The following letter was written to the editor of DigitalCameraReview in hopes of making some headway with Nikon to recall the D600 due to dust and oil issues. In the wake the storm since the announcement of the D610, many D600 owners are outraged and feel Nikon is turning their back on them. Here is one D600 owner’s point of view. Do you agree? Do you think Nikon owes D600 owners a recall? Check out my thoughts after reading the letter.
I am writing to you today out of sheer frustration. Less than two months ago, after dreaming for more than a year about upgrading to a full frame camera and doing lots of research to figure out what I wanted to purchase, I bought a Nikon D600. In the course of my research, I came across some reports of problems with oil spots and/or dust on the sensor, but since Nikon stated it was not a widespread problem, I believed them. This was the third Nikon for me, and I really trusted them to make solid, well-built cameras that were free of major problems. Imagine my surprise when, just a few days ago, Nikon announced the D610? a full frame camera that is pretty much identical to the D600 except with more weather sealing, a fix for the oil spot issue, and an adjusted white balance!
At first, I was totally confounded. Surely, Nikon would not find out they had a major problem with a camera body that retails for over $2000 and respond to the problem by leaving loyal customers in the dark and just making another body to buy that is, by the way, $100 cheaper? Once I realized that this is EXACTLY what they are doing, my confusion turned to anger. I saw a statement from Nikon that said, “If customers experience problems, we encourage them to send the camera in for servicing.” Yeah, and I am going to spend how much on that? Not to mention be without my camera for a while, which costs me business. Not a great option when it is a widespread issue that is Nikon’s fault, not mine! It might save money to ignore all the photographers who invested (what to me is a lot of money) in their product, but it is WRONG. If Nikon really cares about their customers and cares to keep them, they should reach out to D600 owners and issue a recall on all D600s! If it is possible to fix, they should put the upgraded fixes on every camera. And if that is impossible, the right thing to do would be to offer to replace any and all D600s with the new D610. To do anything less is shouting clearly to customers, “We do not care about you. We are just in it for the money, and for short-term gain. Don’t like it? We don’t care.”
I became a birth, newborn and family photographer partly because, for me, it blends several of my passions in life together: creativity, photography, and a love for families. I truly care about my clients, who quickly become my friends. I know that if they are thrilled with the experience of having me capture their families in photos they love, they will come back again and again, and my business will grow while I get to watch their family grow through the years. So, I am willing to go the extra mile for my clients, even if it means I lose money in the process. If Nikon valued me as a customer, they would do the same, realizing that while it may mean short-term pain or expense on their part, reaching out to fix or replace a defective camera model voluntarily would create incredible customer loyalty and that “raving fan” experience in me. I am incredibly sad and frustrated that Nikon apparently doesn’t see it that way. Maybe having Ashton Kutcher is enough for them, and they don’t really need any loyal customers… which is a good thing, I guess, because without any remedy from Nikon, I am done and Nikon has seen my last dime. I have a feeling I am not alone by a long shot. I have little hope that anyone at Nikon would give me the time of day if I wrote to them, but I figured maybe if your site addressed this situation, at least other D600 owners who feel this frustration would know they aren’t alone.
Thank you for listening!
Your response to this situation is currently being echoed across the nation. I haven’t seen so much outrage against a company’s business decision in quite a long time. A few months ago Canon experienced similar backlash recently when it introduced the Rebel T5i so shortly after releasing the T4i to fix problems with the rubber on their grip while not rectifying the problem with T4i owners. Yet, the backlash against Canon was much smaller due, in most part, to the audience buying the camera and smaller sales of the T4i versus the Nikon D600. For Canon, the issue was pretty much swept under the rug and little hoopla was made about the known problems of the T4i.*
*I stand corrected with the Canon T4i issue and apologize for my mistake. Canon U.S.A. actually did release a recall of the T4i rubber grip. Canon U.S.A. offered a recall of owners of T4is with specific serial numbers that were affected by the discoloration of the rubber grips. Owners were given the opportunity to have it repaired at no cost to them. I was unaware of this recall. I am very pleased to hear that Canon fixed the issue with no cost to the consumer. Again, I apologize for the mistake.
As we fast forward several months we now see Nikon doing the exact same thing with the D610. However, the backlash that Nikon is receiving is far greater than Canon felt. Many professional photographers, like you, were ecstatic about the release of the Nikon D600…and for good reason. For the first time since the D300, Nikon was releasing a professional grade camera that was going to knock our socks off with great image quality and solid construction while maintaining a smaller, more ergonomic footprint and providing it for an attainable price point for many photographers. Although many have looked at cameras like the D4 as the Holy Grail of Nikon’s lineup, far fewer actually purchase this camera. Why? It’s way too much camera for many working photographers. Most wedding and portrait photographers don’t need all of the bells and whistles of the D4. Also, the D4 is one humongous camera. Most professional photographers I know don not have a desire to lug around a camera of that size when a smaller camera can give them statistically similar or better quality.
Here’s one other thing that many camera companies aren’t acknowledging when it comes to designing professional grade cameras–many of the modern professional photographers are women. This is a huge change from only 12 years ago when I started shooting weddings professionally. I was one of only a small group of working professional photographers in my area that was female. The tide has now turned. Go to a WPPI or PPA convention and you will see what I mean. Women are no longer the vast minority. That’s one of the big reasons why the D600 is so appealing. It has a full frame sensor (and the benefits that go with that) in a more compact body style. Plus, in comparison with the D800, the file sizes are more manageable. Many photographers are coming to the same conclusion– don’t have the desire to tote huge cameras just to prove they are professional.
Jen, your biggest issue with the announcement of the D610 seems to stem from the fact that Nikon is not publically acknowledging that the D600’s dust and oil is bad enough that there needs to be a recall of the product–a recall that either completely fixes the D600 or replaces your current D600 with a newer D610. Both options, in my mind, are fantastic fixes–as long as the replacement unit arrives quickly and with very little downtime for photographer.
Nikon, listen to your consumers. They are crying out to remedy the problem. You are not the only company that has had a serious issue with their product. Take Toyota for example. Back in 2008 Toyota had a massive recall on 1995-2000 Tacoma trucks with rusted frames. To be very concise about the story, Toyota decided to bite the bullet and make things right by fixing or buying back old Tacoma trucks. This recall cost the company a lot of money. However, from a consumer point of view, it instilled a huge amount of trust in the company to make things right when they had messed up. Nikon D600 owners are asking you to do the same thing. Just make things right! It’s simple.
Most camera owners are very loyal to their brand. That’s why you see so many Canon vs. Nikon posts smearing the pages of photography forums worldwide. Nikon and Canon bank on that phenomenon. Here’s the thing. You do have other choices (especially if you are open to the mirrorless market). And Nikon’s recent D600 debacle is having people question their loyalties. I have a feeling there are more than just a few unhappy customers that are already seeing what other companies to offer. And guess what? They have some pretty great stuff. Check out the Pentax K-5 IIs, the brand new Pentax K-3, Olympus’s very popular OM-D E-M5 and the brand new Olympus OM-D E-M1. Heck, do you want great image quality and excellent video quality? Check out the Sony A99 or A77 or the Panasonic GH3 or the GX7. All of these cameras have some fantastic features to offer if you are willing to step outside the proverbial SLR box.
Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts with me. I hope Nikon will resolve this issue soon.
Nikon, your customers are requesting a permanent fix for the D600’s issues. What do say? Will you bite the bullet and make it right? Or will you sweep it under the rug and hope it goes away?