Nikon used to be a name you could trust, or so it seemed, but not anymore.. I suggest you stay
away from them and their equipment until they decide to do better for their customers. I started
using their equipment back in the 70's and trusted them. But, no more. They have crapped out.
Read about my latest experience with them, below.
Note: For those people who care about such bits of information, most all the photos on my site taken prior to
September 08, 2008, were taken with a
Canon A95. This little camera was purchased March 17, 2005 and I
estimate it took over 150,000 images before it died. After reading lots of camera equipment reviews by an
awesome equipment review person, Ken Rockwell at, I added a Nikon D40 to my
equipment package. I loved my little camera and will miss it, but it was limited and I missed a lot of good photo
opportunities as a result. Many years ago I used the Nikon F2HP and Nikon F3, but  I gave up the hobby for several
years. Then one day a friend showed up with a digital camera. Shortly after seeing what could be done with one, I
was hooked, had to have one to play with. Bought the little Canon A95 to take a few memory shots of friends,
family, and vacations, etc.. Was not long till I needed a place to share my images, hence this site, then things really
spread out.. And of course it was not long until I exceeded what the little camera could do, so, now I have moved
to the next step, a DSLR. In September 2008 I started using a Nikon D40 with the 18-55 kit lens, a Nikon SB600
flash, a UV filter, and a lens hood. The camera is still doing working, except for the dust spots that show up a lot.

