Friday, January 2, 2015


The 1 c Nikon battery fix

Nikon cameras have suffered from various battery related issues, caused by problems with the lens mount or firmware bugs.

Recently my Nikon D300S, which had been a reliable companion and worked well under adverse conditions, started showing the dead battery syndrome quite frequently, and of course at the most inopportune times while shooting events. Cleaning the lens mount, replacing the battery and applying the long overdue firmware upgrade showed no noticeable improvement.

The problem seems to be with the battery compartment door. With frequent battery replacements, the door wears out and no longer applies enough pressure on the battery to ensure reliable contact. Fortunately there is a simple fix, and it doesn't cost more than 1 c (and a drop of glue).

The solution: Nikon Li-ion battery pack with 1 c coin glued to the bottom

Disclaimer: The Euro cent had the perfect thickness for my camera. Depending on wear and tear of your camera, alternate spacers such as a cardboard stripe may be more suitable.


Monday, September 1, 2014


Removing thumbnails from JPEG images

JPEG images downloaded from a digital camera often contain thumbnails in the EXIF metadata, which Windows 7 appears to use for the thumbnails shown in folders.

Unfortunately not every image editor also updates the thumbnails. As a result, changes to images are only visible on the full image, not on the thumbnail preview.

That's where the marvelous ExifTool library and command-line application by Phil Harvey come into play. This one-liner removes the thumbnail image and related size information, and sets the file modification timestamp to the capture timestamp:

exiftool -if "$exif:IFD1:XResolution" "-filemodifydate<datetimeoriginal" -ext jpg -IFD1:all= %*

Combined with Matt Ginzton's CmdUtils, the full batch script for Windows removes image backup copies before and after processing:

@echo off
if exist *.JPG_original recycle -f *.JPG_original
exiftool -if "$exif:IFD1:XResolution" "-filemodifydate<datetimeoriginal" -ext jpg -IFD1:all= %*
if exist *.JPG_original recycle -f *.JPG_original


Thursday, November 22, 2007



After several months of battery problems I finally had my Nikon D80 repaired; late autumn seemed like the perfect time, not much outdoor activity and photo shooting opportunities any more, and we had most family visits in October already and I definitely wanted the camera repaired while still covered by warranty. I recently got my camera back with the electrical system repaired, and so far it has been working nicely again.

Today I picked up some photographs which I had taken with my old Minolta Dynax 7xi SLR on November 1, and what can I say, I was very pleased with the results. Not that the D80 is a bad camera, it is an absolutely fantastic piece of technology, fast and easy to use and absolutely suitable for taking great pictures, but there is something about photography the old-fashioned way too besides the differences in resolution, dynamic range, depth of field, etc.

First, with film you don't end up with dozens of very similar pictures because you only take the one or two that look most promising. There are probably as many good pictures in the gigabytes of digital cruft accumulated on my hard drive, only they are harder to find and who really goes through and cleans out all the not-really-that-great-but-still-acceptable pictures taken digitally?

Second, there is the lack of immediate feedback which helps. Yes, that's right. Admittedly, I did miss the nice bright screen showing me what the picture looks like when I shot on film, so I had to make an effort to get everything right instead of going through several iterations, trying to judge picture quality from an LCD screen.

Third, picking up photographs at the store, flipping through prints which bring back recent memories is a ritual I have become so used to after more than two decades of doing it that I do miss it.

(If you want to know more about the technical aspects, Ken Rockwell has written a great article Film vs. Digital explaining pros and cons, with some eye-opening crops of analog and digital photos. Norman Koren has even more technical details in Digital cameras vs. film although the Website has not been updated in years.)

Back in 1998 John Patrick, then IBM's Vice President, Internet technologies, in his keynote speech at the WWW7 conference in Brisbane talked about how Internet technology impacted our lives and would change expectations. If memory serves, one of the examples he mentioned was the 1 hr photo lab and that people would not be willing to wait for a full hour to see pictures, they would want them right away (and students asking for a T1 at work, too).

Less than ten years later, broadband connectivity is widely available and is cheap, or sometimes free, photography is mostly digital and there are few labs offering decent film developing these days.

Neither would I want to go back to 56K dial-up at EUR 30 per month plus charges per minute, nor would I want to pay per picture (prints for a single roll of film cost another EUR 30), nor would I want to miss the convenience of my digital camera, despite my nostalgic, misty-eyed views.

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Saturday, April 28, 2007


Nikon D80 battery woes continued

The battery problem I had last week is back and occurring with increasing frequency, so apparently it wasn't the lens mount. Nikon support suggests to have both the camera and battery checked, which probably means a few weeks without the camera. It may be faster to get another battery first (I need a spare anyway for traveling) and see if the new battery works any better.

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Saturday, April 21, 2007


Nikon D80 battery woes

So far I have been pretty happy with my Nikon D80, but a weird problem has started to show up more frequently: At first the battery appears full, then after taking one picture the battery shows as almost empty and the camera refuses to take pictures. Turn the camera off and on, and the battery appears full again ... pretty annoying.

Google doesn't find any reports of exactly this issue, but some Websites suggest that this may be a problem with the lens mount. For some reason the lens waggles a little and seems to have been in awkward position causing this behavior, and joggling the lens seems to indeed resolve the battery problem.

Now the lens shouldn't waggle in the lens mount but that's a different story ...

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