Totally Black Frames today both DF & D750

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by sandyv, May 29, 2016.

  1. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    I was out today shooting a cattle roundup / vaccination / branding on a friends ranch. I was using the above mentioned cameras, the DF with 24-120 f 4 G ED, the D 750 with 28-300 3.5-5.6 G. Both were set to P, full sun, Vivid, -.3 ev, 400 auto iso. The action was fast and furious. When I was not helping with the work, I was shooting. I shot about 190 shots between the two cameras in four and a half hours. The D 750 battery reads as new, the DF battery is about a year old, both were fully charged when I started. I was shooting some fast sequences, but with shutter set for single frame, so doing it manually as I have always done. I had 3 scattered black frames on the DF, five on the D 750, with one group of 3 in a row where I had landscape, portrait, landscape orientation. On my last trip a had a couple, didn't pay much attention to which camera. I do shoot from the hip sometimes, but as soon as the camera comes out of the bag, the lens cap is off and stays off till I put the gear away. I have quality clear filters on both lenses. I bought the DF New Summer '14, the D 750 used with low exposure count last fall. Neither is anywhere near rated shutter usage.
    Though I haven't recognized problems, I was already thinking of sending the DF back to Nikon for general servicing. The D 750 is Gray market.
    I cleverly deleted the photos, but may be able to dig them out of the Trash.
    Any ideas, similar experiences, suggestions?
     
  2. Hi Sandy, my first (rather obvious) thought is underexposure, given your -3 ev and auto ISO at 400. If you're able to retrieve your photos, see what happens if you apply exposure compensation. If do retrieve them, it would be good if you posted one, together with the EXIF data.
    You know how some credit card companies call you on the phone if you put a charge on your card that doesn't fit your usual pattern? Like buy a camera on a card I usually only use to pay for lunch? I'm sure my cameras would beep, or give me a totally black frame, if I used the "P" setting. ;>)
     
  3. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    Hector -- nothing unusual in the EXIF -- I habitually under expose that way and adjust as needed -- prefer under to over -- have never had a problem, and never before Black. Nothing but vague unrecognizable blobs when adjusted to the max. It was a very bright clear day, if anything, I should have set to 200. As to P (KR calls it "Professional") -- I use P, S, A, and M as the lens, spirit and situation moves me. The technology is there to use at my convenience and I do. In this case, I was on foot, on the ground surrounded large unhappy herbivores and Cowboys on Horseback. There were certain priorities to pay attention to that came before the "Rule of use M, or be excommunicated from photography!" Thanks anyway!
     
  4. I curious as to how you are saving the photos in camera, Raw, Tiff, Jpeg or a combination.
    To further trouble shoot the problem put the cameras in continuous slow and shoot 3 or 4 burst of 10 images of any similarly lit subject then put them in continuous high and repeat with 10 to 20 frame burst.
    If you are getting blank/black frames replace the memory cards and repeat the test.
     
  5. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    Charles,thanks! JPEG large fine, in both, though I am running Raw as well in one slot on the D 750. Memory cards were replaced with New high end San Disk 32s from Costco prior to my Philly trip earlier this month. I never use burst, but will try your suggestion tomorrow & see what happens. Appreciate your input!
     
  6. If the cards have been written to and photos deleted then more photos written to them they could be getting corrupt. If the burst test show bad frames reformat the cards in camera and try it again.
    Name brand cards from good retailers have a higher reliability rate than non name brand but still can go bad or have a manufacturing defect.
    Test-helps confirm the failure
    Reformat then retest- corrects or eliminates the cards as the fault.
     
