Problems with Nikon Df Exposure Compensation Dial

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by scott_mclean|3, Nov 18, 2014.

  1. I purchased a Nikon Df in March 2014. I have shot about 22000 pictures so far with it and the image quality is impressive (my previous camera was a D300s and I also use a D800 at work). The Nikon D800 I use has about 10000 shots on it, no problems so far. I do find at low light the Df is clearly superior to the D800 particularly for moving subjects. I have shot about 50000 pictures with my D300 in some pretty rough conditions (yes I even dropped it) and never had a problem. Unfortunately, I have to admit the I have to admit though the design of the Df camera is fairly poor. The Df has gone back to Nikon twice in the 8 months I owned it and I really did not expect that from a camera of this level. In fact I have never, ever had to have a camera repaired in my life and I shoot in some pretty tough conditions. Both problems with the Df were with the exposure compensation dial (this to me says design flaw). After one month the setting locked on +3 and although I could move the dial, it had no effect on the changing the actual setting the camera used which made it basically useless. It was repaired under warranty, but it took a month. Now after only 6 more months of use it failed again, this time it is locked and will no longer turn, and it has gone back to Nikon yet again. Disappointing for sure. Has anyone else had similar problems with the Df? I requested they create a menu setting to change the exposure compensation that overrides the dial but they have ignored me.
  2. So here is the count of, '1.' 1 Df unit with an issue.
  3. I thought with this kind of issue, we can exchange for a new one at the store (just only 1 month)
  4. Don, the OP is asking if anyone else has an issue.....not launching a whining troll campaign against Nikon's poor quality control and Customer Service.
    ...well maybe the later, but you can see why! What would it take to just reply...'
    'Thanks for the idea, we'll pass it on to the engineers'​
    One of the great strengths AND weaknesses of the internet is that it amplifies problems and draws attention to potentially rare events. I say potentially because how would anyone know if they were one of many thousands of disgruntled users, rather than a sole sufferer?
    Nikon are hardly going to reply with,
    'Gosh. this is the 418th Df dial we've had to replace TWICE just this month alone'​
    are they?? They have a pretty good record of 'Living in Denial Land' as it is!
  5. As you all ready stated; "the quality is supper, and super on the low light condition too". I noticed this, using a D3s and a D4, all my images, specially low light and high ISO, I getting better quality of images then the previous ones. The "compensation dial, and the whole dial system, I don't liked from the first day, fortunately I'm an old guy and using the camera as I did in the film are, "M" only, learn how to compensate lighting with the light meter only, + (-) and almost never used the compensation dial. I agree, the design with the little lock button is a failure of Nikon in this camera. But, I using this camera, more and more, then the 2 other Nikons I have. As I noticed, unfortunately, Nikon services getting more and more lazy, unreliable, and careless. Probably they have to fire everybody and replaces them with staff from Japan, then the quality of service my improve. After so many failure, you have to demand a replacement from Nikon, regardless of the expired warranty time.
  6. So here is the count of, '1.' 1 Df unit with an issue​
  7. With as complex as a DSLR is I am not at all surprised with the problems. I have had eight F mount DSLR's of the six made by Nikon four have had to go back for repairs. Two of them multiple times.My film era Nikons went back at regular intervals but for CLA's not for repairs. and if they needed minor repair work I could send them to a local repair shop.
    So give the OP a break Nikon's track record is not all it could be on robustness of design with there DSLR's
  8. I purchased a Df within days after they got to retail. I have had no issues with the exposure compensation dial, which I use frequently. No other issues either.
  9. Just seeing if anyone else has had similar issues. No question the camera takes awesome pictures when it works. I just find it odd the same part has failed twice in less than a year. I have owned Nikons for years never had any issues at all.
  10. Scott, I strongly suspect that it failed the second time because it was not repaired correctly the first time. Or, maybe, your handling of the camera is causing undo stress on the E.C. dial?
    Good luck, I know getting this stuff worked on is a pain in the neck.
