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A different D800 CLS problem

Vox Sciurorum

Newton, US
240 posts

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Vox Sciurorum Registered since 18th Oct 2007
Wed 27-Jun-12 09:41 PM

My D800E does not reliably trigger remote flashes, in TTL mode or otherwise. There is a known bug with M mode. That can't be my problem because switching to TTL is supposed to avoid it. If anything the problem is worse in TTL mode. I initially thought it never fired remotes that were set to TTL but with more testing I got occasional fires. When it does trigger remotes the camera flash usually does not contribute any illumination itself.

Used in normal mode, rather than commander, the flash usually works. After the first CLS glitch the flash never charged (no lightning bolt symbol) and I had to remove the battery to get it back. That problem did not recur.

Anybody have this variant of the problem? I hope I just forgot to set custom setting Q39, "Enable random CLS failure", to Off.

I tried different slave flashes, SB-800 and SB-R200. I checked the SB800 with a different camera. It's the camera, not the flash.

liamtoh1ps

US
312 posts

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#1. "RE: A different D800 CLS problem" | In response to Reply # 0

liamtoh1ps Registered since 17th Apr 2012
Wed 27-Jun-12 11:41 PM

I am sure someone with more experience will chime in, but I tested my SB-800 with the D800 (as was shown in some YouTube video) but it worked fine in any mode (the built-in flash was set to commander).

Can you please describe in more detail all your settings of both SB-800 and built-in flash menu settings?

Vox Sciurorum

Newton, US
240 posts

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#2. "RE: A different D800 CLS problem" | In response to Reply # 1

Vox Sciurorum Registered since 18th Oct 2007
Wed 27-Jun-12 11:51 PM

SB-800 set to remote mode, group A, channel 1.

D800E in CMD mode. Built-in flash TTL Comp 0. Group A TTL Comp. 0. Group B --. Channel 1.

Flash sync normal (not slow or rear).

I just tried 6 shots in a dark room with no obstruction between camera and SB-800. 4 were black, 2 lit. The black shots had no light from the builtin flash. On the playback screen the flash fields of the dark pictures are blank as if flash were off.

The lightning bolt flash icon appears in the viewfinder.

AF-S or AF-C don't seem to matter. I use single point autofocus; choice of focus point doesn't seem to matter. (I wouldn't expect either to matter.)

liamtoh1ps

US
312 posts

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#3. "RE: A different D800 CLS problem" | In response to Reply # 2

liamtoh1ps Registered since 17th Apr 2012
Thu 28-Jun-12 12:07 AM

John,

Thanks for providing your setup details.

I have tried with various settings on my D800 (i.e. in CMD with built-in flash in M, TTL, --
Group A with TTL, AA, M
Channel 1)

and the SB-800 in TTL,
Used Group A

The SB-800 fired every time. I also tried with group A set to -- and obviously the SB-800 did not fire (which is the expected result).

Did you try to do a complete reset of your D800?

Vox Sciurorum

Newton, US
240 posts

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#4. "RE: A different D800 CLS problem" | In response to Reply # 3

Vox Sciurorum Registered since 18th Oct 2007
Thu 28-Jun-12 12:13 AM

A two button reset (green dots) has no effect. Is there a more complete reset?

liamtoh1ps

US
312 posts

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#5. "RE: A different D800 CLS problem" | In response to Reply # 4

liamtoh1ps Registered since 17th Apr 2012
Thu 28-Jun-12 12:19 AM

>A two button reset (green dots) has no effect. Is there a
>more complete reset?

Yup. That's the one.

Another idea is to remove your battery from the camera for sometime (maybe 15min, maybe more), make sure that the battery is fully charged.

See if this helps. Because I am out of ideas, other than shipping it back to Nikon.

Good luck.

Vox Sciurorum

Newton, US
240 posts

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#6. "RE: A different D800 CLS problem" | In response to Reply # 5

Vox Sciurorum Registered since 18th Oct 2007
Thu 28-Jun-12 12:29 AM

Thanks for the suggestions. I have it sitting batteryless now.

How long does Nikon take to service a problem like this? I'm going on vacation in 6 weeks and I would rather have a camera with no CLS than no camera.

I should check whether an SB-800 can act as commander when the builtin flash glitches; that would be a decent workaround.

liamtoh1ps

US
312 posts

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#7. "RE: A different D800 CLS problem" | In response to Reply # 6

liamtoh1ps Registered since 17th Apr 2012
Thu 28-Jun-12 12:45 AM

>How long does Nikon take to service a problem like this? I'm
>going on vacation in 6 weeks and I would rather have a camera
>with no CLS than no camera.

I have no experience with Nikon Service Center. Maybe someone else can chime in. You can also check another thread where Gary Poole had to send his D800E to Nikon. See if he has provided any updates. I think on that thread some people have reported on various turn-around periods.

>I should check whether an SB-800 can act as commander when the
>builtin flash glitches; that would be a decent workaround.
Update this thread with your findings, as it may help someone.

