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Nikon D300 Erratic Problem


FatHandedChap 8 1.3k England
18 Nov 2008 9:57PM
My D300 has developed a problem and I was wondering if anyone has had similar, or if I've changed something in a menu somewhere.

In low light situations the display reads LO even though the shutter speed is less than 30secs - the correct shutter speed is shown in the exif data. With a zoom lens it will sometimes show the shutter speed at one point, but zoom a little and LO returns. I've tried it in A and S mode and it's the same.

It happens with 3 out of 4 lenses - Sigma 10-20, Sigma 24-70, Sigma 105, but not my Nikon 50mm. I'm pretty sure that it only started happening in the summer - it's hard to tell when as I spend most of the time in the studio on manual.

Long and short of it - camera problem, Sigma lens problem or operator error.

Time take a trip back to the shop? Sad

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strawman 10 22.0k 16 United Kingdom
18 Nov 2008 10:46PM
Is it badly over exposing the photo's and recording an aperture of 0 when this happens, and I take it that it comes and goes. If yes then its like the problem a friend had with her D300. After two returns to Nikon she obtained her money back. Nikon kept on returning the camera and lens No Fault Found despite the EXIF data.

I would clean the lens contacts and check that the firmware is up to date. And if that does not solve it you are left with trying to contact Nikon or Sigma. I am prety certain it is a combination of a firmware error and a lens contact/communication problem.
Rob_Taylor 10 659 5 Wales
18 Nov 2008 11:11PM
Just had a try with mine and I get something similar.
Taking a shot in the room here, in manual it tells me f5.6 and 2 sec but if I switch to Ap priority it says 5.6 and LO for shutter speed.
It lets me take the shot and actually applies the 2 sec shutter speed though. Also only happens at the longer end of my zoom, short end is OK.
Strange.
FatHandedChap 8 1.3k England
18 Nov 2008 11:19PM
John - no over exposing, just the display (top plate and viewfinder) stating its too dark, even with the ISO ramped right up - it will take a picture, say with a two second exposure, which it states in the exif.

I was guessing at a lens problem - at first I thought it was the 10-20 at fault, but that's the lens I've been using in low light conditions. After some tests tonight it happens with the other two aswell. Everything is fine out in the daylight and in the studio on manual settings.
strawman 10 22.0k 16 United Kingdom
18 Nov 2008 11:36PM
Thats good, just sounds like a firmware glitch. There was a recent big update for the D300, some improvements and some bug fixes, it might be worth fitting in case it helps. But if the camera works OK....
FatHandedChap 8 1.3k England
18 Nov 2008 11:38PM
It will have to be something I tackle next month as I'm fully booked until the end of the month and don't want a fully knackered camera and have to go back to the old D70 Sad
FatHandedChap 8 1.3k England
19 Nov 2008 9:01AM
I've just emailed Nikon so we'll see what they come back with.
theorderingone 10 2.4k United Kingdom
19 Nov 2008 10:15AM
It's not a problem, it's perfectly normal.

Are you using spot metering by any chance? The LO warning warns you that the camera can no longer meter as accurately in such dark conditions. It will still take a shot though.
FatHandedChap 8 1.3k England
19 Nov 2008 3:36PM
No, I'm using matrix metering, it's not actually that dark - a room with some lamps on is enough to fool it. Lenses set to 2.8, shutter speeds around half a second. Never was a problem with the D70, and it doesn't happen with the 50mm.

Nikon have replied with the photographic equilavent of the IT cure all - do a two button reset!
EddieAC 9 685 2 United Kingdom
22 Nov 2008 7:28PM
Did Nikon's IT cure all work or is the issue still there?
23 Nov 2008 5:59PM
Your camera is OK!
Generally exposure times much longer than the quoted minimum sensitivity are possible - especially by switching to manual mode.
The minimum sensitivity quoted is with an f1.4 lens - you can get 30 seconds in matrix with an f1.4 without LO showing.
You can get a minute or more with an f5.6 lens in manual metering.
***
There is a "technical" reason.
Many cameras (possibly going back as far as the film era OM4) are digitally controlled by a clock circuit.
As an example a quartz oscillator beats 32,768 times a second so it can control a 1/1000 shutter speed as 33 beats with an accuracy better than 1%. Most camera functions are suited to digital control.
Exposure steps are an exception.
They can only be recorded as "analogue" inputs and have to be converted to a digital type signal by an A to D converter to be read by the ceramic clock.
Several in camera meters can read 27 exposure steps (or more) - which is around 100,000,000 (eight 0's) pieces of information with A to D conversion.
Converting 100,000,000 pieces of information to a viewfinder exposure read out would slow up camera operation.
To keep operational speed high most cameras restrict to Matrix scale read out to around 20 EV - about 1,000,000 units of information when converting from A to D signals.
All you need to know is the camera can often give correct exposure even when showing LO in the viewfinder.
scottishphototours 10 2.5k 2 Scotland
23 Nov 2008 11:18PM

Quote:There is a "technical" reason.
Many cameras (possibly going back as far as the film era OM4) are digitally controlled by a clock circuit.
As an example a quartz oscillator beats 32,768 times a second so it can control a 1/1000 shutter speed as 33 beats with an accuracy better than 1%. Most camera functions are suited to digital control.
Exposure steps are an exception.
They can only be recorded as "analogue" inputs and have to be converted to a digital type signal by an A to D converter to be read by the ceramic clock.
Several in camera meters can read 27 exposure steps (or more) - which is around 100,000,000 (eight 0's) pieces of information with A to D conversion.
Converting 100,000,000 pieces of information to a viewfinder exposure read out would slow up camera operation.
To keep operational speed high most cameras restrict to Matrix scale read out to around 20 EV - about 1,000,000 units of information when converting from A to D signals.
All you need to know is the camera can often give correct exposure even when showing LO in the viewfinder.



Len,

If there was a "round of applause" button to click against this answer, I'd have clicked it !

Sitting here with a big grin on my face - you made my night (I know, sad life...)

Probably one of the best answers to a post I've ever read on Epz, just brilliant !

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