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Here's my take on "impact damage" which, by the way, seems to occasionally be an issue at both Canon and Nikon service centers (the grass is no greener on the other side). Also I am not suggesting any of this happened to you specifically, but just in general, think of all the possibilities (hypothetical of course) that could happen to anyone:
- Impact damage could EASILY happen while shipping the lens to/from the service center. I believe this would be the #1 cause for actual impact damage. I know several people working for couriers and I can tell you for sure they do not care in the slightest about that 'fragile' sticker you stuck on the box or whatever else. Boxes also toss and tumble around in the truck, conveyor belts, planes, etc. Maybe you packed your camera amazingly well, but maybe the UPS guy dropped it onto concrete from up high, and you'd never know. There is no way anyone could possibly know 100% for sure it was not damaged in transit. That is a risk you take when you ship anything.
- Lots of people have kids, pets, etc. and you aren't watching your camera the entire time while it's at home in storage. Any number of things could happen. Say, for example, your kid takes the camera out to show his friends 'dads awesome professional camera' when you aren't home, accidentally drops it and doesn't think anything of it. I've done things like that when I was a child.
- Based on my own personal observations and travels, a lot of people handle their cameras ROUGH. They toss them in bags not designed for cameras, they let them dangle around their necks and bump into things while they are doing something else, they handle them with sunscreen/bug spray all over themselves (DEET, by the way, removes labeling and paint), etc. DSLRs are full of tiny, delicate parts. I was at Disney World last month and the amount of people bringing DSLRs on rides was surprising. Their camera bag lying at their feet getting smashed around as the ride did various things. One lady in particular even had her DSLR out on a relatively tame roller coaster taking pictures behind her of her kids, and I watched as her camera bounced off the metal handle of the seat behind her time after time. After the ride, she tossed her camera back in her purse without even thinking about it.
- Maybe that overhead compartment your camera bag was in on your last flight got a good whack during turbulence, or maybe the person who put his bag in after you paid little attention to your camera bag as he stuffed his giant hard-case carry on on top of it. You would get off the plane, collect your things, and be none the wiser.
Again, I am just thinking of things that could possibly happen, I'm not accusing you or anyone else of anything. I'm sure sometimes Nikon calls damage "impact damage" when the cause was something else, but I also believe that some people have legitimate impact damage even when they think they do not. I'm not trying to defend Nikon necessarily, but a quick look at the forums (all of them not just FM) and people seem to think anytime Nikon says "impact damage" there is a 0% chance it was somehow their fault, even unknowingly, and that Nikon is trying to screw them any which way they can. I suspect the truth is far less one sided than that, even if the odd person does get an unfair diagnosis every now and then.
Anyway, I hope you get your issue resolved, one way or another. It will be interesting to see what images they send to prove what they think is impact damage. I would be fighting it as well if I were you, regardless, if I believed it was not my fault. My point is just that anytime someone makes a thread about impact damage, there is a knee jerk reaction to blame Nikon and talk about how disappointing their service is, and I don't think that's completely fair, especially with how many happy customers you never hear from.
Edited on Jun 13, 2014 at 03:10 PM · View previous versions