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Old Aug 4, 2014, 10:52 AM   #1
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Default New Problem with Old Camera (D70)

Hi everyone.

I have a very strange technical problem with a Nikon D70. I dug it out after it sat for a couple of years unused. Charged up the batteries and reformatted the cards.

Since then it has been giving me images that look like the one I've attached here. I've tried resetting it using the button on the bottom and resetting the white balance but nothing seems to work.

I noticed an odd thing after the button reset, which I believe is supposed to clear and reset everything. The Settings -> Image Comment field still contains old data. If that didn't clear then I'm not confident the reset worked at all. Though it did reset the date and time.

This image was taken in the late afternoon under natural light.
Information:
Nikon D70 Body w/
Nikon 55-200mm f/4-5.6 Nikkor Zoom Lens

Complete EXIF data can be viewed here:
http://regex.info/exif.cgi?imgurl=ht...2FDSC_0004.JPG

Thank you in advance.
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Old Aug 4, 2014, 3:18 PM   #2
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Hey Lance:

Nikon did issue a service advisory about an electrical issue that impacted some D70 cameras in 2005. It's no longer on their site, but here's an old news article about it:

http://www.steves-digicams.com/news/...n55-users.html

We used to refer to that issue as BGLOD (Blinking Green Light of Death).

But, your problems looks more like a sensor issue to me; as it's not uncommon for older CCD Sensors to break down (especially if in humid environments) over a period of years; and AFAIK, there was never any service advisory related to the Sensor in the D70.

Of course, with a 10 year old camera model, you can expect things to start going wrong with other internal components, too (capacitors starting to break down, oxidation under switches and contacts, etc.), and I would not expect a battery that old to still provide the correct voltage and current under typical load (most rechargeable batteries are not going to last anywhere near that long without being replaced; as around 3 or 4 years life expectancy is typical for them).

So, I'd probably try using all switches, dials and buttons to help clean off any potential oxidation from their contacts (as the friction from using them should help in that area).

Again, it could also be an issue with improper voltage/current from a battery that old, too.

So, a new battery may or may not help, depending on what the exact problem is (sensor issues due to aging, capacitors breaking down from aging, etc.; versus a battery that is no longer able to provide the correct voltage to the camera under normal current draw/load conditions.

With a camera model that old, it's probably going to be more trouble than it's worth to try and fix it, unless it's something very simple wrong with it (oxidation under contacts that may be cleanable with friction by using all switches, dials and buttons; or a battery not providing correct voltage under normal load when taking photos, which means you'd need to try a known good battery to see if that's the issue or not).

If that's the original battery that shipped with it, there's little doubt it's got issues (as that camera was launched some 10 years ago, and most batteries are going to start giving you problems after 3 or 4 years).

But, that may or may not be causing the image issues your seeing right now. You can find generic EN-EL3 batteries for very little money if you're a good shopper (under $10 delivered from some vendors).

I wouldn't bet any money that a new battery would solve the problems (as it could be capacitors breaking down, CCD sensor issues caused by it's circuitry breaking down over years without use, etc.; as I've seen that kind of output from bad sensors before). In fact, images that look exactly like the image you posted are usually caused by a bad CCD sensor, with it's circuitry breaking down over time, usually in more humid environments.

So, you'd be gambling that it's a battery voltage/current problem causing the image issues by purchasing another battery to try in it (but on the other hand, a bad battery providing improper voltage under normal load conditions when taking photos can cause odd symptoms with a camera, too).
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Old Aug 4, 2014, 3:28 PM   #3
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Thanks Jim!

I'll try messing with all the switches and dials as you suggest. The problem reproduces with 2 different batteries of unknown age so that doesn't rule them out either.

One other observation:

I took an indoor photo with WB set for tungsten and it came out okay. Then I took the same image with flash and it was bad again.

I opened a case with Nikon and they're going to take a look at it.

We have confirmed, so far, that the hard reset (button) is not working as expected. Date and time clear like they should but Image Comment doesn't.

