Before the rush

Before the rush
by evan-pak

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I have a Nikon S700. The other day it immediately started to behave strange: when I turn it on and preview the screen displays everything normal as usual. The problem is that, when I shoot, the photo looks ugly as the following (resized)

Bad photo

Is the camera definitely dead or can it be repaired in a simple way, like flashing firmware or replacing a couple of wires? I'm asking this because while replacing the camera after several years is an option, I still have 3 perfect spare batteries.

share|improve this question
I don't know the details of what can cause this, but I've seen very similar output from failed digicams before. My input here isn't really an answer, therefore, but just a comment: that's a 2007 model, and five years later I'd go for the "replace it" option. – mattdm Sep 23 '12 at 13:02
Keep in mind that lithium batteries lose capacity irreversibly over time even when not used (by something like 20% a year, unless you keep them in the refrigerator at about 40% charge). – mattdm Sep 23 '12 at 13:04
@mattdm I have other spare batteries, and I filmed a video just fine – usr-local-ΕΨΗΕΛΩΝ Sep 23 '12 at 18:06
What I'm saying is: your spares may not be as perfect as you think, making them less of a factor. What do you mean by filmed a video just fine? It's only stills that are showing this behavior? Have you tried a different memory card just to rule that out? – mattdm Sep 24 '12 at 10:47
I've tried the internal memory, same result. "I have other spare batteries" means that it's just unlikely that 3 batteries failed the same way at the same time. Filming a video just fine means that the recorded video has no glitch, but still images as above show glitches – usr-local-ΕΨΗΕΛΩΝ Sep 24 '12 at 14:32
up vote 2 down vote accepted

The answer is not answerable with certainty BUT providing all available information initially helps people answer it better.

You say in comments that "I filmed a video just fine". Was that with this camera?

To people not accustomerd to the camera what you mean by preview and shoot is not certain to be clear. The following is based on best assumptions.

When I point the camera at a scene the rear LCD displays an image with the usual quality.

When I then take a still photograph of the scene the image is badly distorted.

When I video the same scene the recorded video is of usual quality.


  • It MAY be the memory card.
    Trying another card is well worthwhile.
    If you have already done so you should have said so and told us the results.

  • Video recording OK and still photos displaying on LCD OK but not recording to memory card correctly suggests that:

  • Sensor is very probably OK as still-LCD image is OK and video is OK.

  • Basic record interface is probably OK as video records OK. A fault which allows video recording and disallows still recording is possible but unlikely.

  • Central processing core (main IC and/or some related components) is likely to have suffered a failure relating to jpeg compression or similar.

  • As processor functionality core is intimately affected by program and as even a one bit error can cause chaos and doom and as the camera is ~=5 years old THEN reflashing seems very worth trying.

  • The chance of it being a broken wire or similar is small but possible. A failed electrolytic capacitor is also a possibility.

  • All or some of the above may be wrong.

share|improve this answer
+1 for the reflashing option. I'll look for a guide – usr-local-ΕΨΗΕΛΩΝ Sep 24 '12 at 8:16
Looks like that reflashing the BIOS wasn't that necessary. It looked like a "24 hours without battery" hard reset made the camera work again. At least I've tried several shots in my own room and they all were excellent. The same 12MPX quality I've been experience during these five years. – usr-local-ΕΨΗΕΛΩΝ Sep 24 '12 at 20:34

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