So, I've had my D800 since late May. Was away for few months so couldn't really deal with testing and addressing the focusing issue. Once I got home (Canada) I tested the camera with my 50mm 1.8 and saw that I've got the issue.
Contacted Vancouver based Nikon service center, sent the camera in. This is when it all started. Nikon recommends (and I wouldn't do it any other way) to insure the shipment. Well, when you buy insurance for $3K it's not only $90 ($3 per $100) but also the shipment has to be packed by shipper personnel, otherwise insurance does not apply. So, $180 later I've sent the camera in. Really upset as I just spend $3K on a camera that should not have such defects and if it does, it is my strong belief, I should not pay a dime for anything to get fixed. Calling Nikon service I was told to email them details to "see if we can do something". Hasn't heard back from them.
Today I got my camera back. Excited and hopeful (against all odds based on some reviews that say that Nikon doesn't really fix the issue but masks it) I tested it all again. Left sensors in Phase Detect are better now, but center is so much off it's not even funny. Right side got worse as well. Then I tried Live View focusing. And guess what - it got worse as well!
But this is not over yet. When putting a lens on (and I'm OCD about my things - keep everything clean, keep all boxes, packaging, keep everything in cloth and protected) I see a lot of dust particles around the mirror AND there is a scratch on the mirror. A long horizontal scratch along the bottom side of the mirror.
I am pissed off beyond belief. I am pissed off at Nikon service center for doing such a #### job, I am extremely aggravated with Nikon itself for being such cheap and lousy business and not doing a right thing to customers. And I am very disappointed. This is way too much money for such a #### experience and product that doesn't function as suppose.
I called the service center and they assured me that they will send me a shipping label to send the camera back to them. Well, I still don't have it (they promised it today). I have a trip coming up in couple of weeks to Asia that I won't be able to repeat for a very long time even if I try hard and I have all these issues. I don't think I will have a good experience if I try to use the camera as is.
To make this all sound even funnier. I have couple of friends who live in the Caribbean. They got their D800s within couple of weeks of it being officially released (I was #1 in my store and had to wait for 2 months). They tested their cameras sometime in July, confirmed the issue and guess what - they were given brand new cameras with apologies from the store they bought the cameras from originally. No questions asked. This is what I call service. And it's not like it's a store that sells a lot of gear who can afford to do something like that.
#1. "RE: D800 focusing issue saga" In response to Reply # 0 Tue 06-Nov-12 08:41 AM by briantilley
>Then I tried Live View focusing. And guess what - it got worse >as well!
I'm sure you realise that Live View uses a completely separate AF system. If there are problems with both, there must be something more basically wrong with your camera.
>But this is not over yet. When putting a lens on (and I'm OCD >about my things - keep everything clean, keep all boxes, >packaging, keep everything in cloth and protected) I see a lot >of dust particles around the mirror AND there is a scratch on >the mirror. A long horizontal scratch along the bottom side of >the mirror.
That's not a scratch. It's due to the partially-silvered finish of that part of the mirror for AF purposes, and it quite normal. If you'd looked carefully before sending the camera in, you would always have seen it.
#2. "RE: D800 focusing issue saga" In response to Reply # 1
>>Then I tried Live View focusing. And guess what - it got >worse >>as well! > >I'm sure you realise that Live View uses a completely separate >AF system. If there are problems with both, there must be >something more basically wrong with your camera.
Yes, I understand that. That is why I am surprised at that fact. I am not sure as to why that would happen. But my test images before I sent the camera in and after I got it back seem to indicate that it actually happened.
>That's not a scratch. It's due to the partially-silvered >finish of that part of the mirror for AF purposes, and it >quite normal. If you'd looked carefully before sending the >camera in, you would always have seen it.
Hrmm.. Well, I have to reason not to believe you. But I did look at the mirror before and I have never seen it there. Now I'm quite confused. I need to check out my other camera and see if I've got the same stripe there.
>Hopefully you will get things sorted out in time
Thanks Brian. I hope so too. I was pretty upset yesterday when I got my camera and saw that it didn't really get adjusted/fixed but quite the opposite.
