I love my D800. Admittedly not as much as my Fuji, but it’s a great machine to work with. For a while now since getting several gigs as a Poledance Photographer I’ve taken to shooting tethered via Adobe Lightroom. Now, due to not being able to afford a fast laptop (D800’s are expensive…) I make use of a loaner machine, a rather lovely Dell XPS15 (2013 model). Prior to the Windows 8.1 update everything was running smoothly, but after the jump, the D800 stopped working.

On connecting the camera you’d hear the “USB Device Connected” chime, but it would only display in device manager with a yellow /!\ exclamation mark and would not show up in windows explorer. In device manager the camera would show up as a code 28 “Driver not installed”. I knew there was an issue with the MTP driver, but couldn’t get Windows to “forget” the device to install a clean version. Nikon blamed Adobe (And in fairness, verified my exact setup on their own machines as working), Microsoft blamed Nikon and asked for $99 to remote desk to the PC to investigate it, and Adobe? Well, it turns out Adobe don’t DO customer service. They have a “user forum”, where you can sit and wait for the wind to answer your questions and that’s about it.

I wouldn’t be blogging this if I hadn’t fixed it, so what was the fix?

  1. Disconnect the camera, run USBDeview and remove the camera from here. You should see it listed as a not connected Nikon D800.
  2. Install the MTP Porting Kit. I’m not sure if this is required, but I did it anyway. Reboot.
  3. Reboot into safemode, then run “sfc /scannow” at the commandline
  4. Reboot normally, then reconnect the D800. You’re not done yet, as if you have my issue, it will still be registered as a code 28.
  5. This is the important step. In device manager, open the D800 then “Update the Driver” for the D800, and select “Browse my computer”. Select “Let me pick from a list”, then scroll down looking for “Portable Devices”.
  6. (If you don’t see this, hit “Have Disk” and point it at c:\Windows\Inf\wpdmtp.inf )
  7. Now select (Standard MTP Device) from the left column, and MTP USB Device in the right. OK everything, even if you get warnings.
  8. Reboot. Hope for the best.
  9. If you’re lucky, the MTP driver will now install correctly. What I think is happening is the MTP association failed originally and it was impossible to “purge” the driver associations from Windows. Forcing the issue by convincing it that it really is an MTP USB Device seems to work.

    Bizarre? Yes. Frustrating? Immensely. Resolved? Yes.

    As a bonus tip, if you have trouble with Lightroom not detecting your D800, open Lightroom and go to File->Plugin Manager – disable the Leica and Canon tethering plugins if you don’t need them. I found the Leica tethering application was firing up and blocking the Nikon one from detecting successfully, your mileage may vary.

    An additional bonus tip, sometimes killing the tether_nikon.exe process in task manager can encourage LR to gets its act together and play nicely. Sometimes.