Nikon 5700 "Lens Error"?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by Chris Wilson, Dec 7, 2003.

  1. Chris Wilson

    Chris Wilson Guest

    I bought this as a used buy from the UK company, Jessops, about 6 weeks
    ago. I am new to photography, and I put some problems down to user
    error, but now I am not so sure... The camera would often return out of
    focus images, seemingly at random, even of the same shot, tripod
    mounted, in good light, taken sequentially as fast as the camera would
    save and reload. It would also give worse performance in lowish light
    condition than an ancient Sony Mavica I have, and would pop up the flash
    on a bright sunny morning... Again, I felt something was wrong, but
    still thought I may be doing something amiss, although I frequently
    checked the set all options to default was re applied when I "fiddled".
    The lens drive motor was always very noisy, and when the lens was out
    could easily be pushed and pulled in and out about 2 mm with the
    lightest touch. This seemed to be the cause of the somewhat random
    focusing! Today, the damn thing has died with a "Lens Error" message,
    and it sounds and feels as if whatever moves the lens, probably some
    sort of motorised rack and pinion gear, has broken. I have to say I had
    reservations about the camera when I went to see it, as it just FELT
    flimsy, plasticky and very light. It's spec and magazine reviews won me
    over, but now I feel the thing is a lemon. Am I wrong? How much will
    fixing this cost, I need to check what warranty came with it, but if the
    worst comes to the worst?

    Finally, a general digital camera question. Is the technology such, in
    the price range this 5700 is in, that lowish light level photos, such as
    in woodland on a normal brightness day, will never be as good as a film
    camera? I bought it to take wildlife photos in woodland adjoining our
    house, and it has never returned an even remotely decent picture from
    there. Maybe it was *uggered from the start?

    Chris Wilson, Dec 7, 2003
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  2. It's spec and magazine reviews won me
    Certainly sounds nothing like my 6-month old 5700. Send it back as
    faulty - I think if it was as you described when it left the shop then is
    wasn't of merchantable quality (unless described as "as seen"), so there
    should be a no-quibble refund.
    I would accept that it takes more care to get a well focussed picture
    under some conditions - somethimes you need to look for a high-contrast
    element in the subject and focus on that. The 5700 does appear to be
    poorer than some newer cameras in that respect. Having said that, you
    should certainly be able to get good results under the conditions that you

    Good luck,
    David J Taylor, Dec 7, 2003
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  3. Chris Wilson

    Ed Ruf Guest

    The lens isn't the fastest. You should consider pushing the ISO up to say
    400. I do this in the same environment., and even with the TC-15 attached.
    Yes, this will increase the noise of the CCD. I use Neat Image to filter
    such noise out.
    Ed Ruf Lifetime AMA# 344007 ()
    See images taken with my CP-990 and 5700 at
    Ed Ruf, Dec 7, 2003
  4. The lens isn't the fastest. You should consider pushing the ISO up to
    I had occasion to use 400 ASA just recently, for some hand-held night
    shots, and actually found that the grain added to the atmosphere of the

    I'm probably out of touch with what is, or is not, fashionable today!

    David J Taylor, Dec 8, 2003
  5. Chris Wilson

    Chris Wilson Guest

    [This followup was posted to and a copy was sent to
    the cited author.]

    Update: Spoke with Jessops, they were not surprised at this fault, they
    had heard of this before, for sure. They want me to take it back and
    they will send it as a repair to Nikon, and it will take 3 to 5 weeks...
    I have a specific business use for the camera over Xmas, and although
    they suggested they might be able to lend me a camera to use I don't
    really want the hassle of trying to master something else. I am in an
    amicable discourse with them at the moment, but I feel disappointed with
    the camera, and some further web searching on Nikon digital lenses has
    shown this to be a worryingly common fault. I'd rather have my money
    back or buy another camera from them. In fact I am beginning to wonder
    if 700 quid digital cameras are worth that sort of outlay for my
    purposes, I found the controls incredibly fiddly and the camera felt
    very delicate. I have an old Nikon film SLR, and it is 10 times better
    made, robust, easy to use and has never given a problem. Are all digital
    cameras in this price range so plasticky? Are other makes any more
    robust? I'd forgo auto focus and many niceties for a decent pixel count,
    simple controls, good low light performance and no lag between pressing
    the button and the camera being ready for the next shot. I think I am
    saying I am unsure if digi cameras in my price range are going to do
    what I expect...? But could I go back to film, delays in processing and
    costs of a large percentage of pictures that are never likely to come
    out of the packet once processed? Do others have this dilemma <VBG> ?
    Chris Wilson, Dec 9, 2003
  6. Update: Spoke with Jessops, they were not surprised at this fault, they

    If the camera is faulty and within a reasonable time of purchase, get a
    replacement. If it was faulty when sold, you are entitled to that.

    I think it's horse for courses. The Minolta A1 is (for me) the only
    similar camera to the Coolpix 5700, and it didn't feel much different for
    the (short period) for which I tried it.

    For me, the immediacy, convenience, and low weight of the 5700 outweighs
    by far carrying round an SLR plus lenses, with costly pictures that you
    may never look at. The auto-focus and lag you can overcome. Like any
    tool, it takes time to get to know these cameras to the extent that you
    can get good shots quickly.

    Of course, you can get a digital SLR, but for me that's the worst of both

    David J Taylor, Dec 9, 2003
  7. Chris Wilson

    JohnH Guest

    Hi David,
    Pardon me for 'listening in', but I'm a 5700 owner, new to the digital arena,
    and am already thinking of a DSLR. Then I saw your last sentence, and am
    wondering why you feel that way.

