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Photo

D5500 acting weird - deliberately going out of focus

d5500 focus freeze

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15 replies to this topic

#1
dswan

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So, anybody else have this problem?  It's a D5500 and it has been a workhorse without problems.  All of a sudden last week, it started completely unfocusing and refusing to shoot when I aim at a scene that's about 1/3 sky.  It doesn't matter how bright or dim the sky is and, in fact, indoors a ceiling will cause the same problem.  It shoots completely normally as long as there is not too much sky but if the sky is there, even manual focusing won't stop it from happening.

 

At this point, I cleaned everything, removed the battery for a while, did a reset-to-default several times and, lacking any other thought, swapped out the flash card for a new one.  None of those helped.

 

I took it to my nearby camera store, a Nikon dealer and dedicated photo store, demonstrated the problem, they tried the same "cures" that I did and they were befuddled.  They said that they could send it to the distributor, but that it would cost about $250 even before any parts were replaced.

 

Has anybody ever had this happen?  It appears to be a software problem because everything works unless there's too much sky.  If it's going to cost a lot to fix it, I don't know that I want to do that, might just get another camera.



#2
Fletch

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I don’t know if this would work or not but have you ever done the firmware update for that camera?

#3
dswan

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I'm thinking that, unless something else pops up I will figure out how to do that.  The vexing thing is that the camera worked fine one day, not the next.  It wasn't dropped, wetted, connected to a computer (I just get pictures from the flash card) or had settings changed.  I get a grim satisfaction that the guys in my local camera shop (Nikon dealer and vendor to pros) were mystified too.



#4
Fletch

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Check what you have first

 

  1. Turn the camera on.
  2. Press the camera MENU button and select Firmware version in the SETUP MENU to display the camera firmware version.
  3. Check the camera firmware version.
  4. Turn the camera off.

Nikon | Download center | D5500 Firmware

 

  1. Create a folder on the computer hard disk and name it as desired.
  2. Download F-D5500-V102W.exe to the folder created in Step 1.
  3. Run F-D5500-V102W.exe to extract the following file to a folder named “D5500Update”:
    • D5500_0102.bin (the camera firmware)
  4. Using a card slot or card reader, copy “D5500_0102.bin” to a memory card that has been formatted in the camera.
  5. Insert the memory card into the camera memory card slot and turn the camera on.
  6. Select Firmware version in the SETUP MENU and follow the on-screen instructions to complete the firmware update.
  7. Once the update is complete, turn the camera off and remove the memory card.
  8. Confirm that the firmware has been updated to the new version.

Note: For more detailed instructions or information on the equipment needed to complete the update, download the following pdf file:
DSLR_Firmup_Win_En.pdf (PDF) (0.21 MB)

Note: Updates can be performed for you by a Nikon-authorized service representative.



#5
ScottinPollock

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if it was working fine and now isn't, it isn't a firmware issue. In fact, introducing another variable at this time is not good troubleshooting practice.
 
Does this happen with more than one lens?
 
I would first suggest cleaning the contacts on both lens and camera.


#6
Ron

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if it was working fine and now isn't, it isn't a firmware issue. In fact, introducing another variable at this time is not good troubleshooting practice.

 

I totally agree with this.

 

--Ron



#7
dswan

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Yeah.  It literally was fine one day, sitting in the camera bag, and the next day it went crazy.  I thought that I had accidentally hit a wrong button combination (the one that makes the camera go out of focus??) but felt better when my local Nikon pro shop guys didn't now an answer either.

 

Since then, it's become clear that I can shoot normally when I use the LCD screen and live view, but that doesn't work well for me in bright sunlight and it's slow.  I have two lenses and it's worse with the telephoto.  The camera shop guys tried some of their lenses on it and the same thing happened.  I've cleaned everything.



#8
ScottinPollock

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Sounds as if the phase detect focus system has gone off into the weeds. Live View uses contrast detection via the image sensor so it is not affected by that malfunction.

 

It probably needs to go to Nikon.



#9
Merco_61

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The only time I have seen a camera that hunts worse in ideal conditions for the autofocus than in normal situations, there was some dirt in the focus prism subassembly or the rear of the mirror that made the phase detect go haywire when there was too much light and contrast. It was sent to Nikon Sweden and came back working like new, but with a hefty bill for the repair as it was out of warranty.



#10
dswan

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It's the hefty bill that makes me want to beat the bushes for a local solution.  At this point, the camera has enough age that spending a lot to fix it is dubious, especially when "experts" don't know what's wrong.  Ebay replacements seem to be trending to the same price as a fix and that for a used camera that could develop the same problem.  I assume that Nikon would just replace the innards.  It's giving me nudges toward the idea that it's time for a new camera, but that's money too and entails a new learning curve.  At this point, I have the dubious satisfaction of having confused some experts and also locating 5500 users on other forums who ran into the same problem.  If nothing else, at least I know it's not ME that's stupidly pushing wrong buttons.



#11
dswan

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Yeah, in response to a suggestion, I went through the firmware update, now have 1.02, the latest. I've also done several resets to factory defaults, cleaned everything, tried different metering modes and removed the battery and let it sit.  Unfortunately, none of those helped.  The camera still completely unfocuses when the sky is about 50% of the image, even when there are prominent foreground objects (an evergreen tree this time).  It's not just out of focus, but it completely unfocuses to the point where all you can see are indistinct blobs and it won't shoot.  If I focus manually, it stubbornly goes out of focus again when I push the button.  It's worse with a long lens.  If I move the aim to where there's about 80% foreground, it works fine.  Unless someone has another solution, I'm thinking that it's time for a trip to the waterfront (a grave for the camera) and then a trip to the Sony store; can't see buying another one of these.

 

I've seen used or new camera bodies for sale, but that would put me in with the same model of camera that doesn't work now and my local camera store, which verified that it was happening with their lenses too, would charge $250 to send it for service with parts being added to that cost.

 

It's not looking good right now and my frustration level is rising.



#12
ScottinPollock

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Unless someone has another solution, I'm thinking that it's time for a trip to the waterfront (a grave for the camera) and then a trip to the Sony store; can't see buying another one of these.


Well this is indeed not a problem with mirrorless as the focus is determined at the sensor. And while Sony probably has the best on sensor phase detect system out there right now, the new full frame mirrorless glass is stupid expensive (not just Sony, but Nikon, Canon, and Panasonic too).

I chose to go Panasonic M43 as the glass is great and reasonably priced. Plus Panasonic has the fastest, most accurate contrast detect AF on the market. Probably the best there is for static scenes, but not so much for tracking moving subjects.

It really is about the kind of photography you do as to which models will address it better.

#13
dswan

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DSLR seems like the design of the past, great for film but needlessly complicated, with too many moving parts for digital.  If I do punt on fixing the 5500, mirrorless would be my next step.



#14
mikew

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DSLR seems like the design of the past, great for film but needlessly complicated, with too many moving parts for digital.  If I do punt on fixing the 5500, mirrorless would be my next step.

 

Yes and no, mirrorless can perform just as well as a DSLR in loads of situations but DSLRs do in the majority of cases still have the edge for action captures.



#15
Nikon Shooter

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If using the BBF approach, just check that the trigger IS trigger only.

 

If not, use the same button with default function to prevent refocus.

 

HTH.



#16
dswan

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Another sensor cleaning seems to have fixed my focus problem.  Thanks for all of the hints!







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