According to a report from iFixit, Nikon plans to end its authorized repair program sometime next year. So instead of having several options of where to take a Nikon camera to be repaired, users in the United States will be forced to ship their shooter to one of just two official repair centers in the country, which will significantly increase turnaround times.
In a letter Nikon sent to the roughly 15 Authorized Repair Stations still operating in the US, which was later obtained by iFixit, the company revealed that it would not renew agreements after March 31, 2020, meaning these repair shops would potentially no longer have access to official parts, tools, software, instruction and repair manuals, and training previously provided by Nikon. There’s still the chance these smaller repair facilities could still be provided access to official Nikon parts and other components, but they will no longer be officially considered authorized to perform these repairs. Instead, authorized service will be exclusively performed by Nikon facilities in Melville, New York, and Los Angeles, California.
Nikon did not immediately respond to Gizmodo’s request for comment and we’ll update this post when we receive a reply.
The change was foreshadowed back in 2012 when Nikon made the decision to stop selling repair parts to shops and technicians not authorized by Nikon to perform these services. On one hand, the move ensured an improved level of reliability by ensuring that repairs were only being handled by facilities and technicians that Nikon had approved, and presumably, properly trained, which at the time amounted to 22 different authorized repairs stations around the country. But on the other hand, the choice not only put a lot of camera repair shops out of business it also limited the options that photographers had to get their cameras repaired quickly with official parts, or repaired economically should their equipment break down when out of warranty.
Whatever Nikon’s reasons have been for scaling back the repair options for its users (it claims its cameras have gotten more complicated over the years with electronics that require specialized tools and skills to properly service) the end result is decidedly user-unfriendly. We’ve all seen horror stories of camera equipment being sent through the mail and arriving in hundreds of pieces due to mishandling, and that’s now what any Nikon photographer is going to have to go through should their camera need a repair or servicing. The other options will be to settle for third-party repair parts, which is always a sketchy proposition, or do what a vast majority of photographers have already done and make the switch to Sony.
Update, December 11, 12:23 p.m. EST/EDT: Nikon Inc. has provided Gizmodo with an official statement regarding the end of the company’s relationship with its Authorized Repair Stations:
Nikon has made a business decision to end its relationships with all of its Authorized Repair Stations in the U.S. as of March 31, 2020. After that date, Nikon authorized service will be provided by Nikon at its repair facilities in Melville, NY and in Los Angeles, CA. We remain committed to providing the best product support and repair services to our customers. For those who require assistance, please contact Nikon Customer Support at either 1-800-NikonUS or https://www.nikonusa.com/en/service-and-support/service-and-repair.page.