Keeping the camera turned on all the time

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by nishnishant, Feb 12, 2010.

  1. I saw this thread in the EOS forum :
    http://www.photo.net/canon-eos-digital-camera-forum/00VkXZ
    And was surprised to see that nearly all the people who replied say they never turn the camera off, not even when changing lenses or flash!
    I always turn my camera off when putting it in the bag, changing lenses, flash, removing/inserting the SD card, removing/inserting the battery etc.
    Is this seemingly unusual behavior just a Canonian cultural thing? Or are there Nikon users who keep their cameras on all the time too?
     
  2. I'll usually turn mine off once I'm stowing it in a bag, and try to always have it off when swapping out CF cards, or mounting the battery grip if it's not already on. But I rarely turn it off to swap lenses. Have done so untold thousands of times, and never a problem. But you should always do what makes you the most comfortable.
     
  3. Don't know, but you're not alone. Mine's off unless it's in use. I also never hot-plug anything that connects to a cpu, be it a card, a chipped lens, a remote flash, or even the USB cable for download. But then, that's just me looking to avoid transient charges to micro circuits, your mileage may vary. |;-}}}
     
  4. I turn it off when putting it in the bag or changing lenses or batteries. When using the self timer, I turn it off between shots because it's too easy to start the self timer going. This is on an M8 but it applies with any of my DSLRs.
     
  5. My camera is always on. And why not? It turns itself "off" (stand-by mode, really) after X seconds, anyway.
    The notion that you need to turn it off to change lenses, flash, storage or even batteries, is a myth. Spend less time worrying about trivial things like this and more time shooting.
     
  6. What is really scary is pulling SD/CF cards out with the power on! Even on my desktop and laptop, I first soft-eject the device before physically pulling it out. Since the cameras don't have a soft eject I assume that the card is always in a mounted mode. I wonder if this explains why a lot of people complain about failed cards - I've never had a CF or SD card fail on me, either on cameras or on computers, so I was always puzzled why so many people talk about card failure.
     
  7. It's so awkward to turn the Canon bodies on and off compared to Nikon so it is only natural that people don't do it. I use my power on/off in the same way as a safety on a gun.
     
  8. Nikon cameras are always on, as long as there's a battery in them. The on-off switch only affects things like the user interfaces, the amount of time the CPU spends sleeping, etc. The lens mount is powered up (30 seconds with a multimeter will verify this) the hotshoe serial interface is powered up, the 10 pin interface (large Nikons like D3 or D300) is live, and the card slots are powered up. Nikon cameras have been this way since my old 8008 (about 20 years ago).
    Nish raises a valid point about the card slots, but a camera is not like a computer. There's no multitasking to speak of, no complex file systems, just plain old FAT, and the directory is written imediately after file data. If the flash writing light is off, the card can be pulled. People talk about card failures because:
    • They use cheap cards
    • They let cards get dirty
    • They use too small cards, and the ESD gets them changing cards in the field where it's not that safe
     
  9. Thanks Joseph. I never thought of it that way - that it's always on. But now it make sense.
    In fact my D80's top display is always on. So I guess it could be said that the off switch is merely a standby sort of thing.
     
  10. The Nikon camera manuals all caution you to turn off the camera when changing lenses or cards, and specify power on/off order with flashes. Conservative? Yes. Myth? No.
     
  11. I sometimes turn it off when I'm walking around between shots if I've been out for a while because I don't have a backup battery yet. Then I routinely forget to turn it back on until I try to change aperture or something and (suprise!) nothing happens. Other than that, I generally turn it off when I plug in the USB cable. Sometimes I forget.
     
