Nikon and Consumer Reports


In the 1960’s and early ‘70s, Nikon ruled. Nikon claimed that 98% of all photographs in newspapers and magazines were made with Nikon cameras and few people contested that claim.

Many camera repairmen only worked on Nikons, considering other makes not worth fixing. Additionally, Nikon encouraged people who shot more than 500 rolls of film per year to have their cameras cleaned and adjusted annually. It was against this background that a major consumer magazine decided to run a test of 35mm cameras. They surveyed camera repair shops and compared the types of cameras they serviced against production numbers and concluded that Nikons were extremely unreliable and therefore unacceptable.

I first heard about this when a man came into the camera shop where I was working and said he didn’t care what kind of camera he bought as long as it wasn’t a Nikon because they were the worst. We all started laughing because we thought he was kidding. (We were the largest Nikon dealer in the area and sold mainly to professional photographers.) But he was serious having just read the review in Consumer Reports.

I was just out of college where I took a lot of statistics courses and I knew that wrong assumptions or wrong data can make you look pretty stupid. Consumer Reports numbers were right, but their assumptions and conclusions were exactly opposite of reality.

I think of this whenever I see a list of most reliable cars, best Bar-B-Que or best movies. Box office sales don’t make good movies any more than long service intervals make good cars. We are generally better off ignoring such non-consequential data, because each of us is different with different requirements. As the saying goes, “Your mileage may vary.”

I can’t tell you what percentage of my clients love their photos and which ones don’t, but I know I love what I do and I have been doing it a long time, and I have many thrilled customers. 

If you have old photos that need to be copied, saved or restored, please call.


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