Nothing spectacular today, just the news that UPS delivered the new EN-EL15 battery today. The delivery man opens the package, hands you the new battery, takes the old one, you sign the delivery and that’s it. Now I have to wait for my D800 to come back from Nikon service and let’s hope they got the CLS problem fixed.
Last Friday and Saturday (27th / 28th April 2012) the Nikon Expo Solutions show took place at the tradeshow Essen (Germany). The show comprised multiple stages with lots of presentations, workshops and live-Shootings throughout the day. Photography mammoths (that’s reputational mammoths I am talking about) like Joe McNally and Robin Preston attended and demonstrated their skills in live-shootings. Companies displayed their photographic goods and Nikon displayed the full range of camera gear – DSLR, compact cameras and the new mirror less Nikon 1 system. This booth was one of the most visited that day. The company cambo.com exhibited a tethered shooting solution which utilizes an iPad. The exhibit consisted of a camera mounted on a crane, at which’s end also the iPad was fastened. The crane operator got a live feed from the camera. To make the product even more saucy the company hired two lingerie models who throughout the day took turns lingering on a bed, looking sexy and stuff. They were photographed many times (and yes, I also snapped a few images). There was also the shooting range. On fixed tripods and secured by electronic theft protection systems a battery of D4s and D800s and D3xs was mounted, […]
Do you see a baby in the above image ? No ? Me neither. It’s enough, I am seriously not amused. Today I made a studio session and out of 125 images 58 (fifty-eight) are black because the flashes did not fire. That is 46,4 % of all images taken ! Since I was shooting a baby some precious moments could not be captured because babies can change their facial expression several times in a matter of seconds. If you don’t get that moment – it’s gone. And no, there is nothing wrong with the flashes or the batteries. I know that because I used the D300s simultaneously during the shoot to have another lens at hand. I took 33 images with the D300s and the flashes fired 33 times – no fails. Although I hate to give it away I will send the D800 to Nikon service next monday 🙁
A few minutes ago I received an email from Nikon support. I registered my D800 with Nikon online, therefore I got this automated message. A potential problem with the EN-EL15 batteries has been detected. A batch of EN-EL15 batteries has not been produced according to the Nikon quality standards and in very rare cases the batteries can reach a temperature which deforms the casing of the battery. Nikon states that the problem has only been encountered in the factory, there are no field reports of overheated batteries so far. Nikon has set up a replacement programme. See the support page (German) for details. You have to check the back of your battery for the serial number. If the ninth position in the serial number is an „E“ or an „F“ your battery must be replaced. If the ninth position of the serial number displays „A“, „B“, „C“, „D“ or „G“, the battery is safe to use. Exception 1: Batteries which were supplied with any D7000 or Nikon 1 V1 bought before February 29th 2012 Exception 2: Any single battery which has been bought before February 29th 2012. I contacted Nikon support using the online chat system and a friendly lady named […]
This post is for anybody who considers buying a D800 and I want to point out that the extra cost connected to the purchase must be calculated into the budget. I am having the camera for less than a month now. Since it was quite foreseeable that 36 Megapixels will fill the memory cards and harddrives quickly, new storage was necessary. Here is what I had to purchase: Memory card: Sandisk Extreme Pro 45 MB/s 16GB SD Card Memory card: Sandisk Extreme Pro 90 MB/s 16 GB CF Card Larger Internal harddrive for my MacBookPro: Samsung 1TB 2,5″ (the one you see on the photo above is the old 320GB Hitachi drive which used to be in my MacbookPro) Additional harddrive for my Drobo backup solution: Samsung EcoGreen 2TB Adobe Lightroom 4 (since Lightroom 3 does not read the D800 RAW files) (*) 2nd battery for the D800 (new battery type, can’t use the batteries of the D300s) The stuff listed above adds up to roughly another 640 Euros which come on top of the proud camera price (in Germany 2.900 Euros, approx. 3.810 USD. And yes, the D800E is even more expensive). I am not whining about it, because I knew […]
Yesterday I received another answer from Nikon customer service concerning the problem with the CLS system (triggering flashes wirelessly that is). Recap: During a shoot I discovered that the internal popup flash of the D800 won’t trigger the slave flashes reliably. Sometimes it triggers, sometimes it doesn’t. I wrote a message to Nikon and got the reply that they tested it with four D800s and could not reproduce the problem. I sent them a picture showing the three flashes I used. On one picture the flashes stayed dark, on the other they were triggered. Today Nikon gave me instructions on how to send in my camera for closer inspection. They can’t reproduce the problem or analyse it from the disance. I am reluctant to give my camera away. This will mean 1-2 weeks without it and I still hope for a firmware update which will fix the problem. On the other hand I probably should not be such a terrible pussy and just send it in. I still have the D300s and it served me well over the years, producing countless excellent images. Not having the D800 for a short period of time is not going to kill me.