  12. What is really scary is pulling SD/CF cards out with the power on! Even on my desktop and laptop, I first soft-eject the device before physically pulling it out. Since the cameras don't have a soft eject I assume that the card is always in a mounted mode.​
    That's not how it works in a camera; there is no such thing as a "mounted" mode. That's just a pseudo-state in high-level operating systems like Windows, Linux or Mac OS because there are an infinite number of possible sub-processes that could be accessing the card. "Unmounting" a device simply disables access to it at the lowest level.
    With a camera, it's either accessing the card (access light on) or it's not. If the light is off and there are no queued write actions (ie.: removing during a long exposure), it's perfectly safe to remove it. You can even remove it while it's being read; camera firmware is fairly sophisticated at dealing with this.
    Nikon cameras are always on, as long as there's a battery in them. The on-off switch only affects things like the user interfaces, the amount of time the CPU spends sleeping, etc.​
    Good point. Anyone else notice how, even when the camera is off, the access light goes on for a brief moment when you insert or remove the card?
    The Nikon camera manuals all caution you to turn off the camera when changing lenses or cards, and specify power on/off order with flashes. Conservative? Yes. Myth? No.​
    Camera firmware is designed deal with all types of connectivity (flashes, lenses, etc.) with everything always powered on. Nikon has been known to put silly warnings in their manuals to cover themselves. Power on/off sequence indications are likely there to cover Nikon's butt in case of a firmware bug.
    I sometimes turn it off when I'm walking around between shots if I've been out for a while because I don't have a backup battery yet.​
    That's not necessary. After the metering times out, it uses so little power, it will last for weeks.
     
    peteraitch likes this.
  13. I always turn the camera off even between shots if I am not immediately going to shoot another one. Always off for lens changes and would not dare to have the power on when hooking up the USB to computer or changing flash cards (never do that anyway) so I am extremely AR when it comes to that. Once in a great while I will discover that I left power on to change a lens and I always freak out wondering if I messed something up. I wonder if it would be a good idea to remove the battery when in the case not being used. Or maybe best that it is in there if that is actually hot standby?
     
  14. This thread has definitely been informative. Now I don't have to waste time remembering to switch my camera off - which is itself a rather tiring process when it's something you think about all the time :)
     
  15. Yes, Nish, a very enlightening thread. Thank you for starting it!
     
  16. I turn the D2H off only to swap camera batteries or media cards. As others have noted, it's probably not even necessary for swapping media cards. I don't turn it off to swap lenses, flash or other accessories such as connections for the Pocket Wizard.
    When out and about I usually leave the camera turned on, even when in the bag. Occasionally I've forgotten to turn it off and discovered the camera turned on in the bag, still with a partial charge, several days or even a couple of weeks later.
    Same with my old Olympus digicam, tho' in that case it's because it's fairly slow to start up and has an efficient power saver circuit. So I tend to leave it on when carrying it around.
     
  17. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    The "turner-offers" would last about three minutes as a PJ or sports shooter. Despite what manuals may say, nothing is going to happen changing lenses, cards, or batteries. If it was a problem, all those PJs and sports shooters, along with the red carpet shooters, would be damaging cameras left and right. It seems to be an amateur fetish, from what I can tell with both this thread and the one on the Canon forum.
     
  18. I tend to turn off my camera only when I put it in the bag, pretty much because I don't want accidental button presses to do anything. For card swaps I turn the camera off, although I use 16 GB cards so I don't swap too often. I haven't seen the source code or hardware schematics of Nikon's memory card interface, so I don't really know when it's safe to remove a card or not.
     
  19. Me too, I never turn off to change lenses, never did, on 6 different AF Nikon bodies, and I never had the smallest problem. I usually turn off the camera to change CF card or to put up and take away the battery grip, but I have forgotten now and then, and again, nothing happened. Same with flash (but I rarely use flash anyway).Basically, I shut off to change card because it is a habit, not because I am the least concerned of what would happen otherwise.
    I would not give so much weight to what Nikon puts in the manuals: I believe it was on the D200 manual, where they were explaining how you actually take a picture, and there was a note "to perform this function, the camera should be turned on"...
    Even not knowing what Joseph points out above: these cameras are sturdy things. Only a fool would design the circuits so that it is enough to take away a lens without shutting off to cook the CPU. It is obvious that somebody is going to do it, and it is going to happen soon, no matter how many times you write it in a manual. The week after the camera is on the market, their repair center would be flooded.
    Ciao
    L.
     
  20. I never turn my D300 off. Lens changing is fine. Does not affect battery drain.
    Thanks for an enlightning thread to all.
     
  21. I usually turn off my camera when I put it in my bag or when I switch lenses. Sometimes I forget to do it and by now I felt "guilty" when I did so whwn switching a lens... Reading about your habits and experience make me feels much better ad gives confidence that Nikon engineers provided to us a very good product, so I may be less restrictive in my use. Thanks for sharing this info!
     
