More on the Nikon Free Maintenance Service Initiative and latest D750 service advisory

Nikon D800 Free Maintenance Service Initiative

A reader sent me some more details on the Nikon Free Maintenance Service Initiative that was offered to selected D800/D800E, D700 and D7100 owners:

I received the Nikon Free Maintenance Service Offer.  I shipped my D800 to Nikon in Melville, NY and received an acknowledgement email from Nikon Customer Service and an Estimate Acknowledgement.  

The stated "Reason for Service" is: "Check & Clean Maintenance Liquid Damage"

Now, this D800 has only seen rain once and not to the degree it would cause a problem.  It has never been subject to spills, drops into any sort of liquid, or left open through lens mount or any other access point where liquids could enter. So, I don't know if Nikon is checking for a problem, assessing the frequency of a reported problem, or if they are aware of a potential weather sealing issue. This D800 has never been serviced, has never had any of the known problems of early D800s, and has functioned flawlessly.  It is a low serial number: 301XXXX

The initial acknowledgment service order indicated as a Reason for Service "CLEAN AND CHECK MAINTENANCE, LIQUID DAMAGE".

The Invoice Repair document states: CKD Communication, CLN CCD, FIRMWARE UPGRADE, GENERAL CHECK AND CLEAN"

Another interesting note: The UPS email advising me of the impending delivery showed Nikon/CamTech as the shipper. CamTech is apparently a contractor that provides service and repair for Nikon products. None of the Nikon documents indicates CamTech anywhere.

This entire situation has been interesting and I remain unsure of what the driving force was behind the free service of a 3+ year-old camera.

Nikon D750 service advisory

New Nikon D750 advisory - possible image shading from shutter
Here is the list of parts replaced on one specific Nikon D750 camera (all without a charge) as a part of the latest D750 service advisory:

  1. replaced shutter mechanism
  2. replaced rubber grip
  3. replaced rubber side grip
  4. replaced CF cardholder rubber
  5. replaced side cover
  6. checked exposure and did general check and clean
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  • JoeFunny30

    If it smells fishy then it probably is fishy. Too bad, they’re just burning what little consumer confidence they have left. I’ll still buy Nikon but that’s because of lack of alternatives that also have mature lens collections without the need for an adapter.

    • ZoetMB

      Personally, I see this as a positive, not a negative. While it’s probably to avoid a potential lawsuit somewhere, it’s Nikon taking pro-active action to evaluate and/or repair cameras. That’s good, not bad. I only wish my D800 was among the cameras chosen.

      • Martin Huisman

        I tend to agree, but I also tend to agree with people who state it’s a form of damage control.

        I really start to wonder how thorough Nikon’s testing of new products is. I mean, the VR issues with the 300 PF, come on, that should have really been noticed during development and initial testing.

        People below here may add examples of this, but now that I’m typing this I’m starting to feel a bit like JoeFunny30.

        • Bill Pahnelas

          After the tsunami/nuclear plant disaster in Sendai, followed by the floods at their other facility, I’m not astonished that Nikon was knocked off their stride for a while. After all, the Df has been troubled by none of the catastrophes of some other prior releases.

          • This is not the first time Nikon is behind and I believe it will not be the first time when they will recover and become a leader again. They are just very slow in reacting to the market.

            • At least they’re faster at reacting to the market than Canon. As a Canon user, I have nothing to do but lust over the better looking products on the Nikon side… as I have no money in the budget to upgrade to Nikon at this time.

            • Nikon and Canon both will wake up. I am not sure they can do much about the falling camera sales which is true for all manufacturers, but they can definitely offer a competitive mirrorless solution and stop the migration of customers to Sony and Fuji – this alone with their current DSLR offering will bring them back as leaders in the industry (which they still are today). Keep in mind that before the mirrorless boom, nobody was buying Sony and Fuji.

            • Scott

              I agree they’ll wake up. Also, Sony has had popular offerings in their translucent cams for several years. Sort of a sign of market gain to come, realized now with the mirrorless hype.

