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  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Dawg Pics's Avatar

    D300 viewfinder issue

    Mystery Solved. Nevermind.

    Hey D300 people,

    When I look through my D300 at a bright background when it is in the off position, what I see is a gray color (like light polarized filter) with minute bright dots. They are random in pattern and appear to be perfectly circular. It isn't dust, that would look dark, and vary in size.
    This almost looks like an optical coating that has been damaged by a fine spray, only the damage covers the entire area and is evenly distributed, again, no apparent variation in size.

    At first, I thought fungus, but it really doesn't have that kind of appearance from the photos I have seen. I think that would look dark, not bright like little stars.

    Uh huh, I am looking at the milky way through the viewfinder at twilight. When the camera powers on, the viewfinder brightens as it should, but I can still see the dark background with dots. I have to really look for the dots when the viewfinder is bright. However, I can see it looks mottled when the camera is pointed at something bright.

    Does the glass of the viewfinder have a coating on it that can be damaged? I would be delighted if that is what is damaged as long as it isn't a fungus that can spread.

    If I need to send the camera in, is it best to go through a dealer or just call Nikon and ship it myself? It has an EBAY SquareTrade warranty. A pro owned this camera. There is no way he didn't know about this issue.

    I just added an image. If you zoom, you will see the dots. The image is much lighter than what I actually see because of the iPhone adjusting the image.

    Thanks,
    ~DP~


    D300 viewfinder issue-14_366_1452_viewfinder.jpg


    › See More: D300 viewfinder issue
    Last edited by Dawg Pics; 01-15-2016 at 07:45 PM. Reason: added image
    Thanks/Like edwinhubble Thanks/liked this post
     
    "Remember to gaze up at the night sky because there is a little bit of the cosmos in each of us."


    Um yeahhhh, I shoot a lot of pics of my dogs.
    D500 (DOB 05/26/17), D300, D80, SB-800. RIP-D100



  2. #2
    Senior Member
    FredKingston's Avatar

    Re: D300 viewfinder issue

    Have you examined the interior mirrors of the camera with the lens off? When you look thru the viewfinder, you're using the eye optic on the back of the camera, looking at a couple mirrors that at 45ļ angles reflecting down and out thru your lens... IOW... Can you look at the surfaces of the mirrors and see anything on them?

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Dawg Pics's Avatar

    Re: D300 viewfinder issue

    The mirror just looks like normal dust. I looked at everything that I can. I am going to try to get a better photo of it, this one is hard to see what I am looking at. It literally looks like you are looking through a filter that has been sand blasted. The dots are so small, I don't know that I could see them without magnification. Maybe I can get a Macro shot.

    It reminds me of my play camera from when I was a kid. It had a little color wheel. After a while the color started coming off only not in a little dot pattern.
    "Remember to gaze up at the night sky because there is a little bit of the cosmos in each of us."


    Um yeahhhh, I shoot a lot of pics of my dogs.
    D500 (DOB 05/26/17), D300, D80, SB-800. RIP-D100

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    pforsell's Avatar

    Re: D300 viewfinder issue

    Well, if the mirror and eyepiece look clear, then the only remaining place is the focusing screen. Perhaps there's some propellant residue from an ill-adviced canned air cleaning effort by the previous owner? The spots are pretty evenly spaced and almost the same size, so pressure spraying through a nozzle is my 2 cents worth of a guess here.

    Organic matter like fungus don't grow like that at all, imho, so I don't think you should be worried about that. The blobs would be scattered randomly, the blobs would be of random size, some would be clustered, some separated and there would be tendrils (in lack of a better word sorry, english is my 3rd language so I usually write funnily ) going from some blobs to other blobs.

    I would gently try with a q-tip moistened in alcohol to wipe the surface of the focusing screen and then have a look if the pattern changed. The worst case scenario is that the residue is wedged between the focusing screen and the prism, in which case I would let Nikon service handle it.