I think there might be a static lock on some portion of the memory which may need to be disassembled and have some pins shorted to ground to resolve. It's a rare condition that I have seen on PCs so may or may not apply to this.
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Old Aug 4, 2014, 3:58 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lance Clarke View Post
I took an indoor photo with WB set for tungsten and it came out okay. Then I took the same image with flash and it was bad again.
A flash would load the internal circuitry more (although it should draw it's power from a capacitor that's charged prior to the flash being ready to fire), and again, that model was known to have electrical issues (although usually that manifested itself as a sudden failure, versus image problems like you're seeing).

I've seen cameras with failing sensors with those same symptoms, too. IOW, image quality may be OK in lower light. But, use it outside (or with a brighter flash indoors) and you may see odd colors, banding, overexposed portions of an image and more image defects.

Those kinds of issues were fairly common with Sony CCD Sensors some years back (and that Nikon D70 model uses a 6MP Sony CCD Sensor), mostly with cameras used in more humid environments, with the sensor circuitry breaking down over a period of years; and mostly with much smaller sensors used in point and shoot camera models from Nikon, Canon, Pentax and others using Sony CCD sensors during that time frame.

The Sony APS-C size sensor in the D70 (and some competing dSLR models using Sony 6MP APS-C size sensors like the Konica Minolta Maxxum 5D and 7D; and some Pentax models) is not known to have any issues (AFAIK, Sony never issued any service bulletins about their APS-C size 6MP CCD sensors even though issues with smaller sensors used in Point and Shoot models were commonplace some years back).

But, then again, I don't think many people are still using a D70 this many years after it's introduction either (as 10 years is a long time for a digital camera to still be used without replacing it with a newer model)
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Old Aug 4, 2014, 6:15 PM   #5
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It very well could have just given up the ghost while sitting unused for so long. It is pretty old, like you said.

I bought it in 2011 to mess around with IR but never really did too much playing with it. I resurrected it a couple of weeks ago t lend to a friend who is considering taking the next step past pocket point and shoots while trying to keep weight to a minimum.

If it really is dead I guess it's not that big of a loss. We have a couple of D7000s as our main cameras and they're just fine.

The only thing that still bugs me is that it is clear the hard reset is only succeeding partially. If I could get it to do a full hard reset and it was still messed up then I would be that much more confident it is truly a hardware problem.

Thanks again for your help.
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Old Aug 4, 2014, 6:37 PM   #6
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Well... if you're really fond of it, you may want to try another battery, just for giggles.

Of course, you'll find people warning you about generic batteries blowing up, etc. (although personally, I'd had no problems with generic batteries in the past).

If you do a quick search on sites like amazon (or even ebay), you can find a generic brand EN-EL3 battery for a D70 for around $10 delivered (usually a few bucks or so plus shipping, or a higher price with shipping).

It may be a waste of money. But, if the camera was working fine at the time you stopped using it, and cleaning contacts due to the friction caused by using all switches, dials and buttons didn't solve it; I might try a new battery in it (just in case it's a voltage issue with an older battery causing the problem).

I'd also wipe the existing battery contacts off, too (even on a pair of jeans, etc.; just in case some oxidation is on the contacts, as it's not always very visible); and also remount the lens in case it's contacts are not making a good connection. I'd also reseat the memory card a few times to help clean any oxidation related to the memory card contacts. I'd also reformat the card (using the camera's menu choice for format) before using it again, too (or use a different card and do the same thing, just in case the old card is drawing too much current and causing an issue).

Again, it may be components breaking down (capacitors, sensor, etc.). But, voltage related issues can also cause odd symptoms (oxidation on contacts under switches, dials, buttons; memory card contacts, lens contacts, etc.); and a battery that's not supplying the correct voltage under load can also cause problems.
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Old Aug 4, 2014, 7:10 PM   #7
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I think at this point I'll wait to see what Nikon has to say. If I'm going to spend any money, I'll get another used body from Amazon for $90.

I've been wracking my brain trying to remember if there were any changes I made for IR. I know I never removed the internal filter but I can't remember if I did anything else.
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Old Aug 6, 2014, 6:36 PM   #8
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I'm still waiting to hear back from Nikon but I have confirmed something I only previously suspected; the hard-reset (bottom button) is not working at all. It resets the date and time but nothing else.

Is there any other way to do a full, hard reset?
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