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03-17-2013, 05:21 PM   #1
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Formerly functional *istDL is now shooting black frames

After a few weeks on the shelf, my *istDL now shoots only totally black frames. That's what shows up on the viewscreen, and that's what uploads to my computer. Tried changing batteries, changing from RAW to *** JPEG, with and without flash, removing memory card and putting it back in, "reset".

Digital display looks OK, unless I totally missed something.

Have taken many pics with this camera; it used to work fine.

Suggestions, anyone?

03-18-2013, 01:45 AM   #2
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1/ Lens cap is on.
2/ Mirror not lifting.
3/ Wrong shutter speed / aperture.
4/ Lens blades collapsed.
5/ Camera totally stuffed.

I have a DL, I'll have a look see if there's some setting you may have forgotten.
03-18-2013, 02:12 AM   #3
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My Ds took random black shots when it was new. I tried the [RELEASE_AGING] in Debug Mode and it never happened since. Still no idea why.
03-18-2013, 02:38 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by wlachan Quote
My Ds took random black shots when it was new. I tried the [RELEASE_AGING] in Debug Mode and it never happened since. Still no idea why.
Interesting.
What's the RELEASE_AGING thing ? and how do you get into Debug Mode ?

03-18-2013, 02:54 AM   #5
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Debug mode
03-18-2013, 09:18 AM   #6
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I can rule out some of these

1) That would be a rather advanced mistake to make with an SLR
2) Haven't yet operated the camera with the lens off, but from the outside, things sound/look normal when shutter release is pressed
3) Checked that
4) How do I check for that?
5) Arghh


QuoteOriginally posted by chromo Quote
1/ Lens cap is on.
2/ Mirror not lifting.
3/ Wrong shutter speed / aperture.
4/ Lens blades collapsed.
5/ Camera totally stuffed.

I have a DL, I'll have a look see if there's some setting you may have forgotten.
03-18-2013, 10:05 AM   #7
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My brother's DL has similar symptoms. The images look just like a photo taken with the lens cap on - nearly black with a bit of random color noise, file size is really small. Photos taken before the problem can be reviewed on the rear screen. The mirror and shutter curtains work. Everything else seems to work as far as I can tell. The symptoms seem to point to something at the sensor itself or a connection right next to it. It hasn't gotten any better sitting on a shelf. Sometimes I think of something else to test - just now, I wonder if I set it to Monochrome, would that tell me whether the JPEG engine was processing the image?

Things to try first:
Remove the lens. Set the mode to B and look at the front. Press the shutter. The mirror should flip up and the shutter curtains open so you can see the sensor, a multicolored shiny thing, not flat black shutter curtains.
Put an old photo on an SD card in the 100PENTX folder and see if you can review it in playback. That means the SD card connections and rear LCD are OK.
Put the lens back on and take shots with the lens at different apertures. Look at the blades in B mode to see if they close to different positions at different aperture settings. Look at the image EXIF data to see if that's accurate.

Desperate things to try:
Switch batteries, SD cards, lenses, etc.
Remote shutter release.
Clean contacts.
External power source.

I might take my brother's camera apart some day to see if there's a loose connection. He bought a K-r.
03-18-2013, 10:55 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by wlachan Quote
List of cameras and means-of-entry to debug mode at that link does not include the *istDL

03-18-2013, 11:22 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Just1MoreDave Quote
My brother's DL has similar symptoms. The images look just like a photo taken with the lens cap on - nearly black with a bit of random color noise, file size is really small. Photos taken before the problem can be reviewed on the rear screen. The mirror and shutter curtains work. Everything else seems to work as far as I can tell. The symptoms seem to point to something at the sensor itself or a connection right next to it. It hasn't gotten any better sitting on a shelf. Sometimes I think of something else to test - just now, I wonder if I set it to Monochrome, would that tell me whether the JPEG engine was processing the image?

