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Thread: D800 AF ( with apologies)

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    D800 AF ( with apologies)

    Hi, I'm new to the forum and I don't want to get an early rep as a moaner but I'd be interested in what other peoples' recent experience has been here.

    I have D700 bodies and am looking to replace them soon. I was tempted by D800 so I bought one. It had the dreaded left AF points issue. I sent it back to the dealer and got a second. Same thing but as it was from the same batch I thought I'd leave it for a few months before trying again.

    at the end of last month, I did and the same old problem was there. I called up Nikon to discuss and they told me they had never heard of such a thing. We had quite the chat which ended with me saying there were numerous reports online and from many respected togs. The Nikon man's response was that they didn't read stuff on the net. But he assured me that if such a thing did occur, any AF discrepancies would be easily solved by Nikon. With this in mind I kept the third body and sent it off.

    When I sent it the outer left AF point was back - focussing by a large amount. When it came back it was fine but the other points were front-focussing by a large amount!

    Called Nikon. The chap told me that it was all to do with the sensor resolution. He said if my D700s were of the same res I would find similar problems. The rather irritable way he explained it suggested to me that he'd had this conversation a few times before and was bored with it. I deduced that either Nikon AF was inadequate for the resolution of cameras they now produce or that there is some other serious issue with the D800 production.

    Given Nikon's less than stellar response to the issue, I'm wondering if the Nikon AF is not up to the job.

    Well, my D800 is going back to Amazon. I'm now left with some anxiety about how to replace my ageing D700s. I'm seriously considering jumping to Canon. Drastic I know! I did it the other way a while back and I don't want to be one of these serial switchers

    I thought I'd share my experiences and see if anyone had had better luck. Seems to be hit and miss.

    Should I hang on and hope Nikon sort it? If I thought they could I would, but I'm really not feeling confident at all. Can anyone give me hope?

    Sorry again to have such a negative early post but its early in the morning here and I'm feeling fed up with it all

    Thanks for listening

    Wooster

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: D800 AF ( with apologies)

    First question I have to ask is have you fine tuned your lenses with AF adjustment. Second question is it possible you are having any camera movement. The D800 WILL be more sensitive to any camera movement given its higher resolution . Third question which lenses are doing this and are they of higher quality glass that the D800 needs. I sent my Nikon to El Sequndo and they fixed the AF. Left side AF points. Who are you dealing with. Trick here is take out all the variables when testing this. 4 th comment do all this testing on a tripod that takes out some variables when testing.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Senior Member danielmoore's Avatar
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    Re: D800 AF ( with apologies)

    Many of us feel your pain. This isn't the simple choice one would like it to be, to Nikon's discredit. The camera when working is the cat's pajama's and they are soft and cozy, so I think it's worth it to explore your tolerance a bit further. I too sent mine it at no puny cost (insurance on 3300.00 value ain't cheap) to the El Segundo facility. It came back virtually perfect as well as with a clean sensor and eyepiece. Use them. I did not call first to Nikon, I filled in the online form for service and shipped it off with a careful description of the problem. In my case I couldn't focus on anything nearer than 6 feet or so with any accuracy. I think this is a more severe case of AF issues and it may have led to a more intensive repair approach. I shoot a lot in low light, in this regard alone Nikon eats Canon's lunch, needing only to ask politely, Canon is shy this way.

    I suggest you give it another go. But don't test it yet, just shoot with it. Let those results inform you. Many D800 owners don't run into the problem as it doesn't come up in their shooting style/needs. Just a thought.

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    Re: D800 AF ( with apologies)

    Thank you both for your replies.

    Guy, I tested the camera with a few lenses, including the 50mm f1.4, and 24.-70 f2.8. It was secured on a Gitzo tripod with Arca - Swiss ball head and at various shutter speeds but all high enough to allow a decent shot even if hand held. I was really careful in all I did to ensure the best possible result and each time I used live view the result was excellent. The AF fine tune, which I tried, wasn't sufficient to rectify the problem on one camera but even with it did sort out the left side of the AF points, it had the result of throwing out the others.

    Daniel, I'm in the UK and I was dealing with Nikon UK directly. I desperately want to have a D800 that works because I know the sensor knocks the stuffing out of the competition. I have seen a lot of examples of shadow detail being recovered in post processing which is nothing short of amazing. But I do need to rely on AF working well. I have tried the camera in "normal" shooting situations and the results weren't good; this was after Nikon had adjusted the AF and maybe it would have been fine before they did. Anyway I took a few photographs including some at large apertures at varying distances and sort of typical wedding scenarios - and the results were not good. In fact my wife took a look and was pretty horrified at the results.

    The problem I have is that the window for return is about to close and Nikon have really not been very helpful or even sympathetic. They just did not acknowledge ever having heard of this problem. If they had said that some cameras had an issue and given me some sort of explanation as to the steps they would take to fix it, I'd have been a lot happier but I am pretty sure they don't have an answer.

    I really thought this issue would have been resolved by now. I wondered if anyone else had had similar experiences recently. Maybe I will wait another couple of months and try again before deciding but it really is frustrating at the moment.

    Anyway, thanks again folks. I appreciate your help.

    Wooster
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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: D800 AF ( with apologies)

    Wooster

    What you need to know is :

    1. The AF issue is real and comes from a calibration error at the factory . It can be corrected by Nikon in a few minutes simply by recalibrating the camera firmware .

    2. Thom Hogan s website has this explained in real detail including how to test and document the problem .

    3. If you get a new camera that seems to have an issue ..send it back immediately . Don t miss the window and don t keep trying to make it O.K. by trying it again.

