My D300 arrives!

29Jul08

My new camera arrived today, but it wasn’t without incident. Firstly, UPS required a signature release, so I had to drive a half hour after work to pick it up. Next, the camera didn’t work right out of the box.

Yep, got a small scare there. I popped in a newly charged battery and an empty CF card, mounted the 17-55 lens, and it didn’t focus. No movement whatsoever. I then tried my 85mm lens, and that focused, but stopped with a focus chime at some indeterminate point in space rather than what I was supposed to be focusing on. Now that’s a problem, besides that I’m a big believer in quiet cameras so chimes annoy me.

I actually went ahead and filed for an RMA, thinking that the camera was toast, that I decided to search the web if this was a known problem. Lo and behold, it was. I don’t know why it happens, but all I had to do was switch the lens to manual focus, change the focus selector on the body to manual focus, take a picture, and change it all back to autofocus. That worked! Geezz…

So now, instead of waiting for a replacement, I get to play with a new toy. I went through the basic checks for dead, stuck and hot pixels, and found none.

Dead pixels are pixels that do not turn on, meaning they’re basically black. Stuck pixels are pixels that do turn on but are stuck at a particular color — red, green or blue. Hot pixels are pixels that glow abnormally at high ISOs.

To check for dead pixels:

  1. Shoot in RAW or TIFF if possible
  2. Set your camera to manual mode with the the lowest ISO you have, the largest aperture available, and a shutter speed of around 1/100s
  3. Shoot a plain white sheet of paper, or something white and smooth
  4. Convert the RAW file to TIFF, if you shot in RAW
  5. Evaluate the image at 100% at least and slowly go over the entire image looking for pixels that aren’t exactly white

Those black pixels are your dead pixels, and the red, green or blue ones are the stuck pixels.

To check for hot pixels:

  1. Shoot in RAW or TIFF if possible
  2. Set your camera to manual mode with the the lowest ISO you have, the largest aperture available, and shutter speeds between 1 second and 15 seconds
  3. Turn off long exposure noise reduction — check your user guide if you have such control. If you don’t you’ll likely not be able to check for hot pixels, so you shouldn’t worry
  4. Shoot a plain white sheet of paper, or something white and smooth at several speeds
  5. Convert the RAW file to TIFF, if you shot in RAW
  6. Evaluate the image at 100% at least and slowly go over the entire image looking for pixels that aren’t exactly white

Any dead or stuck pixels will still show up, but if you have new ones that glow unusually, those are most likely hot pixels.

I also realized that the camera has firmware 1.02 for both firmwares A and B, while the latest, 1.03, was released on July 1, so I updated the camera to the latest.

Here are the new firmware links for Windows and Mac:

If you do find yourself in the possession of a new D300, you might also want to get a hold of this spreadsheet of the D300 custom functions. The camera has so many settings that you need a spreadsheet with several worksheets to cover them. It’s actually very well done and I applaud those who put it together. There might be such spreadsheets for other cameras as well, but I’m only familiar with the ones for the D200 and the D300. Get the one for the D300 at the Nikonians discussion forum.

Now if you don’t mind me, I’m off to learn how to use my new camera.

Cheers!

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One Response to “My D300 arrives!”

  1. Can I just say how absolutely pea green with envy I am? Don’t get me wrong, I love my Canon 40D. And it took me quite some time to come to the conclusion to purchase the 40D over the D300. Not that I think it is a better camera, but (and ultimately) it was a matter of money.

    Truly jealous. I wish for you all the happiness and joy with your new device!



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