Did I buy the worst two Nikon cameras (or are they all this bad?)

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Linda Sands, Oct 11, 2007.

  1. Linda Sands

    Linda Sands Guest

    I thought Nikon was a good brand name so I bought from Costco two Nikon
    cameras over the years - both of which have been fraught with failure. I
    even read the reviews before I bought which never mentioned that these
    Nikon cameras were pieces of ... well ... you know. They don't work.

    Nikon replaced my Coolpix 3100 once under warranty and then it broke about
    a year or so later. Same spot. The battery latch door has a flimsy loop of
    plastic which eventually snaps off necessitating the entire body being
    swapped out at the factory. I can't believe they made the Coolpix series to
    break like that but there's no way it can't break, it's so badly designed.
    A kindergarten kid could recognize the flaw from the outside just by
    looking at it. Yet the reviewers all missed it.

    I figured this was a fluke until I bought the Nikon Coolpix 5000.

    I bought the Nikon Coolpix 5000 because the reviewers said it was sturdy,
    having a METAL body. Whew. No more broken flimsy plastic battery doors, I
    thought. Wrong. My Nikon Coolpix 5000 died often, but this time it was the
    battery itself. After three or four or five batteries, I gave up, since the
    replacement batteries would end up costing more than the camera was worth.
    That Nikon Coolpix EATS up batteries! They worked fine for the first six
    months or so. But then they died like they were placed on a charcoal fire.
    I ended up having to leave the batteries on the charger because they'd have
    nothing left in them after two or three days, they were so bad. After a
    while, I couldn't get a dozen pictures out of the camera even hot off the
    charger, .before the battery died.

    Funny thing, a friend has the Nikon D50 and he says it works fine. The
    battery lasts days and the battery door hasn't fallen off yet.

    What gives? Did I happen to buy the two worst Nikon cameras on the planet
    or did the reviewer miss a biggie or is my experience just a fluke or does
    Costco only sell the Nikons that nobody wants but the reviewers don't know
    that or is the entire Nikon Coolpix lineup a sham ... or what?
    Linda Sands, Oct 11, 2007
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  2. Linda Sands

    Jeff Dittmar Guest

    I don't know about the Nikon 5000 battery (probably Nikon engineers goofed
    on the charger because the batteries would presumably come from a variety
    of suppliers). Nikon has a bad reputation for battery chargers.

    But I do know about the Nikon Coolpix battery door latch flaws as I had the
    Coolpix 2100 which uses the same idiotic design.

    Here is a photo of the latch from a clueless reviewer

    Here is a photo of the common Nikon engineering flaw the reviewer missed

    See how a paperclip & superglue were used to fix Nikon's engineering flaw

    See how a tripod screw & plate were used to fix Nikon's engineering flaw

    Here is a photo of how Nikon fixed the flaw themselves

    I would think that Nikon fixes these under a secret warranty for free even
    after the warranty period has expired.

    Does anyone know how to invoke the Nikon secret warranty?
    Jeff Dittmar, Oct 11, 2007
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  3. Linda Sands

    Malcolm Hoar Guest

    Tell 'em you're a class action attorney ;-)

    | Malcolm Hoar "The more I practice, the luckier I get". |
    | Gary Player. |
    | http://www.malch.com/ Shpx gur PQN. |
    Malcolm Hoar, Oct 11, 2007
  4. My Nikon 900, 990, 5700 and 8400 all work fine. And so does my D40. I
    should add that my Panasonic FZ5 and my wife's Panasonic FZ20 are also
    working correctly. As is my Ricoh R5, but the image quality on that very
    compact camera is not as good as the others.

    Maybe you got other customers' returns?

    David J Taylor, Oct 11, 2007
  5. Linda Sands

    Rich Guest

    Plastic-c-c-c-c-c-c. The days of the fine old METAL P&S cameras are
    gone, quality having given way to megazooms, crappy lenses, TINY,
    HORRIBLY noisy sensors and rotten plastic bodies. They make me sick.
    Rich, Oct 11, 2007
  6. Linda Sands

    SMS Guest

    Reviewers have complained about these flimsy doors so much that it's
    almost an item that they no longer bother mentioning because so many
    cameras have this problem.
    The 5000 is indeed a very flawed camera. Supposedly the upgrade, the
    5100, solves some of the problems, but not many reviews on it yet.
    Battery life is even worse on the P5100.

    The CoolPix 3100 suffers from the usual problem of cameras with AA
    batteries and doors that must hold the batteries against the
    spring-loaded contacts, but with the added disadvantage that it's the
    camera body that breaks, not just the door which can be replaced fairly

    The P5100 seems attractive, especially because it seems to be about the
    cheapest camera with a hot shoe that uses Li-Ion batteries (the G9 is
    much more expensive). However I'd opt for an S5 over the P5100, despite
    the larger size.
    SMS, Oct 11, 2007
  7. Linda Sands

    SMS Guest

    There are differences in the quality of the plastics and the design. If
    the design takes into account the weaknesses of plastic in certain
    components then a plastic or polycarbonate body can be fine.