Note, July 2009.. I am very unhappy with Nikon and B&H Photo in New York. Think twice before buying from
either of them for now. The lens hoods I bought with my camera was said to have a one year warranty per B&H.
Five months after I got the hood, it fell apart. I sent it to Nikon. They would not repair or replace it at their expense.
I called B&H and asked for help. They said the same thing. I suggest you do not buy from NIKON or B&H while
they are treating customers like this...
My newest(May 6, 2009)camera is a Canon SX1-IS. I did not buy it from B&H.
UPDATE: Dec 05, 2009.. In September I drove to Colorado to photograph the aspens changing colors. On my
second day there, I was near Twin Lakes taking photos early in the morning around the edge of one of the lakes. In
a matter of minutes, the Nikon lens I was using, the kit lens for the Nikon D40, started developing a tight spot in
about the middle of the zoom range. After about 20 more photos, it froze up completely. No zoom and the shutter
blades locked shut. When I took the lens off the camera, it clicked as I twisted it off the body, then it rattled!!! Not
good. When I looked inside, it had a plastic looking piece rattling around inside!!!!! I do not have another wide
angle zoom. I called a photo friend who lived in Lake City, Colorado and asked for a solution. He told me the
solution was in Denver. Denver is about 120 miles away. I hit the highway and drove to Mike's Camera in Denver.
They could not  help the broken lens, but said they had only seen this twice before and Nikon would take care of it.
They did however have an 18-105 VR lens that I could buy. I had no choice, I took it. So, for the rest of the trip, I
used the 18-105. This was only the start of a nasty trip. As it turns out, there was more bad luck to come. In a few
days I ran over a piece of telephone pole and damaged the right front fender of my car. Cost 1300 to get this fixed.
The color I went to see never happened!!!! So there are few images of aspens from this trip. On my last night in
Colorado, I managed to hang the rain fly of my tent on a tent peg and ripped a 9 inch x 12 inch hole in the rain fly. It
is now back at Sierra Designs for evaluation. On the way home, a rock hit the windshield and damaged it.. Was
able to get it patched for 45 dollars!!! Once back on home turf, I boxed up the lens that fell apart, and the lens hood
that fell apart, and mailed them back to Nikon. I got two letters from them. One letter tells me they want $31.27 to
repair a lens hood that cost $17.00 new!!!!!! The second letter tells me they want $120.89 to repair a lens that cost
$137.00 new. In the letter for the lens, I was told that I did "impact damage" to the lens.. For the lens hood, they
said it was not covered under any kind of warranty. I called Nikon, and had a long talk a customer service man.
He tells me the lens which was a year old in September, is now no longer covered under warranty!!! I remind him
that I was told it had a five year warranty, per Nikon's extended warranty program!!!  Tell him nobody can find any
evidence of damage to the lens hood, and there are no signs of glue points or weld points on the hood. Everyone
wonders how it stayed together as long as it did... The customer service man agreed to review the case. I guess it is
still in review, I have not heard from them.
I guess I am not having a good year..
About two weeks ago, I went out to a local nature reserve to catch a few
images with my Canon. Turned it on, started to get it set up to shoot, but found I could not change the ISO. The ISO
button no longer worked!!!!! Back at home, I emailed Canon. Their reply was, "sorry, we will send you a return
label so you can return the camera for repairs". After 12 days, the label did not show, so I called.. They do not
know what happened.. They will send another label... It arrived and on Dec 08, 2009, the Canon headed out to be
repaired......UPDATE. CANON has repaired the camera free of charge, and it is on its way back as of 12-16-2009.
UPDATE again, 2010-01-15. The Canon came back in GREAT Shape and is back in use. Canon went out of their
way to take care of me.. NIKON IS STILL SCREWING WITH ME
They have  the worst customer service I have ever seen in my life, except for the old days when I had to deal with
General Motors. Update April 03, 2010. Nikon finally repaired the lens and hood. I have not had a chance to test
the lens, but the new hood fell apart within 30 seconds of the time I put it on the lens to see if it fit. I sent it back. It
has not been returned.. It has now been more than a year of work on my part trying to get the hood repaired or
Update April 30.. Nikon finally sent me a lens hood that seems to be a usable one.. I do not know how long it will
last, but it has not fallen apart. To be honest though, I have not used the lens and hood outside my home. I only
tested it inside for a few minutes. Most likely I will just carry these items with me as backups. The replacement
lens I bought is so much better. Having the VR feature on the lens just makes all the difference in the world.. SO,
what next? I am facing the same issues most other photographers are facing, Dust and dirt on the sensor. I have read
lots of suggestions for cleaning this part of the camera, and I did buy the recommended cleaning supplies, and I do
use them, but the issue is still there.. I think I am going to have to learn to do the wet method of cleaning the sensor.
I am not looking forward to it. A lot of people do it, and I am guessing they do it will and without issue, but there
are sooooooo many people telling everyone how dangerous it is to do this cleaning. The risk is in scratching the
low pass filter that covers the sensor.. Once this is done, you are looking at some big bucks to have the home
company replace it... Not a good thought... But, I may risk it anyway.. I have to do something to get the nasty spots
off my images.... According the websites I visit, on this subject, I will need to buy an inspection loop, and then
swabs, and the cleaners, then, be VERY CAREFUL...
May 97, 2010. I did get a chance the other day to take a few images with the repaired lens and new hood. As far as
I can tell, they are usable at this moment. But how long will they hold up? I may not get to find out because the
replacement lens that I got when the 18-55 crapped out is the 18-105 VR. It has now become the only lens I use on
this camera. So, unless I need the 18-55 for some reason, it will most likely stay in its box, where it is safe from
normal use!!!!!!!

I will come back here from time to time and update this with more camera info that I think you might be interested
in. Right now it looks like I am going to move away from Nikon and go to Canon. More and more, I am noticing
that people in my club and on the streets are buying Canon equipment, when real money is involved. When I needed
help with my Canon camera, they treated my like a customer.. When I needed Nikon help, and B&H help, they
treated me like I was a junkyard dog.

March 06, 2011. UPDATE and new story!!!! NIKON DOES IT AGAIN!!!!!!!! Here is the current story. On
December 12, 2010, I fly to San Juan, Puerto Rico, to do an eleven night cruise on the Celebrity Millennium. On
the 13th I board the ship as set sail for a relaxing vacation in the Caribbean. About half way through the cruise, I
notice that the zoom on my 18-105 VR lens is not working well. It was then that I discovered that the front ring on
the zoom grip had come unglued and was just flopping around on the lens. So, for the rest of the cruise, I had to put
the ring back in its original position, hold it there while zooming, take the photo, let it go and move on.. Each shot
was pretty much like this. Put the ring in place, hold it there, zoom, take photo. Once or twice is not so bad, but for
a whole vacation, it was not funny.. I arrived back home on Christmas day. It was not until January 10, 2011, that I
was able to package the lens and ship it back to Nikon.. I was 100 percent sure there was not way they could think I
had caused this to happen.. How could I get something to come unglued??? Nothing broken, just unglued.

