Nikon D50 fEE Camera/Lens problem

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by steve_chatham, May 31, 2012.

  1. I've tried various fixes I've seen on the internet (cleaning contacts, remove/set/replace lens, etc) excluding a factory reset of the camera without anything working to solve the issue.
    I don't recall the entire number from the lens, but it's an autofocus film camera lens, it is a DX Nikkor 2.8 lens. Zoom is from 70-200. I bought it (used) a couple months after I bought my D50 about 6-7 years ago. Until my most recent trip, it worked with the camera flawlessly. In the past, the only issue with the camera or the lens has been when I had accidentally clicked the f-Stop off the position where it is locked (f22), which was corrected when I removed, set to f22, locked it & remounted the lens.
    Since the lens stays in its case when not attached to the camera, I simply carried it with me on a recent trip & did not check it out before I left. When I connected the lens, it presents the fEE error, which I believe is that the camera & lens can't see each other. After removing, setting, locking and remounting the lens a zillion times, it still won't work - it keeps showing the fEE error.
    The kit lens (18-55 Nikon lens) works fine with the D50. The 2.8 DX lens works perfectly when it's put on a D90, which should rule out the lens being the issue. Mounting the lens on the D50 after its been on the D90 still doesn't clear the fEE error. Naturally, a new $2000, digital 70-200 zoom lens works perfectly on the D50.
    Although the lens has been a boat anchor to carry around (especially now), the reason I decided on the D50 was that it was one of the few Nikons (at the time) that'd use both film and digital lenses. And, a good, fast lens like this one was relatively cheap especially when compared to the comparable digital lens costs (then and now).
    I've done the following to try to correct the issue, all without success.
    1. Cleaned the contacts on both the lens & camera.
    2. Removed the lens, set to f22 & locked, remounted.
    3. unlocked, set to various f stops, mounted, removed, set to f22, locked & remounted the lens
    4. Mounted the kit lens first (no error), then did steps 2 and 3 again
    I've also seen a couple Youtube videos where something was "held" on the camera (at the 8 o'clock position) that would allow it to see the lens. However, on my D50, all I see is a cavity there - there's nothing protruding from the face of the camera. On the DX lens, I have the tab there also, that appears to be completely intact. I would estimate the tab on the lens to be approximately 1/4" or slightly less in width, and maybe 5/16" in height from the mounting face of the lens. Any pictures online I can find of the face of the D50 or a similar lens are not detailed enough for me to determine if there is an issue with my D50 or my lens.
    I have a ticket in with Nikon, but since the camera is 6-7 years old, I know it's an out-of-warranty repair (if it is repairable). As of yet, the ticket hasn't been opened.
    I take meticulous care of the camera - it is either out taking pictures or is in the case, and is not subjected to extreme temperatures, weather or dirt. The lenses are either on the camera or capped and cased and aren't subjected to extreme temps, weather or dirt. Outside of a recent case of a considerable amount of swearing, they haven't even been verbally abused.
    I have avoided making any permanent modification to either piece, but am running out of options. Replacing the lens is cost prohibitive.
    Any ideas as to how I can resolve the fEE error?
  2. Not that it helps solve your problem, which sounds like something needing adjustment inside your lens, but there is no 70-
    200 DX lens, nor is there a 70-200 Nikon lens with an aperture ring.

    There are 70-210 lenses with aperture rings, and there are 70-300, 75-300 and other assorted focal length ranges. Just
    no 70-200 non "G" lenses nor DX lenses.

    Something that I find very useful in communicating to others, and just keeping track of what lens is what is this website:

    Not only is there lots of good information regarding when made, serial numbers, etc., but if you click the link for each lens
    it takes you to an image of the lens in question.