#4. "RE: D800 focusing issue saga" In response to Reply # 0
A very sad account of your service experience. My reply will not likely be of any help but the purpose is to suggest how important dealer support can be. I bought my D800 at "London Drugs" whose headquarters are in your neck of the woods. I have always dealt with LD for photo gear and they will match the lowest price I can find elsewhere as well. Anyway, I also had the focus problem and upon discovering the cost of insurance and shipping I simply took the unit back to LD although about 2 months after their in-store warranty had expired. After all, they are always bragging how they stand behind everything they sell. The sales rep instantly took the unit from me and said "You paid a lot for this camera. We'll insure and ship it back to Nikon at our cost." Which they did and not a cent of cost to me. He also said if I was not satisfied with the repair they would give me a new camera off-the-shelf although it never came to that. I'm in Calgary and Nikon service is rendered out of Toronto. I had my D800 back in less than 2 weeks working perfectly ever since.
#5. "RE: D800 focusing issue saga" In response to Reply # 4
Actually I'm from Calgary as well. And I got my camera from Memory Express as The Camera Store wanted full deposit and I was in some 200-300 spot in the line there. Memory Express has been working hard on their camera department and when I came to them asking for D800 they told me they will order it for me and that I'd be #1 in the line with not deposits as "We cannot take money for something you don't have yet, that would not be fair".
And when it came time to send the camera in, Memory Express told me that it could be better if I contact Nikon service directly as they experienced delays in Nikon getting back to them. So I did and that is how I was told to ship the camera to Vancouver location and not Toronto.
I didn't think about London Drugs. Should have come to think of it now.
I'm glad that your camera works fine. Means that they actually can deal with the issue.
As for that "scratch" I've got. I checked it over and over, I checked my D90 (which doesn't have it), I read a lot of comments by people who seem to treat other like idiots saying that "It's not a problem, all of them have it, now go and shoot something" only to read a lot of responses "No, my D800 doesn't have anything like that".
Yes, some will say that I'm nitpicking here, but I believe that $3000 piece of equipment should not have such flaws. When you go and buy $400 display you expect it not to have dead pixels, or when you buy a car you expect it to not fall apart if you steer left.
#7. "RE: D800 focusing issue saga" In response to Reply # 5
Well, I hope you don't think you're being treated like an idiot, but honestly... the "scratch" (if it looks something like the example in this discussion over at photo.net) is normal for the D800/E and is not a fault.
Having previously read reports of this mark, I made a point of looking for it when I checked out a D800 and my local dealer. The mark was there, and Nikon UK had told them that they are all like that.
I also checked the D700 I had at the time and the D3s's I now have, and they all display a similar though less obvious mark under one particular angle of illumination. My wife's D600 has a faint mark too.
If it will make you more comfortable, by all means have Nikon check the mirror over - but don't count on them doing anything with it.
#8. "RE: D800 focusing issue saga" In response to Reply # 7
Looks like I didn't express myself well. I didn't mean that you were treating me like an idiot! I noticed a lot of people on other forums talking about this issue were patronizing those who had the issue raised.
I do believe you, Brian. Actually I am less worried now about this 'scratch'. Although there is some weird vertical part to it on the right side, but maybe that's what it is suppose to be. Not sure.
My other problem is that the camera came from focus adjustment in a way I didn't expect (or hoped for?). Now my central sensors are way out of focus with lots of chromatic aberration artifacts. It seems like focusing is worse now that it was before I sent the camera in
#9. "RE: D800 focusing issue saga" In response to Reply # 8
Let's not let the "scratch" detract from the real issue here. You spent $3000 of hard earned money to buy a product that does not work properly. It was sent in for repair at your cost and it came back worse than ever.
Several years ago I had a similar problem with a D700. It reached the point where the second repair resulted in a camera that did not function at all. I contacted corporate Customer Service and would not let up until they sent me a brand new camera that worked. You may want to try the same approach.
Nikon has not handled the left focus issue very well. I'm really disappointed in them. Trying to get a camera repaired by them seems more of a crapshoot than good old fashioned reliable service.
I hope you get your problem solved promptly one way or another. You deserve a much better experience than this.
#10. "RE: D800 focusing issue saga" In response to Reply # 5
Thanks for commenting.
I also deal with Memory Express and have found them a good store. My relationship with London Drugs is long-standing so I know people there. I'm sure that helps. When I first discovered the sensor problem I contacted Nikon and was promptly told by them to ship to Vancouver. Upon going to LD (being too "cheap" to pay insurance and shipping) the rep there - who has a lot of experience - told me Toronto was a better facility and also faster. Well, he should know and as LD was guaranteeing the work I just left everything to them.
