20120615-cls_issue_011************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 !