Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Nikon begins taking D750 returns for free flare banding fix

Nikon D750
If you own a Nikon D750, by now you've probably read about the confirmed reports that many D750 owners have a problem with lens flare in images, under specific conditions, due to the D750 itself. At certain angles, an ugly dark band shows up across the top of images, separating lens flare from the edge of the frame.

On December 29, 2014 Nikon acknowledged the problem and stated they were working on it. Then on January 9th, Nikon announced they planned to offer free D750 inspection and servicing, including all shipping costs, of the D750's light-shielding components and would adjust, as necessary, the AF sensor position which apparently is the major cause of the dark banding problem.

Today, in the US and around the world, Nikon began its free D750 inspection and servicing program.

For example, at Nikon USA, they published their D750 Service Advisory. On the service advisory page, D750 owners are directed to enter their D750 serial number. If the camera is on Nikon's list of D750 bodies affected by the problem, the owner is directed to another page where they can print a packing slip and UPS shipping label to return the camera to Nikon repair. Nikon spells out full instructions on how to proceed to have the camera repaired.

In my opinion, even if you haven't noticed the problem to date, if your D750 is listed among those needing the repair, send it back to at the very least, preserve your camera's value, in case in the future, you decide to sell or trade the camera in.

By the way, Nikon suggests you don't use Internet Explorer to go to the D750 Service Advisory page as it might not function properly. They suggest using the latest version of Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome.

While it's true that for most D750 users, the issue can be generally eliminated with the use of a lens hood, on those occasions when photographers wish to use lens flare artistically, such as in contra-jour photography, it can't be controlled. The dark band will show up often, ruining the contra-jour effect. Moreover, when using wide angle lenses with short, squat lens hoods, the flaring shows up despite its use.

The problem's apparently caused by the camera's autofocus sensor module at the bottom of the mirror box. On D750's in which the flaring and dark band occurs, the sensor unit protrudes from the bottom more than it does on cameras that are fine. It appears the protruding sensor affects how the light reflects within the sensor area of the camera and reaches the sensor.

For more details take a look at the PentaPixel article “Nikon D750 Owners Reporting a Dark Band Problem That Causes Ugly Lens Flares.” Nikon Rumors has a report on this problem too.

It seem pretty clear that Nikon has learned from their D600 debacle, when they took far too long to acknowledge the problem, and offer a free solution for it. Nikon got on top of the D750 problem within about a week after the report of the problem and the reason behind it became well known, and now has offered a solution less than a month since the first reports became public.

(Image of the Nikon D750 courtesy of Nikon Inc.)

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