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Thread: D800E/D800 Live much better than viewfinder.

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    Member grappa's Avatar
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    D800E/D800 Live much better than viewfinder.

    I am shooting the D800 and the D800E.
    Mounted on a Gitzo tripod.
    Using Nikon Camera Control 2.
    Multiple lenses including DC100,50 1.4,etc.
    Good natural lighting. Varying amount of light.
    51 point or 11 point focus.
    The Live view focus is dead nuts on, viewfinder is out of focus.
    Strangely the focal point moves slightly between modes.
    Both cameras bought months apart exhibit the same problem.
    Any ideas other than sending them both back to Nikon ?
    I find it hard to believe I need to shoot in live mode all the time to
    get decent shots.
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    Re: D800E/D800 Live much better than viewfinder.

    Have you calibrated your lenses?
    I found that this helps considerably and I was able to match results live-view and finder focused.
    -bob

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    Re: D800E/D800 Live much better than viewfinder.

    The AF detection is different in both methods so your result isn't a huge surprise. Microadjusting should get things working better for you. Another thing is CD focus with a fixed rig will be the sharpest way to go as the af sensor array is designed for speed and accuracy. They can adjust the cams to move shift things a little bit, however if both bodys are doing it I'd double check things against a selection of lens. I'm local to Chicago if you need assistance.
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    Member grappa's Avatar
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    Re: D800E/D800 Live much better than viewfinder.

    CD focus ? I'm lost here. There is a local to Chicago place to get help ?
    Thanks for your reply.
    BTW I have made some adjustments to the D800 so it is slightly better than the 800 E that I just received. I was hoping that the 800E would be an improvement since it was manufactured later.

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    Re: D800E/D800 Live much better than viewfinder.

    Contrast Detection focusing. That is how a point and shoot camera works, and how live view focusing works. A Digital SLR uses phase detection sensors, which is a separate sensor array underneath your cameras mirror. In some cases the angle of mirror is used to adjust the focusing on cameras.

    For absolute best focus I feel live view is the best way to go (non moving subjects), I know when I shoot really shallow DoF lenses I want critical focus on just an eye, not an eyelash or cheek. In these cases I usually go to LV and have better success.
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    Senior Member danielmoore's Avatar
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    Re: D800E/D800 Live much better than viewfinder.

    With my D800E live view focusing/viewfinder/AF all work well. Except- when I use AF on closers subjects, minimum focusing distance to somewhere around 5' I can't hit for beans and have to use live view instead. Obviously this is not tolerable in the long term and I'll send it in soon for a look. I wonder if near distance is a factor in your findings? Also, focus adjust on my lenses were at the limits (with one, -20 was not enough). I use the camera often and love it, rarely using it up close thus far.
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    Member grappa's Avatar
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    Re: D800E/D800 Live much better than viewfinder.

    You got it! My problems exhibit at closer distances,2 to 6 feet usually. Also several of my lenses are at the adjustment limit. This is all on the D800 since I have not messed with the 800E too much yet.
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    Re: D800E/D800 Live much better than viewfinder.

    Well I only have the one so it should be you who sends their camera in for correction and report back.

    Kidding aside, I'm waiting for the right time to send it in for a checkup.

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    Re: D800E/D800 Live much better than viewfinder.

    "The Live view focus is dead nuts on, viewfinder is out of focus."

    When live view in focus, then adjust viewfinder diopter until sharp?

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    Re: D800E/D800 Live much better than viewfinder.

    Quote Originally Posted by engel001 View Post
    "The Live view focus is dead nuts on, viewfinder is out of focus."

    When live view in focus, then adjust viewfinder diopter until sharp?
    just look through the viewfinder and adjust the diopter to get optimum focus on the viewfinder markings and shooting data at the bottom of the viewing area.
    then use a good target, such as a bit of newsprint, focus liveview and shoot, then focus with normal AF and shoot. If the AF focus is off then adjust the lens setting at Setup/AF fine-tune. reference the manual for details.
    -bob

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: D800E/D800 Live much better than viewfinder.

    Most lenses tend to back focus so keep that in mind
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com
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    Re: D800E/D800 Live much better than viewfinder.

    All lenses tend to backfocus? Nuts, all of these years I just thought it was my lousy eyesight. All of these years I have learned to focus and then fudge a bit, because I thought with my corrected vision I just couldn't see. You learn something new every year. Joe

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    Re: D800E/D800 Live much better than viewfinder.

    Well,
    Most large aperture nikkors tend to focus shift to the back when stopping down to varying degrees.
    With careful calibration all that I have tried so far can be adjusted to keep the focus point within the DOF.
    That means with some, like the 85/1.4, that wide open there is no DOF behind the focus point wide open but once you know their characteristics you can adjust your shooting style accordingly.
    -bob
    Last edited by Bob; 6th July 2012 at 16:35.
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    Re: D800E/D800 Live much better than viewfinder.

