nice guy! Gloves off, I demanded a replacement under warranty. They returned a D610. After just a few months of use, I have dust spots… Contemplating whether it is safe to clean my own sensor or if I should take it to an authorized service center. That being said, Lightroom has a feature to remove the spots in post-process, so I’m hesitant to give up my camera for two weeks to have the sensor cleaned. I figure I probably just need to be uber careful about dust. The camera is awesome and feature FULL! Even in light of this experience I’m a Nikonite!

    • 6.1) Thomas Stirr
      August 4, 2014 at 7:16 pm

      The D600 is a terrific camera in terms of image quality and its feature set…I can understand why you are in no hurry to part with it. I haven’t heard of any epidemic of ‘dust/oil’ issues with the D610…but there have been a few reports I’ve read about this issue.

      Your local Nikon dealer may be able to do a sensor cleaning under warranty for you…certainly something worth checking out. If they can do it, the procedure should be fairly quick…something you could likely even have done while you wait.

      I’m not sure if the Sensor Gel Stick that is available here at Photography Life could be used on this issue. Perhaps Nasim can comment on that….


      • 6.1.1) Lars
        August 5, 2014 at 12:38 pm

        I had the shutter on my D600 replaced in April, and the spots started reappearing in June (albeit more slowly than before). The Gel Stick has done a fantastic job taking care of the spots. I’m doing monthly cleanings to keep the problem under control.

        • Thomas Stirr
          August 6, 2014 at 2:49 am

          Hi Lars,

          Thanks for sharing your experience with using the Gel Stick to control the D600 dust issue.


  6. 7) A Happy Customer Overall
    August 4, 2014 at 7:43 pm

    I’ve looked at the nifty Sensor Gel Stick and watched the videos too! What a great tool! My only hesitation is warranty…don’t want to risk it! Curious to hear others’ thoughts and experiences.

    • Profile photo of Luc Poirier 7.1) Luc Poirier
      August 5, 2014 at 10:49 pm

      Here is my 0.02$ experience with wet cleaning :
      I was also a bit reluctant about a year ago to clean my sensors D90,7000,7100 . After following a training on kelbytraining ”cleaning your DSLR” that teach that cameras need their sensors to be cleaned , I decided to do it. I cleaned them quite a few times (wet) with dustaid (not very good for oïl or stubborn dust). I then ordered “‘eclipse ccd snsrcln (methanol)” and also “smear away” from visibleDust (oil issues). To cut cost down, I am not using “Sensor swabs” made by VisibleDust instead I am using the dustaid wand (3 sizes) , dust-cloth micro-fiber (qty 50). So far eclipse was able to get rid of all the oil issues on the 3 cameras. I can not comment on VisibleDust ” smear away” having not found a need to used it yet. I didn’t buy the loupe (sensor loupe). The procedure I use is : I take a pic of the sky or a white wall or piece of white cardboard at F22 iso 100 with a 10-24 mm lens, focusing the lens manually , and inspect it in LR at 100% while placing the exposure slider so the image display as dark as I can see. In this case I will find all the traces of oil residues left on the sensor that you won’t see if you place the exposure so the sky is in the mid-tone. I have done this procedure enough times to not even feel any stress doing it anymore. I don’t recommend you do it if you are not ready to accept the risks associated with it. I feel the “sensor- gel’ is a much less risky way of cleaning a D-Slr sensor. There is no better feeling when looking at your pics in LR and not finding any dust issues.

  7. 8) T C Knight
    August 4, 2014 at 8:56 pm

    I was one of the Nikon customers to receive a D800 in the first shipment to the US. I sent it to Nikon USA three times for focusing problems. It was never fixed to my satisfaction. I finally decided that it was not worth the trouble to keep trying. I still use it, it takes really good pictures, but if you are a pixel peeper, you would be very dissatisfied. If I just have to have perfect focus, I have to go to LiveView. It’s ridiculous.

    My dissatisfaction was not with the camera, but Nikon’s refusal to acknowledge the problem, even though the “evidence” later suggested that although we made them aware of the problem early on, they wouldn’t admit to it because they had no idea how to correct it. I don’t know. I had to pay shipping all three times I sent it back, so after three unsuccessful attempts to have it corrected, and in my frustration with them, I quit following any of the written material on Nikon. I know that sounds weird but I was just tired. I still have only a passing knowledge of what they have released since the D800 because I just don’t follow it anymore. I own about $18,000 worth of Nikon lenses and cameras. I have great equipment but resent the heck out of the company that made it. Not much fun in that.

