I picked up my new D300 about a week ago, and I've been slowly adapting to it. I can't actually use it in anger until Bibble releases an update so that I can batch large numbers of raw files, but I've been using the latest version of Nikon's own Capture NX to get a handle on what the camera can do. Of which, more some other time.
It was while I was playing around that I stumbled on an odd thing: apparently random raw files would cause NX to fall over. I was about to put this down to an early software update bug when I noticed something else about the problem files that made me sit up and take notice: they weren't random. Or, at least, they had something in common - they were all taken in portrait format. And all of them were also missing some elements of the embedded EXIF data.
Which was, to put it mildly, odd.
To test whether it was the portrait-ness that was causing the problem, I tried a few test shots of the same subject in portrait and landscape format. Sure enough, the landscape shots were fine and the portrait ones appeared to be corrupt. Weirder still, jpegs recorded alongside the problematic raw files were fine.
After some more head-scratching and testing, I'd narrowed the problem down to a set of 100% repeatable circumstances: portrait format shots in lossless compressed raw mode. Jpegs, lossy compressed raw and uncompressed raw were all fine, as was anything shot in landscape format.
Very odd. So odd, in fact, that I rang Nikon. Who said, 'that's odd' (or words to that effect) and offered to look into it.
I was about to put the whole thing down to some weird early production glitch when, thanks to a turn of events that I won't bore you with, I discovered that the problem may not lie with the camera at all. After downloading some of the same test images to my laptop to check that the new version of NX I'd just installed was running properly, I noticed that the problem files weren't problem files any more. They were just fine.
Now the only thing that's different about my laptop and desktop setups is that I use different software to transfer images from my Firewire card reader: Nikon's Picture Project Transfer on the desktop and Apple's own image transfer app on the laptop. So, acting on a hunch, I tried using Nikon's new Transfer app on the desktop to download the test images... and the problem appears to have gone away.
The moral to which long, rambling and rather tedious story is that software really can **** you up in ways you never imagined. Nikon's own transfer app - albeit an older one, but one which has never caused any problems before - was corrupting portrait format, lossless compressed raw files (and only portrait format, lossless compressed raw files) as they were being transferred to my desktop. You just couldn't make it up.
Hip to wall ride 8fps 12mp sequence. Didn't think I'd ever be able to do that. And in fact, there are three pics missing from the sequence for clarity.
Nikon D300, 12-24mm f/4, 1/1000 sec f/5 @ ISO400
Update: someone far cleverer than me has told me that this isn't a new problem. Apparently Nikon's Transfer software alters files as they're moved from card to camera, and this has caused difficulties before (in a previous incarnation it was apparently D2X files shot with flash that were buggy). Why should this be? I can't see any reason for it, and it's made me re-think how I go about transferring files. What I like about Nikon's Transfer app is that I can re-name files as they're moved, but maybe I should go through a two-stage process to avoid the files being altered in any other way...