The trouble is that the authorized Nikon repair center in our area is not very good. They receive lousy reviews. But there are repair centers that do superb work on Nikon cameras.
The cost problem for me is in shipping and especially insuring adequately to send it to Nikon. That cost frequently exceeds the cost of the repair.
As the HDR software has gotten increasingly better, photographers also have gotten increasingly better at producing superb HDR photographs. For me, that means photographs that you cannot tell are HDR.
As an avid user of Nik's plug-ins, and a sometime user of the Topaz plug-ins, I very much appreciated the article. All of hullabaloo about Ellen's relationship with Nik cluttered up the Comments section.
A couple of pluses to the SEP2 with Luminosity usage are: you can burn in the edges; the sub sliders under Brightness, Contrast, and Structure are quite sophisticated; and I like SEP2's Vignette tool.
Although I manage everything from LR3, I generally send Nik's plug-ins to PSCS5 because I like the Smart Filter capacity and I love being able to use the Brush tool.