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Intermittent black frames

godfreyc 4 2 United Kingdom
3 Feb 2014 11:06PM
Any other Nikon users suffering intermittent black frames? This is a problem thatís been plaguing me (and Nikon) for 18 months now. Nikon have had various components a number of times but as they havenít actually seen the fault, they have not been able to track it down. It began with intermittent focus failure on a D300S using Nikonís AF-S 70-200mm f2.8 with a TC-17E converter, followed by intermittent black frames (or almost black - if you turn up the light to max in Lightroom, a ghostly image does appear). With the dark frames, the camera display invariably shows f1.2* and 58mm* (both of which are clearly impossible with the 70-200, even without the 1.7x converter) and a very fast shutter speed such as 1/8000.

The fault has so far continued over three different camera bodies (the latest a D4), and also with a TC-14E converter, but ONLY when a converter is present - never with the 70-200 lens on its own. As the only component always present when Iíve had black frames was the 70-200 lens, I figured there must be a fault with contacts on the lens that communicate with converters. Nikon recently replaced the lens (all but the outer shell), but the fault has continued.

Today the D4 / 70-200 / 1.7x combo was working fine one minute; then I noticed it showing f1.2 in the vf and it produced two dark frames; then, without me doing anything, it returned to normal and the next frame was fine.

I donít believe it can be the camera body, since the same fault previously existed on the D300S and a D700, both of which have worked fine with other lenses, as does the D4.

This makes no sense to me. Does anyone have a similar experience - and a solution?


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sausage Plus
13 501 United Kingdom
4 Feb 2014 8:52AM
I did have a similar thing happen to me with my D800. I found it was the card reader I was using to transfer the files into the computer.

Bought a different one and not had any problems since.


Oops! Just reread your post and you say it happens in the vf - not the same fault perhaps.
godfreyc 4 2 United Kingdom
4 Feb 2014 9:40AM
Yes, the fact that the camera is giving erroneous readings even before shutter release surely rules out a faulty card, and of course a faulty card reader. In any case, the problem has persisted across different memory cards and even across different formats (CF and XQD). And it usually starts with focus failure, which presumably couldn't have anything to do with the memory card.

Logic says it's a communication issue between lens / converter / camera. But the lens has been replaced, one of the converters has been thoroughly tested by Nikon, and as I said, three different camera bodies have now been involved. At their request, I did send the D700 back to Nikon last year with the lens and 1.7x converter, even though I didn't believe it could be the camera body, since the problem had begun with an earlier one. They found an "aperture control unit" fault with the D700 and charged me £265 to fix it. It made no difference, so I am reluctant now to send the D4 (acquired long after the problem started) to them.

A very peculiar problem.

nickthompson 10 158 England
4 Feb 2014 7:09PM
Sounds like the converter is faulty.

godfreyc 4 2 United Kingdom
4 Feb 2014 8:01PM
That was my first thought right at the beginning. But Nikon have seen and tested the 1.7 converter several times, and anyway the same fault exists when I'm using my 1.4 converter. So it doesn't add up!

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