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I have used Nikons for many years professionally. Never abused, but in the press they did work hard. However since digital, things changed.

A D2X is still with me, but with a very low shutter count. less than 10k the D100 I bought lasted well, but no vast amount of clicks. Even in my press days I rarely used the motor drive, it being there so I could shoot rapidly if required while keeping eye to the finder for that special moment. Many these days use the scattergun approach. I like to think about my pictures given the time and then take only possibly two shots. So my D300 died at less than 75k never hard used. Another D300 had the dreaded mirror problems end that died again at less than 75K both less than half the life expectancy. I bought a D5200 at the time to keep me going as a spare. That was returned when it was discovered the images were not sharp. I tested the camera with 8 different lenses and all were unsharp. That camera went back and forward to Nikon in UK about 6 times. Each time returned working. Each time worse than previously. That took over a year. I was going to sue them. They sent me a D7100 for all my trouble two d300's and a D5200 and a year battling. the secondary memory card slot in the D7100 went within 3 weeks.Its been that way ever since.

Now I do not overuse, abuse cameras. I asked about the D300's I was told to send them in and they were sure they could "resolve" the matter. That ended up with Nikon sending me estimates for very high amounts for repairs. Getting several quotes from independent repair companies I discovered they could do the work for 1/5th of the Nikon price. then Nikon reduced the price by 50% still higher than any other quote. I am disgusted with Nikon and looking around on the internet it seems I am not the only one. So far my research has revealed may who's cameras do not even reach the halfway estimated shutter counts. So I am wondering if that is even legal? Do we expect a car engine to die at 75,000 miles ? No. so what a camera. And why do old film cameras ( like many of mine ) still work after 40, years? Do Nikon install an age limit?

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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's a rant. – Philip Kendall Mar 15 at 18:01
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    You do know what average means, right? I.e. how (200k+200k+200k+75+75k) / 5 = 150k? – flolilo Mar 15 at 18:17
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    @flolilolilo Strictly that's "arithmetic mean". "Average" can have multiple meanings :-) – Philip Kendall Mar 15 at 18:20
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    @flolilolilo In this situation the relevant calculation is mtbf. – mattdm Mar 15 at 18:26
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    I would just like to point out one flaw in validating your impression by searching online. In all spheres of life, unhappy people complain, and happy people say nothing. The vast majority of Nikon users who are happy with their cameras probably say nothing about this online. Just because you find people complaining online does not mean that every user is unhappy. – osullic Mar 15 at 18:48
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If the camera fails within the warranty period in a way that's covered by the warranty, the manufacturer will make it right, within the terms of that warranty.

This is the same in cars — some do fail before the engine reaches 75,000 miles. If that's within the warranty, the manufacturer will fix it.

Nikon has a statement on shutter count on their website. This notes

However, as with everything mechanical, it may need to be serviced or replaced someday.

and in general the page makes it clear that this is an overall estimate and certainly not a promise. Specifically:

Since an exact number of releases before failure cannot be exactly calculated, a formula is used to estimate when it may occur, called MTBF ( Mean Time Between Failures). MTBF is a mathematical system that uses statistical analysis to project an average expected 'lifespan' of a given item. Based on testing and past performance, along with service information, we can formulate an estimated average number of shutter releases ( also referred to as actuations or cycles ) that can be expected before probable shutter failure.

The term Mean is referring to a mathematical average and not to an exact number — the actual amount may be higher or lower.

You certainly can threaten to sue, but this is unlikely to be a scary hammer to the company. Like any company, Nikon surely gets that all the time from any number of customers with unrealistic expectations. Unless you can prove some sort of deceit or malice, the most you can hope for is a refund, and even that's unlikely if you've had and used the camera for a while. That's because rather than being tricky, Nikon actually goes out of their way to set realistic expectations. See the wording on the link above for an example — no promises are made, and much of the text is devoted to explaining that actual results may be better or worse. If you're gonna get all legal, you should have a lawyer read the fine print in the warranty — and I'm not a lawyer, but I bet you'll spend your money on their time for them to basically tell you the same thing here.

Nothing is perfect in this world. Film cameras from a long time ago may have been more durable, but they're also simpler — less to go wrong with electronics, and it's likely the shutter is slower and can't repeat as fast. We expect 75,000 actuations as a matter of course from today's cameras — that's over two thousand rolls of film. If I were shooting two rolls every single day for three years straight, I'd definitely not be surprised to see my film camera need service.

You ask — probably tongue-in-cheek — whether Nikon "installs an age limit". The concept of planned obsolescence is certainly a reality in many consumer goods today (hello, toasters!), but as the Wikipedia article notes In a competitive industry, this is a risky policy, because consumers may decide to buy from competitors instead if they notice the strategy. The digital camera market is certainly a competitive one. It is unlikely that Nikon has any interest in making things break early on purpose. Instead, they are pricing components, manufacturing, and quality assurance as best they can for advantage in this competitive market.

Your possible recourses here are straightforward:

  1. Live with it. Recognize that failure is eventually inevitable. Make sure you have backup equipment or other contingency plans if you are under pressure for an event or other situation.
  2. Switch brands, realize that brand isn't perfect either, and ... live with it.
  3. Start your own camera company with higher standards for quality and longevity and show everyone how it's done.
  • Uh, yes. Will come back and finish later. Thanks for the catch – mattdm Mar 15 at 19:13
  • Fixed. Thanks again. – mattdm Mar 15 at 22:10

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