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JeffreyK

HELP! My camera is playing up!

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Is my camera broken?

I have a new lens, a Tamron 70-300 which is definitely a big improvement over my Nikon 50-200. I have taken it to two air shows now, Yeovilton last weekend and RAIT yesterday. I usually shoot in shutter priority mode and at Yeovilton everything seemed fine, but I had the occasional problem with extreme under-exposure (near black picture) and sometimes a message on the screen "Error, press shutter again", but the taken picture was still fine so I wasn't too concerned...

Yesterday though I really started to get problems: the first few flying displays went fine (except for a few underexposed photos again), but then all of a sudden the camera refused to auto-focus and as a result the shutter wouldn't release. After lots of fettling, re-setting etc. I figured out that the problem happens when in maximum zoom. When I zoom out AF works and I can take pictures and also when I keep the shutter/focus button half depressed and then zoom in. But not with the zoom at full from the start. I changed the lens to the standard Nikon 18-50 and the problem exists there too!

Every now and then the problem seemed to clear and a did manage to take a few pics at full zoom, but it soon came back.

I've checked and re-checked settings and reset, switched-off, reset lenses and all sorts several times and tried different shooting modes as well, no luck.

I noticed a flashing "?" in the bottom right hand corner of the view finder and at one time I even had a flashing "error" message where usually your shooting is displayed!

So does that mean the camera is shot? Can such things be repaired or is it not worth it? :(

Jeffrey

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Try putting you problem into Google. Someone might have had this problem before.

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If its an intermittent fault, it's either the contacts on the camera body where the lens connects, or its an issue with something loose inside the camera body. Assuming you haven't dropped the camera, the body electrical contacts need cleaning as they depend on a very clear signal passing backwards and forwards between the camera and lens. Get a can of electrical contact cleaner from your local car parts shop and clean the camera body contacts and all the lens contacts with the cleaner and a cotton wool bud. Be careful as contact cleaner IS flammable.

Check that the contact spring load allows them to bounce back and forwards freely.

If that doesn't work, get the camera body serviced. It actually may be cheaper to pick up a D3000, D3100 OR D3200 body off fleabay, gumtree or amazon second hand.

Q: Do you regularly blow the inside of the camera out with compressed air?

Q: I presume you are always in AF mode and you've rocked the switch between AF and MF to ensure the switch works and is fully in position?

Q: You do fully lock the lens in place when you mount it and it doesn't rock against the mount lock? Even a slight movement can cause the lens contacts to misalign.

You could access the menu on the camera and reset to default and see it it clears a software error. I think on the D3000 that you need to do that item by item. Can't remember as I haven't handled one in a few years now.

It's a start with the obvious and I hope this helps.

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Hi Grayson,

I have re-set the lens(es) a few times and switched a few times between AF and MF setting on the lens. I have also switched off the camera, re-set the battery and SD card a few times and I've performed a shooting options re-set twice. I didn't get the error messages again after that, but I still got the main fault of non-focussing and the extremely under-exposed (and in a few cases, also overexposed) photos. I never had those problems before.

No, I've never blown out the camera body with compressed air. How/where would you do that? Do you have to open other parts other than taking off the lens?

The lens contacts looked clean and in good condition, but I've just rubbed them with a cotton bud soaked in alcohol and quite a bit of dirt came off!

I've tested the camera again with the 70-300 lens in full zoom and indeed it did focus and I could take some test pictures! The problem is, I'M not sure if that really was the issue until the next time I use it "in anger", i.e. at an air show, which will probably be sometime next year...

As I live in a densely populated area standing outside taking pictures of things can be seen as "suspicious behaviour" and I don't want to risk being questioned :ninja:

Thank you very much for your help!

Jeffrey

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Go find a bridge over a busy road and shoot a couple of hundred photo's, boring I know, but it's the best test of the system by shooting at all ranges in all zoom modes. If the issue is going to rear it's ugly head, that's when it will do it. I go out about twice a year and run this test across all my camera bodies and lenses. I adjust shutter speed, aperture and exposure levels whilst shooting to fully test the kit. Just keep choosing new focus points to really push the AF around and fully test it.

People don't realise just how essential clean contacts are.

To blow the camera out, you do it with the lens off and if you have an airbrush and compressor, max pressure on the compressor and airbrush trigger depressed and wide open for maximum blast. Just wiggle it around inside to clear the dust out. You can also run the image sensor cleaning from your camera menu before hand. You can buy cans of compressed air to do the same job from the likes of Amazon.

HTH

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....thank you again! I've just done some more tests, trying to focus on tree branches leaves moving in the wind and while the first few shots went great, the issue then came back - shutter wouldn't release, AF starts to go madly all over the place....

J

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Q: When you depress the shutter release to its first stage and the camera beeps, can you then pan the camera around and hear/see it refocusing?

Q: You've cleaned the lens connections inside the camera body and blown the body clean with compressed air?

Q: Does it happen in spot metering, centre weighted and matrix, or just in one metering mode?

Q: Does this issue occur when you are holding the camera in both landscape and portrait orientation?

It's either a connection or sensor issue.

I experienced this with a Nikon once and it was a lens connection issue. Only one lens had the issue and it's connectors were contaminated with finger sweat and dead skin cells. A sensor failure should give a continuous fault and yours appears to be intermittent. Baffling me.