#I reported the issue with the CLS master function of the D800 to Nikon Germany. They tried to reproduce the problem. I got this answer: „Dear Mr., thank you very much for your inquiry. We have tested the master function with four Nikon D800 bodies but could not reproduce the problem you described. Could you please send us sample pictures where the slave flashes were not triggered when using the D800 master function. Thank you very much and best regards, M***** D*******, Nikon Europe, Pro Support.“ As a reply I sent them two consecutive RAW files which were shot in between 3 seconds. Actually I sent the RAW files of the images I used as a title pic for the last post, see right. I will post the latest developments here, but I think the Nikon guys will return to work after the easter season.
I received feedback from several users regarding the CLS problem which occurs with the Nikon D800. Well, it is not reproducible, therefore it sometimes occurs and sometimes it works, which is what I encountered again when I shot the title picture for this post. I wanted something quick and easy, put all three flashes on the table and triggered them with the D800. There you have it. No fire – fire. I compiled the feedback I got to get an overview on the issue. Nine people commented with information on their camera, flashes and whether it works or not. The result – it is totally mixed, only one thing is certain. Every D700 (yes, seven hundred) user reported that there are absolutely no problems. One guy even tested the same flashes with his D700 and the D800 and had no problems with the first and problems with the latter. The flashes used were SB-700s, SB-800s, SB-900s and a Metz 58 AF-1. Some D800 users said it’s working without a problem, others had the same problems I encountered. The bottom line is, that there is definitely something with the D800. It’s still unclear why some people have problems and other not. […]
The 36 Megapixels of the D800 produce large files. One click equals 38-59 MB (RAW, 14-bit, lossless compressed). This means that with a 4 GB-card I use as secondary card in my D300s only 60-80 images can be taken. That’s about two rolls of film. Therefore I needed bigger memory cards and bought a Sandisk Extreme Pro 16GB SD card and a Kingston ultimate 600x 16GB CF card last year in preparation of the D800 arrival. Now I have to learn the hard way that buying cards before the camera is a bad idea, because the Kingston card is not recognized by the D800. After insertion the memory card access LED lights up for 10-15 sec, after that an error message is displayed. I tried a Sandisk CF card in the D800 – no problem. I tried the Kingston CF card in a card reader and in the D300s – no problem. Only the combination Kingston / D800 won’t work. The D800 manual states that Nikon only tested Sandisk and Lexar cards with the camera. Cards from other manufacturers _might_ also work, but Nikon can not guarantee that. That is also pretty much what Nikon support told me when I […]
Today I would like to sum up some experienced and personal opinions on this camera in a telegram-style. The files are large, who would have thought that. Each image is between 38-45 MB in size (14-bit RAW, lossless compressed). This means that a 16GB memory card lasts for 200 images only. Take it as an opportunity to think more about each image. And delete more vigorously in post-processing. I will need an extra HDD for my Drobo raid system soon. **UPDATE 28-March-2012 More than 200 images will fit on one card, the camera seems to guess the remaining capacity based on the assumption that only large files are created. See comments below. *** I experienced incompatibility between the D800 and a Kingston ultimate 600x 16GB CF memory card. Seems like the controller of the D800 does not like Kingston cards. Detailed blogpost to follow tomorrow. The low-light capability of that camera is excellent, see sample images taken at ISO 6.400 and 25.600 here. The images I took looked brighter than the actual scenery I could observe with my eyes. I also encountered a problem with CLS. Triggering remote flashes using the internal pop-up flash of the D800 does not work reliably. I am monitoring nikonrumors.com and other […]