  22. I did hot switch lenses and flash from Fuji S3 to D300, autofocus on two weeks old D300, went dead,good thing I was able to change camera in store. Since that always turn of my camera when I change anything. After all camera is electronic device with electric connections, I believe camera makers spent lot's of money trying to make it as foolproof, as possible, but you still taking your chances.
    Most of the time you can change light bulb without turning switch off, but in some cases it burn out right away, in more rare cases it will blow up.
    All of this from my own experience.
     
  23. It's so awkward to turn the Canon bodies on and off compared to Nikon so it is only natural that people don't do it. I use my power on/off in the same way as a safety on a gun.
    I don't know how Pete stole my words!
     
  24. It's so awkward to turn the Canon bodies on and off compared to Nikon so it is only natural that people don't do it. I use my power on/off in the same way as a safety on a gun.​
    I don't know how Pete stole my words!
     
  25. I never turn it on. All my frames turn out blank.
    Any suggestions?
     
    Albin''s images likes this.
  26. @Arthur,
    Just turn the exposure up in PP and those blank images will come to life *grin*
     
  27. I only turn it off to change cards or batteries.
     
  28. Always off when I am not using it and never on when I change lenses and cards.
    Nikon cameras are always on, as long as there's a battery in them. The on-off switch only affects things like the user interfaces, the amount of time the CPU spends sleeping, etc. True, but more things are switched on when the on-off switch is on.
    Anyone else notice how, even when the camera is off, the access light goes on for a brief moment when you insert or remove the card? Yes, every time.
    Now the reason why I "switch" my camera off to disable user functions. My first digital SLR was the Nikon D200 without a battery grip. I bought this camera to shoot sport. With the D200, 300 to 500 shots over three hours was standard (and I would normally have changed one battery in that time - I swap once the battery level is down to one bar).
    During an overnight preparation for an early morning shoot I had packed the D200 away with the switch accidentially left on (following my pre battery check routine to ensure the battery was fully charged). In the space of 10 hours the battery had gone from fully charged to a quarter full and the camera itself was very warm. The camera itself has never malfunctioned and I have never experienced a "warm camera" when it has been switched off. I have had this experience happen twice.
    So my initial experience with my D200 which showed that battery drainage was more rapid with the switch left on has influenced my decision not to leave the camera switch in the on position when the camera is in the camera bag.
    If I could trust the fact that the camera battery would not drain more rapidly when left switched on I would join the que of those who never switch their cameras off. But my D200 experience is that I can't - so I don't.
    I should point out that the original battery that came with the D200 eventually failed after 13 months (I now travel with two spare batteries for the body wherever I go).
    I have since upgraded to a D300 with battery grip, (also with two spare batteries for the camera body) and a set of 8 spare eneloop batteries on top of the 8 in the battery grip. An 8-cell eneloop battery charger (model NC8700) is used to charge the batteries.
    The time it takes me to switch my camera back on (and for it to be ready to shoot) is quicker than the time it takes me to raise the camera to my eye level. In other words, I have never lost a sports shot because my camera was switched off. The sports shots that I have lost are the ones that I failed to anticipate or could not "reach". So if there is a period of time when there are breaks that last longer than 10 minutes I do switch my camera off.
    Improved battery life was one of the reasons I moved to the D300. I still have the D200 as a back-up to my D300. Allthough I have not shot the D300 without a battery grip, user reports indicate that the D300 battery life is significantly improved over the D200 battery life.
     
  29. The Nikon camera manuals all caution you to turn off the camera when changing lenses or cards, and specify power on/off order with flashes. Conservative? Yes. Myth? No.
    I agree with the above statement.
    Anyone ever heard of the electronic term “hot switching” contacts. Yes, the Li-ion battery pack is only 7.5 volts but personally I would not subject a $3,000 camera’s or $1,800 len’s electronic contacts to repeated “hot switching.” My opinion is that it is possible to pit the gold contacts on these pieces of electronic gear by leaving them on and switching lenses. So, if you do not care how long your camera gear lasts, then go ahead and leave it on and switch lenses.
     
  30. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    I guess all the pros change cameras every week.
     
