Curious D850 failure

Started 4 months ago | Discussions
Colin Dutton Regular Member • Posts: 237
Curious D850 failure

I recently had a problem with my D850 that left me scratching my head so I was curious to see if anyone else has had the same issue.

My camera was left for 2 weeks switched off with a charged battery inserted during the holidays. When I came back and switched it on it was dead.. not just battery empty kind of dead but completely dead with no sign of life on the top LCD, as if there were no battery inserted.

I tried with 3 charged batteries (all original Nikon), with lens attached, no lens attached etc but still no show. I tried the same batteries in my D800 and they were fine. So I sent the D850 to Nikon for repair.

At Nikon they inserted a battery and switched it on and it worked. I've spoken to a guy at the repair centre and he had no idea what might have caused it.

So now I have the camera back and I've been shooting with it for a couple of weeks with no problems. I'm wondering if it was the internal contacts. Nikon said they didn't check them because they had no reason to. Hmm.

Has anyone had a similar problem? It's left me a little less confident in the camera.



 Colin Dutton's gear list:Colin Dutton's gear list
Nikon D800 Fujifilm X-Pro2 Nikon D850 Fujifilm X-H1
Nikon D800 Nikon D850
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lickity split
lickity split Veteran Member • Posts: 6,055
Re: Curious D850 failure

put the battery in and try a two button reset

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 lickity split's gear list:lickity split's gear list
Nikon D850 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/2.8G ED VR II Nikon AF Micro-Nikkor 200mm f/4D ED-IF Sigma 15mm F2.8 EX DG Diagonal Fisheye +11 more
PHXAZCRAIG Forum Pro • Posts: 17,079
Re: Curious D850 failure

While it may be some hardware failure that is intermittent, it may also just be poor electrical contacts.

Since the batteries worked in another camera, the focus falls onto the D850.   I would take some isopropyl alcohol - or dedicated electrical contact cleaner like Deoxit if you have some around - put some on a qtip and gently swab the battery contacts inside the D850.  Do the batteries while you are at it.

And then carefully do all your lens contacts on camera and lenses as well.

Back in the day ...  when the D300 came out, the forums were alive with tales of DBS - Dead Battery Syndrome.   The problem was similar to yours, but with a few different symptoms.   The classic symptoms made it look like the battery was failing, but it was more an inherent oversensitivity in detecting battery voltage drops in the firmware.   Any kind of electrical interference (dirty contacts) could push the camera into a failure mode.

For ME, the symptoms were more of a 'why won't this camera DO something when I press the shutter release?!'.   It only happened with VR lenses.

My symptom was, put on a VR lens (18-200), point at a subject and mash the shutter.  Nothing happened.  No focus, no shutter, no indication that I had pressed the shutter at all - for about 2 seconds.  Then the camera seemed to wake up, focus and take the shot like nothing ever happened.

This was on the second day I owned the camera, by the way, and it only happened on my one VR lens.

I eventually 'solved' the problem by cleaning the lens contacts, and the problem went away for several months.   It then came back on a vacation trip in Roatan, and the same fix helped.  Soon after that Nikon released a firmware update for the D300 that solved the issue.

Anyway, clean the contacts.  Can't hurt, and it's the cheapest thing to try.

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Phoenix Arizona Craig
"In theory, practice and theory are the same. In practice, they're not."

 PHXAZCRAIG's gear list:PHXAZCRAIG's gear list
Nikon D80 Nikon D200 Nikon D300 Nikon D700 Nikon 1 V1 +37 more
OP Colin Dutton Regular Member • Posts: 237
Re: Curious D850 failure

Thanks for the response Craig. Yes, my gut feeling is also battery contacts in the D850. I'll try cleaning them as you suggest.

Thanks again,


 Colin Dutton's gear list:Colin Dutton's gear list
Nikon D800 Fujifilm X-Pro2 Nikon D850 Fujifilm X-H1
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