************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 the full story here and a summary 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 ! ***************************************************** Today I played around with the D800 again and gave it a test run in the studio. I encountered problems triggering the flashes via CLS reliably (read below the dashed line if you do not know what CLS is). Here is a video to illustrate the problem. ——————————————————————————————————– For any non-Nikonians: CLS stands for Creative Lighting System. It is a protocol which allows the wireless control of flash units. The internal camera flash […]
I got my D800 on Thursday and I can tell that I really really like this new camera. I had multiple „Aha !“ moments with this camera already. One being „That’s what an image taken at 24 mm actually looks like… wait, is that vignetting at the corners ?“ Another good one was „There is not much noise in the image. That’s good. Now let’s try it with a higher…. oh, that image IS taken at ISO 6.400“. One of the main reasons for upgrading to a full format camera is the improved low-light performance of large sensors. I was a little afraid that the high Megapixel count of the D800 would kill this advantage, but yesterday I got convinced that this camera has excellent low-light capabilities. Yesterday evening I went into the city and came by a black BMW, painted in matt black. I said to myself, what better test for low-light performance and dynamic range can be made than photographing a black car at night, so I took two images. Result see below. I did NOT alter exposure or raise the blacks in both images. I did some lights recovery (for the windows in the top right corner), inserted […]
I got my D800 today, it was the very first D800 my dealer sold. Oh happy day ! I made an unboxing video, as I type these lines iMovie is compiling and uploading the project to Youtube. It takes some time to be uploaded, therefore I am sharing these images with you at first. Also as I am writing these lines the battery for the D800 is charging, and I can not wait to try out the new camera.
*01 March 2012 – Update – Camera sold* *19 Feb 2012 – Update – Price lowered from 200 to 170 Euros* Since I ordered a Nikon D800 my first camera, a Nikon D70s, is now obsolete. Therefore I heavy-heartedly sell this camera, which has served me so well. It is a Nikon D70s Body, 6,1 MP. I bought it new in July 2007, the curtain has been replaced in 2009. Shortly after that I bought the D300s and since then the camera has not been used much. I estimate that with the new curtain only 1,500 images have been made. The camera is in very good condition, normal signs of wear can be observed at the grip. Content supplied ============ D70s Body Original battery Battery charger USB cable Carrying strap Original boxing Video cable Manual, Quick Start Guide CD with software Viewfinder cover Protective display screen Extras ===== CF Memory card Sandisk Ultra II 1 GB 2nd battery from albinar Cable remote control Micro fibre cloth Rocket blower The package costs 200 170 Euros. Email me in case you are interested. Summary. The camera is in excellent condition with a new curtain, comes with all original equipment and several useful […]
The long awaited Nikon D800 has finally been released on February 7th. I ordered one and am now awaiting its delivery end of March. Today I would like to explain why I chose the D800 above the D700. And what’s that got to do with a whale ? Well, read the story 🙂 I was thinking about going to full format for a while now. Eagerly I awaited the D800, and when rumors appeared that the D800 has 36 Megapixels I started to doubt that this is the right camera for me. My D300s has 12 Megapixels and I rarely exploit this resolution. The largest print I made was 60×90 cm and the image was taken with my 6 Megapixel D70s ! If you stick your nose against that print you might see that the resolution has reached its limits but from a normal viewing distance it is a clear and crisp photo. Now the D800 is out and it is definitely confirmed – 36 freaking million pixels. To make it short – I compared the major changes against the D700 and the D800 clearly won. 36 Megapixels (D700: 12 Megapixels. More pixels usually not automatically better, but it allows one to crop […]
