Mirror problem Nikon D800
UPDATE 11 Juli 2019:
Pretty quickly after bringing the Nikon D800 to Kamera Express in the Hague got a repair report:
- mirror Unit replacement
- Firmware Update
- Camera calibrating & testing
- outside camera cleaning.
Total cost would be 520 euro (incl VAT).
Well thats a lot of money but the lesser bad (cheapest) solution. Getting back a refurbished Nikon D800 with 6 month extra guarantee. Not needed thinking about it to long so accepted the offer.
On 11 Juli received a mail that the camera was ready so picked it up from the Kamera Express in the Hague. A great moment of happiness!
The first test shoot was done on 12 Juli 2019 right before enormous amount of rain felt from the sky (see below - note only 1 exposure and no color correction). Good to hear the sound of bracketing again. Last weeks it was pretty difficult to see great skies to capture, but no camera so stopped looking at the sky. The moment starting shooting again reminded a bit to the funny video clip from Stevie Ray Vaughan And Double Trouble - Cold Shot [ ] ( 3.46 minutes to be precise ) right on time!
Intro - 16 June 2019
You probably will recognize the situation when somethings goes wrong it does not stop with one issue.
Lately having some serious issues with my main computer a Mac Mini ( Late 2014 ) . Trying everything to keep it alive and aware that perhaps the internal HD is badly damaged. Always have good backups of all important files so that ok. Now preparing a old MacPro ( with a fresh system install ) for taking over the tasks from the Mac Mini. This is taken lots off time and puzzling. To get distracted it a good “therapy” to shoot some skies for the Skies project (see below for the project page link ) now have to do it without “therapy” session…..
Went on 9 June 2019 to Scheveningen to shoot some new Skies for the ongoing Dutch Skies 360° HDRI project , recorded some beautiful new skies and noticed at the end of the recording session ( when checking the exposures ) that some images were half black. That gave already a clue something was wrong.
Important to mention that the camera not fell on the ground or other damage happened to the camera: the camera stood on a tripod during the whole recording session.
When transfering the images to my computer ( still working but very unstable ) the fear was correct: there was something wrong with the camera. Saw on the originals that the amount of bad images was increasing during the shoot. So the images are partially black.
At first thought it was the shutter that might be damaged so found some idea’s to solve it like for example removing the battery for a while and the other option was resetting the camera. Both did not work.
Searched the web for failing shutters and spotted a lot of articles………..oops.
Find it a bit strange that the camera already got broken. Have had the Nikon D300 ( gave this one away ) and still have the Nikon D300s. Both camera’s are after all these years fully functional. Shot lot of images with those ( D300 more then 300.000 and the D300s about 250.000 ). Calculated that with the D800 shot about 160.000 and that's way to little amount for a professional camera to stop working.
Please note that the Nikon D800 is a SUPER camera so not complaining about that.
Bought the camera in July 2012 ( time flies! ) at a company that a while ago was taken over by the company Kamera Express.
Mailed the support and mentioned the problems with the D800 and what they advise to do. After sending the mail got a confirmation mail writing that they will react in 24 hours. A very important client friendly way,then you are sure they got the mail. Due to spam filters lots of mails are not arriving at the destination. Such confirmation mails is ideal to prevent unneeded extra mails and frustration “why didn’t they react?”.
The next day received another mail mentioning they could not react within the 24 hours time frame. Clear glad they give you a status update.
Meanwhile heard that there was also a Kamera Express shop here in the neighborhood ( plus mentioning that the team working there was beyond average ). Directly mailed Kamera Express and asked if it would be better to go to that shop and deliver the camera there. Quick reaction the same they with the conformation that its was the route to take.
On 13 June went to the Kamera Express Superstore in the Hague. The man who helped me ( later found out his name is Sigurd the manager of the shop ) checked the camera and saw quickly that there was a mirror problem: the mirror does not collapse back and stucks at te same position. There was strangely also some diffuse blurriness on left parts of the mirror. When your search the web for mirror problems Nikon D800 then you will spot also a lot of articles, ( just speculating ) is there a serious design or production error in the D800?
The camera needed to be send to Nikon and would take about 6 weeks ( ai! ). During the registration of the camera ( for the official form ) he needed to know the serial number of the camera ( its at the bottom of the camera ), asked him if the serial number perhaps might be a kind of Willy Wonka golden ticked only internal know at Nikon that would result in winning a Golden Nikon D800? “Highly doubtful” he reacted and we both had to laugh, well you never know :)
Off course was a bit sad leaving the camera behind for about 6 weeks and not even know if the camera is reparable. Kamera Express will send the D800 to Nikon and first will get a cost calculation, hope it will not be too expensive. On the other side the great help from Kamera Express gave me a positive feeling and the idea of writing this blog article!
So here’s my review for Kamera Express ( highly recommendable if you are planning to buy any video/camera / computer equipment ) - no they not asked me to write a positive review :
One more thing about customer support and specially here in the Netherlands. This year already experience some bad support from companies and organizations *) really crazy. No response to mails (and not caused by a spam filter , no follow up mails on status etc). Its taking lots of time and its not good for the overall mood.
Not going to blame anyone in public ( so Pandora’s box **) keeps closed ) but its something I’m totally not understand, and drives me nuts. Its so simple to solve. Perhaps its a example of the Dutch Disease or maybe a new variation on it so a v02?
Or is this failing client support client caused by the fact that perhaps my Karma is build out of Dark Matter?
Anyway perhaps when the companies/organizations *) read this too and think “have the idea he’s writing about us“ then would suggesting take contact with the Kamera Express and ask why and how they choose to set up such a perfect client friendly communication system.
The Dilemma + Open Letter to Nikon
Read that repair cost of such mirror problems could be about 350 Euro or even more. If it cannot be repaired that need to buy a second hand D800. That still would be about 1000 euro for a good one. An new Nikon D850 is 3400 euro and even more because also need to buy a new panorama head ( if the D850 body is not exact the same as the D800 ) ….. and together with the failing computer here ….well thats waaaaaaay above my current budget. Having enough projects and idea’s to realize although in the current situation the two most important tools here are 1) the computer and 2) the camera are not working probably or not at all. You can imagine I’m pretty lost. I'd like to keep a positive mind and for sure it will turn out fine.
Last thing: perhaps it might help ( very small % chance but you never know if you not try it! ) below a open letter to Nikon ( PDF version can be downloaded here ):
Crossing the fingers here and wait for the verdict from Nikon support. Should hear something from them with 6 weeks. Will update this article when there is some news regarding this story.
Last recording with the D800
Something weird happened when recorded the very last HDRI panorama before the mirror failure ended the duty of the D800. During the recording a the HDRI panorama a couple on bicycles went closely to the camera, the woman fell from her bike and stood up quickly ( luckily not injured ). Its captured in the panorama please see below. Was this a symbolic message that my camera will resurrect too?
Enjoy the summer! :)
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