    4. Nikon has identified the problem and corrected it in the latest release of the bodies .

    5. Ming Thein is another good website where he resolved the problems . But Thom Hogan has the most thorough approach .

    The problem is definitely most severe with wide angles . I can demonstrate it in a minute with a 24/1.4 wide open and also with the 35/1.4 .....with the 85/1.4 or a slower f2.8 zoom you may not notice it . For now I just work around it by using the center focus point ...after all do you shoot with a 24 wide open and use the left focus point much ? I also am giving serious consideration to using the manual focus Zeiss lenses for the wide angles .

    Try manual focus and you will find the mirror sensor alignment isn t perfect either .

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    Re: D800 AF ( with apologies)

    Hi Roger and thank you for your help. As I say I've already given Nikon UK two chances to resolve this issue and they have failed both times. Their attitude wasn't inspiring either. I need to return the camera to the dealer now or I will miss the window.

    When I say I will wait a couple of months and try again, I mean I will re-order once I'm fairly sure Nikon have actually resolved the issue. I had heard they had sorted it out a while back. I'm not so sure though. This camera was purchased less than 4 weeks ago and clearly had the problem.

    The other issue is that there seems to be a lot of uncertainty about what is the actual cause of the problem. While there are a lot of postings saying it can be rectified by software fairly easily, but what I don't get is that if this is the case why are there all these reports of multiple unsuccessful attempts by Nikon to fix it and why don't Nikon just come out and say that. I'm puzzled and a bit suspicious too

    I read on Lloyd Chambers blog that he has misgivings about Nikon's AF system and I'm wondering if it just isn't up to the job of the higher resolution sensor. ( I would post a link but I'm not sure of the forum rules )

    I don't have to upgrade urgently but I do want to get something sorted fairly soon

    Wooster

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    Re: D800 AF ( with apologies)

    Nikon baked a toothsome pie and
    fed it to the masses

    It won't digest, this pixel fest
    Nikon, cover your asses

    It's tolerance so high
    but sharp, sharp, sharp, that far eye.

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    Re: D800 AF ( with apologies)

    Well my camera is en route to Amazon as I write. Shame, and I still have my problem. I'm a bit more philosophical about it today but I wish there was a straightforward solution.

    Looking around, it seems the D4 is similarly affected though to a lesser extent and I'm not sure if this gives weight to the idea that their AF system is struggling. Seems to me that if there was a simple fix we'd all be getting it sorted quickly and without fuss. As it is, it is insulting to be told by Nikon that the 36 mp wonderamera you just spent over 2,000 on, and which churns out mushy pictures is, "within Nikon standards".

    I am encouraged by accounts of fixes such as yours, Daniel, but I wish they were par for the course. At the moment I'm still left without a solution

    Wooster

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    Re: D800 AF ( with apologies)

    a good friend, with 3 D800s' and a D4, all with AF issues, started sending his in for adjustment. The first one, after 3 attempts at repair, was simply replaced. He was informed that he had lens mount damage and to send in all his bodies and lenses for a check up. 15 lenses, 5 converters. Some were repaired under warranty, some are waiting as Nikon never explained to him how all this stuff was supposedly damaged.
    I have had one body adjusted and according to my really picky friend, its good but not perfect. My 800e goes in tomorrow. I think we all should have waited 6 months to buy the thing.
    My picky friend found that the D600 he looked at while all his gear was gone exhibited no AF issues. I'm actually thinking of trading off my D800 for one -I really don't need the resolution.

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    Re: D800 AF ( with apologies)

    Quote Originally Posted by hsteeves View Post
    I have had one body adjusted and according to my really picky friend, its good but not perfect. My 800e goes in tomorrow. I think we all should have waited 6 months to buy the thing.
    My picky friend found that the D600 he looked at while all his gear was gone exhibited no AF issues. I'm actually thinking of trading off my D800 for one -I really don't need the resolution.
    You might want to wait with the D600 as well!

    Nikon D600 sensor's dust spots caused by a gap around the shutter? | Nikon Rumors
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    Re: D800 AF ( with apologies)

    Quote Originally Posted by pophoto View Post
    Oh dear! The news isn't getting a lot better. But if this is an identifiable fault maybe it will be easy to remedy for the future.

    .......Or there again ....

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    Re: D800 AF ( with apologies)

    You originally mentioned about the possibility of making the switch to a different brand, just a few things to say from my own experience:
    1) I switched from my D700, invested lenses, with nothing wrong. I bought my wife a 5D Mark II, and we both loved the look more! Basically we identified what we wanted and will be getting from the other brand!
    2) I eventually sold off my D700 after two years of use, for about $50 less than I had bought it new, most lenses were sold for less, but enough to change to different system without feeling huge loss, it can be done!
    3) Problems can happen with with any system, what then?
    4) All of my Canon factory experience has been positive and free so far.
    5) I had no problems with my Nikon gear I had owned! I recently had to send in one of my SB900 flash unit (i own four) to be repaired,paid to have it fix, which is expected and reasonable.
    6) I think Nikon, Sony, and canon can give you what you want, and the grass always looks greener the other side, but if you have only been having headaches despite trying to resolve with the Nikon to no avail, then it's understandable, but remember all the above points!
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    Re: D800 AF ( with apologies)

    I'm not keen to switch. I was a bit tired and frustrated when I first posted. I just really want a D800 with good AF. I will give it a couple of months and try again, by which time I really really hope it's all sorted out, but I have to admit I'm not 100% confident

    Willie

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    Re: D800 AF ( with apologies)

    Never read something bad like all this about Pentax...

    My Nikon D800 had no left AF- problem. It had an overall AF- problem. Maybe because my lenses had not fit perfectly on that camera!?

    The D700/ D3/s and so the D300(s) had no AF- problem at all. What about the D4?

    It seems, that the lower resolution sensors have less problems than those high res sensors.

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