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Thread: Left Hand AF point error: why it might matter even if you think it doesn't...

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    Subscriber Member tashley's Avatar
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    Left Hand AF point error: why it might matter even if you think it doesn't...

    So until this weekend I didn't have a fast AF wide that would let me test my 800 or E to see if I had the dreaded Left Side AF Calibration Problem that has caused so much breast beating and screeching over at DPR. I had tried both bodies on the wider side of my 24-120 of course, and there was no problem.

    I rather smugly thought I'd test and ignore if I found a problem: I am generally a single shot centre single point boy, focus and recompose like nanny taught me rather than fussing with making little orange boxes flit around the screen, and when I use continuous and multi point, it is generally on longer lenses - either to follow a dog, child or athlete or in the marvellous 3D mode where I get the centre point over the subject's eye and then recompose with the half press held, at which point the focus box magically follows the static subjects eye as I move the framing. Marvellous.

    So it follows that when shooting with a wide, I will likely never need to use the far left or right points. In fact I probably won't use anything other than the centre. In which case, even if I do have the Dreaded Issue, who cares? Why send either body off to be looked at and have to deal with hassle/absence?

    So today I did the test and both my bodies are afflicted. The E is OK with even the second to far left point but screwed on the furthest. The 800 is deeply screwed far left and not great on the next AF point inwards.

    Ho hum. No screaming "how dare they sell me something this expensive that doesn't work as advertised" (one of the many benefits of having shot Phase and Leica gear!). I'm a grown-up. I accept that complex products, developed and tested in good faith, will usually have issues.

    Then I fell to thinking:

    1) If and when I were ever to decide to sell either body, the first question any eBayer would ask would likely relate to this problem.

    2) More importantly, for me, is that with the Creative Lighting System in ITT-BL mode, the camera will use the selected focus point to determine how it will balance exposure between the background and the foreground. So if you want lovely balanced lighting, you have to use a focus point that covers your subject: you can't focus and recompose as far as I know, though it is not totally clear to me whether using focus and recompose as well as AE lock would work.

    So I am going to call the UK service agent and see what the situation is - with the intention of sending both bodies in, one after the other.

    I assume from the silence on this forum that like me, people were sanguine about this issue. But if anyone has any views I'd love to hear 'em!

    Best
    Tim

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    Subscriber Member tashley's Avatar
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    Re: Left Hand AF point error: why it might matter even if you think it doesn't...

    OK I tested my hypothesis and focus and recompose using AE lock doesn't give as good a result with TTL-BL as using the left hand point IN TERMS OF EXPOSURE balance between foreground and background. Pure subject focus is better but flash balance is worse, and if you use the left hand point to get your subject properly exposed, the AF is off.

    In summary: if you intend to use Nikon's Creative Lighting System with fast wides and anticipate that your subject may sometimes be left of frame, you will need to get your left side focus AF point fixed, if it is knackered out of the box. I don't do weddings but I bet this could be an issue at similar events.

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    Re: Left Hand AF point error: why it might matter even if you think it doesn't...

    My D800E backfocuses on the left side; the D800 is spot on. Interesting.

    Good thing too since I'm more likely to pass on the D800 and order another D800E.

    I note that in AF-C it has difficulty locking focus on the left side points, while the D800 locks on immediately.

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    Subscriber Member tashley's Avatar
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    Re: Left Hand AF point error: why it might matter even if you think it doesn't...

    update: my 800 went in for The Cure today. I'll be interested to see how they do...

  5. #5
    davexl
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    Re: Left Hand AF point error: why it might matter even if you think it doesn't...

    My D800E has the issue, back focussing the points circled below.



    While annoying, I went in with eyes open, and like you I knew this was a possibility. What is amazing is how little it has affected me - if it were the right or center points I would be sunk. Thankfully the center and right are spot on, to the point where I have not bothered to calibrate lenses yet, it just nails the 85mm f1.4D.

    I will not be a guinea pig a second time, so am waiting until local repairers have done plenty before I send mine in.

    Besides, they can take my D800E when they pry it from my etc etc.

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