    On a high note though was that I was able to buy hunting optics from a U.S. Company (Leupold) that were far superior to Nikon’s. Better warranty too. I found some solace in that. :)

    • 8.1) Thomas Stirr
      August 5, 2014 at 8:42 am

      Hi TC,

      Thanks for your posting. It certainly highlights the emotions that can be generated by how a manufacturer addresses, or fails to address, and issue. Resentment is a strong, negative emotion…one that manufacturers need to understand leads to customer disengagement with their brand.


    • 8.2) sceptical1
      August 6, 2014 at 10:08 am

      Hi T.C.
      I am really sorry to hear that. I am not sure what I would do in your situation, but I can tell you my thoughts about losing the cost of a D800. I would be less than happy for business reasons!
      1. Photography is a poor business model that does not build equity (basically, YOU are your photography business and it can’t be sold!)
      2. Photography can be an expensive business and equipment cost is no small part of that.
      3. Since every dollar counts in a business like photography, having a useless $3000 camera has a large opportunity cost. That is 5 months of full contributions to a retirement account. It is definitely money you will need later on.
      4. The time wasted in trying to get it fixed and fiddling with it is also valuable and has a cost (although certainly some of this goes with the territory)

      I am not sure I would switch brands over it, but I definitely would not be an early adopter to at least cut down on the chance of getting a lemon. This is probably a good idea anyway.
      Regardless, I feel for your situation. IMO, $3000 is a big hit.

      • 8.2.1) t c knight
        August 6, 2014 at 12:28 pm

        Thanks Sceptical1:

        I never considered changing brands. I have an assortment of f/2.8 zooms and a couple of primes. I also shoot a D3 (besides holding on to my F4, F5, and F100) :) I started with Nikon in 1977 when shooting for the local news and never looked back. It is just that after being loyal to a company for 37 years you would think they would help you when you need it. I don’t know if that is just the Japanese business model or what. It was just very disappointing and, I’m sure, I probably took it too personally.
        However, I was one who begged Nikon for a “retro” camera (deep menus are going to be my demise) but they came out with one AFTER my ordeal so I will not buy it. I would have replaced my D3 by now with the next in line pro camera too. Just still a little too miffed to do any of that. My next purchase decision may be to just move on up to medium format. With all of the money I save from not chasing Nikon, I could probably afford it (ha).

        Thanks for the note.

        • Profile photo of Mike Banks Mike Banks
          August 6, 2014 at 1:06 pm

          t c knight,

          I can feel your pain. That is a lot to lose in one gulp.

          Back in the early seventies when I was doing wedding photography medium format Mamiya RB 67, I was told by my boss that I would need to buy one of the same flash attachments that they used because they were very powerful and reliable. I even had to have a custom bracket make for the camera to mount the potato masher flash arm. The battery was a lead acid sealed type that at that time cost $250.00 Well I went to charge it for the first time with a recommended charger, but it would fire the flash. I called the distributor for help but he just old me I did it wrong and burned out the cells and there was nothing they could do. Remember, this is the seventies and $250 was a lot of money. I had the battery and charger in the car with me on the day I went to pick up my flash bracket and told the guy at the service center, who was an authorized service center for every major professional make camera there was. He told me to bring it into him to have a look at it and within three minutes he fixed the problem which was a defect in the battery he had seen before. Truth is, this was an excellent piece of equipment albeit 11lbs in weight by itself and of course I needed two batteries to complete two weddings I would have on the same day. When I got the second battery I took it to this service center and he found the exact same problem which he fixed and never charged me for the repair.

          It all has to do with how much your business is appreciated. Nikon and Canon have demonstrated time and again that they don’t really want to deal with problems unless you are a well known pro.

          • t c knight
            August 6, 2014 at 2:43 pm

            Mike….$250.00 is STILL a lot of money. HA.

            And now you can buy those same “hammerhead” flashes and a battery pack for next to nothing on Ebay. I know, I bought four of them. LOL. They are so strong, they make a really good substitute for a strobe while on location. Don’t know why I ever got rid of the one I had in the ’80’s.