Backing up your data is essential and you are foolish if you do not do so. Harddrives can fail at any given time (after all, it’s a piece of technology and won’t last forever), CDs can be unreadable after some years. Coping with the huge amount of data which accumulates over time (mainly images in my case) I had to find a backup strategy. Today I want to present you my personal backup strategy. I do not claim that it is the best strategy possible, but it is one which works for me. I copy all images from my camera onto the Mac and process them with Lightroom. To organize the files on the Mac I use a folder system with a date code in the folder name. Images made on December 24th 2011 would be stored in a folder named „20111224 Christmas“ for example. This way the folders are sorted in the sequence they are created. My main backup system is a Drobo. This is a plug-and-play RAID system, meaning that you insert the naked HDD into the Drobo and the data is automatically distributed across the drives. You can use up to four HDDs in Drobo. This way the […]
What exactly happens when you expose an image using a DSLR camera ? To illustrate the series of events which take place in that short „click“ moment the image is taken, I borrowed a highspeed-video camera from work during lunch break and filmed my Nikon D300s without lens and my Zenza Bronica ETRS analog middle format camera. The Olympus iSpeed camera I used can take up to 15.000 frames per second (fifteen thousand), which slows even the fastest events down to super-snail-slow-motion. Also with an exposure time of 1/15.000 sec you need a strong light source, which is provided by the super-bright lamp you see in the image above. Actually fifteen thousand frames per second slow the exposure cycle down so significantly, that the raising of the mirror took 40 seconds in the original video. The footage you see in the above video is played back at twelve times the normal rate ! I recorded the exposure cycle of my D300s at 1/125 sec, 1/2.000 sec and at 1/8.000 sec (without lens) to illustrate what happens. After that I filmed the communication between the internal flash of the D300s and a SB-900 speed light flash which is used in slave […]
Beginning of December I was booked for a wedding ceremony at Aachen townhall. The ceremony and subsequent toast with friends took about 1.5 hours and I pressed the shutter button 600+ times (If I was a soldier the applicable word for me would be „triggerhappy“…). Back home I encountered a rather delicate problem. Some of the images seem to be broken. Lightroom displays the image, but I am not able to process or alter the RAW file. „Unexpected end of file“ is what Lightroom is offering me for an explanation. I was very lucky, because no critical images were damaged. Mostly shots of which I had multiple versions were not processable, so I skipped any effort to rescue the images. I used an 8 GB Sandisk Extreme 30Mb/s card. My first step was to contact Sandisk for assistance. Unfortunately there is no tool for checking the integrity of memory cards, instead Sandisk sent me a long list of questions to narrow down the sources of the problem. These include: Did the card always work correctly in that camera ? Do other cards work correctly in the same camera ? Which cards ? Are there any error messages from the camera ? Are the contacts […]
This night Nikon released a new product, the Speedlight SB-910 flash unit. We were all waiting for the D800, but it seems as it will be next year before the camera is announced. Instead Nikon announced an updated version of the SB-900 Speedlight. I did a side-by-side comparison. Let’s spot the differences. Right. Differences….. let’s see…. the buttons are now back-illuminated. The box on the back stating „. OK – MENU“ has vanished. There is now a dedicated menu button, which was she „ZOOM“-Button on the SB-900. Apart from that I am having trouble finding differences. But hey, who am I to judge. Equipment is just like a person – it’s the inside that matters 😉 Here are the features which have been overhauled / improved according to Nikon: Menus and user interface reworked illuminated buttons dedicated menu button Thermal Cut-Out function which delays the flash recycling time when the flash overheats three standard illumination patterns (standard, center-weighted and even) So far the improvements seem to be minimal and from the specs I do not see any necessity to throw the SB-900 overboard if you have one. But hey, a flash is a flash, they make great light already and I am […]