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Thread: D800 autofocus issue

  1. #1
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    D800 autofocus issue

    Apologies if this horse has been beaten to death already. I did a test for this, which I only did because there's so much noise surrounding the issue. Interestingly, I did find autofocus inaccuracy, but only with my 24-70 lens, at 24mm, and at the the far left focus point. It's enough of a difference that at 100% pixels you can clearly see the difference between live view focused and viewfinder AF images.

    Realistically, this will never come up in the work that I do, but it's annoying. Would any of the sober-minded people here (yes, I know, this is a camera forum, fat chance ...) consider this within the range of expectations for an AF system, or should it be considered a defect? 90% of the work I do is on a tripod with manual live view focus. For AF stuff I usually just use the center point.

    My inclination is to wait several months for Nikon to deal with the deluge of angry customers, get better at their fix, and reduce the wait times. Then maybe also the camera would get a CLA out of the deal after it's seen some use.

    Or I could ignore it.

    Thoughts?

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    Senior Subscriber Member Steen's Avatar
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    D800 autofocus issue


    Per August 7, 2012, Thom Hogan has this new comment on the topic, see the comment named: "Variable Isolation"

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    Senior Member danielmoore's Avatar
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    Re: D800 autofocus issue

    Eminently logical approach. Personally, I used a window of down time to send mine in and took a hit in the turn around time as it coincided with the acknowledgement of the problem and the fix.

  4. #4
    Super Duper
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    Re: D800 autofocus issue

    I've now experienced this AF anomaly in three different aquantences D800 cameras, testing the bodies myself. It's real and prevalent and I would venture a guess that most bodies manufactured up to the present suffer from it, if one knows what too look (and test) for. As far as I know Nikon has made no official acknowledgement of the problem not an officially announced fix. I don't know for certain but have heard from reliable slices that even cameras received by local dealers the past few weeks, still exhibit the problem.

    It does seem to be affected more or less by different lenses giving credence that in part it may have something to do with programing the AF system and that some sort of error exists. Additionally there may be a physical component that may need adjustment/replacement. It's as though the secondary mirror is warped to a degree on the very left side. Since more than one factor may be at work, some cameras may be more or less effected than some others.

    Guess in time this will all be sorted out.

    Dave (D&A)

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    Senior Member danielmoore's Avatar
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    Re: D800 autofocus issue

    I haven't heard of Nikon acknowledging anything either, I see that it looks like I'm implying they did. The acknowledgement of the problem and the fix are the widespread reports there is one besides my own and the reports of it being fixed successfully, including mine. This blog post by Ming Thein is what prompted me to send mine in.
    Tim has a sobering post on the issue as well that's worth reading if you haven't.

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    Subscriber Member tashley's Avatar
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    Re: D800 autofocus issue

    Well Daniel, if you thought that was sobering...

    My twice badly fixed D800 got sent back with the request it get replaced. I pretty calmly said I didn't mind getting a low actuation refurb as long as it worked. The one they sent me is, let me put it politely, not IMHO fit for purpose.

    I increasingly suspect that Ming Thein's (well-earned) celebrity status got him a special fix, not widely available. My honest opinion is that they either don't know what's wrong (complex multifactorial) or that they do and they can't afford to fix it on all those bummers in the wild. I got a refund today.

    Am keeping the E for now but:

    I bought this thing because it appeared to offer close to MF quality with DSLR convenience characteristics such as , errrr, peripheral focus points and focus tracking. If it won't, can't, whatever, the switch has to be questioned.

    There is no doubt that my remaining D800e is capable of amazing results under certain unreasonably constrained conditions. I might keep it. I have a bagful of new Nikon glass to consider. But I am literally astonished at how Nikon has handled this and, given no guidance from them, am inclined to assume that they are institutionally unable to meet my needs as a photographer. And move on.

    :-<

    Quote Originally Posted by danielmoore View Post
    I haven't heard of Nikon acknowledging anything either, I see that it looks like I'm implying they did. The acknowledgement of the problem and the fix are the widespread reports there is one besides my own and the reports of it being fixed successfully, including mine. This blog post by Ming Thein is what prompted me to send mine in.
    Tim has a sobering post on the issue as well that's worth reading if you haven't.

  7. #7
    Spiritshooter
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    Re: D800 autofocus issue

    My D800 has been at Nikon repair for almost 5 weeks now. I expect it to arrive tomorrow or Friday. Two friends received their cameras back from Nikon with little or no change to the left focus issue. I am being cautiously optimistic but must say that I am expecting the worst.

    I have discussed this with my corporate attorney (aka my son) and we feel that Nikon is at the point of diminishing returns and must step up t the plate very soon.

    Anyway, I have all but decided that if the camera comes back without a perfect fix, I may look at abandoning the system. This hurts as I have all prime AFS G glass lenses.

    Fortunately, I have a Leica M9 in the interim.

