Over time have started experiencing a problem with the camera. I will shoot a sequence or for that matter a simple burst and the camera responds as if I have the bracketing for exposure turned on...and it is off. Photos will be from over exposed to underexposed or vice-versa. I cannot seem to identify what is causing this. The local dealer was zero help and my previous experience when sending the camera to Nikon HQ was, they do very little diagnosing, but will replace any and everything ($$$). I shoot primarily action sports and this happens inside and out, daylight and night.
Yes, it does sound like you have exposure bracketing turned on - but if you've double-checked that I guess it has to be something else.
One possibilitiy that comes to mind is that you might have Custom Setting b4 Easy Exposure Compensation turned on - then you could be changing the compensation setting by inadvertently turning a Command Dial.
More information would help us make further suggestions - for example which exposure mode are you using? When the problem occurs, what shutter speed, aperture and ISO are recorded in the EXIF daya for the series of shots with varying exposures?
I am having this exact same problem, I have even reset all settings back to Nikon default (holding ISO/WB, Reset Custom Settings, Reset Shooting Menu). I have checked b4 easy exposure compensation it is OFF. All bracketing is turned off, I seem to get two over exposed frames then two under exposed frames and this repeats. I called Nikon and they had no ideas, I uploaded example photos for their review hope to hear back from them on Monday. I tried to narrow down the problem by shooting in Manual mode, fixed shutter, aperture and ISO and I still get this alternating exposure. I checked the Exif data and all photos have the same settings. My D3s is very well taken care of and has 94,000 shutter clicks, any thoughts as I have run out of ideas.
If shooting in Manual with a fixed aperture, shutter speed and ISO gives varying exposures, then just about the only possibility is that the lens diaphragm is not closing down reliably to the pre-selected aperture, or the shutter is malfunctioning. You could check the first by shooting a series of shots at a medium aperture and slow shutter speed while looking into the front of the lens to see whether the aperture is consistent.
Thanks. Sorry for the delay getting back. I ended up purchasing a D4 and will return my D3s for repair I should have a little time before the holidays to try what you shared. THanks and I will let you know how it works. I believe it has something o do with the shutter malfunctioning
Yes, thanks Brian I will check that tonight and let you know, I kind of think it may be the camera since this has occured to me as well using two different lenses, unless its the camera signal malfunctioning between the camera and the lens diaphram. If it is the shutter assume this is what $350+- to replace and assume I would need to (and probably want to) send it to Nikon, any experience with ballpark costs of a replacement shutter? This is unfortunate as the shutter only has 94k clicks assume Nikon will not cover it given it is beyond the 1yr warranty and no extended warranty was purchased.
Brian, the lens diaphram seems to be functioning properly, also when this has occured I was shooting at f2.8. I tried resetting the camera to the Nikon defaults and I got the same results (earlier this week). One other thought I had is I just recently upgraded the firmware from 1.00 to 1.01, even thinking this could have been a corrupt version however after upgrading to firmware 1.01 the camera said it was installed successfully. I reinstalled 1.01 just in case but still get the varying exposures.
Brian, so you think its the cycling of the light vs a camera issue? The strange thing is my D700 shooting at 8fps (vs 9fps with the D3s)never experienced this once which if it was the timing of the lighting cycles and the camera shutter you would think that I would have seen this at least a few times with the D700. I'm going to experiment by changing the burst rate (CL shooting rate) to 8fps and 7fps and see what I get. Thanks for the response I appreciate your input.
Ok, I just heard back from a friend of mine who shoots a D3s in the exact same conditions in the exact same gyms and football field and he said he DOES experience this issue with the cycling of the lights so I am going to do some tests with 8fps, 7fps at various shutter speeds and back into the cycle rate of the lights assume as others had mentioned this to be around 1/60 to find the best combination of burst rate and shutter speed. I am assuming 8fps may be the correct combination as I mentioned I don't seem to have this problem with my D700, so I will try to replicate those settings on the D3s to see if it works and will let you know what I find. I appreciate all the input from both Brian's and Roger.
It is most likely 1/60th, but it could be less common than that. For example, one of the stadiums I've been to has its lights on two different power grids, for reasons related to how their power got brought in rather than things we might think of. (BTW this is very common for data centers, which are normally attached to - at least - two different grids for redundancy reasons.) In the case of this stadium, the dips only occur when both grids hit the bottom of a 60hz cycle at similar instants - as you might guess, it's much less common there than at sites with more usual single power.
Also, don't forget that since this is a timing thing, even small perturbations make a difference. The D700 may be operating at a nominal 7 or 8 fps, but it may also have a slightly different release lag or AF recovery period, neither of which would be surprising. 60 cycles per second means 16.6ms between cycles, or 50ms return over a three-cycle period. With 37ms rating for the blackout period on the D3 and D3s, and 4ms for 1/250th exposure, it might just turn out that it's easier for a D3/D3s to "find" the bottom cycles than for a camera with, say, 44ms blackout period... etc.
_____ Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member
My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!
SoccerO, I found your post and I also started a new one, I just purchased a used D3s and thought I had a bad shutter, but it sounds like this is common with fluorescent lights and others that cycle at 60Hz and greater. I am going to test this by varying my burst rate as I can't shoot sports at 1/60 so I guess the other possibility is to shoot fast pick out the shots that appear with light at full power and then post process and adjust WB using one that was taken when the lights cycled to full power. So for continuing your post but it sounded like you were satisfied to purchase D4 which now I assume you want to revisit whether you D3s needs repair or not with the help of the posts from others on this thread, I know I appreciate their help. Btw, Nikon support was useless they of course could not figure out the problem, I think they learned something as well of course they are probably just customer service people there to sell repair service.
I have already had my D3S rebuilt once and it is long overdue for an overhaul. The acquisition of the D4 just makes that time so much more palatable. The D3S now has about 850,000 shots on it. I am going to get it addressed and use as my backup.
Actually what I was trying to convey is that the original problem I have actually has nothing to do with the available light, artificial or natural. The behavior the camera exhibits is like it is bracketing a shot and bracketing is not turned on. I can shot a 12-15 shot sequence of a sports sequence and 2 are over exposed 3 are correct and 4 will be underexposed, same light, same conditions, etc.
In addition, it seems exaggerated when I shoot with the camera in portrait mode.
I am guessing it has to do with the shutter timing and exposure, and perhaps fatigue.
The problem you describe is a documented nuisance of sports facility lighting.
That has a lot of value. Now, if I do set the camera to auto ISO, will the spot metering just control focus or will it also control exposure?
I am guilty here of using spot metering as I find it the most reliable way to track the quick pace of a game by turning on sport metering and keeping the focal point (single) on the ball and the subjects within the depth of focus are relatively accurate.
So if I then opt for Auto Iso and a 1/1600 or 1/2000 shutter speed, will the exposure be controlled by the auto exposure feature or will the spot metering override the setting?