D3s Banding problem !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Started Dec 21, 2011 | Discussions thread
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JoJoJoJo
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D3s Banding problem !!!!!!!!!!!!!
Dec 21, 2011

Hi guys,

I has owned the D3s for around 3 months and 2 weeks ago, I noticed some strange banding in all my pictures when I processed some night-portrait shots. That particular shot was taken at ISO 500 in portrait orientation. The said banding is horizontal (vertical of course if the picture is in Landscape orientation).

Below is a 100% crop of the shot I mentioned. This is a crop of the upper left corner of the image. You can clearly see the mentioned horizontal banding in the OOF background.

Note that the above image was exposed properly and no exposure adjustment was made whatsoever. I always shoot 14bit uncompressed RAW and ADL as well as all fancy features are always turned off. I also tried resetting the camera back to a factory default, but no avail.

Investigating this further I discovered that this banding appears in “almost all ISO below 1600” straight up from ISO 200. I also did a lot of research regarding this and found several people complaining about this problem.

This guy posted on DP Review about his problem http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1021&message=35394553&changemode=1 . His camera showed banding in all incremental ISO (250, 320, 450, etc) below 1000, but mine is even worst, as the banding can be clearly seen at “all ISO below 1600”. It’s very nasty at ISO 200 and makes me wonder how this issue can occur with a camera of this caliber.

I also observed all pictures ever taken by this camera (not much anyway) and found that this problem cannot be seen in the first month of my acquisition, as all pictures taken are clean without any banding. But I started noticing this banding in pictures taken in the last 3 weeks. The problem seems to amplify itself recently and the banding can be clearly seen even at ISO 200. Below you can see how bad it is.

The picture below is taken at ISO 200. 1st picture is resized but even in the image this small, you can see the banding on the lower right side. 2nd picture is 100% crop of the lower right corner.

OK, guys, from my research I know that the way to fix this problem is to change DGB board, and in doing so, the camera’s output level also needs to be re-adjusted. I found from my research also that if the calibration is not performed properly, image quality (exposure, color representation, etc) can be affected.

Now I have 2 choices; either send it in for repair (it’s still within warranty) or trade it with a brand new D3s. It’s heartbreaking that merely 3 months old camera has to be taken apart, and I don’t know how well the repair will be (I lived in Philippines, but where I will send it in is a Nikon’s regional branch / service center).

If I choose to trade it in, I’ll have to pay an additional $700 to get a brand new D3s. I actually would prefer an exchange from Nikon itself but consumer protection here is not so good, so the replacement from Nikon is surely out of question.

Please share your thought if any of you experienced this problem.

 JoJoJoJo's gear list:JoJoJoJo's gear list
Nikon D700 Nikon D4 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G Nikon AF-S Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8D ED-IF Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D +3 more
Nikon D3S
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