            Anyway. Kind of off subject. It does seem that unless you are a well known name, you can forget service from Nikon USA. I have heard that Canon had improved their customer service but since I don’t own anything I don’t really know. Thanks Mike.

            • Profile photo of Mike Banks Mike Banks
              August 7, 2014 at 7:17 am

              T C, I agree. To get the best service you need to be at the top of your game and well known. However, for the few times I’ve needed them Nikon did service in good time and took care of my needs so I really don’t have any nightmare stories to tell about them. I’ve bought new and refurbished equipment from B&H for years and every so often will purchase refurbished lenses from Nikon directly. The only objection I have when purchasing refurbished directly from Nikon is the warrantee. I can understand the limited warrantee when purchasing from a Nikon reseller since they have no idea how the item may have been handles upon return. But when buying directly from Nikon I think the warrantee should be the same as new since they have “refurbished” to a new condition.

  8. August 5, 2014 at 12:17 am

    hi Tom,
    thanks for sharing!
    Reading such posts and comments around the web during past few years, I think I am very lucky. I have never had any, ANY issue with my photo equipment. I own Nikon D90 since 2010, very old D100 that I bought used on Adorama for $90 and my favourite film Nikon F100. I also own 4 Nikkor and some other third party lenses and accessories. woohooooo, I am so lucky

    • 9.1) Thomas Stirr
      August 5, 2014 at 8:43 am

      Hi Levan,

      It is always refreshing to hear from folks who have not had any issues with the gear they have purchased. It helps to restore some confidence…


  9. 10) Disgruntled
    August 5, 2014 at 4:01 am

    Nikon 70-200mm f4 AFS VR.

    Focus, both AF & MF, stopped working 8 months after purchase. 10 weeks after sending the lens back for repair it’s still not fixed.

    Apparently the necessary parts are not available.

    • 10.1) Thomas Stirr
      August 5, 2014 at 8:47 am

      Hi Disgruntled,

      Having sufficient replacement parts to deal with product failures is a key customer support component for any camera or lens manufacturer. Hopefully Nikon will get your lens back soon. I also own a 70-200 f/4 Nikkor and I love the lens! Great image quality and very effective VR…actually 0ne of my favourite lenses.


      • 10.1.1) Disgruntled
        August 7, 2014 at 4:00 am

        I agree that the 70-200mm AFS VR is excellent (when working), but whether great or garbage it’s unacceptable for a product to be sitting on Nikon’s repair bench for months beacuse of a lack of parts for repairs.

        Nikon seems to have no trouble at all in finding the components to produce new 70-200/4 lenses. The things are in stock everywhere.

        • Thomas Stirr
          August 7, 2014 at 4:57 am

          I agree totally. Efficient and effective repairs should be a cornerstone of every manufacturer’s customer support strategy and not having a part in stock for months at a time is completely unacceptable.

  10. 11) Claus
    August 5, 2014 at 5:43 am

    Very bad experiences with Canon 5DMk3 and 60D. Both cameras failed during work and Canon repaired it in 12 weeks (5DMkIII) and 16 weeks (60D).
    The 5DMkIII worked well for 2 week and then… again defect.
    Now I jumped to the other side and bought complete Nikon equipment. D80oE, AFS 14-24,24-70.70-200 and could not be happier.

    best regards

    • 11.1) Thomas Stirr
      August 5, 2014 at 8:49 am

      Hi Claus,

      Thanks for sharing your experiences. Your posting highlights the importance of having reliable gear and fast service turnaround if, and when, there are issues. For people who make a living with their cameras having a body out of service for 12-16 weeks is not an inconvenience….it costs us money in terms of lost opportunities.


  11. Profile photo of Andrew Russell 12) Andrew Russell
    August 5, 2014 at 6:31 am

    I too had D600 issues. Mine wasn’t as bad as some, but I had to clean it regularly (and the spots were tough to remove). On the last cleaning, after about 26k shots, I managed to scratch the sensor, and that was it for my D600. I sold it for parts.

