A touch of reality when buying any gear

Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
edited March 2013 in General Discussions
I was debating to post this article but then I came to the realization that we need to take the good with the bad.

Nikon Quality Assurance and Marketing Gone Wrong.

Now...what are your thoughts on the subject matter....
D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |


  • Rx4PhotoRx4Photo Posts: 1,200Member
    edited March 2013
    I think that a lot of the gear debates that have gone on in this new forum as well as the old forum has been nicely summed up in that article. I just scanned thru it and will spend more time reading it later. He makes many valid points. I recall mentioning in a thread on the old forum that it seems that Nikon wants to put a slight compromise into every camera body - and the only way to get the unquestionable bang is to shell out for the D4 - but then you only have 16MP and not 24 or 36. Oy to the Vey.

    On a more personal experience note, just yesterday I finally decided I need to send my D800 in to Nikon service to have the focusing system assessed. Taking landscape and architecture photos with the camera has been an absolute pleasure but my "human" portraiture has always left me scratching my head as to why my photos aren't as clean and sharp as what I think a $3,000 camera should produce. I've done focus fine tuning on more than one occasion and realized that I do in fact have a backfocusing issue with all of my lenses to the tune of -15 to -20. This might not have been seen as a quality issue since there's a chance of this in all of these cameras but I'm thinking I shouldn't have to make such a huge adjustment for every lens.

    After I get it back, I do plan on shooting my D800 until the letters fade off. By then things, as well as our issues, will be different.
    Post edited by Rx4Photo on
    D800 | D7000 | Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 | 24-70mm f/2.8 | 70-200mm f/2.8 | 35mm f/1.8G | 85mm f/1.4G | Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art | Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art | Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM | Zeiss 100mm Makro-Planar ZF.2 | Flash controllers: Phottix Odin TTL

  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    edited March 2013
    @Rx4Photo: You might want to send in the lens as well and have them check that out. It could be that then lens it self might have some elements out of alinement. ;)

    As for the article...I agree with their comments and perspective. Be it Nikon or other manufactures. It all comes down to being truthful and providing the right level of service to your customers and consumer base.

    We all know that electronic are far from being perfect, yet when their is an issue, the producers need to step up and address the matter in a fashion that the buyer will find acceptable in addressing the issue. Manufactures make/get it right most of the times but when they hesitate and try to see how bad the problem is before addressing it, that is when they get "egg on their face," thus they start to lose their credibility within the consumer market and those that have purchased their goods. This is the failure of the Marketing team. Engineers like nothing more than to fix the problems that arises from their creations...they are not "politicians."
    Post edited by Golf007sd on
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,398Moderator
    Good article. Maybe Nikon will read it and listen.....or.....Zzzzzz....
    Msmoto, mod
  • JJ_SOJJ_SO Posts: 1,158Member
    edited March 2013
    @Rx4Photo this weekend I also did the AF-finetune on my lenses and found two which are in the range you described for all your lenses. After an e-mailed question I was told to send in the two lenses to adjust them. That's what I just did. Most of the other lenses ranged between +3 and -8. I get nervous at +/-15. But if all lenses are the same, I would send in the body first. Just because the insurance doesn't cover all lenses in one parcel :)
    Post edited by JJ_SO on
  • mikepmikep Posts: 280Member
    edited March 2013
    japan doesnt have the laws against price fixing, and market manipulation like europe does (does america? i dont know). japanese companies are a complete nightmare; supermarkets, mobile phones, cars, even public transport fix prices. im sure this happens all over the world, but its very blatant in japan.

    canon and nikon are not rivals, they are good, if not best friends.

    they wont admit to camera issues unless legally forced to, generally very cagey .....

    its an interesting article, and i agree with most of it, if not all. however, we dont have to buy anything we dont want to. id never buy new cameras when they first get released, or anything else for that matter, it pays to wait until the hype of initial release dies down, same for phones, and computers etc. you get a better deal, and the problems have been ironed out. pre-ordering is madness imo; buying such an expensive product before even seeing it :o - though they do say arranged marriages last longer :/

    also, at the end he makes a good point, entry level dslrs are better than top of the line cameras from just a few years ago. if you can tame your gear lust, we as camera consumers have it pretty good really.
    Post edited by mikep on
  • Rx4PhotoRx4Photo Posts: 1,200Member
    edited March 2013
    Thanks Golf and JJ_SO. What I'll do is send the body with the Nikkor 85mm f/1.4G (requiring -19). They are both less than a year old. If they make any adjustments to the body then hepefully it'll result in a more minor adjustment in AF-fine tune for the other lenses.

