D800 left focusing problem - is it going away?
/forum/topic/1154218/1

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dgsphoto
Registered: Sep 27, 2005
Total Posts: 845
Country: United States

^ 306* or 3006*?



blackdogimages
Registered: Feb 04, 2003
Total Posts: 840
Country: United States

My D800E I got from Samy's last week has the AF issue and is going back today. I was iffy until I put on my new Nikon 24 F1.4 today and then there was no question at all. The center focus point was tack every time and the left points were not at all. I'm now 0 for 1
SERIAL# 3006___



dgsphoto
Registered: Sep 27, 2005
Total Posts: 845
Country: United States

I suggest that we all post serial numbers when we post an update on whether the AF issues is still around or not.

This will help us all in assessing what serial number range seems to be problematic...



M635_Guy
Registered: Dec 22, 2010
Total Posts: 2285
Country: United States

I'd recommend sending the serial numbers to Thom, too - he probably has the best view of what is going on out there.

Honestly, as much as it sucks that cameras are coming out of the box needing factory service/adjustment, I wouldn't just return the camera. If you send if off to Nikon, what you get back will be a functioning system (at least in theory, and Thom seems to think it is true at this point...). At the moment new boxes seem to be roulette...



vchowdhary
Registered: Jul 12, 2009
Total Posts: 1198
Country: N/A

3006*

Amazon was great about accepting the return.



ct8282
Registered: Nov 25, 2011
Total Posts: 2198
Country: United Kingdom

Mine has serial number 6061**.

I'm assuming then that this makes mine a much later manufacture than those start with a 3? Or is there a different serial pattern for those cameras that hit the UK?



dgsphoto
Registered: Sep 27, 2005
Total Posts: 845
Country: United States

Received mine today evening from Crutchfield.

Here's a quick test I did (14-24 at 24mm f/2.8):
1. Focus manually using live view on left most focus point and note the precise position on the focus scale
2. Disable live view. Zoom out, auto focus and zoom in to 24mm and auto focus. Camera did not move at during this zooming in and focusing activity.
3. Repeated the above a few times.

Findings: Every single time the focus scale read at the exact same point. No difference between live view scale reading and the other 3 focus attempts.

Repeated the above with 24-70 at f/2.8 and same findings.

Finally, compared the focus scale reading at center focus and scale reading at left most and right most. The left and the right always matched spot on, the center was slightly different. I believe this is expected because of the wide angle and field of curvature.

The key is:
* Live view manual and auto focus matched within a given focus point.
* Left and Right matched between live view manual and auto focus.

You think I got a good one?

In the middle of restructuring my kit & waiting on a couple of things unrelated to photography to fall in place before I decide I can keep this. So can't/don't want to put any actuations on the camera yet.

Serial 3006* from Crutchfield



dgsphoto
Registered: Sep 27, 2005
Total Posts: 845
Country: United States

ct8282 wrote:
Mine has serial number 6061**.

I'm assuming then that this makes mine a much later manufacture than those start with a 3? Or is there a different serial pattern for those cameras that hit the UK?


AFAIK US Serials are all 7 digits and always start with 3 I think.



LizzieShepherd
Registered: Mar 24, 2007
Total Posts: 718
Country: United Kingdom

ct8282 wrote:
Mine has serial number 6061**.

I'm assuming then that this makes mine a much later manufacture than those start with a 3? Or is there a different serial pattern for those cameras that hit the UK?


I've got one on its way with same - 6006 start - so that may make mine older than yours though they only just got it in so who knows - but seems UK numbering is different. Hoping mine will have no problems though the majority of my work is tripod mounted and focussing manually....



ct8282
Registered: Nov 25, 2011
Total Posts: 2198
Country: United Kingdom

LizzieShepherd wrote:
ct8282 wrote:
Mine has serial number 6061**.

I'm assuming then that this makes mine a much later manufacture than those start with a 3? Or is there a different serial pattern for those cameras that hit the UK?


I've got one on its way with same - 6006 start - so that may make mine older than yours though they only just got it in so who knows - but seems UK numbering is different. Hoping mine will have no problems though the majority of my work is tripod mounted and focussing manually....


Will be interesting to see how you get on with yours then.

The test I used was as follows:

- 3 Simens star focus charts stuck to my living room wall to ensure they are all on the same focal plane.
- D800 with 24mm f1.4 and 14-24mm f2.8 tripod mounted 5 - 6ft from the wall.
- Starting with the centre AF point, rack the lens completely OOF, used Live view (contrast detect) focus on the chart and take shot. This acts as reference shot.
- Disable live view. With camera set to 3 second exposure delay, rack the lens completely OOF, focus and take shot.
- Repeat this 3 times to ensure results are consistent each time.

Then follow this for the left and right AF points. Camera was set to ISO 100, 1/500 second, f1.4 (or f2.8 when using the 14-24mm) using manual exposure mode.

Because the focus charts are all on the same focal plane, each time you do this test you should see all 3 focus charts in focus.