    • 12.1) Thomas Stirr
      August 5, 2014 at 8:53 am

      Hi Andrew,

      Sorry to hear about scratching your D600 sensor….certainly one of the risks when we do our own sensor cleanings. That risk is one of the reasons I switched to the Gel Stick…if I can’t get a sensor clean with that…then the body goes in for pro cleaning at my Nikon dealer. So far….the Gel Stick has been working well.


      • Profile photo of Andrew Russell 12.1.1) Andrew Russell
        August 5, 2014 at 12:38 pm

        Thanks for the reply. I actually got a sensor gel stick a few months ago, but luckily, I haven’t had to clean my sensors very much. I only tried the gel stick twice. The first time, on my D7000, it worked great. The second time, on my D7100, it spread oil EVERYWHERE (which I must have inadvertently picked up from the side). I ended up having to do a wet cleaning after that, because I just couldn’t get rid of all of the smudges. I’m definitely going to give it another shot next time I need to clean a sensor.

  12. Profile photo of Mike Banks 13) Mike Banks
    August 5, 2014 at 8:40 am


    I guess I too am one of the very lucky ones out there that has never had issues with Nikon. I’ve been using Nikon Cameras and lenses since 1966 and have only had three situations with equipment malfunctions. All fixed in a timely fashion by Nikon. I must say also, that for all the posts I’ve read regarding having to fix back or front focus problems I’ve never had any of these either. Luck of the draw I guess.

    • 13.1) Thomas Stirr
      August 5, 2014 at 8:55 am

      Hi Mike,

      Glad to hear you’ve been pretty much trouble free for over 4 decades….lots of camera owners wish they had your track record!


      • Profile photo of Mike Banks 13.1.1) Mike Banks
        August 5, 2014 at 9:26 am


        Right after I clicked the send button for my posts I thought….maybe I shouldn’t have said anything. LOL

        • Thomas Stirr
          August 5, 2014 at 9:30 am

          Hi Mike,

          It’s OK…I’ve invoked the ‘non-jinx’ clause for you.



  13. Profile photo of Mike Banks 14) Mike Banks
    August 5, 2014 at 10:04 am


    You’re a saint.

  14. 15) Steve
    August 5, 2014 at 10:12 am

    I have been shooting various Nikon models since the F3 in the film days. I even had a Nikon enlarger for my darkroom. After digital had been out for several years, and many photographers were still denying digital would take off, I sold all my Nikon gear for thousands of dollars. I never looked back.

    I keep buying Nikon, because in all those 30+ years I have never had to have a single repair done. And I love the quality of their lenses. I only use Nikon glass. Some lenses I have bought used, and sold them after 2 years of use for more than I paid for them. I keep very good care of my gear, and buy good quality bags.

    At one point I was looking for macro rings, and the Nikon were sold out and the salesman tried to tell me that the Kenko were just as good. And they were about the same price. So – knowing I could return them – I bought them as I had a need to use them that day. They were junk. They didn’t even mount into position without wiggling around. I returned them the next day, waited for the Nikon, and would never recommend that brand to anyone.

    I have never regretted buying Nikon.

    • 15.1) Steve
      August 5, 2014 at 10:14 am

      Sorry – I meant to say that I sold all of my Nikon “Film” gear.

    • 15.2) sceptical1
      August 6, 2014 at 3:59 pm

      Hi Steve,

      In general I have had very good luck with Nikon gear over 35 years. A couple of small, easily fixable problems. That said, they no longer make the best short zooms IMO. That is a recent change. Sigma has caught up with and surpassed Nikon (in terms of picture quality, too early to tell in terms of longevity) for these lenses. I never thought I would find a medium zoom that I would consider better than the very expensive 24-70 2.8, but the Sigma 18-35 is simply better. I also have their not new 17-50 2.8 (DX only, switched from FX to DX in last couple of years) and it is very close for 1/4 the price. This lens is now somewhat redundant because I have better choices, but it doesn’t mean its not great. I also love their 17-70 2.8-4.0 for a walk around lens and its faster and quieter than anything Nikon has in that range. I use it as an all in one for travel. Finally, I couldn’t resist and just purchased the new Sigma 50mm 1.4 prime. It simply smokes my Nikon (now on sale on Ebay if you are interested) I still don’ think the longer zooms (70-200) are as good and there is no substitute (yet, or maybe ever) for their wildlife primes and zooms (200-400, 500, 600mm primes) but the days of only purchasing Nikon based on quality are ending. I am not as concerned about the cost (although I am not against saving $$) as I am about getting the best images. Note that the Sigma 50mm 1.4 costs nearly double what the Nikon does and I would take the Sigma in a heartbeat despite the higher price. Times, they are a changin, IMO.