    After dealing with pre-ordering only once (D7000 back in 2010) I will never pre-order anything else. What a total fiasco. It only feuled my anxiety and frustration on a day to day basis.
    Post edited by Rx4Photo on
    D800 | D7000 | Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 | 24-70mm f/2.8 | 70-200mm f/2.8 | 35mm f/1.8G | 85mm f/1.4G | Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art | Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art | Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM | Zeiss 100mm Makro-Planar ZF.2 | Flash controllers: Phottix Odin TTL

  • JJ_SOJJ_SO Posts: 1,158Member
    @Rx4Photo: The 85/1.4G was also one of the two strange lenses with severe backfocus. The other was 14-24 although it's a bit tricky to judge and almost only visible in 24mm wide open. Did you notice any "focussing hesitation" with the 85? It appeared to me, in combination of D7100 or D7000 it's not reacting immediatley when in AF-C mode. To me, the sound of the focussing drive was also a bit different when attached to D7100 contrary to the two elder bodies. Strange. Not that I use this lens a lot on DX, but it was an indicator.
  • tc88tc88 Posts: 537Member
    edited March 2013
    I read the article and there is nothing new said there. Regarding intentionally crippling products for differentiation, it happens all the time. I don't like that either. But anyone who thinks the additional memory in a higher priced phone costs remotely close to the price difference must also be delusional.

    Cost and price don't need to track each other. In fact, that's what drive innovations in capitalism. One tries to come up with things that people demand so that they can command a high price, but can be produced at better margins compared to existing products. If price is fixed to be just say 20% above the cost, we have a socialism system.

    Now regarding Nikon's minimum price system which is not mentioned in the article, I'm against that.
    Post edited by tc88 on
  • MikeGunterMikeGunter Posts: 543Member
    Hi all,

    I must be the only former writing teacher here. :-(

    Long and difficult to read sort of like it was written without an outline. I'm sure there was something to say, I wish it was formed in a more straightforward way like the "Note to Nikon Management" and "Lessons Learned" which were organized and logical.

    The paragraph structure rambled, rather than rocked.

    @Golf007sd There is good and bad in all things. Nikon has, as the author of the piece pointed out, let the market down. I don't think we - the market - haven't been clear enough in letting Nikon know what we really think about it, either. I've been a Nikon customer for over 4 decades and it has crossed my mind to switch. I likely won't - it's just too costly, but if I'm considering it, others certainly are, too.

    My best.

  • SymphoticSymphotic Posts: 711Member
    The take-home message of the article for me is not to pre-order any more.

    Nikon lost a lot of money last year by introducing products that they couldn't ship by the end of their fiscal year, and then those they shipped had problems that cooled the market. I've worked for a company that did the same thing. There is always a temptation to release products before they are ready, and then find that you don't have the quality procedures in place to produce 'six-sigma' 99.999% trouble free products.

    Ah, to be a fly on the wall at the internal shouting matches between management, production, engineering and marketing at Nikon over these problems! Having been on the inside of Japanese companies all my adult life in both engineering and management, I am convinced a large part of the silence from Nikon on the problems is due the the fact that these groups have not yet sorted out their differences.

    As a customer, I felt the need to return my D800 for warranty repair was annoying, but I have customers returning stuff to me for warranty repair as well, so I can't cast any stones. Overall, I am very happy with the D800 and have bought three so far for various jobs. One of the three (the first one that I pre-ordered) had to go back.
    Jack Roberts
    "Discovery consists in seeing what everyone else has seen and thinking what nobody else has thought"--Albert Szent-Gyorgy
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 4,494Member
    Good article. Maybe Nikon will read it and listen.....or.....Zzzzzz....
    More likely "Zzzzzz". It seems to be Nikon's general attitude towards the majority of customer base. I think what stood out to me the most about this post was the part that covered the idea that people just keep buying, even when things are going very wrong. We all want the best out of our camera equipment, but at what price? Money talks, if Nikon isn't delivering the quality you demand as a customer, don't buy.

