I've had a strange issue with both my D700 and D800 that has been cropping up over the past 1-2 years, getting increasingly worse. It's a long story so I apologize for the length of this post!
Usually it starts after at least 100 frames or so, but sometimes I go through a shoot with no issues. I think mostly it happens when I'm using a flash on remote, although it might happen other times as well.
The problem is the camera won't shoot. The focus is set, no settings have changed from the previous shot, but I depress the button and nothing happens. Sometimes I can fix it by turning the camera off and on again, and sometimes I fix it by turning the camera off, taking the lens off slightly, and reattaching, then turning the camera back on. That usually takes care of it.
Given how I resolve it, I thought it was a lens mount issue. Initially it was only happening with my Sigma 70-200 which I've had for years and have shot A LOT with (I used to shoot sports). So I sent it in to Sigma and had the mount replaced and the lens serviced. While it was being repaired, I noticed it was happening with my Nikkor 28-70 as well. I've also shot a lot with my D700 (I shoot mostly weddings & portraits now), so I thought maybe it was the mounting connection on the D700. So I sent that into Nikon to have that replaced and the camera serviced. Note that I previously had both the camera and the lens cleaned and serviced locally prior to sending them in to see if that would work. So while my D700 was in the shop, I was using my D800 as my primary camera, and turns out it's now happening with that camera. So both my cameras and both my lenses, in all combinations are giving me this issue.
I've had the 70-200 and the 28-70 for somewhere in the range of 7-10 years and have never had these issues until the last year or two. And I bought both the D700 and D800 when they came out, so years apart. All were purchased new and I haven't had problems until more recently. Once it starts on a shoot, it keeps happening through the end of the shoot, which is highly embarrassing and very unprofessional. I change batteries, etc. and it still keeps happening.
Any ideas as to what is going on would be most appreciated!
#2. "RE: Cameras won't shoot" In response to Reply # 0
Have you been using the same memory cards between cameras?
Perhaps the cameras are having a problem with the memory card and thus refuse to shoot. How is your custom setting configured for the camera to operate with no memory card? Usually it will give an error on the LCD for a bad card. I've had that happen and had it go away after turning the camaera off and on. It might be worth a try and it can't really hurt. Put the card(s) into a card reader on a PC/MAC and do a disk check followed by a low level format. Then format in camera.
Just a guess.
I've taken up the habit of occasionally doing the disk check / format routine for prevention.
#3. "RE: Cameras won't shoot" In response to Reply # 0
I had similar problems with a D70 years ago. It would fail to focus and since it was set to prevent shutter release until focus was obtained - it would not release.
It turned out to be lens contacts that were misaligned in the camera body due to a slightly malformed plastic part, eventually replaced by Nikon under warranty.
In the F mount the contact points all rub over each other every time you mount and dismount a lens. Could dirt or wear and tear be the problem? Having replaced mounts it would seem not so we should look for another cause too.
From a discussion on another forum it appears that certain Canon bodies are very fussy about battery capability. This makes me wonder if you have checked the battery "age" indication in the menu? It could be that your batteries have worn out, or, if using generics, that they are not behaving exactly as an OE battery should. As a battery wears out it can sometimes retain sufficient voltage to appear healthy when at rest but fail to produce enough current when called to do so by an activity such as shutter release.
Lastly Flash, and I think this most likely. Not sure what flash you are using but the Nikon flashes nearly all have thermal protection and will fail to fire when too hot. This happens after repeated shots in a short time period. I don't know whether it manifests in the camera not releasing the shutter or merely the flash refusing to fire.
#5. "RE: Cameras won't shoot" In response to Reply # 4
Thanks for all of your thoughts. I will try the firmware updates, that's a good thought.
But I do think it might be the speedlight, although not firing the camera does seem to be a strange way for that to manifest. It seems to be worse in the last few shoots, and this time of year I am shooting inside more. Also, I got the SB 900 about two years ago, and that coincides with about when the problem started. The SB 800 never stopped firing so that makes sense. What do you do about the flash overheating other than slow the shooting? Would it be fixed by changing batteries? Or is it an indication the batteries need to be replaced? Or is there nothing you can do but pause?
I did consider the camera batteries as an issue, but the D800 batteries are all brand new. Also, some of my memory cards are old (although I've never had a problem) but I had to get some new larger memory cards when I got the D800 as well, so those probably aren't the issue either.
#6. "RE: Cameras won't shoot" In response to Reply # 5
I don't know what to say about the lockups. My first reaction was that you should change to all Nikon equipment, but since you used your lenses for so long without problems that doesn't seem to be the answer.