      • 15.2.1) Steve
        August 6, 2014 at 7:10 pm

        Hi Scep … That has not been my experience at all, but if you like the Sigma then please do use it.

        My Nikon 24-70 and 14-24 are sharper than anything I have ever seen or tried. Yes, I have tried Sigma as well. But the Nikons just amaze me every time I use them. They also retain their value very well.
        But if you think the knock offs are better then you should use them …

        I’ll continue to use Nikon until I find better … and right now there isn’t at their price. IMHO

      • Profile photo of Mike Banks 15.2.2) Mike Banks
        August 7, 2014 at 7:41 am

        Sceptical 1

        I am in agreement with you. I now own the three Sigma Art lenses, 35, 50 and 18-35. Bought the dock too but haven’t needed it yet. I think several companies are catching up to Nikon in as you put it the short zooms and in some cases primes. The Sigma 35A and 50A blow away anything Nikon makes. I also use the Tokina 11-16, the Sigma 17-50 which in my opinion out shines Nikon 17-55 except in color rendition which is easily adjusted in post.

        Having said that I would not trade my Nikon 70-200 f2.8 for any other brand in the same focal length. I think this is one of the sharpest lenses made and only my Micro Nikkor 200mm f4D can compare to it. However, when I decided to obtain the 24-70 I ordered from B&H both the Nikon and Tamron version of this lens. After doing extensive field testing I returned the Nikon and kept the Tamron as I found it to offer more contrast and sharpness but not color rendition. For the difference in price the Tamron was a great value. When it comes to my macro lenses, which is the bulk of my business and as I have written here several times before, I only use Nikon. I have yet to find another manufacturer to match the quality in macro that Nikon has produced. This is not to say that Sigma and Tamron and even Tokina have not made several great macro lenses, they have, but I have to have what I’m used to in order to produce the images my clients want and in this genre only Nikon will do.

        There are those whose opinions will differ but at the end of the day for any enthusiast or professional it is the final product that matters not the equipment. That is IMHO.

        • Mark
          August 7, 2014 at 3:36 pm

          “For the price difference” is the key. Everyone wants to pay less for their lens, and everyone who does says “it’s better than Nikon”, or “just as good as Nikon”, or “almost as good as Nikon”. When pressed they always admit that for the same price they would all pick the Nikon. So claim all you want – the reason they sell so many at higher prices is that they are better and honest people will admit it. Sure, when you pay less it is easy to say “Even if it cost more I would have bought the no-name brand”. Yeah, OK.

          • Profile photo of Mike Banks Mike Banks
            August 8, 2014 at 8:02 am


            I’m sure when you wrote your reply your comments were not meant to denigrate but please don’t assume I am anything but an honest person.

            I also take umbrage when someone writes a review that A is better than B but at the price of B they will give up A. You’re correct, the justification in many cases is as you state “For the price difference”. I have never balked at paying top price when I find significant quality differences. As I have noted in this thread as well as several others my main business involves macro photography and I only employ Nikon Macro lenses. Nothing else will do for me. However when a third party lens I can use for other portions of my business are rated just under Nikon and the price difference is significant I will test that lens and if indeed I find it works for me I will buy it.

            Question is; what is significant? When I purchased my Nikon 70-200 f2.8, I was unable to find another lens that would match it. When I decided to purchase the Nikon 24-70 f2.8 my research found that the difference between the Nikon and the Tamron was about two to three points different in the review I read. I think they gave the Nikon a 96 and the Tamron came in at something like a 93 (or something like that). I ordered both and field tested the two lenses. For me there was not enough difference to pay the extra $600 for the Nikon. Had the Nikon 24-70 only been $200 or $250 more, I would certainly paid the difference. I did not find $600 difference between the lenses…for my purpose.

            When I bought my Honda Pilot, I also test drove the Toyota Highlander. The Highlander was a few thousand dollars lower in price. I like the layout of the Toyota better than the Honda but I like the seats in the Honda better. (I’ve got an old butt). I like comfort. Features of the Highlander were very attractive, even more so than the Pilot but because of the seats I bought the Pilot. The gist of this is I don’t care what I pay for anything if I am getting better value for me.