    I realize working pros might have to compromise, to keep up with the competition, but as for the rest of us why? I see some landscape hobby shooters leaping on each new camera, just for the extra 1/2 a stop of dynamic range, when a grad ND filter set would have achieved the same result, and cost a heck of lot less. To me, unless you are needing to shoot video, the newer bodies aren't really needed by most people. I've set myself up in a every other generation upgrade cycle. I just hope Nikon gets the quality control in check by that point.
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • JJ_SOJJ_SO Posts: 1,158Member
    edited March 2013
    After reading the article:

    My savings of not buying everything Nikon could offer me are tremendous. But sometimes it happens that I want a specific product. And then I will preorder, like I did in the past, knowing I'll have to pay another price than others months after it was released. That's my pleasure, as much as I dare to get my food not in the cheapest stores. A question of priorities, nothing else. And since it's my money... I don't even ask from the late adopters for financial support that I might help to get better products afterwards. I don't even ask for support when I put some pressure on customer support to solve the problems - while others lean back and wait... and wait... and wait until the problem disappears in thin air.

    Quality control makes the quality. Forget it. Quality cannot be produced by quality control, this happens before, very long before, starting with design. So complaining about QC shows only a very narrow thinking of the author.

    When there's competition and life is endangered by disfunctional brakes as like in the car industry or cancer-causing breast implants, that's something different than "issues" of one of two pseudo-competing big players - nobody gets hurt by dust on sensors or focus issues. And truly, as long as we buy that stuff, nothing happens - but what will happen if we stop buying that stuff? Do we really want them both collapse? Or only one big player left? Anybody here who thinks with the smaller producers anything works better?

    What I really dislike is the authors whining for the same features the more expensive models have. Hell, nobody from Nikon ever forced me to buy anything from them. If I want to be treated as grown up, I should come over childish allures. There are target groups for the models, I really dislike this greedy demand "get me everything for the same price of the entry level stuff, because it's oh so cheap...".

    Changing systems? Yes, why not. If I have the customers paying me my luxurious switch to other brands, why not? I don't like fanboys, too, but what is wrong with sticking to a brand I made so far good experiences? I switched, several times from Yashica/Zeiss to Mamiya to Sony to Pentax and now to Nikon. Beg your pardon, but so far I have what I wanted and just because a professional photog starts a crusade, I don't have to join.

    That doesn't mean I don't criticize Nikon's lack of information culture. But with high complex structures like today's cameras are it would be pretty foolish to expect 100% perfection - for that you pay much, much more.
    Post edited by JJ_SO on
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 4,494Member
    edited March 2013
    Quality control has something to do with design, but it also comes down to how they are made. Lets use the D600 as an example. The model designed, built and tested by engineers in Japan could be flawless, but the ones produced in the Thailand plant could be another story. That is where quality control comes in. Without quality control in the factory sloppy production will rule the day. If you were an employer, would you accept your workers slacking off and making substandard products? Not if you want to stay in business!
    Post edited by PB_PM on
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • shawninoshawnino Posts: 453Member
    I am a big fan of the Mansurovs' site. That said, I think this guy killed his own post by making it 4X as long as it needed to be. I found myself skimming when I think the author likely wished I'd been reading.

    Yes, Quality Control is a problem. So say it forcefully and move on.

    yes, marketing's a black box. At what company is it not?

    The article was then made even less relevant with the tangential chatter about switching systems. A system switch for non-pros isn't really feasible, even if you follow his guidelines. I admire the people who do it (it does not involve Nikon at all, but over on the Leica Rumours sister blog, J Shin wrote a great article on the process a couple months back), but in my mind if you're not a pro, it's not economical. If you're a pro, hey, go for it. Write off your new gear as a business expense and it might even pay you to do it. But for the rest of us? Get outta here. Cost barriers are way too high.

    This could have been a good article. As is, it's got serious focusing issues. Oh, oil spots too.
  • NSXTypeRNSXTypeR Posts: 2,288Member
    He talks about how pro cameras have features that should trickle down to lower level cameras as if it's a right.

    Nikon is a company, they can make whatever the hell they want. He has the right to purchase and use whatever camera he wants.

    He also talks as if Nikon is the only camera maker to offer its best features on their pro cameras. Every camera maker does the same. Try to get 8 fps on your Canon 60D. Take a look at the 7D as well- there hasn't been a clear update for that as well. Okay, it's newer than the D300s but it's no spring chicken either.

    His writing is somewhat sensationalist and it reminds me of Ken Rockwell. It grabs clicks.