However, when I use the left AF point, with Live view disabled the focus charts are hurrendously out of focus. With Live view enabled all 3 focus charts are perfectly focused when using the left AF point.

This has been the same result with 3 D800 bodies so far. I am very interested to know how you get on with you tests so please report back when you can.



Tom Luidens
Registered: Aug 27, 2007
Total Posts: 1
Country: United States

Just got my third body. First one could not focus on the left but mid and right were good - LV/CDAF good in all cases. Second could not focus on either left or right but middle and all LV/CDAF were good. This last one works left middle and right so I finally got a keeper. Tests were with 24-70 and 50 1.8G at 6 feet and results were consistent with both lenses. Norman Camera was great through the whole process.

Serial number of the last was 3006*

And this is my first post - been lurking for a long while



elbeasto
Registered: Aug 05, 2010
Total Posts: 222
Country: Australia

Take any DSLR or lens to get calibrated right after buying it. After it's done, you're good to go.
I doubt any Canikon body or lens would attain critical focus via AF out of the box.



ct8282
Registered: Nov 25, 2011
Total Posts: 2198
Country: United Kingdom

Tom Luidens wrote:
Just got my third body. First one could not focus on the left but mid and right were good - LV/CDAF good in all cases. Second could not focus on either left or right but middle and all LV/CDAF were good. This last one works left middle and right so I finally got a keeper. Tests were with 24-70 and 50 1.8G at 6 feet and results were consistent with both lenses. Norman Camera was great through the whole process.

Serial number of the last was 3006*

And this is my first post - been lurking for a long while


Good useful first post. Welcome to FM.

Hopefully I'll end up with a keeper at some point.



LizzieShepherd
Registered: Mar 24, 2007
Total Posts: 718
Country: United Kingdom

ct8282 wrote:
I am very interested to know how you get on with you tests so please report back when you can.


It may be a wee while - I've not used a Nikon cam in anger for what must be not too far off 20 years (F301 and F3!) and my 1DSiii, whilst very sophisticated when it came out, doesn't have a lot of these AF options of the more modern dSLRs.
Usually I only do extensive testing if there seems to be a problem - but I'll report back!



cjrpostma
Registered: Sep 13, 2011
Total Posts: 91
Country: United States

D800E from Amazon, USA
Received 10/04/12
Serial No. begins 3007***

Will test tonight. Please keep adding to thread with your serials and results.

Thanks!



vchowdhary
Registered: Jul 12, 2009
Total Posts: 1198
Country: N/A

cjrpostma wrote:
D800E from Amazon, USA
Received 10/04/12
Serial No. begins 3007***

Will test tonight. Please keep adding to thread with your serials and results.

Thanks!


Maybe 7 will be our lucky number. Let us know what you find.



M635_Guy
Registered: Dec 22, 2010
Total Posts: 2285
Country: United States

I'm curious whether the testing methods here are the Nikon-recommended, the Thom-recommended or your own methods.



ct8282
Registered: Nov 25, 2011
Total Posts: 2198
Country: United Kingdom

M635_Guy wrote:
I'm curious whether the testing methods here are the Nikon-recommended, the Thom-recommended or your own methods.



Well you can read my method above. Both centre and right AF points provide tack sharp images for all focus charts regardless if shot in live view or not. The left AF point is severely OOF. I don't care if my testing method is recommended by Nikon, Thom, or just myself. I can see that the left AF is about as accurate as a blind man blindfolded.



cjrpostma
Registered: Sep 13, 2011
Total Posts: 91
Country: United States

cjrpostma wrote:
D800E from Amazon, USA
Received 10/04/12
Serial No. begins 3007***

Will test tonight. Please keep adding to thread with your serials and results.

Thanks!



Just got home and tested for the last hour and have no issues with any focus points, left, center or right. I also tested on a LensAlign Mk II and found no issue. Spot on everywhere, all focus points. Perhaps I am lucky. haven't tested all of my lenses, just my fast primes, 50 and 85mm.



bemyzeke
Registered: Jul 04, 2008
Total Posts: 384
Country: United States

M635_Guy wrote:
I'm curious whether the testing methods here are the Nikon-recommended, the Thom-recommended or your own methods.



Honestly speaking, I am tired of the preachers on pulpit telling people how to test their camera. If you can tell that center point is in focus, and the right point is in focus. you ARE able to tell that left point is not in focus. It is called Autofocus for a reason. You should be able to focus without a Ph.D. in mathematics.

I tried at least a dozen cameras (D800 and D800e) and all of those had problem. Some had just left AF problem, and others have bowed focus (yes, I know about field curvature and the focus was still bowed). Finally I found a D800E (my third) and 10 minutes after getting it I knew it was fine with the lenses I own. Needless to say I kept it.

Several weeks into its ownership, I came across a 300mm f/2.8. Working with this lens I found out that with that particular lens, my camera does exhibit back-focus on left point. Tough luck! I am going to keep the camera as it works in 99.9% of the cases and I am not letting Nikon touch it.





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