    Good luck.
  3. Steve: Your symptoms suggest that the EE Servo Coupling Post on your lens is broken, or the corresponding switch on the body - just outside of the lens mount around the 8 o’clock position - is broken.
  4. Is it possible you tried to mount a Nikon manual pre-AI lens on your D50, at some point? If so, this may have caused the damage to the camera mount that Matt is talking about.
  5. "'s an autofocus film camera lens, it is a DX Nikkor 2.8 lens." As noted above, such a lens would be very rare.
    One easy solution: update your D50 for a used Nikon D80 body, which will work with the older AF lenses, or a newer AF-S type lens.
  6. "...update your D50 for a used Nikon D80 body, which will work with the older AF lenses, or a newer AF-S type lens."
    The D80 has the EXACT SAME lens compatibility as the D50, i.e. if it don't work on a D50, it ain't gonna work on a D80. And vise versa. :)
  7. My error on the lens - I guess it's what I get from swapping them back & forth so many times - after a while, the numbers on everything run together. The kit lens is a DX.
    The zoom lens is an AF Nikkor 80-200mm 1:2.8 D (an "ED" lens). According to the serial number (from the link above), it was made between 1992 - 1997. If there's any sequence to the numbers, it's toward the early side 410xxx. The photo ( is exactly what my lens looks like. Thank you for the good info at the link.
    I do not recall ever having put another lens other than these two on the D50.
    I will try to post some pictures of the lens (the coupling post) and the camera (ee servo switch) later on.
    Question on the D50/D80 body - does the D80 also look for this same post?
  8. Your symptoms suggest that the EE Servo Coupling Post on your lens is broken, or the corresponding switch on the body - just outside of the lens mount around the 8 o’clock position - is broken.
    fEE is *always* an indication that the camera detects (correctly or incorrectly) that the aperture ring on the lens is not set to the proper (minimum aperture) position. There are three, perhaps four, possible sources for this error code.
    1. User error (i.e. the lens aperture ring not is properly set)
    2. Damaged/missing EE post on the lens aperture ring (it's plastic and easily broken). When this happens there is nothing to move the switch at the 7 o'clock position near the camera mount, so the camera thinks that 1. above has happened.
    3. Damaged/dirty EE post detection switch on the camera lens mount. The aperture ring EE post does not move the switch because it's damaged/bent, etc., or it moves the switch but the body does not recognize it has been activated because of an electrical contact problem. Again, camera thinks that 1. above has occurred.
    4. Defective lens CPU chip (I suspect a pretty remote and very rare failure)
    Since the lens works okay on a D90 (same EE post detection switch hardware as the D50), that would seem to suggest a problem with the EE post detection switch on the D50. It could be broken, or it could just be dirty from lack of use and not properly registering the aperture ring position.
  9. "...does the D80 also look for this same post?"
    Yes. Every Nikon "consumer" DSLR looks for this post when an AF or AF-D lens is mounted, although the hardware differs slightly depending on the body. The only Nikon DSLRs that do not look for the EE post are those that can meter with Ai/AiS lenses, i.e. the D200/300/700/800/7000 and D1/D2/D3/D4 series.
  10. here is a photo of the lens. Sorry for the quality.
  11. Nothing wrong with that. What you see is what is supposed to be there.
  12. The switch on your D50 mount looks like it has been "pushed in". It's a bit hard to tell from your photo.
    This is how the switch on the camera and the EE post on the aperture ring should engage...
  13. "The D80 has the EXACT SAME lens compatibility as the D50, i.e. if it don't work on a D50, it ain't gonna work on a D80. And vise versa. :)"
    OK, but the D50 is not going to last almost as long as a ol' Nikon F2 body, and the D80 is a year (or two) newer compared to the initial batch of Nikon D50s hitting the market. If, my guess here, anything in the D50 electronics having given up the ghost, a fix might be to get a newer (although used) camera body with the same AF lens capability.
  14. Fair enough. :)
    I strongly suspect, from looking at the photo of the D50 that Steve posted at 6:09pm, that this is a body fault and not a lens fault, so a D80 would indeed "fix" the problem.
  15. lwg


