Nikon D800 CLS issue – feedback from Nikon HQ !

************UPDATE, September 17th 2013***************

The CLS problem has been solved. On some early D800 cameras a circuit board which controls the popup flash must be replaced. That is what Nikon did with my camera. Read about the solution here and additional info here. With some D800 bodies the replaced circuit board solved the problem, with my D800 body it only solved the problem partially. CLS in manual mode only works when the aperture is fully open. The Nikon technician told me that this will be fixed with another firmware update in late 2013.

For the hassle (I sent in the camera twice and was in contact with Nikon for over a year) they compensated me with a free SB-910 (no kidding !). Now that’s perfect customer care !


A few minutes ago I received a message from Nikon Germany. They got word from Nikon Japan about the CLS issue I reported. The engineers at Nikon were finally able to reproduce the problem !
Failure to trigger the slave flashes with the internal master flash can occur under the following conditions:

  • Internal camera flash is configured as master in mode “M” or “–”
  • External flashes in groups A or B are in mode “M” or “–” (I don’t know why they included “–” in the message, because in this setting the slave flashes are not supposed to fire anyway….)

Nikon recommends the following steps as a workaround while a solution is being developed:

  • Set internal flash to “TTL” mode or
  • Fire the external flashes in groups A and B in mode “TTL” or “AA”.

At last the prove that I am not an idiot and that there is truly a genuine bug in the D800, hooray !
I did some smaller shootings in the last weeks and the flashes were triggered fairly reliably. There were roughly 4-5 misfires in 100 shots. Which is not much but still annoying. During the shootings I realized by myself that setting the slave flashes to “TTL” results in a 100% trigger accuracy. But since I am accustomed to manually set the flash power (“M” mode) the problem still occurred.

Let’s wait and see, I see another firmware update on the horizon !

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17 thoughts on “Nikon D800 CLS issue – feedback from Nikon HQ !

  1. Pingback: Second Nikon D800 firmware update is coming | Camera News at Cameraegg

  2. Pingback: Rumor: second Nikon D800 firmware update coming out soon « JTJonesphotos

  3. Great information. Going to TTL mode works for me too. I just turn power down to compensation to -3.0 so the on camera flash doesn’t really contribute and I am back on track. Still hope for a firmware fix.

  4. I just had the same issue on a test shoot and was completely baffled. Its not good to hear that Nikon have not sorted it yet I ve have not as yet tried the alternative. Can anyone recommend any remote triggers other than pocket wizards.

  5. I have the problem. I used the D800 with a SB600 and two Sb200 – with my D80 worked every time with my D800 worked then nothing. Would only fire if in commander mode I set Groups A and B to — and fired just the internal flash in TLL – which is obviously a waste of time as this is the same as just TTL. Hope this gets fixed soon!

  6. Pingback: D800 CLS issue : Off to Nikon service…again | Lumenatic

  7. Hab das selbe Problem – die Werkstätte in Österreich konnte mir dazu nix sagen. Zumindest dank Dir weiß ich nun, dass das Problem bekannt ist. Dass die Lösung ungenügend ist, muss man wohl nicht weiters erwähnen.

  8. Hi – My D800 is now with Nikon UK. I have sent them details of all your posts including the one which talks about Nikon Germany replacing a piece of circuit board but a firmware update still being needed to get a full resolution at all F-Stops. I’ll keep you all up-to-date with how this goes – They say I’ll have the camera back in 10 days – I sent it out to them on Friday July 5th – Fingers Crossed.

  9. So – I got my camera back today – they fitted a 1H998-272 part. It now works fine. I’ve tried it on a range of F-numbers in manual mode and all work with all three flashes I have, all the time. Really pleased.

  10. Hallo Julian,

    habe das exakt gleiche Problem bei meiner D800E. Bin mit dem Support im November 2013 in Kontakt getreten. Obwohl ich direkt nachgefragt hatte ob das Problem bekannt wäre kam diese Antwort: “Nein, dieses Problem ist uns unbekannt. Uns wäre kein Fall bekannt, in der sich die Kamera bzw. die Blitze ähnlich verhalten hätten.” Hatte das Problem damals mit meinen Worten dem Support geschildert. Leider konnte ich es nicht mit deinem Beitrag untermauern, weil ich ihn noch nicht kannte. Darum vielen Dank für diesen Beitrag, der mich nun hoffentlich in meinen Erklärungsversuchen unterstützt.
    Theoretisch hätten der Support das Problem aber bereits von dir kennen sollen…

    Nun habe ich nochmals geschrieben und bin auf die Antwort gespannt.

    Leider bin ich kein Englisch Experte da Englisch nicht auf meinem Schulplan stand und verstehe nur so viel: eine Platine muss ausgetauscht werden und zusätzlich muss ein Firmware-Update her. Das Firmware-Update ist aber noch ausständig.
    Habe ich das richtig verstanden? Hast du diesbzgl. Neuigkeiten vom Support?


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