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Monday, May 13, 2013

Nikon Fooled Me

I'm not too big a man to admit when I've been had, and I've been had by Nikon. That camera company sold me a COOLPIX P300 (now updated to the COOLPIX 310) which did not live up to its reputation. Specifically, the optics were not right. The left edge of the photobox were warped, like a fisheye lens but only on one side.

Eventually I tired of the distorted pictures so I sent it to Nikon Service department, and they agreed to fix it. After taking their sweet time, they shipped it back to me and... the pictures were the same. No difference! The left side of the photobox was still smeared out!

At first I didn't want to send it back but then four weeks later, while using it, holding it ever so gently in my hands, it turned off and wouldn't turn on again. It went from a camera which took bad pictures to a camera which took no pictures at all!

I sent it back to Nikon's service department and here's what happened:
  • Nikon: We won't fix it because it has impact damage.
  • Me: What are you talkin' about (Willis), it was gentle in my hand when it just switched off. No impact!
  • Nikon: Sorry, chump, you're out of luck
  • Me: You know what, it seems like you never even fixed it the first time. When I got it back it still had the same fisheye problem.
  • Nikon: Correct. We didn't fix it the first time, even though we sent you a work order stating that we did.
  • Me: WTF? Did you just admit that you defrauded me?
  • Nikon: We don't want to say anything more, but we still refuse to fix your camera.
  • Me: No seriously WTF? You just admitted that you told me you fixed my camera, but that was a lie and you didn't fix it. Do you seriously treat your customers like that?
  • Nikon: Sorry, chump, if you wanted service under warranty then Nikon was probably a bad choice. Live and learn, okay? Next time try Canon.
Sigh...

Nikon fooled me: they fooled me into buying a bad camera for a lot of money, fooled me into trusting their warranty, fooled me when they lied and said they fixed my lens. I was fooled; I am a fool. Nikon treats their customers like fools, and like a chump I let them do it to me.

What are my options? What can a man do about a poor quality product and a deceitful service department? Sue? Vigilante action? No, I'm too much of a coward for any of that. I'd rather throw spitballs on the internet, and hope some of those spitballs serve as warnings to other customers. To that end:
Here are some pictures showing the distortion. In both photos you can see how the left (or top, when I have the camera rotated) end of the lens is stretching things.


Look how tiny the girl's legs are in the center of the photo, compared to her gigantic torso and head!


Look how one lens of these sunglasses is so much bigger than the other lens!
All in all I was disappointed. Consumer Reports rated the P300 as the best camera in its class. It was more expensive that competing cameras and it was also bigger, bulkier, harder to fit into a pocket. I bought it nevertheless, at a substantial marginal price increase, hoping for a sturdy camera with superior image quality. My P300 was not at all a high quality camera. It wasn't worth the extra cost and the optics were poor.

Worse, however, in my opinion was the way I was treated by the Service department. I don't feel that I was dealt with honestly, either the first or second time I sent in the camera. They sent me back the camera the first time with a work order stating that the lens had been repaired, but there was no improvement in the elongated photos, and then later they said no they didn't actually fix the lens like they said. But oh, if I paid a bunch of money then by all means they'd fix it right up.

No, I didn't trust them at all by then and I don't trust Nikon as a company. I took my money down to the local department store and bought a Sony W730 because it was similar to a previous Sony camera which I've used and liked. The W730 costs one third the cost of the P300, takes better, undistorted pictures, fits much better in a pocket, and in my experience is a much sturdier camera.

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