  16. Matt & Michael - I believe that your assessments above is the issue.
    I took a close look at the servo coupling on the camera. It appears to be spring-loaded, and wants to retract downward towards the bottom of the camera when anything moves that piece of plastic. Taking a look thru some magnification, I can see where there's a rough spot, roughly the width & thickness of a zip tie towards the upper end of that mechanism (around the 8 o'clock position, approximately where the post on the lens would make contact & push it down towards the 6 o'clock position.
    I put on the zoom lens, and used something to push that piece of plastic down from the 8 towards the 6 o'clock position & the zoom lens focuses & takes pictures just fine.
    Without knowing the height of that post on the servo coupling, it'd be hard to glue anything in place that'd be correctly positioned. Is there a way to keep this piece of plastic pushed downward all the time?
    Thank you both for helping me narrow down what is happening with the camera.
  17. "It appears to be spring-loaded, and wants to retract downward towards the bottom of the camera when anything moves that piece of plastic."
    That is how it is supposed to work on the D50/70/80/90/100 series. The switch moves radially in an arc towards the bottom of the camera when a lens is mounted with the aperture ring set to the minimum aperture position.
    If you look at the photo I posted above you can see that the height of the camera switch is such that there is just a little clearance between the end of the switch toggle and the back surface of the aperture ring. I suppose you could jam something in the groove on the camera to keep the switch at the bottom position (no fEE indication) permanently, and the camera would work fine with all AF and AF-D lenses. You would just need to make certain the lens is actually set to the minimum aperture position, as there would no longer be a warning to tell you it was improperly set. If the lens aperture ring is not properly set to minimum, the camera would still work, but you would get overexposure errors at small apertures. (The reason for setting the aperture ring to f/22 is to move the hard mechanical stop within the lens "out of the way" so that the aperture stopdown movement can be controlled exclusively by the camera body stopdown lever.)
  18. The photo helped quite a bit. There's no parts blowup I could find, and a good quality picture of what I needed to see I could never find yesterday until you posted it.
    I'm thinking that I might try a piece of a medium sized zip tie & see if I can simply whittle it down & replace the post on the switch, and have the camera operate "normally" without rigging it to not give me a legitimate fEE indication. It's hard to tell from the angle in the photo of the camera body, but is it about the width of the post on the lens, or is it a little thicker? The height appears to go to the top of the metal mount.
    Should I have to replace it (obviously outside of another D50), what is the most direct replacement for it in terms of using the existing lenses I've got? About 90% of the time, I am shooting RAW format only, and it auto mode. The other 10% of the time, I am using the zoom lens in low light, and am adjusting the ISO. Other than that, the settings I have in my camera are stock.
    Lastly, I've looked online at Adorama & Bell & Howell for used equipment. How reliable are their used equipment assessments? Any other recommendations? Any other camera equipment I've ever bought used (film) has been local only, and were mostly trade-ins.
  19. Michael, Jerry, Joel & Matt - thank you all for your help in figuring out what was happening to my D50. From the information links and the detailed pictures, it eliminated other things being the problem to making it obvious what the issue was.
    I was able to fabricate a replacement post for the camera by taking a small zip tie & cutting the head of it to be half it's height, and taking the zip part of it, clipping it to about the right height and then filing on all 4 sides to make it "fit" the existing hole for the camera's post. I had to frequently fit it to get it to go in, but eventually was able to get it to fit snugly in the void where the other one had broken off. I was able to put on the zoom lens & take pics immediately. I removed it & replaced it with the kit lens, and it functioned fine.
    I am tempted to leave it as it is, with the zip tie not even glued in place, now that I know what to look for for this error. It's such a snug fit (I stopped filing the instant I got it to fit) has enough flex to it to allow it to function with the zoom lens, and doesn't interfere with the kit lens, that I think it'd be more trouble to have to drill it out if it were glued (and then broke) than to make another post should this one get lost. If anyone thinks it would be helpful, I will gladly post a picture of what I ended up with.
    I do think I'll keep my eyes open for a D80 body - which if I understand correctly the D80 & D50 are about 100% lens compatible with each other - especially on using the older film lenses on digital cameras. (Please correct me if this is incorrect). If anyone has any thoughts on a source for D80 bodies (online) - any to monitor - any to avoid - I am open to any suggestions.
    Again all - thank you for the help.
  20. @Steve Chatham
    I noted your query regarding the reliability of the Adorama used department assessments of condition. All items are checked over by at least 2 different technicians before an item is graded. However, mistakes can occur. Which is why most items (E- and above) come with a 6-month warranty, which includes a 30-day returns period.
    If you'd like actual photographs of any used item emailed to you, or you'd like to discuss an individual unit with one of the team, just drop me an email and I'll put you in touch.
    Helen Oster
    Adorama Camera Customer Service Ambassador
  21. "I do think I'll keep my eyes open for a D80 body"
    Unless your D50 is unusable I would NOT go down this path.
    I did this and was really disappointed. There is something very special about the tonal quality of the images from the D50 which I was never able to replicate on the D80. In addition, the D80 used to over expose a lot and required a lot of PP to get good images.
    I ended up giving away my D80 and buying another D50 which I still have and use on a regular basis.
    The D50 is STILL one of my favorite cameras when it comes to image quality and I still use mine a lot although I have bought more advanced bodies since then (Pentax K7 and Fuji S5).
  22. PS The Nikon D50 is really one of the most underated cameras.

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