First Black Frame issue

by Mladen Sever

Since more and more 7D / 5D owners have experienced "First black frame" issue  here is a little summary that can help in the future.

First of all we need to say that this isn't confirmed officially as a design or production flaw, but the problem is documented in KM camera repair manuals and has started to be a serious "disease" of too many cameras to be considered just a sporadically issue.

 

Symptom:

When you turn your camera on and take the first shoot the camera will freeze. The only thing you can do is turn the camera off and on again (in some rare cases you will need to take your battery out and insert it again). The issue will cause an underexposed (black frame) image recorded on your memory card.
Depending on the severity of this issue, this will happen only at first shoot or you may experience this several times after which you will be able to use your camera normally. Also, this may happen only once in a while (one a month or so), every day you turn the camera for the first time or in more severe cases every time you turn your camera on.

 

Cameras infected:

As far I know all 7D bodies have problematic parts build in and that makes all 7D bodies vulnerable to this problem. It is my believe that soon or later most 7D bodies will start exhibiting this issue.
Early production 5D samples are prone to this error as well but it seems that KM has at some production stage replaced camera parts responsible for this issue and that newer production batches of 5D bodies are safe in this regard.
We didn't found any report of this issues with a100 cameras.

 

Cause:

This problem was described in KM internal material and in 7D / 5D service repair manuals (again for internal use only but we were lucky enough to have them circulating on the net.

This error is logged as error 58 (our cameras are able to log camera errors) in both 7D and 5D cameras. From what we have the chance to see it is a design flaw since an impropriate dimensioned part was used. There are now replacement spare parts for this problem  at KM (Sony) repair center that is supposed to eliminate this issue.

Part causing the issue
From 7D repair manual: showing the original (faulty) and replacement part
7D replacement part
from 7D repair manual
5D replacement part
from 5D repair manual

5D Service Manual Repair Supplementary Information has the following description:

symptom: Cause: Measure:

Unexposure at the first time after leaving for a certain period. (Error 58)

Pressure to the Shutter assy cam roller was applied for a certain period.

AF charge assy (2186-0521-02) and shutter assy (2186-0210) ex-change

Following the repair manual we can see that repair procedure contains the following: "When replacing the AF charge baseplate assy against Error 58, please replace the shutter assy with it" ...

Apparently this is not a cheap fix which is something that may influence decisions of sending faulty cameras to service for many 7D / 5D owners.
(Konica) Minolta was  always in position to relay their business on faithful support  by their customers and minoltians all around the word. For this reason I need to express my sadness about the fact that they apparently were aware of the severity of this fault but they kept it secret. Many 7D (and 5D) cameras are now out of warranty and repair cost of an inherited production flaw will now be up to our pocket. Minoltians haven't deserved this IMHO.

 

Suggestions:

If your camera is still under warranty it may be wise to contact Sony support and ask for a free repair. If you have experienced first black frame problem (even it is happening only few times) you shouldn't hesitate asking for a free repair since we don't know for how long Sony will have spare parts.

 

Update:

On February, 2 2007 KM has released a Service Advisory about this issue.
It's the first time KM did actually confirmed this problem. We are now invited to contact  our support center to get this issue resolved, even for cameras with expired warranty:

Konica Minolta Digital Camera Product Information

Thank you very much for your continued interest in Konica Minolta products.
Konica Minolta has recently discovered that some of its digital cameras may show the following symptom after not being used for a long time. When you take the initial photo, “Err” is displayed in the finder and the image turns black or dark blue. In most cases, “Err” can be cancelled by turning the main switch again and then photos can be taken normally.
The following products may be affected:

  • MAXXUM/DYNAX 7D
  • MAXXUM/DYNAX 5D

Please see an example of the possible effect below.

Konica Minolta will repair free of charge for the products exhibiting the above-mentioned symptom.
(Repairs of products which feature other defects shall be carried out as specified in our warranty.)

Please contact your regional service facility for further assistance.

For more information on contact details visit:
http://ca.konicaminolta.com/support/contact/sonylist/index.html

 

Related:

You can find more about this problem in various forums around the net. Here is a list of recent discussions in our forums.

http://www.dyxum.com/dforum/forum_posts.asp?TID=9844

http://www.dyxum.com/dforum/forum_posts.asp?TID=9844

http://www.dyxum.com/dforum/forum_posts.asp?TID=8505

http://www.dyxum.com/dforum/forum_posts.asp?TID=9061

http://www.dyxum.com/dforum/forum_posts.asp?TID=9003

http://www.dyxum.com/dforum/forum_posts.asp?TID=8871

http://www.dyxum.com/dforum/forum_posts.asp?TID=8191

http://www.dyxum.com/dforum/forum_posts.asp?TID=7898

http://www.dyxum.com/dforum/forum_posts.asp?TID=7637

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