  11. Yes it is quite likely that the exposure compensation dial gets bumped a lot, it is far more exposed than on any of their other models. This is likely exacerbated by the dial design which is a knurled aluminum so it can catch on things that the more standard rounded plastic dials do not. I shoot a lot in rain forest so it gets wet as well. I certainly do not think the dial is as robust as the versions on most Nikons where it is a small button then a control dial. Likely the weatherproofing is much better on these as I have never had an issue - I have used a D60, D300s, D7000, D800 in addition to the Df.
  12. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I think part of this is how heavily you use your cameras. For example, my experience with Nikon SLRs and DSLRs over more than 30 years is completely different from Michael Bradtke's, but most likely he uses his Nikon cameras far far more heavily than I do, thus we have drastically different experiences.
    The Df is mainly for certain enthusiasts who prefer the retro style rather than pros who routinely abuse their camera equipment. If you tend to bump your cameras a lot, the metal exposure compensation dial that sticks out can potentially be an issue. I don't have a Df but I usually don't bump my cameras. Therefore, if I had a Df, I probably wouldn't run into this same issue.
  13. I had the Df since Dec 26th 2013 and I have only used the exposure compensation dial once just to make sure that it works. I never actually use it as I never use the EC.
    I do understand many people nowaday consider the EC as the primary mean to control exposure. They may have the camera on P, Or on A if they need certain amount of DOF on S if they need a particular shutter speed. Even on M if they need to shoot at a certain combination of shutter speed and aperture still the mean to control exposure is the built in light meter and the EC dial. (of course when the camera is in M mode the ISO is in auto). If the meter does it well then fine if it doesn't do it to your liking there goes the EC dial.
  14. I've got two DF's, between them over 100,000 shutter actuations. I use the exposure compensation dial all the time changing it pretty much on every exposure - not had any problems at all.
    At first the exposure compensations dial was the aspect of the camera that I was least sure about - specifically the fact that it had a lock on it and how easy it would be to operate. In practise, I've grown to really like it. Generally, I've found it to be just a brilliant camera. There are a few little niggles that annoy me (it's too easy to knock the diopter adjustment and also the the exposure mode switch), but I'm still in love with this camera.
  15. BTW, I'd describe my use of the cameras as fairly heavy - and they're not being treated with kid gloves. Typically they may make 2000 - 2500 exposures in a heavy days shoot, get covered in sweat, and I've had them on assignment on eg. sailing ships and small boats, quite a bit of foreign travel etc. At some point I expect one or the other to give up from the abuse (my previous D700's and D2x's needed several repairs), but so far so good.(touches wood).
  16. I don't think that the exposure compensation dial is a design flaw. I have had my DF for a year and have had no issues with this. My only issue with the DF is the back rubber thumb support (handle). It eventually stretches to the point where you have to glue corners back on. I have read elsewhere that this is a common problem with most Nikon cameras. I think that Nikon needs to address this in the future and use a better quality rubber and glue. My other cameras like the Sony A850 has never had this problem. Why should we have to consistently replace rubber parts on such an expensive camera?
  17. i had the shutter of my d3 renewed about 2 years ago.
    now, almost 300 000 images later, it still works.
    sell the df, get a d3 :)
    just kidding.
    when using any sort of equipment, you must expect that it will break.
    when that point comes, you usally do not know.
    things like this will happen again, and again, and again ...
    sometimes more often, sometimes less.
    the df is a good camera but you're supposed to take more care of it
    as maybe of a d3.
    be gentle!
  18. My brand new FM was in for warranty repair after about a month, and then never again for over 30 years.
    (There was a conveniently local Nikon repair place, so I didn't have to mail it in.)
  19. Nikon's response. Impact damage. $431 to replace exposure compensation dial.
  20. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Nikon's response. Impact damage. $431 to replace exposure compensation dial.​
    Yikes. I don't know enough information to comment on this specific case, but it is fairly well known that Nikon repair has a tendency to use the "impact damage" excuse. However, in any case, $431 seems to be very high to repair something that is on the outside (so that it is unnecessary to take the entire camera apart). I wonder how much the labor cost is to change the exposure compensation dial on the Df.
  21. Without wanting to have a word removed......but that is just bloody ridiculous.

