Wednesday, September 17, 2008


What turned up on my front porch this morning? My D200, freshly repaired and refurbished, from Nikon. I appreciate that it returned so quickly, but according to the guy at Nikon repair, yesterday, it wasn't supposed to ship for another 48 hours. However the Nikon repair status web page shows that the camera shipped 9/16/08. So, surprise, surprise! So far I have what appears to be on the surface a brand new D200. In addition to replacing the shattered LCD and repairing internal damage, Nikon replaced the rubber grips and several other seals. It appears that they also cleaned the sensor, but I have some small debris on the mirror or pentaprism that I did not notice before. Some spots on the sensor that were there before appear to have been removed. However, there is a persistent piece of debris that shows in the top right corner of the frame as a sort of jagged crescent that I did not see in any previous photos. This piece of debris appears to be welded to the filter that sits in front of the sensor. I guess the best way to deal with dirty sensors is to do it yourself, but I'm going to consult with a local camera repair first. To sum up; camera was shipped to Nikon 9/2/08. Nikon received camera 9/4/08. Camera repaired by 9/16/08 and returned to me on 9/17/08. I rate the communication problems with Nikon as minor and slightly irritating. I appreciate the speed of the repair process and the extensive replacement of seals and gaskets and the rubber grip. I am disturbed by the debris on the sensor. on a scale of 1-5 I give them a 3.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


“All human wisdom is summed up in two words - wait and hope” Alexandre Dumas Père.

With no additional word from Nikon,on my D200, I contacted their repair service via phone today. A service representative answered quickly and informed that my camera was repaired and forwarded to quality control today. According to the service rep, it should complete the quality check process and ship approximately 48 hours later.

Trumpeter Swan Seney NWR Michigan

Saturday, September 13, 2008

In The Shop

I checked on my D200 at the Nikon Repair web site. My camera is now listed as "In shop" which means that the camera is in the process of being repaired. Could I have my camera repaired and returned by this time next week? Stay tuned.

Sunrise Seney NWR

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Still Waiting

Please note the link to Thom Hogan's excellent site This site does tend toward Nikon shooters, but there is some excellent information that would be beneficial to most photographers. Upon completion of the repair of my D200, I will post my experiences with Nikon Repair at Thom Hogan started this posting apparently due to concerns about Nikon repair experiences.

Thus, far Nikon repair reports that my D200 as; estimate accepted, on 9/9/08. Nikon's service repair rank is B2. According to the Nikon Service Status Check web page B2 means a moderate repair wityh major parts replaced. The problem according to Nikon is described as a broken display, clean and check. This is consitent with my evaluation and request for service. One caveat though is the information box on the Repair Status page, that reveals the message "If Parts Available," with the explanation, "Depending on the age of the product, some orders will display this message when replacement parts are limited." Does this mean parts are not available, back ordered, will there be a delay in the repair, or what? The information is not specific enough. I will contact Nikon repair on Monday, 9/15/08, unless there is a change in status. In the mean time, no camera, no photography.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


This photo was taken 4/14/08 in a little valley outside Townsend, Tennessee, near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Note the Dogwood blooming on the right and the snow on the mountains in the background. Mid-April is the time to be in the Smokies and the surrounding area. Sometime in the near future I will post a guide for photographers who want to explore this area in the spring.


I've been busy with other concerns for the most part, but still missing my camera. If you read my previous post, the Nikon Repair facility in Melville, New York was supposed to contact me by Thursday 9/11/08, and inform me of the status of my D200 shipped on 9/2/08. Nikon received the camera 9/4/08. Today I received an email from Nikon with an estimate for repairs totaling $224.50 which includes tax and shipping. I immediately responded and approved the estimate. I will try to post on Friday 9/12/08 to document the progress on this matter. So far Nikon repair has done well by me.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Update on Nikon repair process

Nikon received my D200 via UPS yesterday, 9/4/08. Since I have not received verification of their receipt of the camera and being a neophyte with regard to Nikon repair I decided to contact their repair facility via phone. After navigating through a couple of levels of "press 1 for technical support or press 2 for repairs." I finally entered "5, to speak to a service representative," and took a deep breath, prepared for a long wait, I was surprised when a service representative immediately answered and provided answers to all my questions. He explained, with a definitive, but understandable accent, that there was a "system delay" and normal notification of receipt of products for repair was not working properly. He confirmed receipt of my camera by Nikon and promised I would receive an e-mail by next Thursday (9/11/08) confirming receipt, and providing a tracking number to use with their on-line system. Further, he promised I would receive my repaired camera by 10/4/08. So far, this has been a pretty painless experience.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Disaster and the D200

L to R: Rick Nevels, Don S. sitting Rick L.

On a recent trip to Michigan's Upper Peninsula I had the privilege to shoot in beautiful and interesting surroundings with two good friends (Canon shooters nonetheless, see we all really can  get along) for ten fantastic days. Despite the mosquito swarms which lasted for approximately an hour each AM and regularly ran us into our tents each PM, we had a great time and captured some beautiful images. However, on 8/29/08 at 8:04:59 AM I took what may end up being the last image ever taken with my beloved D200. The D200 is a substantial, well built camera, my first DSLR, that I have taken many images with. If I were to replace it with a newer model, I would want to keep it. Not only are the images it produces impressive, but the handling characteristics and ergonomics make it a joy to use. The spider web photo below was taken at the time listed above just before my D200 was seriously damaged.

I was shooting with a MF 200mm f4 Nikon macro lens, a lens I have written about before on this blog, a lens that is renown for it's contrast and sharpness, and works on the Nikon D100 - 300 and D1 -D3 series cameras. The camera and lens were attached to the tripod via the Arca-Swiss screw release on an Arca-Swiss Arca-Swiss Monoball Z1 Single Pan Ballhead to the lens mount and a custom Kirk plate on the Nikon 200mm f4. In attempting to readjust my tripod for another shot the quick release allowed the camera and lens to slide backwards out of the mount. The back of the D200 took the brunt of impact resulting in a badly damaged lcd (see photo below). Initially, the on/off switch on the camera did not work, but then I was able to shut down the camera. I then attempted to turn the camera back on, but to no avail. I placed the camera and lens in a plastic bag, due to the shattered glass, and placed it in my camera bag. I could not bear to look at it further. Without a backup camera body, my Canon shooting buddies graciously loaned me Canon cameras and beautiful L series lenses (see we all really can get along) to photograph with for the remainder of our trip.

Upon returning home, I opened up the plastic bag and looked at my camera. After further examination and a new battery I discovered the camera was operable, after all. Amazingly the camera still produces an image, autofocus, and metering still works. Autofocus modes work, but the multi selector on the back of the camera does not work, hence auto focus points cannot be manipulated and all other functions dependent upon the multi-selector are inoperable. However, the camera still takes a reasonable image. (Below)

Returning to Louisville, late, on Sunday 8/31/08, I set about determining where to get an estimate on repair. Initial inquiries about local repairs seemed to indicate possible delays due to a history of back ordered parts from Nikon. Also, I have a shoot scheduled for 10/4/08 and need a camera ASAP. Consequently, I shipped the D200 to Nikon's repair facility in Melville, NY. The camera was shipped UPS on 9/2/08 4:36 PM and arrived at the Melville NY repair facility on 9/4/08 at 10:13 AM. At the time of this writing, 9/4/08 2:25 PM, no word from Nikon regarding repair status. I will continue to post my experience and progress on this repair.