    I feel for everyone, and I tend to always be empathetic, but this whole situation has gone on far too long. Nikon is walking a very tenuous path right now.

    Mike

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    Senior Member danielmoore's Avatar
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    Re: D800 autofocus issue

    An extenuating circumstance I should add in my case was that the camera couldn't auto focus closer than 6ish feet with any accuracy. This may be a factor in it's successful repair, they may have been forced to deal with it more intensively than other bodies without this problem. Just lucky, I guess : O

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    Re: D800 autofocus issue

    I did a more thorough test with everything parallel and a proper resolution target. Center focus is perfect at all apertures. Left side AF is obviously softer than with live view at f2.8. The difference is unnoticeable by f8. At f4 and f5.6 it's subtle. This is all at 24mm. I don't see the problem at other focal lengths.

    I'm not going to do anything about it now (not that there's anything to be done). It won't effect my work. I'm very curious to see if Nikon does anything redemptive before the year is out.

  10. #10
    Spiritshooter
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    Re: D800 autofocus issue

    My D800 arrived at my office this AM and is sitting here waiting to be tested.
    I hate testing.....

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    Re: D800 autofocus issue

    Good luck! Melville was able to adjust my D800 so that the PDAF and CDAF points now give very comparable results, but from the comments on the forums I should consider myself lucky.

    Having said that, I took delivery of a D800E last week that also has the misaligned left PDAF points and am debating whether to bother trying to get it fixed or just return it.

    Mike

  12. #12
    Spiritshooter
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    Re: D800 autofocus issue

    Quote Originally Posted by dubes View Post
    Good luck! Melville was able to adjust my D800 so that the PDAF and CDAF points now give very comparable results, but from the comments on the forums I should consider myself lucky.

    Having said that, I took delivery of a D800E last week that also has the misaligned left PDAF points and am debating whether to bother trying to get it fixed or just return it.

    Mike
    MY D800 is now fixed.

    Posted this on DPreview so I won't repeak my entire post, but Melville fixed my D800. Center LV and AF match perfect. Left LV and AF 99%, Right LV and AF match 100% as far as I can see.

    CAF and LAF match 99%. Center LV and Left LV 99+

    Also, my 24/1.4 G needed +5 (Used to be -20).
    50/1.4 G needs NO fine tuning.

    85/1.4 G need NO find tuning.

    Mike

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    Subscriber Member tashley's Avatar
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    Re: D800 autofocus issue

    Fantastic news! Congrats!

  14. #14
    Spiritshooter
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    Re: D800 autofocus issue

    Thanks Tim,

    I hope that Nikon gets their act together and keeps a camera as long as needed to fix it the 1st time. There is absolutely no excuse for multiple returns and this entire situation should never have happened.

    I want to get a D4 body, but until I know that the green lcd issue has been resolved I am going to sit tight.

    Regards Mike

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    Super Duper
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    Re: D800 autofocus issue

    Quote Originally Posted by Spiritshooter View Post
    MY D800 is now fixed.

    Posted this on DPreview so I won't repeak my entire post, but Melville fixed my D800. Center LV and AF match perfect. Left LV and AF 99%, Right LV and AF match 100% as far as I can see.

    CAF and LAF match 99%. Center LV and Left LV 99+

    Also, my 24/1.4 G needed +5 (Used to be -20).
    50/1.4 G needs NO fine tuning.

    85/1.4 G need NO find tuning.

    Mike
    Yes, great news but until it's reported that there is a consistant fix when one sends their camera in...most will be holding their breath. Thanks very much for the info!!

    Dave (D&A)

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    Subscriber Member tashley's Avatar
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    Re: D800 autofocus issue

    Dave, I wonder whether there is any rebound in MFD interest what with all this going on with the D800? My Phase gear is still on consignment for sale at my dealer but I have to admit to having given it more sideways glances than I anticipated....

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    Senior Subscriber Member Steen's Avatar
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    D800 autofocus issue


    Thom Hogan is back with this new comment on the topic, see his comment from August 9, 2012, named: "The Sounds of Silence"

  18. #18
    Super Duper
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    Re: D800 autofocus issue

    Quote Originally Posted by tashley View Post
    Dave, I wonder whether there is any rebound in MFD interest what with all this going on with the D800? My Phase gear is still on consignment for sale at my dealer but I have to admit to having given it more sideways glances than I anticipated....
    Funny you should mention that. I was thinking along similar lines just a few weeks ago when it appears the golden shine on D800/D800e's were tarnishing a bit due to reports of certain issues, primarily the left Af sensor issue. I guess this should be expected as no highly popular and touted product end up being perfect some time after it's iniotial introduction. In the case of the D800, a few have thought about returning to either the D700/D3s (if they are a 35mm shooter, and/or their previous digital MF gear. It's probably expected and in some cases even prudent for the type of shooting they might be doing.

    Like most everything else, there is some sort of tradeoff when deciding between two systems.

    Dave (D&A)

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