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.
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.
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.
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.
From 7D repair manual: showing the original (faulty) and replacement part
from 7D repair manual
from 5D repair manual
5D Service Manual Repair Supplementary Information has the following description:
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.
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.
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.
Please see an example of the possible effect below.
Konica Minolta will repair free of charge for the products exhibiting the above-mentioned symptom.
Please contact your regional service facility for further assistance.
For more information on contact details visit:
You can find more about this problem in various forums around the net. Here is a list of recent discussions in our forums.