  7. Sandy, sorry about my rudeness, and you were kind not point out that I misread the -0.3 EV exposure adjustment as -3.0. And I use exposure automation a lot, most often aperture priority.
    My question about the EXIF data is, what focal length, aperture, shutter speed and ISO were used in shooting the frames that came out black? If you shot at the maximum focal length of your 28-300mm, the minimum aperture goes to f/38. If the frames were shot at that minimum aperture, you would lose two and a half stops relative to the "Sunny 16 rule." With the auto ISO at 400, you can gain back two stops, so we're approximately even, maybe down half a stop
    But if the program selected 1/4000 (maximum shutter speed of both your D750 and DF) you lose five and half stops relative to "Sunny 16," suggesting the possibility of five to six stops underexposure. I don't know what "Vivid" will do to exposure latitude, but if it reduces it, black frames would not be surprising.
     
  8. I have a DF but fortunately (knock on wood) haven't met the shutter issue you encountered so far (I shoot in manual exposure, in daylight condition usually Autoiso, little to non EV compensation).
    Have met it in the past with my D3 at very, very rare occasions, but at that time found it, considering the (in)frequency of it happening, too insignificant to look into (subject surf photography, D3 with 4/600 AF-I + TC 1.4, conditions: bright day, high FPS, AF-C, one point dynamic AF, Auto ISO, manual exposure, shutter speed 1/2000th and up)
    The D750 has reportedly had some shutter issues, for which Nikon has issued service notices https://nikoneurope-en.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/64946/locale/en_GB .
    A colleague professional shooter I know has indeed encountered shutter failure on her early series D750 (although the aforementioned service notice only mentions 'shading' due to possible shutter issues).

    So it may be well worth it to had your Nikon service center have a close look at your D750 (possibly for free under the above service notice?).
     
  9. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    Hector, no problem, appreciated your ideas.
    Charles, I still had the first photos on the cards, those from my Philadelphia trip a week ago. The light was brilliant, and none of the shots were at max zoom on the 28-300. Actually used the 24-120 most of the time, since distances were short. I will run some tests, gray and rainy today, but later when it clears up. I have spare cards, so will test with both.
    Paul K, thanks. My D 750 was not on any of the posted lists for shutter issues, but as mentioned, Gray market, so I may be out of luck if the problem gets worse.
     
  10. Is it possible you hit the shutter release while the lens caps were on or camera pointing at the ground?
     
  11. My rule is to never delete files until I have downloaded them, Then when I put the card back in the camera I format the card.
     
  12. One possible cause is a temporary bad connection between the lens and the camera due to humidity, movement or dust. When this happens, the lens will be closed to the minimum aperture (Nikon behaviour) and the resulting image would be very dark, almost black.
    It is not a common issue, but it happens once in a while. The first thing to check in detail is the EXIF for those black images lookign for minimum or missing aperture values. If you have non-CPU lenses defined in your camera, it will use the values of the last used non-CPU lens to write the EXIF.
    Since you mention the action was "Fast and Furious", there is a chance that movement between camera and lens produced the issue, even if it was inside the tolerance of the mechanical lock
     
  13. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    Ofer, thanks, No. My operating method includes clear filters and caps off until shooting is completed. Also, the black frames were in the middle of a sequence in each case. When I shoot pointed at the ground, I almost always get my boots!
     
  14. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    Jim, absolutely agree. I usually get a new card or two for a major trip so I can run it in the digital frame for a while before I reformat. I do dump unusable shots, but can retrieve them from the "Trash" if necessary. Thanks!
     
  15. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    Francisco, dry High Plains with low humidity, little dust, cameras and lenses clean before and after the shoot. Exif normal, except one shot which showed a surprisingly low shutter speed, 1/30th. No great force applied to the cameras -- have been using cameras for well over five decades. If that was going to happen, it would have been when I was younger and quite a bit stronger! Thanks for sharing your ideas. Still a mystery!
     
  16. About a month ago i accidentally turned on auto bracket. I realized what was wrong but couldn't figure out how to shut off what a pain. I switched camera, and left the fix for the end of day back home.
     
  17. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    Shawn, I did that on my DF, I was shooting a jazz band, and really didn't bother to check my shots after the first, since the lighting was unchanged. Was amazed the next day to find 3 slight exposure variations of each shot. None were black, though, and this time all were singles. Thanks, though!
     

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