    I checked on tripod my D800E autofocus with the Nikkor 28mm f/1.4 at f=1.4 and near close focus distance of 1.15 feet for the leftmost, center, and rightmost focus point.

    Result: LV focus dead on, VF not in focus.

    This seems to be consistent with the above descriptions.
    I got my D800E from Amazon on June 15.

    Next step for me is calibration I guess.
    What distance should one calibrate for?

    With best regards, K-H.

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    Re: D800E/D800 Live much better than viewfinder.

    Curious. Have any of you checked LV AF against VF manual focus?

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    Re: D800E/D800 Live much better than viewfinder.

    Quote Originally Posted by grappa View Post
    You got it! My problems exhibit at closer distances,2 to 6 feet usually. Also several of my lenses are at the adjustment limit. This is all on the D800 since I have not messed with the 800E too much yet.
    You realize you can get a bit more adjustment?

    There are 2 adjustments, One is global and the other is individual lenses.

    If a lot of the lenses need say +10 or around that. Set the global fine tune to +10 and then adjust each lenses as required with smaller increments. That way you can get say +30 without an issue on that one lens.
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    Senior Member eleanorbrown's Avatar
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    Re: D800E/D800 Live much better than viewfinder.

    Interesting, most of my Nikon lenses needed minus corrections...the 50 1.4 down to -20! Plus corrections gave me a blurred mess on auto focus. My 35 1.4g needed no adjustment....My Zeiss 100 f2 makro needed no adjustment at all. Eleanor
    Eleanor Brown
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    Re: D800E/D800 Live much better than viewfinder.

    In my case there were a mix of positive/negative adjustments. There are reports of a combination hardware/software recalibration fix for the left side AF tolerance problem now as well. I decided to let Nikon have it for a while and see what happens.
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    Re: D800E/D800 Live much better than viewfinder.

    All my AF lenses backfocus slightly, except for the ones that have been to Nikon; those came back spot on. Oh, apart from the 50/1.4G which backfocuses fiercely.

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    Re: D800E/D800 Live much better than viewfinder.

    Quote Originally Posted by eleanorbrown View Post
    Interesting, most of my Nikon lenses needed minus corrections...the 50 1.4 down to -20! Plus corrections gave me a blurred mess on auto focus. My 35 1.4g needed no adjustment....My Zeiss 100 f2 makro needed no adjustment at all. Eleanor
    I wasnt suggesting you need + adjustments.

    Just that you have a look at all the lenses and see where average correction sits. THEN set the global fine tune to that.

    Then use the individual lens adjustment to fine tune each lens.

    This allows a greater total adjustment range to be had and could allow you to adjust a lens that needs to be corrected past the end to be tuned.

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    Re: D800E/D800 Live much better than viewfinder.

    Where in the menu do I set the global fine tune?

    Thanks, K-H.

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    Re: D800E/D800 Live much better than viewfinder.

    Quote Originally Posted by k-hawinkler View Post
    Where in the menu do I set the global fine tune?

    Thanks, K-H.

    Oh well, I figured it out.
    Same place as the local one.

    K-H.

  23. #23
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    Re: D800E/D800 Live much better than viewfinder.

    For the OP:

    There are lots of good explanations of the difference btw viewfinder focusing and live view out there, but here's a quick redux.

    When you focus 'through the viewfinder', light is diverted from the mirror-path into an autofocus unit, which functions by a method known as "Phase Detection" autofocus. It is much quicker than "Contrast Detection", which is what happens in live view.

    The problem is that, since this AF mechanism is separate from the lens-to-sensor light path, the point at which it is focusing (ie: where it imagines the sensor-plane is) might actually be a different distance from the lens than the sensor actually is. The difference may be microscopic, but digital pixels have almost no physical depth (compared to film) an error of a few microns will degrade image quality.

    There are a lot of potential fails-points and, given the tolerances of manufacture, individual lens-specific adjustments are needed to get the best match of where the sensor is to where the a AF unit *thinks* it is.

    The same problem holds for manual focus. If the ground-glass is a few microns closer or further from the lens than the sensor is, the image will look perfectly focused, but not be. No amount of dioptering or anything else will change that. It requires physical adjustment by the manufacturer.

    In reality, most cameras are pretty good on these fronts. Especially for cheaply mass-manufactured consumer electronic devices (which, sadly, is what they are). It's just that the mega-resolution of these cameras now highlights the smallest error. The margins have shrunk.

