D3 Buffer Upgrade Report

Started Aug 19, 2008 | Discussions thread
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D3 Buffer Upgrade Report
Aug 19, 2008

One of my D3's was shipped to Nikon two weeks ago for the buffer upgrade. I received it back today. After spending a few minutes with the camera I am certain my other D3 should be upgraded too. The work was well worth the wait.

The camera I sent is an imported model. Nikon USA will service your camera. Just be sure you do not ask whether or not they will do it. Fill out your request online and ship the camera immediately. I sent mine via Next Day Air and I received it back with the same delivery service. Nikon charged only $12.50 for return shipping.

According to the printed invoice I received with the camera 3 services were performed: buffer upgrade, clean image sensor, general check & clean. Total cost of the upgrade with tax + shipping from El Segundo was $468.18. Included with my invoice was a card advising me to subscribe to Nikon World Magazine, a worthwhile publication for only $16.95 (or less for multi-year subscriptions). Grand Total: $655.20 ($468.18 + $177.02 Next Day Air to El Segundo + $10 extra packing and transportation costs).

Upon examining my upgraded D3 I observed a few things. The shutter actuation count is retained, but as explained on the buffer upgrade web page, other camera settings are reset. For example, I had to turn off Active D-Lighting, High ISO NR, and other settings to get the maximum buffered frames shown as "r36" in the right side of the viewfinder. These settings were off prior to shipment of my D3.

Something unusual I noticed was that the Diopter adjustment knob position had changed. I assume the service technician moved it to adjust it for his vision. It had become so tight that I had to use pliers with a cloth covering the knob in order to turn it. At least I know it is locked into place and it will never move accidentally!

The sensor cleaning is a worthwhile portion of the upgrade. I noticed a couple spots on my images just prior to shipping the D3. Test shots upon arrival of the camera back at my studio revealed that the dust has been removed. The tests were made with my newly arrived Ducati 8GB cards.

During the second week my camera was at Nikon I kept in touch with the service department every day or two via their web e-mail support section. I never saw my camera status change from "Estimating", which had me worried. In the end everything worked out well. The online status lagged far behind the actual service being performed.

Was the upgrade worth it? Absolutely. I would not hesitate to do it again. After the upgrade I am able to hold the shutter and fill the buffer with 36 frames while shooting in RAW. The transfer from buffer to card can be observed afterward by viewing the LCD Top Control Panel.

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