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Hi again, some answers:

IF the AF locks and bleeps, yes I can pan and the AF re-focusses. But with the issue I don't get a lock and no bleep and hence can't release the shutter. As I said, the problem happens only when zoomed in, on both the 70-300 and the 18-55 lenses. When zoomed out the AF locks and re-focusses normally.

I have cleaned the contacts on both the camera body and the lenses and I've now also blown out the body.

The issue happens in all focus modes, I tried single spot, dynamic area, auto area and 3d tracking. I'm in AF-A mode, never had a problem with that previously and haven't changed it. Same with metering, I've never tried anything but matrix metering. Perhaps I really should try the others, but I previously never had a problem with it....

And yes, it happens in both portrait and landscape

Thank you again for your help

Jeffrey

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Hi

Look to see which setting your AE-L/AF-L button is set to.

You should be in AF-C mode. I do not use AF-A at all only AF-C & AF-S.

If not try a full re set.

Then put in your settings again and see what happens this might take a few re-sets.

Years ago my D90 did the same and it took a few re sets then ok.

I do not know how many Cross hair focus points you have, this will stop your focus not working to well it will be searching all the time and stop the shutter from working if they are out of working range In AF-A mode like to high f stop.

It could all so be your card check clean contacts, when my D300,s get a error code the 1 thing I do is take the cards out and re load them this clears it most of the time if not I then look to see if I have moved the focus modes are as they should be for what aim doing most of the time I have.

There are loads on the web ref the D3000 on how to fix it, just takes time to read them all.

Paul

All so a Nikon user.

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Many thanks Paul,

I've done several re-sets and also swapped or replaced the SD card. I'v opened the bottom of the body now as I've read about issues with the shutter motor/gear and have blown the body out in the process and inspected and re-lubed the red shutter gear. No change.

I've tried both AF-A and AF-C modes, no difference other than that there's no "Beep" when the focus locks on...(??).

I'm beginning to think I have to hand it over to a shop...

J

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Hi J

I would take it along to a shop to see what they say, but the Camera is now not worth much so a repair could cost more than worth.

You could be better of getting a good 2nd hand body. There are some nice D90,s about for about £200 or go for a D5100 D5200 for just a few £ more.

I have to this week send one of my D300s in for repair, fell over and landed on it and it took a good bang It now is soft focusing on all my lenses

hope not to much, if to much I have my eye on one 2nd hand body for £400, hope the repair is a lot less i have had to bring the D90 out to play again till i get this one fixed.

Ref the focus lock beep I have mine switched off you should have a green dot in the view finder that tells you it is in focus this is a lot less annoying than that beep all the time.

Hope you get it fixed its very annoying not knowing what to do to fix it.

Paul

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Hi J again

I have just looked on line ref the 2nd hand cost of a D3000 sorry to say you can p/u one for £100 or less so for myself that would put it out of repair cost as most shops would have a £50 or more cost just to look at it.

I have also noted that it has only a 50,000 shutter life which is very low I can do that on one body in a year or less so this might be the trouble the shutter has worn out.

The other thing which Battery are you using, is it a gen Nikon battery or a different make this would also make you have error signs as some battery,s that are not Nikon make can up set the camera and not work at all in it.

Hope this helps

Paul

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Jeffrey, before you get a new camera, it could be that the lens is not compatible with your existing camera and just needs a free re-chipping by ramrod. Give their distributor in the UK a call and see

Andy

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Well, while the problems started while using the (new) Tamron lens, the problems are also there with the standard Nikon 18-55 lens that's been with the camera from the start and has always worked before. So I don't think it's got something to do with the lens(es).

I'm using the original Nikon battery and it was fully charged. I charged it again yesterday and tried again, but the problem was still there. I don't think I've taken 50,000 pics with the camera, I'd say 10-20k max, but 50k isn't a lot in general terms - I did't buy a DSLR as a throwaway consumable!?! It might not be a top of the range model, but I was expecting at least 10+ years use from it.

Thanks all!

Jeffrey

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Hello Jeffrey.

Sadly it sounds like you will have to take your camera in to have it checked and get an estimate for a repair. Almost certainly the error occurring and having a new lens were likely coincidental as you already think.

Some of the errors displayed on cameras can be a little 'fluffy', and your error could mean anything from an electronic fault to the shutter needing to be replaced. I'm not a camera technician but I did book in enough sick cameras at a camera shop I worked for to see all of these problems and more. Again, a technician needs to inspect it properly and an internet diagnosis is difficult.

Looking at the failure rate from a smallish sample of D3000's here http://www.olegkikin.com/shutterlife/nikon_d3000.htm shows that 15 out of every 100 D3000s have failed by the time they get beyond 20,000 shutter actuations, the 50k figure is an expected average fail and of course some will fail much earlier, or out last their owner. :photo: It's one of those manufacturing variables that meant that I had a Ducati 748 die after 17 miles from new, a DVD player expire after 5 minutes, and a from new 2007 vintage Canon 1D mkIII that I sold last year that is still apparently clicking away madly at 10fps. :coolio:

Once a tech gets their hands on it, do be prepared for the possibility that the repair may be uneconomical, as Paul mentioned earlier on the thread, and you may be better putting the money to a second hand camera like the D5100 which is usefully more durable than the D3000. :)

Jonathan

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