D800 left focusing problem - is it going away?
/forum/topic/1154218/2

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dennishh
Registered: Nov 28, 2004
Total Posts: 764
Country: United States

Had D800e 3006.... had focus issue. Got D800e from Amazon 3007.... works just great no issue. Have heard from two other people with 3007... no issue. Nikon has said the machine that was causing the problem is fixed. Amazon was one of the first to receive the new batch,they should all be good from now on.



nwadventurer7
Registered: Sep 11, 2012
Total Posts: 155
Country: United States

a machine causing the problem? explain please?



ct8282
Registered: Nov 25, 2011
Total Posts: 2204
Country: United Kingdom

nwadventurer7 wrote:
a machine causing the problem? explain please?


Apparently the focus problems are due to incorrect calibration of the AF modules at time of manufacturer. A machine that calibrates the AF modules was reported to be setup incorrectly but has now been corrected.

This is all speculation however until Nikon release an official statement.



pubtime
Registered: Jun 30, 2008
Total Posts: 3089
Country: United States

Bought mine like two months ago from a seller on eBay. Serial 3014, I'll check the left AF problem tonight. Mine just doesn't seem to have anything in focus without a -15 MA on all lenses. My 14 2.8D that was sharp on my D3s is now soft on the D800 even at the hyperfocal distance.



ShutteredMe
Registered: Mar 29, 2009
Total Posts: 2989
Country: United States

After reading this, I checked the status of my ticket with Nikon and guess what? They freakin' close my ticket without any response from them. After I went through the trouble of sending pictures. ARGH!!!!!
I called again and they said to just take the camera down to El Segundo. Why didn't they tell me this in the first place instead of making me wait for 2 weeks!



M Lucca
Registered: Oct 19, 2011
Total Posts: 1040
Country: Holy See

^ Win. Must be end of the month metrics reporting.



Alan321
Registered: Nov 07, 2005
Total Posts: 9993
Country: Australia

You might want to read Thom Hogan's blog for his comments on the AF issue. Seems they improved a bit and then more so with the very recent cameras. But how will know yours is very recent. Also it seems that Nikon has reviewed and improved its calibration testing for the D800.

I had a terrible run with dicky Canon cameras and will not risk the same with a D800. I'd rather pay full price for a correctly working demo camera (with warranty) than get a new one that could need a service that has a turn-around time measured in weeks here in Australia. (I averaged 7 weeks per service visit with Canon, fixed or not).

- Alan



vchowdhary
Registered: Jul 12, 2009
Total Posts: 1206
Country: N/A

So after testing the 2 cameras.

I've uploaded 4 images from them into the following gallery if anyone wants to download and view at 100%

http://giskarded.smugmug.com/Shared/D800-AF/25775152_JjFLhJ


2 D800e (1 delivered Oct 2nd and the other on Oct 5th) 3006* and 3007* respectively.

The 3006* camera is off by a bigger margin, the 3007* off by a smaller margin.

Images of 3007 *

Focus is on vertical barcode

Left AF

http://giskarded.smugmug.com/photos/i-XxPttXw/0/M/i-XxPttXw-M.jpg

Center AF
http://giskarded.smugmug.com/photos/i-rDtbTdC/0/M/i-rDtbTdC-M.jpg

Left Live View

http://giskarded.smugmug.com/photos/i-B8kR4Gj/0/M/i-B8kR4Gj-M.jpg



In comparison, here is the 3006* left af

http://giskarded.smugmug.com/photos/i-frpNM7C/0/M/i-frpNM7C-M.jpg



vchowdhary
Registered: Jul 12, 2009
Total Posts: 1206
Country: N/A

To me the D800e with 3006 even at the posted resolution shows focus on the lens which is well behind the barcode on which I was focusing.

The D800e with 3007, you have to inspect more closely, but once you see the file from Center and Liveview AF, the backfocus is quite evident.

These were shot on a tripod
Manual
1/60 shutter
IS 640
Aperture 2.8



molson
Registered: Oct 30, 2002
Total Posts: 10939
Country: Canada

New D800E, s/n 5001xxx, purchased September 24 - performs brilliantly with all of my lenses.



CGrindahl
Registered: Dec 17, 2004
Total Posts: 13595
Country: United States

I spoke yesterday with a friend who recently took delivery of a D800 from B&H. He did a test and found the camera has the left focusing problem but decided for the kind of work he does it isn't worth chasing the perfect camera. Out of curiosity, he tried the same test with his D700 and found the SAME PROBLEM. I've no idea what to make of that but my friend is a pro who has been shooting for thirty years and his description of how he did the test suggests his results are accurate. I wonder whether anyone else has tested either their D700 or D600 to see whether they too have a problem?



Rags Hef
Registered: May 03, 2007
Total Posts: 3063
Country: United States

molson wrote:
New D800E, s/n 5001xxx, purchased September 24 - performs brilliantly with all of my lenses.


thanks for posting a piece of the s/n...

Rags:



dgsphoto
Registered: Sep 27, 2005
Total Posts: 847
Country: United States

5001xxx is Canada..US is still 300xxxx i think...