My other flash is SB-28 (i.e. not compatible with CLS), hence I cannot help you with that setup (i.e. using SB-800 as master/commander mode)

I hope your issue is resolved soon.

Vox Sciurorum

Newton, US
240 posts

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#8. "RE: A different D800 CLS problem" | In response to Reply # 7

Vox Sciurorum Registered since 18th Oct 2007
Thu 28-Jun-12 01:09 AM

The 15 minute battery removal had no effect.

An SB-800 mounted on the camera in the usual way fails the same way as the in-camera flash. When I put the SB-800 itself into master mode, with CLS setting entered on the SB-800 screen, it is able to command the SB-R200.

A firmware update with CLS fixes is rumored. I think I'll wait a little for it. Normally I don't act based on Nikon rumors, but I think I have a workaround with the SB-800 master mode. I had never used that mode before. I didn't need to with older cameras.

km6xz

St Petersburg, RU
3559 posts

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#9. "RE: A different D800 CLS problem" | In response to Reply # 8

km6xz Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, including Portraits and Urban Photography Nikonian since 22nd Jan 2009
Thu 28-Jun-12 05:49 AM

Nikon Rumors posted a prediction or insider tip that a second update is coming soon that addresses this problem. You are not alone, optical control is not as consistent as with other models. I have not run into it but a number of studio photographers have and reported it. The guess is the timing of setup burst is wrong because there is no problem with on shoe flash. I've shot about 500 flash shots and not seen any problem on shoe and only a few off shoe using wireless TTL
Stan
St Petersburg Russia

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Vox Sciurorum

Newton, US
240 posts

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#10. "RE: A different D800 CLS problem" | In response to Reply # 0

Vox Sciurorum Registered since 18th Oct 2007
Fri 19-Oct-12 10:54 AM

I sent my camera to Nikon after I got back from vacation. That was five weeks ago. Today is the one month anniversary of the camera being entered into Nikon's repair system. Still waiting. Good thing I kept my D700.

Vox Sciurorum

Newton, US
240 posts

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#11. "Still broken" | In response to Reply # 10

Vox Sciurorum Registered since 18th Oct 2007
Tue 06-Nov-12 02:56 PM

Camera returned from Nikon yesterday, 7 weeks and about 3 days after I mailed it in for service. Call it 7 weeks even because the New York facility was down 3 days for the hurricane.

It isn't fixed. Ordinary flash seems to work but commander mode doesn't command.

The on-camera flash, when up in commander mode, emits a dim flash about every 10-20 seconds. Metering was on but I was not touching the shutter button. Single shot or Ch mode, same thing. Is there any mode in which that is normal behavior?

rplst8

Johnstown, US
150 posts

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#12. "RE: Still broken" | In response to Reply # 11

rplst8 Silver Member Nikonian since 18th Dec 2008
Tue 06-Nov-12 03:45 PM

If you mount an SB-800 on the camera and use it as a master does it work?

--
RL

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Vox Sciurorum

Newton, US
240 posts

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#13. "RE: Still broken" | In response to Reply # 12

Vox Sciurorum Registered since 18th Oct 2007
Tue 06-Nov-12 03:56 PM

>If you mount an SB-800 on the camera and use it as a master
>does it work?

Same as before. SB-800 on camera controlled the camera doesn't trigger remote flash. SB-800 set to master mode on the flash menu, so it knows about the remote groups, does trigger remote flash.

rplst8

Johnstown, US
150 posts

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#14. "RE: Still broken" | In response to Reply # 13

rplst8 Silver Member Nikonian since 18th Dec 2008
Tue 06-Nov-12 06:17 PM

>>If you mount an SB-800 on the camera and use it as a
>master
>>does it work?
>
>Same as before. SB-800 on camera controlled the camera
>doesn't trigger remote flash. SB-800 set to master mode on
>the flash menu, so it knows about the remote groups, does
>trigger remote flash.

OK, now I understand. I don't think under any circumstances will the Commander Mode menus in the camera work with an accessory flash. I think that menu only works with the built-in flash.

That said, the built-in flash should work with the Commander Mode.

--
RL

Visit my Nikonians gallery and my Flickr page.

EricBarney

US
32 posts

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#15. "RE: Still broken" | In response to Reply # 14

EricBarney Registered since 02nd Oct 2012
Wed 07-Nov-12 12:56 AM

I have not used it extensively, But. I have taken several shots with a SB910 on the camera as the master, and 2 SB800's as slaves. Every shot had all flashes working every time. I made no adjustments in the camera menu. All TTL lighting settings were set in the flash units themselves. Flash groups were properly sync'd.
I will not attempt to offer any technical or exposure advice, as I am just barely getting familiar with the system. I can only offer the experience that it worked every time.

And... The SB910 is one nice flash unit.