    Of course he can tell you to change makers willy nilly. He's probably a professional and can afford to do so. If I could do that I'd do the same.
    Nikon D7000/ Nikon D40/ Nikon FM2/ 18-135 AF-S/ 35mm 1.8 AF-S/ 105mm Macro AF-S/ 50mm 1.2 AI-S
  • AdeAde Posts: 1,071Member
    Amidst all of Nikon's quality issues, I still know more people who are switching to Nikon than leaving Nikon. (Still photographers, at least -- most of the video guys/girls switched to Canon or Panasonic or Sony a long time ago and maybe not coming back.)

    We know the D800 is a fantastic camera and people are willing to put up with the risk of flaws / dealing with returns, etc., to get it. The D600 is a great value to those wanting to jump to FF. The D7100 will probably be a best seller as well.

    But no question in my mind that Nikon has lost a lot of goodwill among it's most loyal customers. And I don't know if they actually care or not... THAT, is the problem.

  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 4,494Member
    edited March 2013
    That's the bridge between being loyal and being a fanboy IMO. Someone who is simply loyal expects some loyalty in return. A fanboy will stick to their guns (brand) even if they are not treated with an ounce of respect in return.
    Post edited by PB_PM on
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,398Moderator
    What I meant in stating it was a good article, was, the content made some good points.

    We are in a strange time. A legend in cameras has somehow determined that the issue of public relations is unimportant. Not only is this confusing to those of us who have been around a long time, but very frustrating as we may be seeing the handwriting on the wall. Arrogance may be the forerunner of disaster....
    Msmoto, mod
  • tc88tc88 Posts: 537Member
    edited March 2013
    Even if I'm going to start from scratch today, I don't think I will pick Canon though given their outdated camera offerings and lens that are no cheaper.

    The problem is that while neither Nikon/Canon is monopoly in the absolute sense, they are monopolies in reality since there are heavy barriers to customers to switch as well for new companies to enter. That's why neither really care much about their customers. At least in Nikon's case, they try to put out cameras that are better in specs.
    Post edited by tc88 on
  • JJ_SOJJ_SO Posts: 1,158Member
    Outdated? Really? Nikon has to show first, if they can bring out something with the qualities of G11/G12 or maybe using touchscreens, swivel screens also in the D7x00 class. Or WLAN onboard. Or video without strange ways to fiddle around with aperture. Also, I don't hear much about those quality issues Nikon has and if - like the lumination of the function LCD irritating exposure meter - they admit and fix it. In my case, I could have ended up with Canon as well, I just don't like the design as much.

    @Msmoto; The article points out some things which are already disastrous, but as he says, we keep on buying and preordering and for a simple signal to NIkon it's too long and not drilling a hole through the big walls of Tokio headquarters.
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 4,494Member
    edited March 2013
    @tc88 Having the biggest numbers (specs) is all well and good, but if they aren't finely tuned what's the point? It's like building the fastest race car, only to have a piston fail during the race (piston = dust/oil/AF issues). If you don't get the most important parts right, leaving the start line still wont win you the race.

    Nikon and Canon are so close in terms of performance that it takes nit picking (pixel peeping) to tell the difference. Both offer high quality equipment, and both have short comings and strong points. Use what you like and stop the hating.
    Post edited by PB_PM on
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    edited March 2013
    I always enjoy Mansurov's thoughts - and reviews.

    There are many companies having issues dealing with customer service when it is below their primary focus of the company. (i.e. Nikon is a R&D, product, marketing focused as primary operations, customer service is a secondary focus.) I think a lot of it has to do with cutbacks from a few years ago when the market plunged and now the effects of the cuts have finely worked their way though the system. Many times that does take years for it to peek it's nasty head out.

    There is a lot of people, including myself that are disappointed in Nikon's reaction, or the lack there of, with the current direction of releases, prices, lens updates, flash updates, accessories and of course issues.

