Lens repair saga

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Earlier this year, the Nikon D90 owned by my office took a tumble off a shelf and traversed nearly three feet of air before greeting the floor. The only significant casualty appears to have been the lens which now exhibits what I would describe as a back focus issue.

Before the fall, the lens behaved as I would expect it. I could zoom in for a telephoto shot of an object, focus on that object, then come back to a wide angle shot with the focus ring not changing, and the image would still be in focus. Ditto in reverse.

After the fall, this is no longer the case. Vis:

The top left photo was focused manually at wide angle. The top right photo shows the result from zooming to full telephoto with the focus ring completely unchanged. Likewise, the bottom left photo is manually focused with a telephoto shot, and the bottom right photo retains that same focus after pulling back to wide angle.

Nikon received the lens and “repaired” it for $145.63. The invoice indicates replacing three roller/guide rings, a rubber ring, a lens element, lens FPC, then a general check and clean.

Alas, upon return, I find nothing different about its behavior. The above photos were taken today after the lens had been returned.

Tech reps very loosely implied that this is normal behavior, but I call foul because the lens could maintain focus throughout the zoom range prior to the accident. There was also an implication that perhaps the problem is the D90 camera, but since the focus issue does not appear on the D90 when I use an older Tamron lens, and the focus issue does appear when I put the Nikon lens on an older D100 camera, evidence points solidly toward damage with the lens.

I’m pestering Nikon to do one of two things: take the lens back with pre-paid postage and try again, or refund the amount I paid because nothing is different about the lens’ operation—in other words, it feels as though they “repaired” a nonexistent problem.

I don’t mind if the result of working with Nikon is that the damage caused cannot be repaired and the lens must be replaced, but I’m not going to pay $145.63 for work on a lens and still have to buy a new lens.

Any thoughts?

P.S. for those technically inclined, you can click through the above thumbnails to the original JPG files with EXIF data intact.

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