A lesson in due diligence

Discussion in 'Photography & Video' started by herzeg, Aug 26, 2019.

  1. herzeg

    herzeg Iron Photographer

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    Well, it all started early last June, when I eagerly acquired a Nikon D850, after months of stewing over whether to convert to Sony mirrorless, or not. I bought the camera from JB online and rushed to the city camera store to pick it up the next morning; grabbed an extra Nikon battery and a glass screen protector and left the store excited as fuck - you know how it goes.

    Same day, set the camera up and married it with a leather black/wine Lucky hand-strap; charged the batts and took some mandatory test shots around the household; flowers, clocks, pegs on the line - all the standard shit. Slapped on the 35mm Distagon and took some portraits of the kids; wow...

    Happy as Larry, I went to check the photos out on the PC and found out that my old version of LR didn't like the D850 RAWs, and in the throngs of thinking whether to go CC, or else, put up with DNG conversion for a few days and then decided to trial some other industry software. Settled for DxO Photolab; it is bloody amazing, especially for RAW processing and with the Film Pack at that. Only issue was that the exporting time was taking too long with Prime NR (close to 2 minutes per photo), but, I had to have it, so a new PC was in order and accounted for - new camera, check, new PC, check, new software check.

    July went swell; few hundred photos, between D850 and my other FF and MFT gear. I've been rat-running through the neighborhood since they started the damn sky rail works and choked the arterials, so during one of those detours I came across some old cars in a used brick yard and made a note to myself to come back early on a weekend and put a wide angle to the test on the D850.

    Come last Saturday, onsite at 0700; gear in bag, coffee in hand - top of the world. Couple of hundred shots and a quick run home for some thirsty editing later, lo and behold... If you're anything like me, you dabble in a bit of pixel peeping no doubt, and boy, did I enjoy pixel peeping at the 46mp Fujichrome Provia 100F emulations of the morning adventure, until I saw...

    And it seized my solar plexus, and fucked up my whole Saturday, and I still felt the black dog on Sunday. Oil speck - 5% down, centre of top edge of frame. In every shot, f5+. And in Live View - like a perpetual stab in the eyeballs. In full resolution on a 4K monitor, they look like burger rings - this one did too. Don't get me wrong, I thought it may have been dust, so I tried the sensor cleaning function of the camera, several times, to no avail. Blew the sucker hard in mirror lockup mode, several times, to no avail. All this did was amplify the disappointment; it was behind the protective glass filter. All of a sudden, the $4500 marvel of a camera felt like a brick of shit...

    Then I thought, it's just a fucking speck; I can live with it and edit it out, every single time, then sobered up and said fuck that - I didn't pay so much coin to put up with this shit. I wrote a post on OCAU to get some rational advice, then immediately deleted it - it wasn't going to get rid of the fucking speck.

    I called JB and gave them the spiel - apparently it was out of the immediate replacement period (60 days), so they advised me to bring it in and they would handle the warranty with Nikon. Same Saturday, 1630 - city JB store, camera in hand. Lady from the call assists; I make it clear will not settle for significant servicing or a refurbished replacement. She concurs and, in the process of filling in the system, advised that it was still indeed in the immediate replacement period and she must have confused brands earlier.

    Hallelujah - new camera in hand, off I went. But, before I did, I thoroughly tested it with a lens in store, at all apertures in Live View - all good. Now, this is my favourite camera again...

    TLDR version:

    • Never chose to put up with shit for convenience
    • Do the due diligence and test your new gear, if not during purchase, then immediately soon after, and demand a replacement if something is NQR
    • Brick and mortar stores have an "immediate replacement" period of 60-90 days, based on brand
     
    BigTriangle, Agg and die_piggy like this.
  2. Xang

    Xang Member

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    FWIW Nikon Service is very helpful and would have sorted this out no worries. Bit quicker getting an in-store replacement if you can swing it, although there's no way that's legally required of them past 2 months.
     
    herzeg likes this.
  3. OP
    OP
    herzeg

    herzeg Iron Photographer

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    No question about that; however, not a nice thing to go through given the outlay - one would should expect top notch QC, especially given their history with the issue. Other aspect is the benefit of purchasing via brick and mortar stores; it would have been a kent of a process handling this they grey way.
     
  4. Frozen_Hell

    Frozen_Hell Member

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    I had something similar happen a few years ago with the Nikon D750 I purchased. The front command dial stopped working almost immediately (within a week), the unfortunate thing was that the timing was absolutely shit - because I'd gotten the last one in-stock from JB Hi-Fi in the city (post-Xmas sales). I rang up JB Hi-Fi and Nikon were not supplying any more stock of D750s due to an unrelated service advisory - and it would be a minimum of 2 months before they would receive any further cameras. JB Hi-Fi were good though, they did offer to swap me to a D810 for the post-Xmas sale price (which was over by then) if I paid the difference - but I didn't want the extra expense, so I went the repair route.

    Took it to Camera Clinic, and they advised that it would be sent to Nikon in Sydney for both issues as only Nikon was doing the service advisory inspection and fix (if needed). It arrived back 2.5 weeks later, service advisory done - note saying they couldn't find an issue with the front command dial, which was still not working. A few days later, I noticed that the command dial would intermittently work, i.e. probably 10% of the time. Took it back to Camera Clinic, explained the situation and whilst I had it there, the command dial decided to work again in front of them - they did take it and said they'd tested it each day for a week to see if they could get it to fail again - they got it to fail later the same day, so they repaired it (they told me they stripped it down, couldn't find the exact problem but they re-soldered basically everything surrounding the command dial front and back) and replaced all of the camera rubbers as they got scuffed up stripping it down. Worked perfectly after that.

    Only piece of camera equipment I've had to have repaired. I've never broken/damaged any of my equipment whilst photographing, whilst I have broken myself whilst photographing :D.
     
  5. OP
    OP
    herzeg

    herzeg Iron Photographer

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    Truth be told, I'd rather take a scrape/tumble that the camera; no so much a broken bone though. :leet:

    Damn, that's some unnecessary shit to put up with; I had the good fortune of grabbing that D750 off you - did enjoy it for a year or so with no issues before moving it on.

    What's keeping you entertained these days; still using the d850? What's your overall take on the camera?
     
  6. Frozen_Hell

    Frozen_Hell Member

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    Yeeeaah, not a lot of fun I can tell ya. Two things I did after that, bought a much more serious pair of hiking boots/shoes and a personal locator beacon (PLB) - actually on my 2nd one now (previous one reached expiry).

    Yeah, its a decent camera - nothing ground-breaking, just an iteration on the previous one. I've had D80 -> D700 -> D800E -> D750 -> D810 -> D850 now in terms of DSLRs and I'd say the jump from D80 to D700 was the most significant, everything since then has just been evolutionary improvements with each model for me. One of the better improvements from a usability point of view recently was the flip out LCD on the D750 and D850 - helps when using the tripod down really low or other funny angles.
     

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