Vox Sciurorum

Newton, US
240 posts

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#16. "RE: Still broken" | In response to Reply # 15

Vox Sciurorum Registered since 18th Oct 2007
Wed 07-Nov-12 01:07 AM

>I have not used it extensively, But. I have taken several
>shots with a SB910 on the camera as the master, and 2 SB800's
>as slaves. Every shot had all flashes working every time. I
>made no adjustments in the camera menu. All TTL lighting
>settings were set in the flash units themselves. Flash groups
>were properly sync'd.
>I will not attempt to offer any technical or exposure advice,
>as I am just barely getting familiar with the system. >the SB910] I can only offer the experience that it worked
>every time.
>
>And... The SB910 is one nice flash unit.

Some reviews on the net say D800 flash problems are inconsistent. Obviously not everybody has the problem I have. But I described the problem when I sent the camera to Nikon and they didn't fix it or say it was not reproducible. My description was condensed to "flash doesn't work" when they put the camera into their system.

I bought a 5D Mark III today. Not sure if I'll send the D800E back for another round of repair. I guess that would be futile unless I first get a human being on the phone to explain how the incompetent morons in his department altered the customer's problem report and mismanaged the service process so a 2-3 week job took 7 weeks. I was close to switching even if the camera came back fixed.

rplst8

Johnstown, US
150 posts

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#17. "RE: Still broken" | In response to Reply # 16

rplst8 Silver Member Nikonian since 18th Dec 2008
Wed 07-Nov-12 02:51 AM

The service you received is pretty awful, I agree.

However, I really recommend using the MyNikon portal if you haven't already. If you go through that route you tend to get better service and they can keep better track of your issue. You can upload documents, pictures, or whatever that demonstrate or describe the problem.

The more information that you can give them the better I think.

--
RL

Visit my Nikonians gallery and my Flickr page.

EricBarney

US
32 posts

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#18. "RE: Still broken" | In response to Reply # 16

EricBarney Registered since 02nd Oct 2012
Wed 07-Nov-12 11:09 PM

That bites!! I can't imagine switching camera brands, lenses etc. but I understand your frustration. These things should work on a consistant basis. I hope your problem gets solved, as the D800 is a pretty good camera.

Vox Sciurorum

Newton, US
240 posts

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#19. "RE: Still broken" | In response to Reply # 16

Vox Sciurorum Registered since 18th Oct 2007
Sat 22-Dec-12 01:04 AM

Good news. Second service took less than three weeks and didn't cost me anything because it was a re-repair.

Bad news. Second service didn't fix the flash problem. No flash illumination in commander mode, even from the builtin flash. SB 800 fires in SU 4 slave mode. Popup flash works in TTL mode, at least some of the time.

I'll take it back to the store where I bought it and ask them to try to make the commander feature work. They will tell me I'm an idiot or Nikon service is a bunch of worthless morons. Or both.

Relevant entries on service printout: "RPL FLASH PCB" "ADJ FLASH OPERATION"

Vox Sciurorum

Newton, US
240 posts

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#20. "RE: A different D800 CLS problem" | In response to Reply # 0

Vox Sciurorum Registered since 18th Oct 2007
Sun 13-Jan-13 01:17 AM

My camera came back yesterday after its third trip to Nikon. The problem may be fixed. At least CLS works in a test shot. I haven't tried any serious use yet.

The camera was in their building for about 10 weeks in total, excluding 3-4 days they couldn't work due to the hurricane. 13 weeks out of my hands, including shipping and weather.

M_Jackson

Jackson, US
747 posts

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#21. "RE: A different D800 CLS problem" | In response to Reply # 20

M_Jackson Silver Member Nikonian since 28th Oct 2005
Sun 13-Jan-13 01:31 AM | edited Sun 13-Jan-13 01:48 AM by M_Jackson

The SB800 and SB900-910 IR ports are on the SIDE of the strobe, next to the battery door. It is the dark little circle and not the wide red plastic element on the front of the strobe. This might not be the problem here, but it is important to point the IR port back towards the Commander unit.

Click on image to view larger version


I just did a quick test with a SB800. Commander D800 in-camera, Channel 1, Group A

Good luck,

Attachment#1 (jpg file)

M. Jackson
Jackson Hole, WY

Blog: www.bestofthetetons.com
Web Site: www.tetonimages.com

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Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Vox Sciurorum

Newton, US
240 posts

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#22. "RE: A different D800 CLS problem" | In response to Reply # 20

Vox Sciurorum Registered since 18th Oct 2007
Fri 25-Jan-13 10:10 PM

>My camera came back yesterday after its third trip to Nikon.
>The problem may be fixed. At least CLS works in a test shot.
>I haven't tried any serious use yet.

Further testing showed master mode still did not work. It triggered slaves 80% of the time instead of 10%, a distinct improvement but still not right.

I sent it back (via my local store) on January 14 and today learned that Nikon has chosen to replace rather than repair.

If this new camera works the total will be four trips to Long Island, 11 weeks in their repair facility, 15 weeks out of my hands.

liamtoh1ps

US
312 posts

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#23. "RE: A different D800 CLS problem" | In response to Reply # 22

liamtoh1ps Registered since 17th Apr 2012
Fri 25-Jan-13 10:22 PM

Thanks for the update.

G