On January 25, I get a letter from Nikon telling me they have evaluated the lens and that the lens could not be
repaired under the warranty. Now, this is the lens I bought in Denver, Colorado, when the 18-55 lens fell apart.
One of the selling points of the 18-105 lens was that it had a FIVE year warranty. I bought it in September of 2009,
so it is less than five years old!!! Now, Nikon is telling me they will not fix it under the warranty, and they want
$109.73 to repair it and send it back to me!!! On January 26, I call Nikon and have a long chat with one of the
service people. They finally say they will re-evaluate the lens and see what can be done. On January 28, I get an
email with the title, ESTIMATE BEING REEVALUATED. I assumed that meant it was being EVALUATED, and
so I did not open it, I just acknowledged it and moved on, waited for one that told me the case HAS BEEN
EVALUATED.. Did not hear anymore from them. On FEBRUARY 18, I called Nikon to see what was going on..
Said I could not understand what was taking so long.. They said they were waiting to hear from me!!!!!!! Why! The
poor lady that took my call at Nikon could not handle my questions, she got a supervisor on the phone. In checking
the records, the supervisor said I had been sent and email with a new estimate on it.. I assured her I had not gotten
it. Then she told me what date it was sent.. I kept her on the line while I went back and checked my old emails. On
the date she said, I found the old message with was titled ESTIMATE BEING REEVALUATED. I open it and read
it. In this email, there was a new estimated of $73.99. They said they had done this as a goodwill act.!!! REALLY.
Now back to the supervisor. I tell here I see that Nikon now wants $73.99 to do the repair!!! I am still pissed. I say
there is no way I am going to pay. This lens has a FIVE year warranty.. She says the lens is not covered and that is
final. I tell her fine. Just ship the damn thing back to me just the way it is and I will parade it all over the country
and tell the NIKON story everywhere I can.. I go to all the local photo shops, photo clubs, visit all the online
review places, Consumer Reports, the BBB, and everybody else I can think of.. I want to get everyone in on this.. I
also tell her that in my camera club, the leader of the club tried to sell his Nikon camera for $5.00. He tells us it
might be a good camera, but it does not work. He bought it, he used it a month, it died. He mailed it to Nikon. They
took two months to get it repaired and back to him. He used it a month, and it died again. He mailed it back to
Nikon, and again, it took two months to get the camera back.. Our leader used it one more month and it died again..
He said, to hell with it.. He never sent it back and vowed to never buy another Nikon product!!!!!!!!

This chat I had with the lady, lasted for some time.. But I assured her that it was now going to be my mission in life
to cost NIKON thousands in lost camera sales.. She said she had done all she could to help.. Great, just send the
damn lens back to me and let me get started on my movement to affect their sales.. And, I told her Nikon was
wasting their money doing all that advertising, because I was going to be working against them all the time.. It
would be cheaper to fix my lens that have me fighting them... That was the end of the conversation.

About 30 minutes, after I got off the phone with that lady, I got another email from Nikon. This one said:

Dear Thomas Ballard. This email is in regards to the service of your AF-S DX 18-105MM/3.5-5.6G VR lens on
service order -------.
Please see the attached picture of your lens. As the technician points out, a part of the lens within the zoom ring has
been dislodged. To make the necessary repairs the outer zoom ring has to be replaced. Regarding the rubber ring, it
is not a glued on part. Because the outer zoom ring has to be replaced the rubber ring will be new.
I am also glad to report that service has approved a one time no charge complimentary repair of the lens.

I hope this information is helpful.

Nikon Customer Service

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! How nice!!!!! The email says there is a photo of my lens, attached.. There wasn't. But, at least
now, NIKON is going to repair the lens under warranty!!!!!!!