    The fact that this will be your third dial is just utterly daft.

    The dial and the 'innards' will cost Nikon about $2. Exposure compensation dials have been on cameras since metering began and they are not rocket science.

    Without wanting to sound like a cracked record this is just Nikon at it again...and again. They make a camera to appeal to the 'retro' market who they deem to have deep pockets and then charge them an arm and both legs to replace something that costs pennies and is positioned on the camera body for them to claim 'Impact Damage'.

    They have made it so no-one else can fix it, 'cos they can't get the spares, and now you're stuffed with paying mega bucks.

    All I can suggest is finding a grown up to actually speak to and explain this will be your third dial and you didn't actually hit it....oh, and it's still under warranty.
  22. There is no reason to think that only the knob itself was damaged, or that the only repair was replacing the knob. It's a complicated assembly with the ISO dial, lock buttons, bearings, weather seals, and underlying electrical structures.
  23. It's a complicated assembly with the ISO dial, lock buttons, bearings, weather seals, and underlying electrical structures.​
    That they've been making since the '60's........ and still cost less than $5
    no reason to think that only the knob itself was damaged​
    So Dan, are you subscribing to Nikon's 'Impact Damage' story?
    Anyone know what Nikon's hourly rate is?
  24. No Mike, I am subscribing to Scott's own statement that "Yes it is quite likely that the exposure compensation dial gets bumped a lot".
    But yes, Nikon's repair rates are rather high. On the other hand, it' silly to think Nikon USA could service the camera for an amount equal to the variable cost of producing one more exposure compensation knob.
  25. i had the aperture mechanism exchanged in my d3 and it was about 530$.
    so i guess i would pick up the phone and ask them if you could stop by and do it yourself and pay the 2 bucks for the dial ..
    i am speechless
  26. Considering it's where the dial was on 90% of film cameras, it survived a considerable amount of 'bumps' and I certainly never heard of one failing. Agreed, it's a bit taller than most, but nevertheless....!
    Like all of these things, once the tooling is made up, the cost per widget is pennies. Someone in accounting decides how many spares to make and then the tooling is recycled. Trouble starts when servicing notice after 6 months the widget is failing more frequently than accounting thought and spares run out. Seems to happen more in lenses, maybe there are more variables involved?
    So, it's gotta be the labour. Maybe this is the real downside of trying to make a digital camera look like a film camera....all those exposed dials? When I converted my D50 and D90 to IR, you get to see the insides. It's truly remarkable how it all fits in. Having to completely dismantle it to get at something on the outside seems kinda crazy, but I can see why.
    It just seems that with this being the third dial replacement, something is wrong...I agree the first repair might have been sub-standard.
    So, 4 hours at $100/hour .....and $31 for all the parts?
  27. I think the repair has been substandard. I think Nikon service in the US isn't very competent.
    bgelfand likes this.
  28. Yes they said that the costs were primarily labor.
  29. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    The Df's exposure-compensation dial is a simple, little mechanical device. If Nikon's initial repair to the original problem is sub-standard, when that Df came back from repair, the OP should have noticed the problem, again, immediately. It is very unlikely that such a mechanical part would be ok after repair but develop the same problem again and again within a few months.
    As I said earlier, it is impossible for me to find out exactly what has happened from a distance. However, as Dan Brown points out:
    I am subscribing to Scott's own statement that "Yes it is quite likely that the exposure compensation dial gets bumped a lot".​
    It is entirely possible that the cause of the problem is that this Df gets bumped a lot, which is never a good idea for any DSLR. And the Df is not really designed to take abuses as the D3, D4 are. The likes of the D300 and D800 that the OP also owns and apparently also take some beating, but even those cameras have stronger, modern designs.
    In any case, a $431 repair bill seems unusually high. If it takes 2, 3 hours to take the Df apart to replace a small part that is on the outside, it doesn't sound right.
    Additionally, my recommendation to the OP is that I would take better care of the Df. With all of those dials on the outside and being fairly light, it is a very different beast compared to the old F2, F3 and the modern D4 or even D800. The is one factor the OP can control.
  30. It is very unlikely that such a mechanical part would be ok after repair but develop the same problem again and again within a few months.​
    I had a binding break caliper on a car that the garage fixed. 3 months later it started binding again. They fixed it again for free but added he'd only freed the mechanism and not changed the actual caliper body itself. He was trying to save me some cash, but the actual problem remained. I got him to change out the caliper and it was fine for years.
    We don't know if Nikon replaced the whole mechanism. If the main spindle of the mechanism was a minute bit bent and not replaced, the rotary dial would work for a couple of months until it wore unevenly and then died.
    Bit like changing the batteries in a flash with intermittent charging problems will 'fix it', until the batteries drop down in voltage a bit and the trouble returns.
    You've fixed the symptoms but not the problem.
    What did the paperwork say for the first repair?

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