The camera, once I got it, seemed OK, but was having a lot of problems writing to the CF cards reliably. Sometimes there’d be a ‘CHA’ error that would clear with an off-on cycle, but other times the camera would fail to see any of the previously taken pictures after the restart.
Other times the error manifested as weird characters on the drive; several times the camera formatted the drive with the name “NIKKN D700”, a few times it said “NIKON D300.” I saw some pics with the extension “.NAF” (instead of “.NEF”). Some cards appeared to ‘lose’ 4.3 Gigs of space to, well, nothing.
The Internet said that formatting the card using the camera’s Format feature was important, but I was trying that (without real success). Other people said older SanDisk cards were problematic, so I ordered a Lexar card as suggested.
I didn’t pay the extra $4 for overnight, so I had some time to try other things, and I hit something that worked.
Nikon CF cards use the MS-DOS(FAT32) format, and I played with formatting them on my Mac, but that didn’t help (even after re-formatting them on the camera). It then occurred to me that the camera might only be doing a ‘light’ format. To force the camera into doing a deeper format, I used the Mac to put an ExFAT format on the cards.
When I pop those in to the camera, the camera doesn’t even try to read them, it just reports “For” (for Format). Running a Format on the card resulted in a card that worked fine.
Perfectly fine. Even the oldest SanDisks I have work fine.
This fix did not hold. I had to get the CF Slot replaced in the end.