18-200 VR creep, crawl, gravitate - and consumer advocacy

Started Jan 16, 2006 | Discussions thread
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Bernie Newman
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18-200 VR creep, crawl, gravitate - and consumer advocacy
Jan 16, 2006

There have been quite a few posts on the topic of the tendency for the 18-200VE lens to move out of its focal length setting. I happen to be among the ones affected by this product defect. It's a defect because it is not a property that was published by Nikon about the product. Much has been posted here. In one case, someone reports an "official" reaction from Nikon service personnel that "it may happen". A few other users have also advised something in the nature of "that's the way Nikon zoom lenses work, live with it".

In reality, I can probably live with the gravitation (that is apparently what Nikon "officially" calls it). I can attach rubber bands to the zoom ring just like I did to an 25 year old AI 80-200 zoom lens I used to own. But I am angered that I paid on the order of $700+ for a product that stated certain features, and performed according to stated specs. Forget DSLR's and lenses for a second. If you purchased a product, e.g a car, an iPod or a washing machine, and it didn't work according to how the vendor said it did, would you just go around saying that even though it doesn't always work as specified, it's really excellent? Probably, you'd get angry and return it for a replacement.

That's why I cannot understand the complacency of those who will accept the defective Nikon product as is. I may have accepted it if Nikon had specified something like "Note: this lens may exhibit a tendency to gravitate when the focal lens is set between 35 and 170 mm. This is normal and expected behavior. The tendency to gravitate may occur on a new lens or may develop over time. Contact Nikon service if you require a corrective action.". But they didn't specify this and some people do not experience this problem. If I ever want to resell this lens in the future, this puts me at a disadvantage.

I called the store where I bought the lens and they are willing to exchange the lens, no questions asked. Of course, the have none in the store, so they'll order one that will arrive in a week. There is a 50:50 chance that the new one will also exhibit gravitation. So, then what? Keep replacing them until I find one that doesn't gravitate or exhibit any other quality control defect? I would much rather be out there just being creative in any way I want with this great lens and the even greater D200. But I bristle at this exploitation of the consumer. I don't want to waste time exchanging and exchanging until I get what I paid for. But, I wonder why Nikon created the product that it did to make consumers wonder what to do next.

I did report this defect to Nikon (can you believe just how naive I can be?!) and wish that everyone who is reporting the problem would do the same. Then maybe Nikon might do something about it.

Why should we just settle for a defective product saying "yeah, that's the way the zoom lens works" when that is not the way it was stated? Someone else posted that Nikon does not really care how much we complain as long as they don't truly feel there is a quality control or design flaw that needs to be addressed.

Perhaps, we all need to take some time out and do the same.

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