March 01, 2011.. I call NiKON and say I am concerned about my lens, since I have not heard any more from
Nikon.. The service person tells me the lens is repaired and has been shipped. I am told it should arrive on this
day. I hang up the phone, go in the next room to get something, and there is a knock on my door.. I open the door and
there is a package from NIKON.. This is less than two minutes after I talk to the Nikon person!!!!!!! I open the
package, and find my lens, looking just like a new one.. Since then, I have used it a few times and it seems to be
working good, so I am back in business. Does this mean I am happy with Nikon? NO!! And, you might love this,
yesterday, March 06, I mailed Nikon a Thank You card for doing the right thing!!!! Will I continue to use Nikon
equipment? Most likely, for awhile anyway, as I have other Nikon lens. That said, I am very tempted to switch over
to Canon. Nealy all of my friends and nearly all the people in my photo club have gone to Canon. I have used Nikon
and Canon. Nikon fits my hand better for shooting, but they have the WORST CUSTOMER SERVICE OF ANY
COMPANY I HAVE EVER DONE BUSINESS WITH!!!! I don't know if this story stops here, so come back every
once in awhile and see how I am doing with Nikon, or Canon if I have moved on to higher ground.
A window in Tom's universe.
This is more than a website of photos, it is a place to
share photos, adventures, stories, opinions, and
information. I hope you enjoy the time you spend here.

November 09, 2011.... The Nikon Challenge continues. It is time for an update on the
CHALLENGE of owning and using Nikon cameras and equipment.

I just reread my last entry, back in March.. It would seem that at that time I had just received a lens back from
Nikon. The lens had a part come loose back in December... Took two months to get Nikon to repair it, under

Now, on 11-09-11, I am waiting to see what happens with Nikons latest attack on their customer, me... I am
currently sitting here with a brand new Nikon D7000 which I got on October 25th, and cannot use.. It has problems
and Nikon is not willing to do what it takes to resolve the issue... But, to appreciate this, we have to go back a
ways and let me share the bigger story with you...

In the later part of July, the temps here in the middle of the USA, where I live, got so hot, for so long, that I elected
to go west and find cooler air to spend my time in. Was not long before I was enjoying the cool air of the
mountains in Wyoming and Colorado.. Not only was it lots cooler, but there were awesome places to hike and take
photos of mountains, streams, trees, etc.. Was great fun.. For this adventure, I was using my Nikon D40, and the
repaired Nikon 18-105VR.. This is a very nice combination, when they work!!!!!!!!! I traveled, I photographed, I
had fun.. No problems.. But that was about to change!!!!!

On Dec 10, by prior arrangement, another photographer friend flew to the Denver International Airport, where I
picked them up, and together we drove north to Ft. Collins to meet yet another photographer friend.. Seemed like
an easy thing to get done, and it more or less was. But, being new to the area and using a TOMTOM GPS, which is
not very easy to use, we missed an exit on the way to our friends home. Once we recovered, by back tracking a bit,
we finally arrived at the home of our friend.. All seems to have gone well, but, not really. My photo buddy that
flew in, had somehow managed to leave his duffel bag outside of  his home for a bit, on the way to the airport.
While it was outside by the car, a surprise rain arrived and soaked it!!!!!! It was canvas, so things inside got
wet!!!!! And, as if that were not enough, he must have been having a challenging day.. He forgot to deal with the
wet stuff that night!!!!! He discovered his mistake the next morning. So, he elected to put a few things in our friends
home dryer, and dry them for a bit... While all this was going on, our friend announced it was time for us to get
headed over to RMNP where we would be doing photos for the day... We all loaded up, and took off, in two cars..
Our friend was returning to his home this night, we would be staying in the park for a couple of nights before
moving on west. About the time we arrived in Estes Park, my travel buddy remembered his stuff was still in the
dryer at our friends home, miles away!!!! Stuff happens... Later, after I returned back here to my home, I got two
notices from the toll road people in Colorado.. It would seem that between 4:05 PM, and 4:38 PM, I had driven on
two of the states toll roads.. I was never aware of either one.. At one point, I did see a sign suggesting a toll road
ahead. This indicated we were lost, as I did not know of any toll roads in the area, actually in the state!!!! The
charges to be for the 34 minutes I was on their toll road was over 15 dollars!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That is equal to 30 dollars
per hour to drive on a toll road in Colorado!!!!!! I called the people to say I never really saw a sign telling me
where the tolls started, etc... I NEVER saw a toll booth.. I was informed there was NO BOOTHS.. Everything is
by camera, and by billing... IT IS A NASTY TRAP.. I checked the website they have, and they show little signs,
mixed in with the others.. Very hard to see.. In one case, it was one little sign mixed in with  10 other little signs..
So.... I will have to be more careful in the future!!!!!!!!!!!