Regarding the flash units and overheating, you should go to RobGalbraith.com and read his review of the SB-700. It gives a good overview of the overheating problems with the SB-900, and then tells you how the lower-priced SB-700 fixes the issue (it doesn't heat as much in the first place, then slows down rather than going until it MUST stop). I agree with him that the SB-700 is easier to set, and seems to give better exposures.
I have had SB-900s for a couple of years now, and they've stopped working in the middle of shoots on me. The SB-700 gives up a half stop or so of light, and does NOT accept a battery pack, but its lower price, lower weight, smaller size, and tendency to never overheat are very endearing. In fact, I have followed Galbraith's lead and switched to using the SB-700 exclusively for on-camera flash work.
#7. "RE: Cameras won't shoot" In response to Reply # 0
Returning to John's comments, I would be most suspicious of the camera firmware as well. But first, has the handup occurred without the presence of the flash? Have you tried returning to your SB800 to determine if that solves the problem? I had this same problem with my D4 until the first firmware upgrade solved the glitch. I also have a D800, but I bought it after the first firmware update occurred, and never experienced the problem with that body. This is a longshot, but perhaps the firmware, even if current, hsa become corrupted, maybe given some kind of electrical transient related to the flash. It is easy enough to upgrade (or replace) the firmware as instructed on the Nikon support website. I would then shoot for some substantial time without the flash just to establish that the camera works properly over time, and then carry on from there. I hope this helps, christina Cheers Gary
#8. "RE: Cameras won't shoot" In response to Reply # 5
I have two SB-900s (and two SB-800s) and shoot weddings with them. Yes, in the beginning they would overheat and shutdown when used heavily with the old style rechargeable batteries. That was solved by doing the following. 1. Turn off the thermal protection, you still get the alarm for a warning. After adopting items 2 and 3 I very seldom get an alarm. 2. Use Eneloop batteries or other low discharge batteries in the flash. 3. Use a battery pack for power. This takes the heavy load out of the flash.
As a professional, I don't want the flash slowing down. That doesn't work at a wedding. I'd rather have it shutdown and go to a backup flash. However, after adopting the three items above, I don't have it shutdown either.
John Herrel Nikonian from South Carolina See the light, capture the essence!
#10. "RE: Cameras won't shoot" In response to Reply # 0
Try cleaning the contacts on both the camera and the lens and the mounts themselves. Once a month I clean them with CRC QD Contact Cleaner. You would be surprised at the amount of dirt/corrosion that is there
#11. "RE: Cameras won't shoot" In response to Reply # 10
Thanks again for all of your thoughts. Since the problem seemed to be with the camera firing, I had not been focused on the flash as the possible cause. But it does make sense. I had forgotten about the shut down feature of the SB 900, and also it sounds like it overheats faster since it's more powerful. So I'll now pay attention to that more closely. I did update the firmware on both my cameras yesterday, even though they were up to date, just in case there was a corruption as you mentioned Gary. I do also use a battery pack and Eneloop batteries as well, but I will look into turning off the thermal protection, thanks John. And while I don't think contacts are the issue in this instance since I've had them replaced, I think it is a good idea to add CRC QD Contact Cleaner to my routine Myer.
In Rob Galbraith's review of the SB 700 vs 900, he mentions powergenix nizn 2500 batteries, which I've never heard of. He says the recycle time is about a third of the Eneloops. Would those be better than the Eneloops? It's a bit confusing because he talks about the fact that lowering the recycle time actually leads to the flash overheating sooner, so it's not clear which is the better direction on batteries. http://robgalbraith.com/bins/content_page.asp?cid=7-10058-11116
#13. "RE: Cameras won't shoot" In response to Reply # 11 Sun 10-Feb-13 06:42 PM by Mike in FL
>In Rob Galbraith's review of the SB 700 vs 900, he mentions >powergenix nizn 2500 batteries, which I've never heard of. He >says the recycle time is about a third of the Eneloops. Would >those be better than the Eneloops? It's a bit confusing >because he talks about the fact that lowering the recycle time >actually leads to the flash overheating sooner, so it's not >clear which is the better direction on batteries. >http://robgalbraith.com/bins/content_page.asp?cid=7-10058-11116
It makes sense to me that you'd get overheating earlier with the faster recycling batteries since you might shoot faster if the batteries were ready for it. The faster you shoot the more likely it seems that you'll get an overheated flash. OTOH, I'm not that electronics savvy, so I'm guessing!