Reliability, Nikon D300

I write about reliability far too often. It's sad but true, for some reason, the products I use seem to be horribly horribly unreliable. The iMac since getting it in December 2006 has been in twice, once to have it's motherboard, optical drive and hard disc replace, and once to just have its hard disc replaced. Most recently, my new camera, the Nikon D300, which I purchased exactly one month ago today, has been having a weird little problem.

Specifically, when I make exposures under very specific conditions, the camera displays "ERR" in the viewfinder and on the top LCD. The particular conditions are "any ISO, any shutter speed, any F-number above the minimum for the lens." That might not mean anything to any of my readers, but I'll sum it up in a user-friendly way. "about 95% of all photographic situations."

So the other day I opened up a service ticket with Nikon's online knowledge base system. The response I got back earlier today was that I should try to charge the battery, and make sure I was using a supported memory card and lens. If those hints didn't help, that I was advised to go ahead and send in the camera.

So now I've printed out a repair form and shipping label, and all I need to do is find suitable packaging for the thing and send it in. With luck, that won't be too extraordinarily challenging, because I'm not actually too interested in sending the camera in, let alone finding my own packaging and paying my camera's way to Nikon's facility in El Segundo, CA.

Although, for the people who have told me about how the value of a repaired D300 outweighs the costs of getting it repaired (in my case, just the time without the D300 and the cost of shipping it) I'd like to mention that I've had the D50 nearly three full years without ever having a hiccup with it, and that the D50 was Nikon's cheap model a few years ago. So I don't think I should have to send my brand new camera into the manufacturer in order to be able to get use out of it.

Anyway, with luck and skill I'll have the D300 sent out by this time next week, hopefully to be able to get it back before going on my trip to Michigan this summer. It seems depressing to me that I should say something like "maybe in two months I'll have it back and it'll be useful" but I've never experienced Nikon's send-in service before, and from what I've read online in the past, there's a good chance that it's not as efficient and well-thought-out as AppleCare's send in service is. (in AppleCare, for a laptop, they mail you a box free, you put your product in and mail it back free, and they have your computer back to you in less than a week.)

And with that, this is the official opening of the Nikon category of my blog. Things pertaining specifically to Nikon, such as the rest of this saga, will be put into said category. It'll be epic.

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