Nikon woes

One of my lenses recently stopped working. (My Nikon 60mm AF-S Micro, if you’re into specifics). This is my micro/macro/close-up lens, and it’s fantastic. It’s incredibly sharp and surprisingly versatile. It was also my first professional grade lens.

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It’s always been a little problematic though: the auto-focus is often unpredictable, and sometimes fails altogether. This is a known issue with this lens. But that’s a forgivable flaw given that this lens can focus from infinity to about one inch from the front glass. Yes, I’ve missed some shots due to this flaw, but I’ve also gotten a lot of shots that I never could have otherwise.

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But, while I was on vacation in New Mexico this summer, I pulled this lens out to discover that it was no longer focusing at all. It tries, but it never finds lock, and goes back and forth, hunting endlessly. That is pretty depressing, especially considering how careful I am with my lenses.

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For the vast majority of modern auto-focus lenses, this failure would render the lens useless because, even though these lenses allow for manual focus, they aren’t designed for it. The focus rings just don’t provide the necessary precision you need for sharp focus.

The 60mm, however, is actually designed with manual focus in mind. I took these images to see if I could achieve sharp focus manually. It takes a bit of patience (and surely practice would help a great deal) but I was able to get results comparable to the auto-focus.

But the reason I got curious enough to check in the first place was because I’d just learned something unpleasant about Nikon warranties. All this time I’ve been operating under the assumption that all Nikon lenses come with a five year warranty. I have, after all, seen this in lots of marketing material. It turns out, however, that this applies only to lenses purchased in the US. The rest of the world gets two year warranty.

That sucks. And — you guessed it — I bought this lens in Europe, and I did so just over two years ago. I can send it off for work, but I’ll have to pay $100 just to have them look at it, and then whatever they decide to charge on top of that.

And I’ve bought two more lenses in Europe since I bought this one, which is doubly stupid because not only is the warranty far inferior, but I paid more too. So, now that I know what I know, I’ll wait until I’m in the US to buy my next lens.

One Thought on “Nikon woes

  1. Nasenmann on August 27, 2012 at 7:41 am said:

    If the lens is only slightly older than two years you can try to get a free “good will” repair at a Nikon Service Center. Since the 60mm Micro is one of Nikon´s expensive “pro” lenses they might be willing to invest in your customer satisfaction…

    But you are right. It´s a pain. In Europe we can buy the same stuff as in Asia or the US. But we have to pay more and get less service. :-/

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