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

CGrindahl wrote:
I spoke yesterday with a friend who recently took delivery of a D800 from B&H. He did a test and found the camera has the left focusing problem but decided for the kind of work he does it isn't worth chasing the perfect camera. Out of curiosity, he tried the same test with his D700 and found the SAME PROBLEM. I've no idea what to make of that but my friend is a pro who has been shooting for thirty years and his description of how he did the test suggests his results are accurate. I wonder whether anyone else has tested either their D700 or D600 to see whether they too have a problem?



I think people assume that AF on Canikon cameras is meant to be very precise, i.e. attain critical focus out of the box, I know I used to but it simply isn't the case.
Sure there are some instances where it's particularly noticeable, like with some of the D800's but it's there in any DSLR with AF.

I'd say that the lower res of a D700 makes fornt/back focusing points less apparent and virtually unnoticeable from normal viewing distances of a photo, whereas the high res of the D800 is going to make any inaccuracy very obvious.

If you took a bunch of random DSLR's and AF lenses then thoroughly tested the AF on all of them, there would be slight font/back focusing on all, if not most.

Live view and manually focusing is way more precise but who wants to do that for every single shot...?
Unless you're doing that sort of photography, i.e. scapes and static studio stuff, it would be a major pain.



M635_Guy
Registered: Dec 22, 2010
Total Posts: 2391
Country: United States

bemyzeke wrote:
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.


I don't think Thom is preaching - he's trying to describe a method that tests specifically for the problem. At some point he mentioned that some methods don't isolate to the left focus problem specifically or are prone to user-error. In my opinion, he's not going for glory, just clarity.



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

ct8282 wrote:
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....


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


Well I've had a chance to do some tests now - as always I tend to start from a position of assuming/hoping there's nothing wrong and only do tests if I'm getting repeated problems. This did seem to be the case and I've done a test along very similar lines to yours with similar results I'm afraid. I only have the 24-120 f/4 VR lens at this time but it was quite easy to see the problem at f/4! I believe the lens is marginally back focussing to start with but, that aside, the outer left point is nowhere near achieving focus. Right one is a little worse than the centre but not nearly as bad as the left. I've not tried any other points as it's too tedious but the problem is there quite clearly so the shop are going to get back to me on best way forward from here.



ShutteredMe
Registered: Mar 29, 2009
Total Posts: 2989
Country: United States

I was just informed that they will be doing the following service on my D800E:
B2 Service Repair Rank B2
Check and Clean

Hopefully they are able to fix the focusing issue...



nwadventurer7
Registered: Sep 11, 2012
Total Posts: 155
Country: United States

thanks for the update. i having my d800e recalibrated when i am done with my next photo shoot in november. i will update what was done and if it is fixed. bill



CGrindahl
Registered: Dec 17, 2004
Total Posts: 13595
Country: United States

elbeasto wrote:
CGrindahl wrote:
I spoke yesterday with a friend who recently took delivery of a D800 from B&H. He did a test and found the camera has the left focusing problem but decided for the kind of work he does it isn't worth chasing the perfect camera. Out of curiosity, he tried the same test with his D700 and found the SAME PROBLEM. I've no idea what to make of that but my friend is a pro who has been shooting for thirty years and his description of how he did the test suggests his results are accurate. I wonder whether anyone else has tested either their D700 or D600 to see whether they too have a problem?



I think people assume that AF on Canikon cameras is meant to be very precise, i.e. attain critical focus out of the box, I know I used to but it simply isn't the case.
Sure there are some instances where it's particularly noticeable, like with some of the D800's but it's there in any DSLR with AF.

I'd say that the lower res of a D700 makes fornt/back focusing points less apparent and virtually unnoticeable from normal viewing distances of a photo, whereas the high res of the D800 is going to make any inaccuracy very obvious.

If you took a bunch of random DSLR's and AF lenses then thoroughly tested the AF on all of them, there would be slight font/back focusing on all, if not most.

Live view and manually focusing is way more precise but who wants to do that for every single shot...?
Unless you're doing that sort of photography, i.e. scapes and static studio stuff, it would be a major pain.


This is why the identified problem makes no difference to my friend. As a person who has shot for years with LF camera he DOES focus manually and now that he's shooting digital, her relies on live view. When he came back from his last two week excursion in the Sierra mountains, he said he'd taken less than a hundred photos and that six of those are potentially useful to him. I'd have been proud of any of the six but you won't find me truck camping for two weeks hiking up mountains loaded with gear to try to get the sunrise and sunset shots. He left this morning for another trip, his first with the D800. I look forward to hearing about his experience once he returns.



mshi
Registered: Dec 13, 2010
Total Posts: 3670
Country: United States

CGrindahl wrote:

This is why the identified problem makes no difference to my friend. As a person who has shot for years with LF camera he DOES focus manually and now that he's shooting digital, her relies on live view. When he came back from his last two week excursion in the Sierra mountains, he said he'd taken less than a hundred photos and that six of those are potentially useful to him. I'd have been proud of any of the six but you won't find me truck camping for two weeks hiking up mountains loaded with gear to try to get the sunrise and sunset shots. He left this morning for another trip, his first with the D800. I look forward to hearing about his experience once he returns.


That reminds me of landscape shooter Michael Levin, who just edited his entire trip to Italy down to one images out of total 50 or so images.

http://lacda.com/juried/winners/2006/Michael-Levin.jpg

You can view some of his work here: http://www.michaellevin.ca/gallery



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