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Important! Nikon to Stop Selling Parts in US

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  • #2590
    Kestrana
    Participant

    http://www.change.org/petitions/nikon-inc-keep-selling-repair-parts-in-the-usa-as-they-have-always-done#

    The above is a Change.org petition addressed to Nikon. Nikon sent out a letter at the beginning to February to independent camera dealerships and retailers telling them that as of July 13, 2012 they would no longer sell replacement parts to anyone other than the 23 licensed Nikon repair facilities.

    The stated reason is “the technology underlying today’s cameras is more complex than it has ever been, and in view of the specialization of technology as well as the specialized tools that are now necessary to perform repairs on this complex equipment…” Nikon states that they will not sell parts directly to consumers, either, so if you need a rubber grip, a battery door or a rubber zoom ring, your access to these simple parts will be restricted.

    As much as I love my Nikon camera, this is utter crap. It has nothing to do with technology and everything to do with increasing money in their control. Reports from the Better Business Bureau suggest Nikon’s record on repairs handled through its own facility are not as good as most independent technicians. And Canon admittedly, has a much better record on this issue than Nikon does. However, if this ends up working out for Nikon, how can Canon and others resist the idea to keep all profits on repairs in house?

    #45203
    sleeping
    Participant

    Hmm…

    While I don’t much like the move they’re making, this is making it sound like Nikon is trying to restrict their parts to their own internal repair folks. That’s not true – the “Nikon Authorized” repair places are not the same thing as Nikon USA. There’s a list of them here:

    http://www.nikonusa.com/Service-And-Support/Nikon-Authorized-Repair-List.page

    Incidentally, these places can actually be better option for warranty service than going to Nikon USA directly, especially if there is one local to you. But Sanford (my local one, who I have heard good things about but haven’t had to actually use) will take things by mail too, and I imagine that’s true for many of them….

    #45204
    fluffybunny
    Participant

    Yay Canon! I bought a rear LCD for my 20D and tore down the camera myself to replace it. $100.
    Their excuse about “complicated technology” is just that, an excuse.

    /Hoping Canon does not follow Nikon’s lead on this one.

    #45205
    Farktographer
    Participant

    I’ll just wait for my camera to break, then send it to Orionid and hope for the best that it’s returned to me in some working order 😆

    #45206
    orionid
    Participant

    Ha!

    /It may or may not have “new features” when you get it back.

    #45207
    Kestrana
    Participant

    sleeping that’s all well and good if you need a major repair – but if you just need say, a new door for the SD slot, or rubber for your plug interface, do you want to have to send it to another state for a 3 week turnaround on something you could fix yourself?

    It’s kind of the same thing with RadioShack. Oriond always complains how most of those stores don’t have piece parts anymore – the whole thing is an indication that we’re losing a lot of people who have the technical know-how to fix things on their own. And if sources of parts start disappearing, we’ll never get that back.

    #45208
    sleeping
    Participant

    sleeping that’s all well and good if you need a major repair – but if you just need say, a new door for the SD slot, or rubber for your plug interface, do you want to have to send it to another state for a 3 week turnaround on something you could fix yourself?

    No, what they’re doing still sucks. I just don’t think the petition is worded very accurately is all…

    #45209
    orionid
    Participant

    It’s kind of the same thing with RadioShack. Orionid always complains how most of those stores don’t have piece parts anymore – the whole thing is an indication that we’re losing a lot of people who have the technical know-how to fix things on their own. And if sources of parts start disappearing, we’ll never get that back.