    The worst place for plastic is in areas of constant stress such as in
    battery compartment covers on cameras with AA batteries that put
    constant pressure against the cover (which is part of the circuit. It's
    one reason to avoid cameras with AA batteries if possible, though I
    still have bought Canon cameras with AA batteries and have not had problems.

    Ironically, it's often the ultra-compact point and shoot cameras that
    are still made of metal because using metal helps make the camera smaller.

    I still use my very plastic Canon G2. The early G2 production did have a
    plastic problem but Canon repaired these at no charge.
    SMS, Oct 11, 2007
  8. Here and there Costco sells off what a manufacturer has too many of.
    And one reason the manufacturer has too many is because he can't sell
    them as the word has gone out about the problems. Costco hides
    these jewels so they are hard to tell from Costco's perfectly good
    That sounds like the charger. Do you have another charger or are they
    proprietary available-from-Nikon-only batteries?
    _Everybody_ screws up sometimes. They are more likely to screw up on
    something they are doing for the first time - Leica M8 anyone?

    Wisdom has it one should always hold off until Version 3.21a is released.
    Nicholas O. Lindan, Oct 12, 2007
  9. Linda Sands

    GMAN Guest

    OMG, replace cheap plastic with more plastic?????
    GMAN, Oct 12, 2007
  10. Linda Sands

    C J Campbell Guest

    Nikon is a good brand name and Costco is okay, but Costco does not
    carry Nikon's best cameras and Nikon's point & shoot cameras are not
    special. However, you should see the *really* fragile junk put out by
    the likes of Fuji and Minolta. Fujis are notorious for the slightest
    moisture, even condensation or breathing on the camera, causing
    irreparable damage. They also are extremely sensitive to heat, to the
    point where you cannot use lithium batteries in them. Minolta point and
    shoots tended to be just flimsy.
    The reviewers didn't miss it. It is just that flimsy battery doors are
    so common that they are considered normal. It is one reason that Apple
    did not put one on the iPhone. Camera battery doors (and memory card
    doors) are usually cheap pieces of junk. It does not get better with
    the expensive DSLRs. You can buy a $5000 DSLR and not only will it have
    an easily broken memory card door, it will have external contacts for
    shutter release and the like covered by a little plastic button that
    has to be completely removed when the contact is in use. These buttons
    are usually lost very quickly. And let us not even get started on
    flimsy lens hoods. I have replaced several on my Nikon lenses. One lens
    in particular, the 18-200 mm VR, is now on its fourth lens hood. That
    one is broken, too.
    Your charger is bad, or you are using third party batteries, probably
    from Best Buy or Ritz. These are made in China. In my opinion, they
    make good fire starters.
    Many Nikon fans suspect that the entire Coolpix line is a sham. Nikon
    does nothing outstanding there. Just a whole bunch of me-too cameras
    with average features, performance and build quality.
    C J Campbell, Oct 12, 2007
  11. Linda Sands

    JohnR66 Guest

    While Nikon's DSLRs are among the best, their current point and shoot line
    is nothing special. The P5000 was a dissapointment in performance from the
    reviews I've seen. I may be a Canon Fanboy, but you'd be much better served
    by a Canon A6xx series camera. You may be hard on the cameras battery covers
    and break off the Canon's too.
    JohnR66, Oct 12, 2007
  12. The battery doors are uniformly fragile on almost all digital cameras;
    the Nikons you mention are perhaps a little bit worse than average. I
    have experience with the 3100; with careful use it can be made to hold
    up. But as you mention, the stupidity is that the door is not designed
    to be easily replaced. I've also noted flimsy battery doors all the way
    up to my D80.

    Your 5000 battery experience is atypical. I've had good performance
    with Nikon battery packs back to the CoolPix 995. In fact the battery
    that came with mine years back is still fine. Are you buying genuine
    Nikon batteries?
    Scott Schuckert, Oct 13, 2007
  13. Linda Sands

    ASAAR Guest

    You might want to mention some specific models, as I've used
    several of Fujis (mostly the S-series), and far from being fragile,
    they are quite robust, and have performed well for several years.
    Do you have first-hand experience, or did a birdy whisper some
    nonsense into your ear, causing a wee bit of irreparable brain
    damage from the accompanying traces of moisture?
    ASAAR, Oct 13, 2007
  14. Linda Sands

    John Turco Guest

    C J Campbell wrote:


    Hello, Christopher:

    Okay, then, my Pentax K100D must be an exception to your "rule." In
    September, I paid well under $500 USD (body only), for this entry
    level, 6.1 megapixel DSLR...and yet, it's very ruggedly constructed,
    including the memory card/battery doors (it takes four AA cells and

    John Turco <>
    John Turco, Oct 14, 2007
  15. Linda Sands

    C J Campbell Guest

    I have owned five Fuji digitals. I will never buy another one. All of
    them either died of battery overheating or they stopped working after
    being exposed to Puget Sound fog.
    C J Campbell, Oct 14, 2007
  16. Linda Sands

    ASAAR Guest

    Fuji makes DSLRs as well as several different lines of P&S
    cameras. Is there some reason you don't want to identify the ones
    you've used? ALL of the ones I've used are extremely battery
    efficient, so there should be no problems with overheating unless
    less efficient, battery draining models are used, many pictures are
    taken rapidly using the flash, especially if lithium AA batteries
    (which can produce a lot of heat) are used. I suspect that dense
    fog isn't kind to more brands of cameras than just some of Fuji's
    models. Equally strange, is that you'd choose to not identify the
    cameras that you deem to be good for use in dense fog. Perhaps
    you're not really confident that they're much more reliable than
    Fuji's cameras when used in highly humid environments?
    ASAAR, Oct 14, 2007
  17. I found this wonderful thread while looking up how to fix my son's Nikon
    Coolpix 3100 battery latch door camera body broken problem.

    I latched onto the paperclip idea but nobody said which glue to use. I
    bought Locktite superglue and Locktite epoxy but I think one or both of
    those glues melted the camera body a bit. The camera body plastic is pitted
    slightly and indented where the glue was wet but now has dried.

    Does anyone know what the camera body plastic is made up of? The package
    insert says not to use the Locktite Quick Set Epoxy on "polyethylene" or

    Also, the articles didn't say WHAT SIZE drill bit to use so I used a #55
    (0.052 inh) drill bit which seemed to work to drill the holes in the ribs
    in the inside of the Nikon Coolpix camera body to hold the long legs of the

    In addition, nobody said which dremel bit to use, and I munged up the
    camera body by using one that was too large and unwieldy.

    You can see a dozen step-by-step photos of my operation to recycle my son's
    Nikon Coolpix 3100 camera at http://usera.imagecave.com/coolpixfixer/
    Jeanette Guire, Oct 15, 2007
  18. Here are a dozen photos showing how I used the advice in this thread to fix
    my son's Nikon Coolpix 3100 digital camera body which broke at exactly the
    same spot in all the photographs listed above.


    You'll notice nobody said which drill bit to use, nor which dremel bit to
    use, nor which glue to use - and I think I screwed up in all three but the
    results still seem to work. It's a bit messy because I use the wrong dremel
    tool and probably the wrong glue (it melted the camera body a bit).

    It's too late for me but does anyone know what the Nikon Coolpix camera
    bodies are made up of and therefore what glue to use which won't pit the
    camera body everywhere it touches it wet?
    Jeanette Guire, Oct 15, 2007
  19. Where can we put these instructions and photographs so that the next
    thousand people with a Nikon Coolpix camera can fix it themselves?

    Not only did the prior articles (which were wonderful, mind you) not say
    which dremel tool to use, which drill bit to use, which glue and epoxy to
    use, but they also didn't say how to adjust the paperclip on the Nikon
    Coolpix 2100 & 3100 camera body to fit the Nikon Coolpix battery latch

    I photographed a three-step description for the next hapless Nikon Coolpix

    STEP 1
    Pull the paperclip out of the Nikon Coolpix camera about a quarter inch

    STEP 2
    Gently close the Nikon Coolpix camera battery door on the paperclip

    STEP 3
    Open the camera battery door so the paperclip is now automatically adjusted

    Even my glueing was a three-step process that wasn't described in the
    otherwise wonderful notes on how to fix the Nikon Coolpix 2100 or Nikon
    Coolpix 3100 camera battery latch.

    STEP A
    I drilled two 0.052 inch holes in the inside ribs of the Nikon Coolpix
    camera body for the legs of the paperclip and I notched out two spots for
    the paperclip in the edge of the camera body.

    STEP B
    I glued the paperclip in place with superglue on the Nikon Coolpix camera

    STEP C
    I added liberal amounts of epoxy for strength on the paperclip and Nikon
    Coolpix 3100 camera body.

    In the hopes of helping someone else with the Nikon Coolpix line of
    cameras, what is the best way to post these photographs to help others?
    Jeanette Guire, Oct 15, 2007
  20. For the record, I had called Nikon Service Relations at 800-645-6678 and
    they basically said that many people have the problem with the Nikon
    Coolpix series battery latch door breaking and that it wasn't something
    they cared about.
    Jeanette Guire, Oct 15, 2007
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