            • Bill Boyes

              Nikon wake up to Sony? Thats funny. I love what Sony is doing in the market, but I will never own a Sony. I will invest in Fuji soon. My reasoning is Sony is a horrible company when it comes to standardization and I envision a wish mosh of lens alternatives for each generation as they come out with new models. They have no regards for standards. Enter memory stick, Beta etc. I just fundamentally like them as a a company, even though their pro optics are exceptional.

            • parallax

              I would love nothing more than for you to be right. I just wish there were some indication that there was any innovation going on other than “we have a new body that increases FPS by 1” or “we added VR to a lens and made it bigger and heavier”

            • DB White

              Maybe…but Nikon has very little for enthusiast sports shooters who don’t want to pay $6000 for a sports-capable camera. I’m currently envious of my Canon friends.

            • Bill Boyes

              The D500 has your Canon friends drooling I am sure. Nikon has, for quite a while now, had better image quality, and hugely superior dynamic range than Canon. Now they have better speed and AF.

        • ZoetMB

          Except that if this is related to moisture control, it could be because of seals and/or rubber that harden or fail over time and wouldn’t necessarily be noticed during testing.

          I’m not trying to defend Nikon. I think they do a lousy job in many respects, but I can accept a company that may make design errors as long as they support the customers and they appear to be doing so in this instance.

          Far better than bringing a nearly-new lens in for service and Nikon barely looking at it and always claiming, “it took a hit – it’s not covered”.

          And it seems to me that water damage could be something they could easily say they’re not covering, except perhaps in the D4 series.

    • David Weinehall

      Yeah, because offering free service to consumers who *haven’t* complained about any issues sure serve to burn consumer confidence. Right.

      • JoeFunny30

        No but assuming you know everything about a situation is usually wrong.

    • parallax

      I still am very happy that a camera that was out of warranty was fixed for me for free. I’m not going to complain about a gift out of the blue.

      • JoeFunny30

        That’s great I’m glad it worked out. I went through the Nikon repair mill on a model and it wasn’t fun, mainly because they were sneaky. On an even earlier model, they did a voluntary fix and installed the wrong part. It’s the sneakiness that burns consumer confidence not that they actually fixed an item. In my case, I got burned in the long run and spent hours dealing with it. So, I am glad it worked out for you.

        • parallax

          I’ve been there with a few companies myself. I was a bit surprised, given just home much of the paint has been chipped off from being well used.

  • Bill Pahnelas

    I got my D800 back yesterday, and the service it received was limited to adjustment of AF (mine was never a problem child), cleaning and replacment of the rubber parts. It came back looking darned good — despite them having to scrape off my DIY glue job on the grip! For the record, mine’s been in the rain a number of times, and no mention was made of water damage. The camera came back from Nikon NY, also. Whatever NIkon gleaned from this exercise, for my part it makes me more likely to send other bodies in for a CLA from time to time.

  • CR

    I bought a refurbished D800 that has never been sent into them for any kind of service or cleaning. Would mine be eligible?

  • PAfido

    My d800 has a sealing problem. I took it into very hearsh weather and some days later may screen started flickering and totally stopped working later on. I ordered a replacement screen and exchanged the camera in my own because I thought it was my fault by exposing the camera to heavy weather. The cam was probably at 40k shots when this occurred. I could read the meta-data later.

    When I opened the camera back I saw, that the seal behind the 4-way knob was broken and not sealed anymore. So water came into the camera and destroyed the screen.

    Also the contacts for d lenses is broken, the camera cannot recognize the aperture above f2 and even that is hardly working.

    So yes, the seals behind the knobs can get weak and let water in.

  • nhaler

    Are these notices only going out to people who’ve also registered their purchased cameras? If so, I should get on that.

  • spicynujac

    “replaced CF cardholder rubber”
    D750 doesn’t take a compact flash card. What does this mean?

    • Blrfl

      It’s Nikon’s generic term for the rubber over the door covering the card slot.

      • Aldo

        Yeah carry on term… much like a car’s trunk… I still see a lot of people call grips ‘motor drive’ lol

  • parallax

    I sent my D800 the day after receiving the notice. I received the camera back about 2 weeks ago, with the shutter fixed (the camera had become unusable) and the sensor, mirror, and viewfinder cleaned.