    It goes beyond just that, though. Sure, it’s anoying when I walk into a RadioShack and the kid at the counter asks what he can help me with then gives me a blank stare when I ask for a 3V Zener Diode and a 100MHz crystal oscillator. Sure, I can go order what I need from Mouser just as easily, and probably for less, but when you don’t even carry the parts and products that built your store anymore? It’s become a litmus of our society that’s turning alkaline a little too quickly. We’ve let ourselves fall to the point of a consumerist society where we feel as though we’re taking an intellectual look at a situation and saying “Well, I’m not an expert in this area, and I have the capital to let an expert do it for me, so I’m comfortable paying a little more to have the job done right and provide myself with more recreation time.” The reality of the situation, though, is that we’re causing a large aggregate shift towards a demand for people with specialized technical skills while lowering the overall technical abilities of our population at large. This, in turn, makes it harder and more costly to train any given member of the population in those specific technical skills because what used to be a given baseline knowledge is no more. This is also why nuclear/underwater welders can command $80-150 an hour (and, off-topic, if you think I’m bad with customizing things, wait until you actually see/meet a good-ole-boy redneck welder that makes $300K a year). But we do it with everything: electronics, mechanical things, pluming, household repairs, lawn care (one of my best friends makes good money mowing lazy people’s lawns). As a society, we’re intellectuallizing ourselves to death. We’re getting consumed by the abstract, losing touch with the concrete, and frankly, it scares the shit out of me.

    Even if we try to swing the pendulum back the other way, and raise tarrifs or whatever political things need to be done to convince corporations to bring manufacturing jobs back to the US, the first decade is going to be extremely rough. Imagine I were a factory supervisor and I needed to hire someone to run a highly complicated machine to make widgeteridoos. Do I start with someone who’s never turned a valve or wrench in his life but has a degree in systems engineering with an emphasis on widgeteridoos? Or do I start with someone who has no idea what a widgeteridoo does, but has spent the last ten years in his dad’s automotive fabrication shop? At this point, I’d be likely to see five resumes like the first guy for every one of the second guy.

    Looking at it from Nikon’s point of view, I can’t imagine this is an easy decision. Even if the segment of their customers that feels comfortable replacing a card or battery door or a rubber grip is small, it’s still there. Now you have a segment of your customer base that will raise the question “I have to wait how long and pay how much to do what?” And they won’t pay it. And they’ll tell their freinds “Hey, man, if you get a Nikon and it breaks, be prepared to pay out the ass.” And words like that can sour a reputation quickly.

    /Heh. RadioShack. “Can I interest you in some batteries to go with that, uhhh…… whatever it is you’re buying?”

    #45210
    fluffybunny
    Participant

    /Heh. RadioShack. “Can I interest you in some batteries to go with that, uhhh…… whatever it is you’re buying?”

    I hear you brother, been saying similar things for some time.

    The most important word you wrote IMHO was “abstract”. Abstractions are powerful tools: math, engineering, software and so on, but we’ve taken them too far (like we always do).

    Money is an abstraction. You can abstract work, food, clothing, shelter and people away with it. Once you don’t have to do something hard or dirty or hot, once you don’t have to look the guy your firing in the eye it all becomes easier.

    There is a term we use around here in our philosophizing; “intellectual laziness”. It’s when you take the easy way instead of putting forth the mental effort needed by some scenario. It is one of the contributors to the market crash. Some guy wrote a fancy program that a bank used as part of their analysis for investment risk. It worked so well other banks wanted it, so they sold it along with the instructions to use as part of the analysis. Their customers “just wanted a number to tell us if it was OK or not”. Soon everyone was relying on an unrealistic number out of intellectual laziness. You know the rest of the story.

    Another example: Let’s say there’s a work rule that says “if you are using a pencil, you must wear stabbing protection so you don’t hurt yourself with the pencil”. The intellectually lazy CEO will be too important or busy to figure out for himself whether a worker he sees is supposed to have stabbing protection on, so he modifies the rule to be “every one must where stabbing protection”, even if they’re illiterate. Now the CEO can cover his ass with little to no effort.

    Gah, enough late night ranting I guess.

    #45211
    Farktographer
    Participant

    /Heh. RadioShack. “Can I interest you in some batteries to go with that, uhhh…… whatever it is you’re buying?”

    I hear you brother, been saying similar things for some time.