  31. "I guess all the pros change cameras every week."
    No, but their camera gear sure is beat up from use. :)
     
  32. Long ago (somewhere long forgotten) I read that when the camera is on, the sensor is charged and can attract dust more efficiently. If true, it's a reason to turn off the camera when changing lenses. Any experienced comments on this?
    FWIW, I have followed this procedure of turning the camera off during lens changes for a long time. Still, I had to clean my D100's sensor often. The D100 suffered a lot from 'welded' dust, which requires wet cleaning. In contrast, I've *never* had to clean the sensors on my D200 or D700. I shoot outdoors a lot in different weather and can't explain this.
    In summary, I don't know if turning the camera off during lens changes is worthwhile or not. It's quick, easy, a habit, and Nikon cameras boot-up instantly -- so I continue to do it. From what I read in this thread, maybe it's only superstition.
     
  33. I guess the camera's can remain on, but as an amateur that has to think twice before spending quite a lot of money on camera gear, I play it safe. I switch it off when I put in the bag, change cards or lenses.
    I don;t think I missed a shot because of it, but then again I am no pro.
     
  34. It's amazing how long a Nikon D-SLR battery will last when the camera is left turned on. I usually turn my cameras off, but forget sometimes. I use a D700 and the supposedly battery-hungry D200. It can take weeks to drain the batteries when left on without use.
    An experienced photographer will carry one or more spare batteries, plus chargers if necessary. Nikon-branded batteries are cheap, all things considered -- never had one fail. Carry spares and don't worry about turning your camera off between shots.
    Just my experiences as a professional photographer. I burned myself early on and now always carry more batteries than necessary for the estimated work.
    One example: I used to shoot national-level bike races. If you don't have enough batteries to get through a day, you start rationing shots -- which actually is a false pretense. If your shooting is inhibited, you may not get that shot for VeloNews.
     
  35. I leave the keys in my vehicles and all the doors on my house unlocked. Never had a problem.
     
  36. I leave the keys in my vehicles and all the doors on my house unlocked. Never had a problem.​
    Dan,
    The right analogy would be leaving your car running while replacing the transmission *grin*
     
  37. Greg, with the D200 in the bag, is it possible something lightly pressing against the shutter button and activating the metering system? I haven't really used my D200 in a while but I'll try the experiment and let you know what happens.
     
  38. Mine's almost always off, when not in use. Cameras turn on pretty quickly, and I don't think I ever missed a photo op because I had to power on my camera first. I habitually flick the power switch as I raise the viewfinder to my eye. It goes down to personal preference I think. And, I've never tried changing lenses, or cards when the camera is on. I've always powered it down. I just don't want to take the chance of ruining my equipment when all that's at stake is a couple of seconds.
     
  39. Long ago (somewhere long forgotten) I read that when the camera is on, the sensor is charged and can attract dust more efficiently. If true, it's a reason to turn off the camera when changing lenses. Any experienced comments on this?​
    It's not true. The first sensors were called "charge coupled devices". That has to do with how they work, but some people latched onto the name and concluded that there was a "dust attracting charge" on the sensor. The sensor runs on (at most) 15 volts, and it's behind a layer of insulating glass, two layers of semiconducting Lithium Niobate, another layer of glass with a conductive coating for the IR blocking filter. There's no measurable charge on the sensor. I once checked one using a "field mill", a device for measuring electrostatic charges.
    You mention the D100. Since the D100 will not engage sensor cleaning mode unless the camera is hooked to a $100 power supply (useless in the field). It's quite common to clean the D100's sensor with the camera powered up, either with the shutter locked open in bulb mode, or with the camera on manual exposure on a 30 second exposure.
    Anyone ever heard of the electronic term “hot switching” contacts. Yes, the Li-ion battery pack is only 7.5 volts but personally I would not subject a $3,000 camera’s or $1,800 len’s electronic contacts to repeated “hot switching.” My opinion is that it is possible to pit the gold contacts on these pieces of electronic gear by leaving them on and switching lenses.​
    Then you need to remove the battery before you change lenses (and allow a few seconds for capacitors to discharge). Seriously, take a multimeter and check the voltages on the contacts while the camera is turned off. You will find that the mount remains powered up. Sorry, but in this case, your opinion is formed from a lack of actual information.
    Cameras turn on pretty quickly,​
    That's because they never really turn off. They just "slow down".
     