    Just in case the mirror isn't perfectly clean after all, please remember the reflex mirror is delicate. The silvering is on the top side of the mirror unlike your regular looking glass, and hence extremely easily damaged. (Not that it really matters much, the mirror isn't involved in the picture taking, but scratches might affect autofocus).
    Thanks/Like Dawg Pics Thanks/liked this post
     
    9 Nikon single-digit pro bodies from D1H to D5.
    12 Nikon three-digit consumer bodies from D100 and up.
    56 Nikkor prime lenses from AIS 8/2.8 to AFS 400/2.8VR
    4 Nikkor zoom lenses: 14-24/2.8, 17-35/2.8, 28-70/2.8, 70-200/2.8VR
    My fastest lens is f/1.2 (x3) and slowest f/2.8


  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Dawg Pics's Avatar

    Re: D300 viewfinder issue

    Quote Originally Posted by pforsell View Post
    The spots are pretty evenly spaced and almost the same size, so pressure spraying through a nozzle is my 2 cents worth of a guess here.
    That makes sense to me.

    ,.... some separated and there would be tendrils (in lack of a better word sorry, english is my 3rd language so I usually write funnily ) going from some blobs to other blobs.
    Third language? That is impressive. "Tendrils" is perfectly descriptive, and more eloquent than, "little squiggly finger thingies."

    Thanks for the warning about the silvering, and autofocus.
    I will take a closer look at the focusing screen.
    "Remember to gaze up at the night sky because there is a little bit of the cosmos in each of us."


    Um yeahhhh, I shoot a lot of pics of my dogs.
    D500 (DOB 05/26/17), D300, D80, SB-800. RIP-D100

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    FredKingston's Avatar

    Re: D300 viewfinder issue

    Pforsell is onto something.... and just so you're aware...the focus screen can be removed... (there is a secondary market of vendors that sell various, different style of focus screens) and there are several videos and tutorials from those vendors on-line that demonstrate how the focus screen comes out of the D300...

    Good luck

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Dawg Pics's Avatar

    Re: D300 viewfinder issue

    It definitely is not the mirror. If I move the mirror, the dots don't move.
    "Remember to gaze up at the night sky because there is a little bit of the cosmos in each of us."


    Um yeahhhh, I shoot a lot of pics of my dogs.
    D500 (DOB 05/26/17), D300, D80, SB-800. RIP-D100

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    FredKingston's Avatar

    Re: D300 viewfinder issue

    The mirror is on the bottom, the focus screen is on the top... They're different...

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    pforsell's Avatar

    Re: D300 viewfinder issue

    D300 viewfinder issue
    The focusing screen is my first guess. The last paragraph was just an afterthought and meant as a general caution about the mirror. Sorry about possible confusion.

    D300 viewfinder issue-focusing-screen.jpg
    9 Nikon single-digit pro bodies from D1H to D5.
    12 Nikon three-digit consumer bodies from D100 and up.
    56 Nikkor prime lenses from AIS 8/2.8 to AFS 400/2.8VR
    4 Nikkor zoom lenses: 14-24/2.8, 17-35/2.8, 28-70/2.8, 70-200/2.8VR
    My fastest lens is f/1.2 (x3) and slowest f/2.8


  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Dawg Pics's Avatar

    Re: D300 viewfinder issue

    @pforsell, @FredKingston
    OK, I have figured it out. The dot pattern shows up in my D300 when there was a dead battery in it, and no battery in it. Same thing, right? No charge going into the camera.

    I was messing around with my D80 for comparison, and the dots showed up in the D80 but disappeared in the D300. What the hell? I am going nuts here? What is different? The battery. So apparently, when the battery is out or dead, there is enough dimming for the dot pattern to show.

    I guess this is why I first noticed the issue when first I got the camera then forgot about it. I don't normally look through the viewfinder when there isn't a battery in it. I noticed it again yesterday because I accidentally left the house with a dead battery in my camera. I simply did not make that connection.

    So, nothing wrong with the camera. I hate it when I don't understand things. Back-up batteries are on my list.

    Quote Originally Posted by FredKingston View Post
    The mirror is on the bottom, the focus screen is on the top... They're different...
    Yup.. I think we were typing at the same time.

    I have seen tutorials on removing the focusing screen. The D300 has 2 small screws that have to be removed before you can get to the focusing screen. I used to be pretty comfortable working with small items like this. However, these days, I tend to be kinda clumsy, and my vision is a hinderance.

    Thanks to both of you for working with me.
    Last edited by Dawg Pics; 01-15-2016 at 07:42 PM.
    Thanks/Like edwinhubble Thanks/liked this post
    Best Answers edwinhubble voted best answer for this post
     
    "Remember to gaze up at the night sky because there is a little bit of the cosmos in each of us."


    Um yeahhhh, I shoot a lot of pics of my dogs.
    D500 (DOB 05/26/17), D300, D80, SB-800. RIP-D100



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