    I cancelled my preorder on the Sony A7RII, and am happily still shooting with the D800. From my perspective, Nikon gave me something of substantial value, when it was not needed, at no cost and minimal inconvenience to me. I could not be happier.

    I’m still going to be purchasing a mirrorless system this fall, because the Nikon cameras are too big, heavy, and lacking features that the hungrier upstarts are offering. But for now, they have kept me interested if they come out with an innovative product worth purchasing (I mean, their R&D department can’t really have been doing nothing for the past 4 years, right? I mean, right?)

  • Larry Angier

    Sent my low-number D800 in a couple of weeks ago. The UPS tag was for overnight to them. It’s being returned now that they are finished. They shipped last week…slow boat…I may have it back by the end of the week if I’m lucky. It will be interesting to see if there were any issues with this body that I’ve had and used with no issues for more than three years.

  • Aldo

    I took in my d750 because it would lock up and had to take out battery to reset. Seems they replaced a major part. I just got it back and noticed a couple of hot pixels… sigh.

  • Sebastian Rasch

    Nice, I would use my D750 two three years until the rubbers are quite used and then send it in for the shading problem since it is always free of charge and not depending on warranty. According to this article, I would then get an almost new camera back, all rubbers replaced.
    The shading problem allegedly only occurs at very high shutter counts so it wouldn’t be a problem to use the camera until then without having it repaired.

  • Shutter mecanism replaced on D750 … does not surprise me, I have oil spots trouble with mine. I also have lock up problems. But overall it is still the best nikon lightweight camera for work.

  • Alan Slimak

    The D800 cameras were subject to having the same oil issues that the D600 had, but on a smaller scale from what I remember. This could be an effort on their part to gather some sample research to try and find out some kind percentage figure of how many cameras left in the open market could possible have the oil spot issues. Again, I’m just speculating.

  • Photobug

    The information above is consistent with what they did to my D750. I am on vacation and took 250 images before vacation and have now shot over 1,200 on vacation and the camera is performing flawlessly.

    I also had asked them to perform a AF system and Exposure system check which they did at no charge…part of the clean and check.

  • prune

    I have issues with my D800 since day one. I tried to reach the Nikon support to be part of the recall, here is the answer I had :


    Thank you for contacting Nikon. Regarding your inquiry the service initiative that is currently available unfortunately we do not have a list or knowledge of who is selected. Its completely random and we have no control on who receives the email, I apologize for any inconvenience. If you have any further inquiries, please do not hesitate to contact us.



    Nikon Tech Support


  • Michael

    I have my 3 year old D800 fail on mirror mechanism at 121k shutter actuation. Send to Nikon then I have to pay 1k+ myr to get it repaired… Even I nvr drop the cam or touch the mirror part… The reason given is my warranty is expired, did any of u expect your expensive cam will fail in that way at this low shutter count?

  • hussey

    I wonder if anyone who did NOT get the email tried sending in their d800 as if they had got the email?

  • Steve

    Just reporting my experience. Got my D800 back today. Turnaround was quick. This is probably because it went to CamTech. 😉 Here’s what they *said* they did:

    Checked Exposure
    Check Auto Focus Operation
    Firmware Upgrade
    Clean CCD
    General Check and Clean

    Of course, who knows what they didn’t tell me . . .

    Interesting that they chose to call out Exposure and Auto Focus. My D800 was among the first ones. I sent it back when I first got it for the original Auto Focus problem. Back then, it came back … better.

    I’m careful with my gear and I don’t give this body the kind of wear and tear a sports or event photographer would have given it, but I’m quite sure there are 10s of thousands of shutter actuations on it. It’s been fine. It will take a lot to get me to part with it until there’s a very enticing reason to.

    However, I’d gladly part with Nikon’s service department, which has let me down a few times now. I sure hope my D800 just fires up and works. I’ll let you know if I have a problem.

    Maybe Nikon just wanted to see how these cameras are holding up after years out there. Hard to believe there’s no specific agenda.

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