It was enough to almost make me want to cry!
Sitting in the Lounge, I heard a quiet bang from the bedroom, on investigation it seems that one of our (many) Cats managed to open a door to the built-in Wardrobes.
All of my camera equipment is stored in this particular wardrobe and normally right up high on a shelf. However, as there has been some activity around the house (flyby of Short Toed Eagles for instance) I kept both my 500mm f/4 and 300mm f/2.8 standing up ready to grab.
Yes, you guessed it, one of the Cats (who still remains unidentified) knocked the 500mm f/4 over.
Luckily, it fell against a still closed door but when I opened the door to investigate, it slowly fell over landing on the tripod mount. The Arca Swiss mount was connected to the footplate resulting in enough force to crack the collar. Again, luckily, the 300mm f/2.8 remained unharmed.
The lens itself seems unharmed, however, the design of the tripod collar on the Nikon 500mm f/4 means it’s integral to the construction of the lens. In other words, it cannot be removed and replaced. The lens has to be split open to repair it.
So, I contacted Nikon Support Europe (which I think is based in the Surrey UK HQ) pointed me toward the only Nikon approved repairer in Portugal which (no surprise) is based in Lisbon.
Altlant Photo Image is not only the only repairer, but is also the sole importer and distributor of Nikon products in Portugal.
Great, should be easy then? Not quite.
The only way to contact them is by telephone, however, as my Portuguese is still in it’s infancy, I lack the skills to be able to talk to them from a technical point of view. So, I contacted the European Support to see if I could simply take my Lens to the UK. Their response was surprising as I was told that the service centre in the UK may not take the lens in for repair as it’s now in Portugal, even though the lens was originally purchased in the UK and told me to still contact Atlant Photo Image.
Therefore, my only option was to contact the Portuguese Nikon Support in written Portuguese, I suspect this still goes to the UK-based call centre and have so far had no reply. I simply have asked if it’s possible to hand-deliver the lens to the Atlant Photo Image offices in Lisbon for them to provide a quotation for repair. This case was opened on the 21st August, as of today (28th), I have had no response.
So, currently, I’m stuck without my workhorse, the 500mm f/4. As a backup, I do have the 300mm f/2.8 and if I need the extra reach, I can use with a Teleconverter, but this is not the same thing.
I’ll keep you updated with news but as you can imagine, with the Autumn Migration coming soon, I’m lost without the 500mm f/4.
Although, not entirely Nikon’s fault (due to my language barrier), I am not too impressed with their support over this case.