            In order for me to purchase from Nikon when it comes to glass the item has to be so much better than the 3rd party to justify the cost against performance, (other than macro). To presume the rest of the photography manufacturing world is unable to catch up with Nikon is foolish. (BTW, when it comes to camera bodies I will only buy Nikon).

          • sceptical1
            August 8, 2014 at 1:12 pm

            Honestly Mark,

            That is ridiculous. I would purchase a Sigma 18-35 1.8 instead of a Nikon 24-70 2.8 even if the price were reversed. As I stated, I am purchasing these because they provide better picture quality. I did not say they are more durable (hard to say, but I strongly suspect my Nikon pro glass will outlast these Sigma’s although their 50mm prime is built like a tank) or have better resale value. My interest is taking the best pictures. In pursuit of that I have spent a small fortune on professional Nikon wildlife lenses (Nikon 200-400, 500mm F4) Right now you would have to pry the Nikon 70-200 out of my dead hands because despite it being very heavy, there is currently no substitute. I also spent a whole lot on a high IQ 80-400mm G lens because it was marginally better than anything else of its type at any price. So please save the Nikon bigotry. I like them to. I also like taking better pictures and the Sigma’s I have allow for better picture quality and in the case of the 18-35, much more versatility as I don’t have to pack around a wider prime or a 35mm prime (used to carry 24mm and 35mm, now I carry one lens that works for those ranges.)
            Times change, others catch up. Do I think they will catch up or surpass Nikon across the board? Probably not anytime soon, but for this range of lenses they have, regardless of price.
            Finally, I am a firm believer that professional photographers should save money where they can. The fact that some of the Sigma’s cost less is all to the good because photography is a tough business and many overspend on equipment they can’t afford.
            Here is why.
            1. Photography is highly competitive and that usually limits the amount you can charge for your time.
            2. Photography businesses don’t build equity. Your business is YOU. Usually all you have at the end of your career is some slowly depreciating gear.
            3. The photography business has high overhead.
            4. Since every dollar counts, there is a large opportunity cost to buying the latest and greatest or spending on gear you will only use twice when you can rent – and that is that you could have used the money to enhance your retirement account, which you will definitely need.
            So, if I can get a lens that provides better picture quality for less, that is a double win in my mind.

    • 15.3) Really??
      August 7, 2014 at 5:46 am

      You are comparing apples & oranges.

      The Kenko tubes are AF compatible. We’ve been waiting 20+ years for Nikon to produce similar tubes.

      I have both Kenko and Nikon PK & PN tubes and have no issues with the fit of the Kenkos, only with the functionality of the Nikon tubes. Try using a PK or PN with your G lenses (even for MF)!!

      • 15.3.1) Really??
        August 7, 2014 at 5:48 am

        Oh, and when did Nikon ever make an enlarger?

        Enlarging lenses, yes but an enlarger?

        • Really.
          August 7, 2014 at 5:54 am

          1975 apparently!

        • Steve
          August 7, 2014 at 3:40 pm

          Yes … look it up. That’s how you got enlargements with film.
          You’ve never had your own darkroom?
          That explains a lot …

      • 15.3.2) Steve
        August 7, 2014 at 2:33 pm

        No, I am comparing extension tubes from 2 manufacturers. That is not apples and oranges.

        You use AF on macro work? LOL I wouldn’t even think to ask that …

        The Kenko were junk …

        • Profile photo of Mike Banks Mike Banks
          August 7, 2014 at 3:07 pm

          Really, AF with macro doesn’t compute. Nikon will most likely never make a set of AF extension tubes because they already make the best macro lenses available. There would be no point for them to do so.

          • Steve
            August 7, 2014 at 3:38 pm

            Exactly … but the ones they do make are still far better than all of the junk ones out there.

            • Profile photo of Mike Banks Mike Banks
              August 8, 2014 at 8:03 am

              OK. If it works for you….do it.

  15. 16) quityerbitchen
    August 7, 2014 at 10:55 pm

    How do I get out of this rabbit hole?

    • 16.1) Steve
      August 8, 2014 at 9:36 am

      Swallow the red pill …

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