Ok, I sort of got off track with toll road story, but I hope it is a good lead-in to the rest of the story.. I think it was
on September 13, 2011, my photo buddy and I arrived in the Moab, Utah area.. The next day, the 15th, we toured
Arches, etc. Then on the 16th, we headed to Dead Horse State Park, and the Grand View in Canyonlands. All had
been going well until about 2:30 PM... I was taking photos of some rock formations, when all of a sudden, the
shutter button no longer worked!!!!!!!! Dead!!!!!! And, there was an error message. I just happened to have the
manual in the car with me, so I went to check it out.. I found the error message.. Bad news. I said I had to call
Nikon!!!!!! So, my day was over, right there! Later that day, we returned to Moab, and I called NIKON. The rep
that I talked to asked me to try several "reset" options on the camera.. Nothing worked.. He said he was sorry, but
the camera would need to be returned to Nikon, and he gave me the Nikon address in California. The next day, I
wrote a letter to Nikon, explaining the situation, etc.. I gave them all the info they had asked for, plus some. I
searched out the local UPS office in Moab, and mailed the camera body back to Nikon.. The cost to me, 20 dollars.
From here on to the end of our trip, I was no longer taking photos, well not really.. I had two little cameras with
me and I used one of them part of the time, but only to grab a few memory shots, nothing of quality.. The camera I
used was the Canon SX1-IS. I have written about this one earlier..

Now fast forward to early October. My travel buddy and I arrived back here in the middle of the USA on
September 28. Then I had to leave town on business for a few weeks. But, while I when I had a few minutes to
myself to thing about the big picture, I remembered I had not heard from NIKON, about my D40, so, I called them.
I got a lady rep, who sounded nice.. I asked if there was any word on the fate of my D40.. She had to look it up of
course.. Turns out, they had gotten the camera on September 21, had estimated the repair to be 164 dollars, then
just set it on a shelf and forgot about it, because they said they did not have my email address, so as to send me a
message about the estimate.. I suggested something must be wrong, as I had provided this, along with all my phone
numbers, addresses, etc.. I had provide just about all info I could, short of giving them my credit card number.

After talking to the lady, she expressed an apology for what had happened, and she asked if I need the camera in a
hurry for anything!!!!!! Go figure!!!!!!!! I told her I did, I had a birthday coming up on November 1, and would be
60, and would love to have camera to record the birthday adventure I had planned.. With that, she said she would
try to get it repaired and to me, soon, by the 28th at the latest.. As the days went by, I reflected back on how much
of an issue it was to have a camera or lens to die while you are on a trip like this.. I missed three weeks of my
photo trip because my Nikon camera died.... I did not have a backup... It is worth noting, that my photo buddy uses
Canon equipment, and he NEVER has issues like this.. I even mentioned this to Nikon when I called them on the
16th of September.. They could care less...

