>Hmmm, we're kinda comparing apples and oranges here.
I don't think they're necessarily that different. Imagine if Ford changed the design on their cars so that they have triangular axles, and needed special Ford triangular hubbed wheels. Or if they made window wipers with a unique connection mechanism such that only official Ford wipers could be used. And the only place to get them was at the Ford dealer. Would you still want to buy a Ford then?
Yes, you can buy repair manuals for cars, but Nikon does not produce or sell repair manuals for their cameras, nor does it seem they will be even selling replacement parts to end-users. Will you have to send your camera in to just to replace a missing lens cap?
And again, the vast majority of camera repair is not technical in any meaningful way. If a circuit board inside a Nikon camera blows a resistor or develops a bad IC, they do not de-solder the bad part, and put a new one on. They just replace the whole board. If the shutter button goes bad, they do not clean the corrosion off the one you have, they just replace it. If your camera chassis becomes warped or has other damage, they just install the parts into a new camera (or tell you it's beyond repair and to junk it).
It's not even as if the assembly is a delicate process either. Nobody seats a sensor in the camera under a microscope to ensure the alignment is correct- rather the parts of the assembly are simply made to very tight tolerances, so that when they fit together the fit is exact and precise.
>By the way, Nikon cameras such as the D700, D800, D3, D4 and >other incarnations may have weather proof seals and be >"water resistant," however they are not waterproof - >there's a difference, so protect your camera accordingly. > >I know of one shooter who had a big surprise when he took in >his Nikon 200-400 zoom hoping to get it repaired under >warranty when he chose to shoot a football game during a >rainstorm - without any protection. One of those Customer >Service cases Howard listed above.
Although this doesn't really have anything to do with Nikon vs. 3rd party repair, you could argue that these kinds of "customer service situations" partly are Nikon's fault. They market their equipment as being sealed, and moisture resistant, and weatherproof, but never give any actual definitions of what those terms mean. How much rain can the lens withstand? One inch per hour? Three inches per hour? Only from the top but not coming in at the sides? Do you need some kind of protection in even the lightest bit of ran? If yes in order to be completely safe, is it really truthful to call a lens "moisture resistant"?
If they were serious about weather sealing, they would test their equipment and give them industry-standard IPX ratings so people would know exactly what and how much the equipment can handle. This would help customers know in which situations added protection is needed and in which situations the built-in resistance of the equipment is sufficient. Personally, I have long wished they would do this.