    Some disappointments:
    • Having too small of sensor- DX wanted
    • Size vs sensor seems too large
    Coolpix A
    • Not retro
    • Not interchangeable
    • 28mm f/2.8 (ok I'll admit many do like the focal range)
    DX interchangeable mirrorless system
    • Non existent
    • Everyone still has the upper hand here on options etc.
    • Oil spots
    • Where the hell is it
    • People wanted a high/stratosphere iso rather than high MP
    • Left AF
    • Oil spots
    • $600 battery grip? WTF!
    • Wifi WT-5A is $877 when the D3200 one is $60!!!!! WTF!
    • UT-1 Communication Unit with WT-5A is $1,300!!!
    • Oil spots
    • More oil spots
    • Crippled AF sensor
    • 24mp when they had the chance to fulfill the "Real D700" upgrade customer desires
    • Overheating issue
    • No wireless (RF)
    DX lens line up
    • Not building it up with 2.8/1.8/1.4 equivalents - going on 10 years now
    80-400mm VR
    • Out later than wanted
    • $1000 higher than expected
    50mm f1.2 AFS (add 85mm 1.2 as well)
    • Seriously where is one? You did it for the V/J series!!!!
    • Canon has owned this for 15 years?
    Small primes - f/2.8 updates
    • 18mm/20mm/24mm/28mm/35mm f/2. Last update 20 years ago?
    • Canon releasing these with Image Stabilization
    • Not everyone needs/wants/can afford f/1.4 glass nor the size of it.
    • Well... My mother always said "If you can't say something nice..."

    What else did I forget? I know there is more.
    The list is daunting and it goes from issues to some desires that have been discussed lately that have not been met.

    The thing is, Nikon in the last few years, has surprised everyone with many products, but in a disappointing way. That is not to say the products have not been good, but that they were not what was expected - and the expectations were higher and much different than what was delivered. That is not a sustainable path for any business.

    To be fair, Canon has missed the mark many times, Pentax has also missed some demands (but they were bought by Ricoh so there is a good reason there).

    Fujifilm & Olympus has hit the nail on the head over and over again, and Panasonic has met desirable niches as well. Sony is coming up strong as well.

    Some are tuned in to meeting customer's desires, and with the speed that others have delivered/foreseen, they seem to be more attune to the market and have shown it can be done with great success, even with a few hiccups.

    Instead listening to customer desires and observing market trends, it seems Nikon chooses to dismiss everything and instead believe they know better what the customer "actually" wanted. That can work if you exceed expectations (D800 fits that to a point), but the tendency is to miss the mark many and have customers go elsewhere.

    Post edited by TaoTeJared on
    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • ElvisheferElvishefer Posts: 329Member
    Nice summary TTJ!
    D700, 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII, 24-70mm f/2.8, 14-24mm f/2.8, 50mm f/1.4G, 200mm f/4 Micro, 105mm f/2.8 VRII Micro, 35mm f/1.8, 2xSB900, 1xSB910, R1C1, RRS Support...

    ... And no time to use them.
  • JJ_SOJJ_SO Posts: 1,158Member
    TTJ, I'm always smiling when people say, a company is not listening to the market. And mean "the company is not listening to me and some people I know" :D

    I could add some points, other I don't see as disadvantage or don't care about. And at least, each company could get such a list. Mine as well if I only ran one and yours possibly, too. So, keep the church in the village, as we say in Switzerland. If you like his posts, feel free to switch companies and see if the grass is greener in the next valley. :)

    I don't mean it confrontative. I also was complaining some times about Apple, as example and got frustrated when I was told, "you're probably right but looking on the sales numbers, not many people seem to care about". And there's a grain of truth in that.

    If you want to change Nikon's strategy, apply as CEO at them. There is no other way. Nobody can conduct the mass of customers.
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,545Moderator
    edited March 2013
    Let me start my opinion post by saying I am not negatively racist. People are people, period.

    The Japanese are a driven race who have achieved phenomenal success during my lifetime which we westerners are never likely to match and that is entirely down to deep seated cultural differences. Their inability to admit fault is part of those differences. Their first motorcycles were a joke, being bad copies of poor English designs, but boy did they learn fast and look where they are now. Talking motorcycles; they have produced their share of horrors with chocolate cams that gave the owners a terrible time and guess what - they were slow to admit it. Toyota? Now there is a fiasco - nobody got killed by their D600's dusty sensor... The Japanese mentality when combined with modern day marketing techniques is always going to give problems - that should not be a surprise to anybody that has been awake for the last 50 years.

    I enjoyed Mansurovs article, and given that it dealt with so many aspects of Nikon's current state, I thought it was well enough written (by internet standards it was very well written!) although it was so long that if it wasn't about a subject that interested me, I would have skimmed it. Will it make a difference to anything at all? No! These things take time - give them another 50 years then see where they are in regard to being honest, open and transparent.
    Post edited by Msmoto on
    Always learning.
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