    Also, how do you compensate for the low light focus problem with the 5700? I've
    managed to get the shutter lag down to a reasonable level, but still have
    problems with the low light focusing.

    TIA for a reply.

    On the 'Poco Loco' out of Deale, MD
    JohnH, Dec 9, 2003
  8. Chris Wilson

    Ed Ruf Guest

    While I can't speak for David, I'd hazard a guess he will agree with
    me. Not that a DLSR isn't a technically better camera than high end
    prosumer P&S digicams, just that to get the same coverage you will be
    lugging around a good bit more volume and weight. I upgraded to the
    5700 from a 990. In my LowePro Pro-Runner bag I used to carry the 990,
    TC-3, WC-63, FC-8 and other stuff. Now with the 5700 adding the TC-15
    and WC-80 and adapters it not only is a much tighter fit, but a good
    bit heavier. Going to a DSLR will just make it worse. Granted some of
    my point of view is based on carrying around this stuff on hikes
    through the woods and such.
    Bump the ISO up and use a program like Neat Image to filter the
    resultant noise. Also, auto area AF works better in low light than
    manual area AF.
    Ed Ruf Lifetime AMA# 344007 ()
    See images taken with my CP-990 and 5700 at
    Ed Ruf, Dec 9, 2003
  9. Chris Wilson

    JohnH Guest

    Thanks, I appreciate the advice. Lifetime AMA# 381841. Enjoyed the pics. How
    have you liked the cox member site. I haven't built a web page yet, but am
    thinking of doing so.

    On the 'Poco Loco' out of Deale, MD
    JohnH, Dec 9, 2003
  10. Of course, you can get a digital SLR, but for me that's the worst of
    I have realised that convenience and weight are very important to me.
    Most of the present DSLRs are compromises in that they use the old bulky
    and heavy lenses designed for 35mm, whereas lenses could perhaps be half
    the size and an eighth of the weight if designed for the typical 5 -
    8Mpixel sensor. There seems to be a fundamental error in designing a
    camera whose main selling point is "you can use your present lenses",
    rather than using the sensor to say: "look what we can now do with the
    optics!" Why do you need a bulky mirror assembly when you can view
    directly through the CCD? So compared to the 5700, I see DSLRs as bulky,
    over-designed monsters of a previous age! It's a personal view - if I had
    a vast number of lenses and didn't mind lugging round a 5lb gadget bag -
    OK. As it is I can get everything I need in just 500 grams, which means I
    actually take it with me at all times rather than leaving it in the hotel!

    It seems to me that Nikon and Olympus, who are designing the lenses for
    the sensor, are nearer the mark.

    Your needs are different to mine, so a different solution may suit you
    Select a high-contrast region of the subject. You can also turn up the
    ASA and add some grain and character to your images! It's not a perfect
    solution, though, and the lack of a manual zoom ring and, perhaps, focus
    ring on the lens are things I miss. Probably manual zoom was the thing
    that impressed me most about the Minolta A1.

    David J Taylor, Dec 9, 2003
  11. While I can't speak for David, I'd hazard a guess he will agree with
    Yes, I agree. Why pay for lenses that are working at 60% of their
    coverage, that's pay in cost, volume and weight. I too had a 990, and
    only really upgraded for a little more telephoto. You can do wonderful
    things with the swivel body that you would need a tripod for with a DSLR.

    David J Taylor, Dec 9, 2003
  12. Chris Wilson

    JohnH Guest

    Thanks for the info. Not sure about turning up the ASA, but I have been known to
    read, so will give it a try.

    On the 'Poco Loco' out of Deale, MD
    JohnH, Dec 9, 2003
  13. Chris Wilson

    Ed Ruf Guest

    ASA/ISO, same thing as I mentioned, FWIW.
    Ed Ruf Lifetime AMA# 344007 ()
    See images taken with my CP-990 and 5700 at
    Ed Ruf, Dec 9, 2003
  14. Yeah, but that also means you can use the very best
    I would prefer to use equivalent lenses for smaller sensors, becuase they
    should be smaller and lighter, and therefore "better" for me.
    Life is a compromise. What use is a separate 300mm lens if the photo has
    gone by the time you have changed lenses? Again, though, using 35mm
    lenses is now sub-optimal.
    Noise level is over-rated. A little noise can add character to shots, or
    could be reduced in NeatImage or a similar program.
    Well, you would have to judge the entire package. If it doesn't achieve
    the necessary size and weight reduction then don't buy it. I still think
    the principle of using a smaller sensor with smaller lenses is the best
    approach to silicon-based photograhy, to help it move forward and be in
    advance of film-based systems. Your view may differ.

    David J Taylor, Dec 10, 2003
  15. Chris Wilson

    Jeremy Guest

    x-no-archive: yes
    .. . . Of course, there ARE those of us that prefer to enjoy creating images,
    rather than agonizing over obscure performance specifications. Not that I
    don't appreciate superior equipment, but one can go mad by continually
    dwelling upon whether the equipment could have been better.
    Jeremy, Dec 10, 2003
  16. . . . Of course, there ARE those of us that prefer to enjoy creating
    In a way, that's how this got started - I was arguing that smaller,
    lighter kit, without interchangeable lenses, was more likely to be carried
    (by me) and more likely to get that once-off picture..... Weight is not
    an obscure perfomance specification after a day in the field!

    David J Taylor, Dec 10, 2003
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