    Ok, so what about live view? Well, when you use live view, you are literally taking the image off the sensor. So if looks in focus, it's in focus. There is no margin of error because the place that you are focusing on is the same place the picture is taken.

    Using an image sensor to focus is different than use an AF unit. Focusing off the sensor uses "Contrast Detection", which literally detects contrast at the point of focus. Just like the human eye. When the desired point is 'in focus' the difference between lines and edges (ie: points of contrast) will be at their most clearly defined. That is while live view 'hunts' a bit back and forth to find the sweet spot. Just like we would.

    The problem with CD focusing is that it's generally much slower than dedicated AF units. Most point and shoots use phase detection, as do all mirrorless cameras. Only Olympus seems to have created CD systems which are truly zippy.

    For critical work, where it can be done, live view will always give a perfectly focused image. "Viewfinder" focusing, however, should be adjustable to the point where it is almost as good in almost all cases. If it can't be, go see your dealer/service center, because the camera is out-of-tolerance, which happens regularly.

    Hope this helps.

    Cheers,

    - Nick
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    Senior Member danielmoore's Avatar
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    Re: D800E/D800 Live much better than viewfinder.

    Got my D800E back from Nikon this morning. Fixed. Using a 24-70G to start, AF Fine Tuning turned off, tested at random nearer range 2.5' to 5' where it failed previously, hits the same or better than I can using Live View. I'd call that a successful calibration. Left/Center/Right all work similarly. I suspect they're inundated presently, they had my camera at the shop for 8 business days.
    For the curious, the invoice read the following:
    -----------------------------------

    RPR FOCUSSING MECHANISM
    GRIP COVER
    ADJ AUTO FOCUS OPERATION
    ADJ MIRROR ANGLE
    CKD BAYONET MOUNT
    CKD BODY FLANGE BACK
    CKD IMAGE TEST
    CKD EXPOSURE
    CLN IMAGE SENSOR
    GENERAL CHECK AND CLEAN
    --------------------------------------------

    Of course it's a shame it arrived when new in this state and that it cost me money in shipping and insurance to get it where it should have been, but here it is dialed in nice and tight.
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    Re: D800E/D800 Live much better than viewfinder.

    Carsten - Website

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    Re: D800E/D800 Live much better than viewfinder.

    Quote Originally Posted by danielmoore View Post
    Got my D800E back from Nikon this morning. Fixed. Using a 24-70G to start, AF Fine Tuning turned off, tested at random nearer range 2.5' to 5' where it failed previously, hits the same or better than I can using Live View. I'd call that a successful calibration. Left/Center/Right all work similarly. I suspect they're inundated presently, they had my camera at the shop for 8 business days.
    For the curious, the invoice read the following:
    -----------------------------------

    RPR FOCUSSING MECHANISM
    GRIP COVER
    ADJ AUTO FOCUS OPERATION
    ADJ MIRROR ANGLE
    CKD BAYONET MOUNT
    CKD BODY FLANGE BACK
    CKD IMAGE TEST
    CKD EXPOSURE
    CLN IMAGE SENSOR
    GENERAL CHECK AND CLEAN
    --------------------------------------------

    Of course it's a shame it arrived when new in this state and that it cost me money in shipping and insurance to get it where it should have been, but here it is dialed in nice and tight.


    Upon closer examination it appears my D800E exhibits the well known left autofocus issue and the other issues you describe.

    Question: Which Nikon service center did fix your camera?

    Thanks, K-H.

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    Re: D800E/D800 Live much better than viewfinder.

    Nikon - El Segundo, CA
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    Re: D800E/D800 Live much better than viewfinder.

    Quote Originally Posted by danielmoore View Post
    Nikon - El Segundo, CA

    Thank you so much.
    That's what I thought, based on where you live.
    So, both Nikon Service Centers in CA and NY seem to be ready now to repair these problems, based on what one can read on various fora. That's good to know.

    Thanks again. With best regards, K-H.

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    Re: D800E/D800 Live much better than viewfinder.

    Well, it looks like this Canadian guy got unlucky:

    Confirmed, D800 LF problem cannot be fixed. [Page 1]: Nikon D4 - D1 / D800 Forum: Digital Photography Review

    Hoping for a successful outcome, my D800E is on its way to Nikon - El Segundo, CA.

    Regards, K-H.

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    Re: D800E/D800 Live much better than viewfinder.

    Weighing in, DPReview has the flakiest crowd of any fora I yet encountered,IMHO. One of the key's to happiness is to avoid it.

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    Re: D800E/D800 Live much better than viewfinder.

    You may be right. Here is actually some good news, confirming your positive experience:

    Delay Sending to El Segundo for AF Fix?: Nikon D4 - D1 / D800 Forum: Digital Photography Review

    Thanks again, regards, K-H.

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