What has happened to Nikon?

Started Feb 14, 2013 | Discussions thread
shigzeo Senior Member • Posts: 1,904
Re: What has happened to Nikon?

Shotcents wrote:

And before the fanboys react and attack me I'm venting here! It's a valid set of observations for a group forum to DISCUSS Nikon gear. If your cameras work better than your last, GREAT. I'm seriously glad to hear about it. But, as many of us honest folk will admit, all is not well in Nikon-Land. Let's keep this civil and mature. This is MY view.

Up until the D800 my life with Nikon was just about perfect. How perfect? Well, I spent 25K or more EASILY on Nikon cameras and lenses, starting with the D70, D50, D80, and then jumping into the D300, D3, D700, multiple bodies and flashes and two kits I was always comfortable using.

Enter the D800. At first things seem okay, but over the months I was less and less secure with the AF. It was CLEARLY less reliable than the D700 in challenging situations. My friends staunchly defended the D800 (and D4), but one by one they ended up with the same feeling. About half of us sent our cameras back.

My 1st D800 suffers from a MILD left AF issue. I'm sure a lot of people wish their issue was as mild as mine because I've seen far worse. My 2nd D800 was terrible. Left and right side were WAY off. I returned it.

Through various techniques and generally using ONLY the center AF point along with using the AF-ON focus technique, I get fairly reliable results. Images are wonderful, but I don't have that warm feeling I had with the D700 or D3. Some of my friends, who shoot weddings, have abandoned the D800 completely.

NONE of us will buy another D800.

Enter the D600. I DON'T HAVE ONE. But a lot of my friends jumped. Why not? Lower cost high MP second body! It's a nice dream. But what the heck!? Oil on the sensor? Silly amounts of dust along with it. Wet cleanings every other week?

And you can go to ANY major forum and hear about folks trying to get these cameras serviced. We're NOT talking about a small group. Cameras go back 2 or 3 times. Some owners are BLAMED by Nikon and charged. What the deuce?!, as Stewie would say!

So where has this left me? I'll think LONG and hard before buying the next DXXX. I'm absolutely terrified to return my D800 for service. Nikon stock is way down, just like their online reputation. It's a great time for photography, but you have to hope for a good camera in the box as never before.

My D800 is the best DSLR I've owned. But it's also been the worst; fussy, inconsistent and slow. It feels like a work-in-progress. Naturally others will jump in and claim their D800 cameras are perfect, better than sex and whatever. But, as someone else pointed out: Somewhere between the fanboys and the disgruntled owners with bad cameras lies the truth.



I'm quite drunk. My wife passed two bottles of Sambuca to me thanks to Valentine's Day (in Japan, girls give presents to boys on Vanlentine's Day. March 14 is the day when boys give girls things; that is called White Day).

I, too, have a D800, which I use professionally and for hobby work.

I have only this to say of the D800 vs. the D200 and the FE/FM which I also use. Nikon used to compete with Zeiss/Ikon. In the 1980's there was no one left from abroad. They competed with only Canon. That is the problem. Japanese companies make good things when there is competition from abroad. Left to their own devices, they cheapen everything completely. Our house is basically made of plastic and if someone upstairs stubs a toe, we hear it. If they cough, we hear it.

Japan is a country that originally wanted to rip off stuff. Then, when they had the money to make money, they wanted only to cheapen stuff in order to make more money, or take a larger market share. The illusion is that Japan is a society that makes high quality stuff. They make precise stuff, not quality stuff.

Come live here. It is full of kitsch more than any other nation I've lived in, including Korea, which is more technologically advanced in the cities than Japan is. Korea still looks abroad to design, to innovate. Japan is as insular as any country in modern history ever has been.

If/when they can bypass said insularity, they will return to making great things. Now, every company that makes: computers, cars, cameras, is only a copy of another. Nikon is to Canon as Canon is to Nikon. (Add 'are' for English speakers. Remember, I'm drunk. My arguments return to base sentiments as my blood flows black (the Sambuca is black).)

There are chief differences in Nikon's roots compared to Canon's. Canon, primarily are engaged in their own production. Nikon are an imaging company who outsource parts to other companies. But at base, their cameras are the same as Canon's. The cheapening of manufacturing has led to this situation. The two are equal.

However, today, Canon seem to make cameras with a bit more follow through than Nikon do. I use Nikon gear exclusively for digital. For film, I use a Canon P rangefinder plus a Yashica Electro. Nikon's early film SLR stuff was great. So, too, were their rangefinders. Enter the 1980's, when AF, plastic, and the cheapening of parts became rampant, and quality quickly deteriorated. Guess who was at the helm? Not the Germans. No. The Japanese.

Japan simply loves plastic. The pipes in every one of the rooms in our house are made of PVC. They clog on a weekly basis. The windows are single paned at best. There is NO insulation anywhere. Japanese combat these design inequalities by building more efficient electronics, not by equipping original equipment (houses, cars, cameras) with better, more efficient design.


Because Japan is a society more dominated by corporation than any other rich nation. Corporations dictate every aspect of life here. That means: above all, profit is king. Not safety. Not longevity. Not thoroughness. Now, before you say the USA and Germany are the same, let me remind you, that in the USA you still have government wings in the postal system, the train system, etc. Japan has done away with these things. The last bastion of public anything is health, in which the government guaratnees (thankfully) that an individual will never have to pay more than 1000$ per month on any health/hospitalised related issue.

That is still far more expensive than what an individual will pay in Canada or Germany.

Because the consumer isn't important in Japan and because the corporation dictates the laws in this country, things will only cheapen. Unless there is 2nd coming quality and leadership from abroad, things will only get worse.

Japan was never a leader in quality. They were a leader in automation, in cheapening, in mass production. We are past those milestones in industrialisation. Forget it. Today, the majority of flats are built at factory then shipped to site. If things go wrong, they go up wrong. Earthquakes are common, and other natural disasters. Those are the only things against which Japanese companies plan. Everything else is this: cheap, quick, and many.

Nikon will become nothing more than a plastic fantastic in a few years no matter that they started as a feisty optical company.

I lived in Korea for two years. It pains me to say that Korea will surpass Japan. Korea is run even more so by corporate oligarchy. Samsung and Hyundai dominate the country in a two party hydra head. You can't buy anything in the country that hasn't been touched by one or the other. But they will surpass Japan, whose leadership in cheapening of products and services, will be their downfall - will be the downfall of the free market driven political base abroad.

Things are cheap. Things are not researched. Things are made only to make money, not to leave a mark. That is how they are. That is how they will remain. Welcome to a Japan/Korea/China dominated economy.

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