  40. I just confirmed what Greg already commented on. Eight hours after leaving my D200 turned on, the battery doesn't have enough juice to run the camera. I didn't observe it during the day so I can't describe the discharge curve, but it clearly sucks up a lot of juice just sitting there switched on.
     
  41. @ all that say it is okay to leave camera on while changing lenses
    I am not an expert on photography or cameras but I believe Thom Hogan is an authority.
    Why does Thom Hogan say "This is a lens that absolutely requires that you turn the camera off before removing it or mounting it." on the Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G AF-S lens? Here is the link to his lens review article on this lens:
    http://www.bythom.com/70200Vrlens.htm
    Please explain why Thom is wrong on needing to turn off the camera for this $1800 lens when removing it or mounting it.
     
  42. please turn them off. you don't make yourself more "pro" not turning the camera off :)
     
  43. If you dismount a VR lens while the VR system is actually operating (i.e. when you can hear those "whirling", "gurgling" sounds) the VR system will not return to its home position and lock. So, the lens, with its VR system unlocked, will make rattling sounds until the next time you mount it on a camera. Nikon issued a service bulletin on this, TIE05258. The lens will not be harmed by being transported with the VR unlocked, it will just make annoying noises in your camera bag.
    As an experiment about 5 years ago, we had a couple of volunteers attempt to take a D2X and 70-200mm VR in shooting position with the VR active, and attempt to reposition the camera so that they could remove the lens before the VR system timed out, went inactive, and parked. No one was able to do this unless they set up outrageously contrived situations. I.E. if you put the camera on the tripod using the camera's tripod mount instead of the tripod foot on the 70-200mm VR, half press the shutter button to start the VR cycle, and then as quickly as you can, depress the lens lock button and twist the lens off, you can manage to remove the lens with the VR system unlocked.
    See the sidebar on Thom's article.
    If VR is active when you remove the lens from the camera, weird things can and do happen.​
    The catch is, it's almost impossible to remove the lens from the camera while VR is active, and the "weird things" are, according to Nikon, perfectly harmless.
     
  44. Whatever. I am still going to turn the camera off each and every time I change a lens or anything else. Since I paid cash for all my gear I get to make that choice. If it doesn't hurt anything to change lenses or cards with the camera on then that's great. That means that taking the precautions to turn off the main user-interfaced functions via the on-off switch helps ensure further that nothing bad will happen to the camera or lenses or cards on change-out.
     
  45. Where do we find a copy of this service bulletin?
     
  46. When I got the 24-120 VR I tried the scenario Joseph described - removing the lens before the moving VR elements "parked". And, as Joseph noted, in real world situations it was virtually impossible. I suppose the photography equivalent to Jerry Miculek (blindingly quick revolver shooting champ) could manage it, tho' you'd probably need Nikon's pro services to modify the mount to withstand the wear and stress of lens swaps at Miculek-type speeds.
    Ramon V (California)
    please turn them off. you don't make yourself more "pro" not turning the camera off :)
    I suspect most working pros, especially PJ's, would disagree. Fortunately, you are free to operate your camera as you prefer and the rest of us as we prefer.
     
  47. that's absolutely true, lex. in our pj days decades ago, the F2s and F3s take forever to power up when turned off compared to today's digital world's instant on/off.
     
    Vincent Peri likes this.
  48. Dan,
    The right analogy would be leaving your car running while replacing the transmission *grin*​
    Actually Nish - it would be closer to replacing a car battery with the key in the run position but the engine NOT running.
    Leaving the engine running while changing the transmission would be more like replacing the imaging sensor with the camera turned on and the shutter halfway depressed. (I'm an auto mechanic and your analogy wasn't quite correct - but it was humourous.)
    But on that note, I turn my camera off MOST of the time when changing lenses, storing it or changing memory cards out of habit.
     
  49. When I am on the job it's on. When I'm off the job and it's in the bag it's off. That way there is no possible way it can be pressed by the bag or what-ever and continue to cycle on and off, on and off, running down the battery. The manual , with good sense, asks you to shut down for card swaps and lens changes to avoid miss pin matches and possible connection shorts. The BEST reason for turning it off is when you power up again - my D300 auto cleans my sensor every time. Sweet!
     
  50. D200 sucks batteries, I turned it off always. D300 not so much, left it on. In the bag? It's off for sure.
     

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