Got a Nikon lens repair issue? No worries and no need to beat yourself for what happened. After all, the best way to keep your lenses in perfect condition is to store them in their boxes and hide them somewhere—which, you’ll agree with me, is not the best way to enjoy them and a perfect waste of money, too.
It’s a normal occurrence for a well-used lens to encounter issues along the way. Things happen—an accidental bump, sand or dust getting into the lens, sitting on your cam, etc. The possibilities are endless. Thankfully, you don’t always have to put to rest a good lens.
In this article, we’ll show you your repair options for your broken Nikon lens and other things you need to know.
Common Lens Repair Issues of Nikon
Are you getting consistent under or overexposure, not just in one but all exposure modes? Just to be sure that the damage is on the lens and not on the camera body, try mounting other lenses on the camera.
If the other lenses work fine, then the damage is lens-specific. It must be that the blades on your aperture are off-kilter. Hopefully, it just needs a good cleaning of the dirt that may have accumulated on the blades.
If you encounter the same problem in all lenses, most probably you have a damaged aperture control lever. This is caused by improper attachment or removal of lenses or the attempted use of lenses that do not match the camera body.
If you’re getting unclear photos lately, then chances are you’ve got a busted auto-focus lens. Much more if what you have isn’t supposed to be manually adjusted when half-pressing on AF mode, yet you or someone maneuvered the cam or lens that way. While some cameras or lenses allow you to do that, others don’t.
When your camera is on AF mode, a screw drive engages with the lens. So you can imagine what happens when you are manually adjusting the lens with the AF gear engaged. You can even feel the resistance or hear a specific noise when you’re forcing the focusing ring against pressure. This should already serve as a warning.
Another common lens repair issue of Nikon is the lens mount. Those particularly made of plastic are susceptible to falls and bumps. Since Nikon doesn’t sell lens mount spare parts, you may have to try your luck in an independent repair shop or a Nikon service center.
If you’re quite the handyman and have an old plastic mount that you can use, then you can perform the repair yourself. There are resources available on the Internet to guide you through the process.
Damage on the optical lenses will fetch you undesirable photos. A lot of things can cause damage to your optical lens from using a scratchy cloth to clean it to accidentally dropping your camera. Optical lens repair or replacement can be pretty costly.
How Much Do Nikon Lens Repairs Cost?
Well, it depends. But naturally, having your lens repaired by a Nikon service center will cost you more than having it fixed by an independent repair technician or doing the repair yourself—if you’ve got the skills.
But regardless of having Nikon or a local repair technician perform the task, some lens repairs can cost a ludicrous amount of money that it’s better to get a new one than have the broken lens fixed. Usually, a $300-lens outside of warranty is not worth the money and time for repair since repair costs would be around the same amount—if not more.
If you are not sure, then you can always get an estimate first before agreeing to have it fixed for the price offered. For that, you should be ready to pay a small diagnosing fee.
Where to Buy Nikon Parts?
In 2012, Nikon created quite a buzz with its announcement that “it will no longer make repair parts available for purchase by repair facilities that have not been authorized by Nikon to perform camera repairs.” On top of that, Nikon retail dealers and consumers were not exempt from their announcement of restricted access to spare parts.
Nikon stated that “the technology underlying today’s cameras is more complex than it has ever been and in view of the specialization of technology as well as the specialized tools that are now necessary to perform repairs on this complex equipment..” as the rationale behind the total ban on sales of parts.
This was disputed by many, spurring a petition supported by several Nikon users and independent repair technicians. Restriction of parts availability understandably made repairs more costly, inaccessible to some, and more time-consuming for those who don’t live near the 23 Nikon authorized repair facilities (NARS).
The following year, Nikon made a concession by allowing the sale of cosmetic spares, including screws, cover rings, rubber rings, and eyelets. So if you’re looking to buy new original spare parts for your Nikon lens, then you’ve reached a dead-end! Neither do independent repair technicians have access to them since their access to these spares are just as restricted as yours.
If you’re intent on keeping costs low on your lens repair, then you’ll have to be content with using original spares from old lenses available in online shops like eBay. You can also entrust the repair to local repair shops that will make do with used spares or use new ones that aren’t made by Nikon.
What then Is the Nikon Repair Process?
If you have decided to entrust the repair of your lens to Nikon, then you’ll have to go to their website and schedule a repair. You’ll be asked to fill out some information, including problem description, your contact details, and shipping address.
For non-warranty repairs, service approval will have you pre-authorize the cost based on the problem description you gave. If costs turn out to be different from what you initially pre-authorized, then you will get a notification.
As for issues not covered by warranty, Nikon will provide a diagnosis and service estimate and await your approval before proceeding with the repair.
Since Nikon only handles repairs of products directly bought from them or authorized dealers, you will have to provide them a photocopy of proof of purchase even if you’ve got a non-warranty issue or the lens is already past the warranty coverage.
Once Nikon receives your lens, you will receive a confirmation via email of their initial evaluation.
When shipping the lens, make sure it’s well-packed. Damage incurred during transit or “impact damage” is not covered by the company even if your lens is under warranty.
Nikon suggests you send in with the package CDs or DVDs containing unedited samples of everyday pictures you have taken with the lens. This will help Nikon see how your lens worked under normal shooting conditions. Having your package insured for replacement value is also recommended.
If shipping your lens is a risk you don’t want to take, then you can also choose to drop-off your lens in person in a Nikon facility near you.
The company covers shipping if the lens is still under warranty. On the other hand, duties, taxes, and service fees on the return shipment will be on you.
We hope we’ve given you enough information to help you decide on how to address your Nikon lens repair needs. Again, it would be wise to check first if repair costs will not be the same as buying a new one. And should you go the Nikon Repair Service route, make sure you have your item packed well and if possible insured.