    The most important word you wrote IMHO was “abstract”. Abstractions are powerful tools: math, engineering, software and so on, but we’ve taken them too far (like we always do).

    Money is an abstraction. You can abstract work, food, clothing, shelter and people away with it. Once you don’t have to do something hard or dirty or hot, once you don’t have to look the guy your firing in the eye it all becomes easier.

    There is a term we use around here in our philosophizing; “intellectual laziness”. It’s when you take the easy way instead of putting forth the mental effort needed by some scenario. It is one of the contributors to the market crash. Some guy wrote a fancy program that a bank used as part of their analysis for investment risk. It worked so well other banks wanted it, so they sold it along with the instructions to use as part of the analysis. Their customers “just wanted a number to tell us if it was OK or not”. Soon everyone was relying on an unrealistic number out of intellectual laziness. You know the rest of the story.

    Another example: Let’s say there’s a work rule that says “if you are using a pencil, you must wear stabbing protection so you don’t hurt yourself with the pencil”. The intellectually lazy CEO will be too important or busy to figure out for himself whether a worker he sees is supposed to have stabbing protection on, so he modifies the rule to be “every one must where stabbing protection”, even if they’re illiterate. Now the CEO can cover his ass with little to no effort.

    Gah, enough late night ranting I guess.

    Similar to why I have to spend 1.5 hours filling out a health and safety form every time I want to start a new reaction that takes goddamn 5 minutes to finish?

    /So much hate.
    //Seriously though, people spend too much time on the TV and interwebs and not enough time honing random knowledge. Not everyone needs to know how to fix their own camera, but knowing basic components isn’t too hard to figure out. I’m guilty of being lazy in the evenings, but try not to do it too much — the sonicator in our lab broke, and I called dibs on it if the powers-that-be declare it to be dead so I can try on my own home time to bring it back to life, or, scrap it and figure something else fun to do with it.

    #45212
    Kestrana
    Participant

    This doesn’t just affect Nikon users though. Sure, there’s 2 official NikonUSA repair shops and 23 other “authorized repair facilities”. But all the mom and pop stores carry Nikon – what happens when they lose 10-50% of their business? Between this and Kodak, you could see a large number struggling by the end of the year.

    #45213
    lokisbong
    Participant

    That’s a very valid point Kestrana. Small businesses will be s.o.l. for that part of their regular income. Like there are not enough problems with the economy for small businesses without throwing something like this into the mix. and It could set a precedent Canon could follow too. Gods I hope not but it wouldn’t surprise me.

    #45214
    Yugoboy
    Participant

    This whole thread makes me sad.

    #45215
    CauseISaidSo
    Participant

    I guess I have a slightly different take on things. RadioShack doesn’t carry many discrete components anymore because of the overwhelming number and variety of them today. Back when the number of discrete components could be listed entirely within a set of two catalogs (analog and digital), it made sense to carry some 74xx chips and a fairly limited inventory of things most commonly used. Now, they could fill an entire wall with just the variations in uP from one manufacturer (look at how many PIC variations there are, for example). And when you’ve got sales staff, rent, and utilities overhead, you’ve gotta concentrate on things that will move in volume. So, everyone gets their components online and RS doesn’t carry many for the same reason that Borders was driven out of business by Amazon & the like – inventory selection and pricing.

    Does that mean there are fewer people interested in developing these and other skills? I don’t think so. Look at the proliferation of DIY shows on TV, of Make and similar magazines, Makers Faire’s, Instructables, hackedgadgets.com, hackaday.com and similar forums, the success of SparkFun, etsy and all the other crafts sites, etc. With the online knowledge store accessible to all now, I think we’re seeing more of it.

    Where we’re failing as a society is illustrated by fluffy and Farktographer’s statements – there’s too much catering to the least common denominator. There’s too much effort put into trying to remove the natural guides to learning; i.e. consequences of ones actions – pain (whether physical, mental, or monetary) when you screw up and reward when you succeed. Used to be if a guy bought a screwdriver, poked himself in the eye and then tried to sue the manufacturer for warning him not to do so, he’d get laughed out of court; now it seems as likely that the manufacturer would be told they should expect idiots to use their product and warn them of potential dangers.

