Apples and oranges – yes, I know.
These are two vastly different companies in terms of their size and what they produce but with my products from each company costing the same amount I can’t help but compare them anyway.
A year and a half ago, Nikon released its D600 – a semi-pro D-SLR camera body with a $2000 price tag. Almost immediately various forums began to fill with complaints of oil being deposited onto the camera’s mirror and sensor as the camera was used. Users around the world blamed a faulty shutter mechanism.
Nikon repeatedly denied that there was a problem and/or blamed the owner for any “damage” to the camera.
In the meantime they released a D610 camera – identical to the D600 except for a redesigned shutter…while still denying any problem with the D600’s shutter.
As recently as two months ago, a representative from NikonUSA wrote that Nikon does not acknowledge the problem and a solution from them would not be forthcoming since Nikon was not to blame for any oil deposits.
Last week, California law firm Zimmerman & Reed filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of Nikon D600 owners. Six days later, Nikon has issued a global recall of all D600 cameras, even those out of warranty, for a free shutter mechanism replacement.
Just yesterday – and only when faced with a lawsuit – did Nikon even acknowledge that there was a manufacturing problem with one of their cameras, let alone make arrangments to fix it.
As I followed the course of the D600 saga over those months (eventually buying a D610), I was also reading, as I always do, the Elecraft reflector. Customer service and responsiveness from Elecraft is well known but the contrast between the way they are and how they could be (Nikon-like) is like night and day.
A lesson to be learned (or reminded of) from all this is that, while technical specs of a product are important, they are only as relevent as their company’s willingness to stand behind the product claiming them.