Sun 29-Jul-12 12:33 PM | edited Sun 29-Jul-12 12:42 PM by Bu Lai En
>as i recall, early on, there were numerous posts about >repairs for the D700 hot shoe problem. If I remember >correctly, the tolerance of the hotshoe was a bit loose >allowing the flash to move enough communication with the >camera was lost. some brave souls tried tapping on the top >edges of the shoe with a hammer to bend them down a bit >solving the problem in some cases at least.
I was one of those that adjusted the hot shoe by carefully pressing down at several points along the length of each L shaped legs to close the gap. I used my drill press (turned off of course) with a squared off 3/8 inch diameter rod in the chuck. This really worked! BUT it took sometime before I noticed that my manual focus was out, but my auto focus was right on.
One of my photography experts said the problem could be that the manual focus uses the prism mirror to verify focus but autofocus does not. So, the act of me pushing down on these contacts may have thrown out the alignment of the prism, but I'm not sure since I had also dropped the camera once.
Why didn't I notice this out of focus problem earlier? I thought it was my poor shooting technique or manual focus abilities. After carefully shooting to eliminate poor technique to test manual focus I determined there was actually something wrong with my D700 and it wasn't me. I finally sent it in for repair with copies of my out of focus test photos. Nikon did a wonderful job of repairing the out of my warranty camera by replacing the rubber grips, focusing screen, card holder door AND replacing the hot shoe. This cost me $224 USD plus the cost of me shipping the camera to Nikon. I have not had a problem since with my SB900 firing erratically, so the replacing of the hot shoe and what ever else Nikon did to fix the manual focus did fix the flash issue too.
In conclusion: 1. I wouldn't push down on the L shaped legs. 2. The erratic flash firing is, I think, a Nikon problem that should be fixed by Nikon by sending it in for repair under warranty - if the camera still is under warranty, or providing a complaint to see if Nikon will repair without charge. I could not try this because of me making adjustments to the contacts. Good luck!
Update: I just read ajdooley's comment that he has replaced his hotshoe 2 or 3 times already, so my currently working hotshoe may begin loosening up it's contacts again. I have to admit that the pressing down technique I used had to be done periodically to maintain a good connection. Based on this, I think the Nikon flash connection design should be changed to similar connection Canon uses which consists of a thumbscrew that firmly pushes the unit onto the contacts - however, I have read there have been issues with that design too, but not related to erratic flashing. If erratic flashing starts up again, I will just go with the off-camera connection rather than sending it in for a new hotshoe. In any case, something needs to be done to permanently fix this problem.