SB-800 Puzzler (aka Nikon manual complaint)

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by tom_luongo|1, Jul 26, 2006.

  1. This took a bit of head scratching for me and I found the answer so I thought it would fun to post the question because one, someone else might run into the same problem and two, someone might like showing off how smart they are. I'll be impressed if someone knows this off the top of their head. I'll post the answer no later than tomorrow. Even right away if someone has the same problem or is otherwise aggravated by my silly game.
    The controls on my SB-800 stopped working. It was locked in Commander mode. See display below. Mysterious padlock icon was present. Taking the flash off the camera switched the flash to RPT mode. Strange! I suspected a defective unit but everything else seemed to work normally.
    Here are the obvious things, and maybe one or two silly things, that most people might suggest. None of these made a difference.
    • I tried fresh batteries.
    • I tried the flash on a different body.
    • I checked FV Lock.
    • I read the FM. Flipped through every page and didn't see any diagram that showed that padlock icon.
    • Checked manual index under "Lock". What else would you look for?
    • Tried to reset the flash per manual. Held the mode key and on/off key down simultaneously for two seconds. No affect even holding those down for several seconds.
    • Checked for stuck switches, including the little thing that detects that the diffuser is on.
    • Modeling light and test fire buttons both worked normally, as well as the on/off button.
    • One way to improve the manual would be for Nikon to include an illustration of all the indicators available on the control panel, such as this lock icon that annoyed me so, along with call outs to indicate the appropriate page for that item. Something similar to what they do with all the physical buttons is what I have in mind.
      Empathic complaints about Nikon manuals are welcome
  2. Forgot the caption
  3. Tom, it might help if you explain how to get to the display that you picture. It's not obvious to me.
  4. Chris, I have a feeling you aren't familiar with the multiple flash capabilities of the SB-800. To get to that display, set the flash to wireless master mode.

    See page 68 in the manual. Hold select for 2 seconds, use the 4-way multi-selector to choose the desired custom function (master/remote - top row, 2nd column), press select once to get to the options for the chosen custom function, then select "Master" from the list.

    In master mode, the SB-800 automatically controls up to 3 other SB-800's that are in "Remote" mode. Exposure compensation can be set separately for each of the 4 flashes (M, A, B, C) via this display. Except what I ran into earlier was that none of the buttons that let me go through the menus was working. And the manual didn't have any diagrams showing a sample display with the padlock icon.

    The master mode display is completely irrelevant to the solution of this puzzler. The padlock icon is the only thing that really matters. For a while, I was wondering if I had a unit with some sort of special experimental firmware. :) Like I was said, in my posting, I was thinking one or two silly things.
  5. Try te "On/Off" & "Sel"
    This is a toggle to prevent accidental changes from errant button presses
  6. I'm not home with my 800 now but my recollection is that on the little pull-out bounce card/cheat sheet there is a combo to push to lock the flash. I think it's the on/off button and down button. I this the answer? If yes, what do I win?
  7. Just a wild guess, may not help...

    My SB-800 goes whacky when the batteries are exhausted. The behavior isn't always the same. The weirdest anomaly I've seen is that the flash and D2H could not be turned off until I detached the flash from the camera. Then the camera could be turned off. But in some cases the flash still couldn't be turned off normally - I've have to pop open the battery compartment and insert fresh batteries to restore normal function.

    So, just on the off chance that you haven't detached the flash from your camera, try that.

    Regarding the Nikon flash manuals, you have my empathy, sympathy and probably that of many other frustrated users. The Nikon guy at a local pro shop pointed out to me the logic flaws in the SB-800 manual where it is supposed to explain wireless operation. The manual goes into an endless loop of cross references to various pages without ever actually explaining certain key functions.
  8. It's right there on page 12 of my manual, as well as on the back of the pull-out flash card.
    Shows the padlock icon, too.

    Danny W.
  9. I had looked in the index under Lock (just a guess) as well as FV Lock (which I already knew about) but didn't find anything useful in either. It's in the index under "Button Lock". Easy enough to find if I had looked at every index entry, but that's not the way good indexes work.

    I eventually found what I was looking for by downloading the PDF manual and using Find Text to look for every instance of "lock".

    When I went through every page of the manual looking for the padlock icon, I was scanning for pictures of the control panel with the padlock icon. I missed the isolated picture on page 12. It was a case of RTFM more closely.

    I didn't know about the back of the pull-out flash card. Thank you. I'm sure it will save me sometime when I can't remember which two buttons to hold for reset.

    I had initially suspected it was a low battery gremlin and the first thing I did was try new batteries. It was a somewhat frustrating experience. But I am glad to have this happen in the convenience of home instead of at a shoot.

    Lex, that's interesting about the circular cross references. I'm considering a purchase of the ByThom books because I've seen a lot of good comments about them.

    Thanks everyone for your contributions. The contest is now over. :)

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