    Same thing with the recent housing crisis on both sides. This “too big to fail” crap is just that. What lesson was learned there? Oh yeah – if we’re big enough, we can do whatever we want with no real thought to consequences. And on the other side, we have the lesson that people just can’t be expected to be smart enough to know that a 50-year mortgage or buying a $500K house with an interest-only loan while making $25K a year are bad ideas and so we need to help them out of those poor choices.

    #45216
    orionid
    Participant

    I guess I have a slightly different take on things. RadioShack doesn’t carry many discrete components anymore because of the overwhelming number and variety of them today. Back when the number of discrete components could be listed entirely within a set of two catalogs (analog and digital), it made sense to carry some 74xx chips and a fairly limited inventory of things most commonly used. Now, they could fill an entire wall with just the variations in uP from one manufacturer (look at how many PIC variations there are, for example). And when you’ve got sales staff, rent, and utilities overhead, you’ve gotta concentrate on things that will move in volume. So, everyone gets their components online and RS doesn’t carry many for the same reason that Borders was driven out of business by Amazon & the like – inventory selection and pricing.

    Does that mean there are fewer people interested in developing these and other skills? I don’t think so. Look at the proliferation of DIY shows on TV, of Make and similar magazines, Makers Faire’s, Instructables, hackedgadgets.com, hackaday.com and similar forums, the success of SparkFun, etsy and all the other crafts sites, etc. With the online knowledge store accessible to all now, I think we’re seeing more of it.

    I don’t disagree with your examples, but I don’t think they’re as indicative as what you suggest. I’ve been a Ham Radio operator since I was five. Over the last 25 years, I’ve watched a slow, steady, systematic change to the environment at HamFests (the original MakerFaires). Used to be, you could go to any hamfest whether it be a little local club up to the three-day convention in Dayton, OH, and you’d see about 50% of the market either used discreet components or used electronics equipment of all flavors. Then you’d see about 35% NOS components and other 15% divided up between commercial vendors, computer games, and off-topic stuff like Avon. Now, in addition to being half the size (Dayton alone, has dropped from it’s peak of 10,000 vendors and 40,000 attendees in the mid 90’s to less than 4,000 vendors and 20,000 attendees last year), the content has shifted, too. Less than 50% is ham related used gear or NOS, and the rest is commercial vendor and off topic (computer games are hit or miss – Shows like Manassas have a crap-ton, shows like Richmond, one of the last “junk” hold-outs, still have almost none). Other observable changes include now you have old guys walking from table to table asking specifically “Do you have any tubes?” I even heard a 20-something with an Extra-class (the top level) call sign on his hat say “What’s a tube? Like piping?” Granted, nobody mass-produces tubes anymore, so all you can find is NOS or super-expensive customs. Big manufacturers like Yaesu and Kenwood have a booth or trailer at every show where people line up to play with the latest and greatest $10,000 toy, whereas they would always hold out for the big shows like Dayton or Shelbyville. Meanwhile, I’m spending all day looking for bulkhead terminals and a 1W 440MHz beacon to no such luck. The number of off-topic tables has gon up significantly, too. This past weekend, we were stuck between one table with Cellphone covers and avon and another table with Bonzai trees. Once people referred to Heathkits and Dick Smith Kits as the best for your money because you know what quality you’re getting when you build it yourself. Now you can’t find Dick Smith at all and people call heathkits “Griefkits” because they require assembly (and are only found as NOS).

    The hands-on, nitty-gritty aspect is slowly shrinking. It will never die, but it’s becoming more and more of a minority as people just want to be handed the newest, shiniest, flashiest gadget without worry as to how it works or why. When we drop below a certain level, the commercial support will completely fall off, too.

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