Things to try first:
Remove the lens. Set the mode to B and look at the front. Press the shutter. The mirror should flip up and the shutter curtains open so you can see the sensor, a multicolored shiny thing, not flat black shutter curtains.
Put an old photo on an SD card in the 100PENTX folder and see if you can review it in playback. That means the SD card connections and rear LCD are OK.
Put the lens back on and take shots with the lens at different apertures. Look at the blades in B mode to see if they close to different positions at different aperture settings. Look at the image EXIF data to see if that's accurate.

Desperate things to try:
Switch batteries, SD cards, lenses, etc.
Remote shutter release.
Clean contacts.
External power source.

I might take my brother's camera apart some day to see if there's a loose connection. He bought a K-r.
Watched the works with the lens off — see no gross problems. Re-installed firmware. Removed card (Sandisk Extreme 32GB) to see if the camera would notice its absence — it did — so I put it back in. Downloaded a photo from my computer — it showed up fine in the camera. Checked size of black photo file — it was ~250K taken in ***JPEG mode, which seems tiny to me.
03-18-2013, 03:02 PM   #10
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Yeah small file because of lack of light information.

I couldn't see anything in the DL's menu that would contribute to the problem.

Try this.
Enter the menu 'C' (custom setting) and set "using aperture ring" to 2.
Turn off the camera.
Remove the lens, turn on the camera and go into "sensor cleaning" using the menu 'set up' , to check that the mirror does lift.
Switch off the camera.
Set the lens aperture ring to say f8 and look through it to confirm the blades are about half open.
Refit the lens to the camera. (aperture still on f8)
Now set the camera to iso 400 using the fn button and the shutter speed to 4" (4 seconds).
Go outside and take a daytime photo. It should take several seconds for the camera to process the photo before it's displayed on the screen.

You should end up with a totally white photo. If not, I'd say the camera probably has a circuit failure.

Last edited by chromo; 03-18-2013 at 03:35 PM.
03-18-2013, 03:49 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jeremy Quote
List of cameras and means-of-entry to debug mode at that link does not include the *istDL
Google is your friend
Pentax Firmware Debug Service Menu / Auto Focus Calibration

From what I remember, the shutter of my Ds sounded out of sync when it happened (so the sensor took the exposure before (or after?) the mechanical shutter was ready). Why? I don't know. Maybe not enough lube? Anyway, try your luck with Releasing Aging.
03-18-2013, 05:28 PM - 1 Like   #12
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I was wondering have you used that card in the DL before and do you have the newest firmware update? The DL will not write to a card that large without the update.

Last edited by patrick9; 03-18-2013 at 05:29 PM. Reason: spelling
03-19-2013, 06:15 AM   #13
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Patrick9 is right. i never noticed that you mentioned 32G.
Def too big for the DL.
I think I remember the max is 4G with update, so try a 2G , also I think it didn't like HC cards before the update.
03-19-2013, 12:43 PM   #14
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I thought of that with my brother's camera, but it even fails with a 256 Mb card, smallest I have.

Edit: charged up some AAs to try more stuff. I get a 241K three-star JPG. If I change the menu to record a 4M or 2M image, I get the right number of pixels, 2400x1600 or 1536x1024. If I reduce the 6M JPG to 2 stars, I get a 218K image, which stays the same as a 1 star image. RAW files are ~9200K. The auto white balance never changes, even pointing at a tungsten bulb or a northern sky. It is always 5000k, +3. If I open a RAW image in ACR 6.7, raise exposure +4 stops, blacks to zero, brightness to 150%, I get this:


Last edited by Just1MoreDave; 03-19-2013 at 08:39 PM.
03-19-2013, 09:01 PM   #15
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Updated firmware, no change.
Release Aging, no change.
The DL has no Monochrome finishing tone or RAW+. If I apply the B+W digital filter in-camera to a JPG file, it does appear to remove all color and just leave a few random white spots, only visible when all the brightness stuff is full up.

I still think it's a bad sensor or connection right after the sensor.
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