After thinking about the one camera problem, I started researching the options.. Several people, in spite of all
issues, reported the Nikon D7000, to be a very good camera, which they were happy with... I search further and
found that Amazon was selling the D7000 at a discount at that time, and they were offering discounts on some
Nikon lenses. So, I gave in and decided to try Nikon again. I ordered the D7000, the 18-200vr, the 70-300VR, a
power grip, an SB600 flash, then a whole bucket of support items such as the 32GB extreme cards, UV filters,
etc... The total value for all that I ordered was way over 3000 dollars before I ended the order. So, now I would
have my D40 coming in, and I would have the D7000, plus extras coming in.. And, everything arrived on the same
day, 24 October, 2011. Late in the evening, on the 25th, after other obligations, I started doing the inventory and
opening boxes, etc... And,  I charged the camera batteries, and I took a few photos with the D7000 and the lenses..
Seemed like all was well, but there was not much to evaluate with these images.. NO plain background yet... On
November 1, my 60th birthday, a friend and I set out to do some adventure stuff for the day. First stop was the
ARCH, in St. Louis. At high noon, we were standing in the very center of the inside of the arch, at the top!!! Took
lots of photos with the D7000 and the 18-200VR lens.. But, that was about to change. .Once outside, I chose to
point the camera lens toward the top of the Arch and take a few photos, plus some of my friend standing beside the
plain metal leg of the Arch.. I thought I saw something wrong in the metal images, but then when I took the photos
of the sky, it all became clear. There was trash on the sensor of the camera.. This generated lots of nasty spots on
the photos!!!!!!!BAD!!!!!!!!! I tried the sensor cleaner.. No help... But, I did not have to think anymore about it.. We
had a dinner to attend this night..  Now that I was aware of the trash, I could see where it was showing up in
certain photos!!!! Not good, but I wanted to use this camera to record my birthday dinner, etc.. I was to be a
special day, and recorded with my new camera!!!!!!!! After all the dust settled from the birthday parties, I could
get back to researching the spot issue! On Sunday night, November 6, after helping a friend with some work at
their home, I sat down and planned to solve the spot issue with the camera.. I mounted a flash, set the f/stop to the
smallest number, 32 I think it is, went to manual focus and shot images of flat white surfaces.. The result, spots,
clear as anything. Several of them, one of which was rather large.. Bigger than any dust spot I have seen since I
started doing this years ago!

I reread the manual, and I tried the recommended method for removing dust spots, using the sensor cleaner in the
camera.. Nothing worked.. The manual said I was not to do any cleaning of the sensor myself.. Only trained techs
were to do this.. So, what to do??? I called Nikon, since they were open on Sunday.. Got a fellow named Roy. I
explained the situation.. New camera, only days old, and I have discovered the camera was shipped from the
factory with dust spots on the sensor.. And, I asked if Nikon would be in favor of me returning it to them to be pro
cleaned, checked for other issues and then returned to me quick, given that we have holidays with lots of parties,
and holiday lights to photo graph, in the near future.. His answer was that they would be happy to service the
camera and get it back to me fairly soon. I asked if NIkon would send me a shipping label, as Canon had done
when their camera needed help, so that I would not have to pay for the shipping.. Their answer, NO.. You pay to
ship it to use, we pay to ship it back.. Even if it is brand new and needs to have a NIKON issue taken care of, they
are still acting like real shits. They could care less if I liked being a NIKON customer or not.. I said goodbye and
hang up.. No help from Nikon...

After thinking about it for a few minutes, I got on Amazon's website and checked their policy for returns.. I could
return the camera for a refund or exchange,  well, sort of.. They do have that policy, but it does not always work!
When I tried the Amazon return thing on their website, all I got was a "refund" option, no exchange option. I need
to exchange, not refund.. I have LOTS of gear that goes with this camera!!!!!!!! I hunt around on the site and find a
way to talk to a person.. I get a lady named Marj on the line.. I explained my situation to her.. She felt my pain and
wanted to help, but there was a catch, and is the one that was stopping the computer from doing an exchange,
Amazon does not have anymore D7000s on hand.. She was very willing to refund my money, but I could not do that
with all this other stuff in limbo... She talked to her managers, etc... The conversation with Marj lasted a long
time... She really did try to help, and in the end told be that I had 30 days to return the camera for a refund, and I
assume the other stuff with it... This would be nearly a 3000 dollar return.. She did agree to this, she would closely
monitor the computer they have and she would watch for any new D7000s coming in.. If one did, before my 30
days were up, we would exchange. If not, we are talking about refund, or something!!!!!!!! I hate companies doing
this sort of thing to people!!!!!! It sucks!!!!!! I like to use Nikon equipment, but I have never met a company that has
such shitty customer service.. I am now 60 and NIKON still hold the SHIT AWARD for customer service.. Nikon
is great, if you never help with their product!!!!!!!!

As this day, Nov 9, 2011, comes to an end, I am in limbo with a 3000 dollar pile of Nikon gear I cannot use... It is
not a good feeling.. Happiness in America.. Nikon does not support happiness in America...
Tom Ballard Photography