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Nikon's Curious Crusade Against Physical User Manuals

Illustration for article titled Nikons Curious Crusade Against Physical User Manuals

Okay Nikon, so you don't include a dead tree user manual with new cameras anymore. That's fine; they just sit at the bottom of a drawer until we eventually throw them out. But to also DRM against printing it out? What the hell.


Nikon does offer a fully printable version of its manuals if you just happen to have your camera's serial number and registration information on hand, but seriously! How is that necessary? It's not even the inconvenience of the thing (which does kind of stink). It's the sheer absurdity of it. What does Nikon possibly stand to lose from users printing out a copy of their manual? Are they afraid that street vendors are going to start hocking them on corners like scripts of The Departed? I don't get it. [Rob Beschizza, Nikon]

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Just another brick in the wall of Nikon anti-consumer policies stretching back decades.

Their warranties aren't transferable. If Joe buys the camera and the next week sells it to his friend Bob because Joe lost his job, Bob can't get the camera serviced under warranty.

Nikon USA refuses to service a camera that was not marked for sale in the US. Let me clarify that: it's not that they won't service the camera under warranty. They won't service it AT ALL, or even tell you what's wrong with it. You'll get it shipped right back to you with a note in the box saying, basically, "ooooo, too bad."

Looking to buy some Nikon gear off someone on Craigslist or Ebay, and you have the serial number, and want to know if the gear was fully-Nikon-USA-blessed or grey-market? Call/email/fax Nikon and the response will be "sorry, no can do. Buy it from a dealer."

In 2005, Nikon started encrypting the white balance information in their NEF (raw) files so you'd (in theory) have to buy their software. Nobody else does - and Canon included DPP for free with the purchase of any of the RAW-capable prosumer to pro cameras.

Compatibility between camera bodies and lenses is a minefield, because they never bothered to key or distinguish their mounts when they changed the mechanical and electronic interconnections, and they keep tweaking it in incompatible or functionality-breaking ways. There are THIRTEEN different kinds of Nikon lenses. Check out this chart: []

They go out of their way to piss off customers and kill resale value. Given Canon doesn't care who owns a camera for warranty service, doesn't care where it was bought, will tell you if a camera is under warranty, will verify where a camera was sold and whether it's under warranty, doesn't encrypt their RAW files, officially acknowledges CHDK won't break your warranty, and rarely changes their lens format - why the hell would you buy a Nikon?