The following is an exclusive guest post to pixelogist.me by Bill Green. Thanks, Bill!
Around a year ago, a very big commotion was made over the oil spots and dust that many D600 buyers were finding on their sensors. Outrage followed. The D600 is still in many respects a powerful DSLR, and power comes at the price of around $2000. Regardless of how well the camera actually performs, at this price, one would expect it to work exactly as advertised. Research was done, and luckily enough, it seems that these impurities sitting on the sensor disappear after enough usage. Nikon essentially denied responsibility, however, calling it normal operation. But when normal operation is flawed operation, wouldn’t that be justification for getting it replaced? Nikon currently offers a 1 year warranty on their D600. But when each camera, each lens is an investment by itself, something that you expect to own for years, does a twelve month guarantee really cut it?
Not Just Nikon
A warranty is not just a promise to the customer, but a gauge of their confidence in what they build. Companies know that cameras will break eventually, and are willing to replace some fraction of that at cost to them. When a warranty lasts longer, it generally means that a company is confident their product will not break in that amount of time, and if it does, no worries, you’re covered. But many major manufacturers attach alarmingly brief warranties to their cameras, even flagship models. For example, Canon also offers a 1 year warranty on their EOS series. Sony gives you the same amount of time. And what happens when a company opts out of taking responsibility, asserting that a malfunction simply isn’t and posthumously changing the warranty terms to exclude it? This hobby is expensive, and an SLR that stops powering on two Januarys after you bought it is a big sunk cost. There are always extended warrantees you can buy, but why let a company admit that the cost of their device breaking too soon isn’t one they want to bear?
The Good Guys
There are photography companies out there do in fact embrace this line of thinking, and offer larger warranties that makes people feel secure in their purchase. Tamron, a third party lens producer, gives you 6 years to test the waters on their products, a much more reasonable time frame to expect a lens to work for. But across the board, the one year warranty prevails. There are certain markets where one year is more than long enough to get worth out of what you buy. But are companies trying to say that high-end SLRs are only worth a year of use? Clearly not, but then why don’t they follow the tune of Tamron and extend their warranties?
As a customer, it is important to be able to trust not just a product, but the company. Find a corporation that takes good care of their warranties, and more than likely, you’ve found a product that takes good care of its owner. And of course, even terms and conditions are pliable, and the right attitude towards the right customer service rep can get you out of trouble for a bit longer than they promise.
This is an interesting post, Bill. Very interesting indeed. I was considering getting myself a Nikon D600, as it (for me) is the clear winner between the two new ‘entry-level’ full frame digital SLRs released by Canon and Nikon, being superior in many ways (again, for me) to the Canon EOS 6D. However, this problem is very worrying indeed, and although it can be fixed (simply cleaned) easily by the Nikon guys at your local service center, it is not really acceptable to have to send your brand-new camera – a $2000 camera, at that – for servicing the moment you actually buy it. I find that bordering on ridiculous
It is a fantastic camera, though – so if you’re really looking to go full-frame on a moderate budget, don’t hesitate to get the D600 purely because of this issue that really isn’t that hard (or expensive, for that matter) to get around. But that’s no excuse for this issue, it really isn’t
The point about manufacturer warranty is very valid too – pun not intended! I find it rather surprising that such major brands such as Nikon, Canon, and others, give us just 12 months warranty, for products that, as you say, we buy with the hope that they will last much more. It is not very heartening, is it? Got to love Tamron in this regard!
Anyway, thanks for a very interesting article, Bill. Hopefully this will get some comments and discussions going, it’s a pretty discussable topic, isn’t it? Leave a comment, people! Thanks
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- Nikon issues official statement on the D600 dust/oil issue (nikonrumors.com)
- Nikon issues service advisory on D600′s dust issue (dpreview.com)