My experience has left me feeling positive about Nikon and their dealer although more so about the dealer which is a bit worrisome. Any premium manufacturer such as Nikon can make a mistake from time to time but for $3k I agree there ought to be premium suppport as well. After reading your report and many others the impression is obtained Nikon response and the quality thereof is apt to be spotty. I read some other postings that the Toronto service was fast and good with some people there getting their units back in 3 days. Going by the service log returned with my D800, mine was actually in the shop about 4 days.
#11. "RE: D800 focusing issue saga" In response to Reply # 9
Nick, I totally agree with you and it is my point exactly - Nikon should take responsibility and take care of issues like that. In the end they will only win - I believe it is virtually proven now that the better the customer service the better a company does. I always am willing to spend more with a company that will treat me right and will rarely resort to saving some money on a service or product if I believe that paying relatively more will result in a better experience for me.
Thank you for sharing your experience. I'm glad to hear that you managed to get things right in the end. I don't think I'm at that point, but I am sure not happy with my experience so far. I was (and still am) willing to accept the faulty mechanism hoping for a fix, but if the fix is not possible, then I will continue and go all the way I can to get this issue resolved.
#12. "RE: D800 focusing issue saga" In response to Reply # 10
Garth, seems like I should have asked here first about shipping my camera to Vancouver. I called Toronto and they told me that Vancouver takes care of Alberta, so that was the reason to ship it there. They also told me that Toronto location will take anywhere from 3 to 6 weeks and Vancouver should have been faster.
Well, now all I have left is hope that this issue will be rectified. However, I was told that their top technician was working on my camera and seeing that focus issue has moved from left sensors to central makes me think that there is no real fix to this issue and rather at attempt to make one group of sensors operate better at the expense of other sensors? If that's the case then I am really disappointed as that renders $3000 camera if not useless then extremely unpredictable and aggravating. And I should know how much aggravation an out of focus images can bring - the reason to jump to D800 as soon as possible was my D90 focusing starting to act up. There is nothing worse than traveling somewhere, taking images that look decent on the camera display and then seeing that those images are just out of focus when you get them on computer.
#13. "RE: D800 focusing issue saga" In response to Reply # 0
So, here I am again. I guess this issue is not so interesting for lots of people here, but I am going to continue.
After my camera went into service for the second time it took Nikon Vancouver (Canada) service office 4-5 days to get back to me. Their response was that focusing is "within Nikon standards" which really aggravated and upset me as I have sample shots of the camera focusing before and after the first trip to the service center. Focusing performance of the center sensors has greatly decreased and at this point I do not see how I can use the camera with autofocus at larger apertures.
It seems that I paid $3000 for the privilege of treated like c##p by this company.
I do not expect many supporters here as it seems that most people here are not saying anything negative about Nikon. However I hope that my story will help someone to think hard when dealing with Nikon and buying expensive gear from them.
I did a test shot from about 6-7 feet using Gizto tripod with Arca-Swiss Z1 ballhead. It was leveled to make sure the camera is perpendicular to the target. I used 50mm 1.8G lens and the target barely covered sensor area (as seen in viewfinder).
Here are two shots - crops of the left top corner of the target when using central sensor.
Image before the adjustment made by Nikon service center:
Image after the adjustment made by Nikon service center:
And here is the full uncropped image (still resized to allow posting here):
I have requested my camera to be shipped back to me. I will do tests again when I receive it, but I do not expect any change now.
Also I do not know how to use the camera when shooting with large apertures. I have experienced a camera that doesn't focus properly before (my D90 and the reason I rushed to finally upgrade to the full frame D800) and it was unbelievably upsetting to see all the missed shots and chances. I am now not sure it will focus properly on subjects when I need it to. I am also not sure about the macro photography that I wanted to get into - not sure how the issue will affect the quality.
All in all I am extremely dissatisfied with Nikon and the way it handled this issue. If I wasn't invested heavily into lenses I would actually switch to Canon, even though I like the ergonomics of Nikon.
Think twice before buying from Nikon if you are not heavily invested into their products already.
#14. "RE: D800 focusing issue saga" In response to Reply # 13
I had similar problems with a D700...sent it in for repairs two times while under warranty and the camera was a mess and useless after the second try. I called Corporate Customer Service and started communicating with them. In the end, they sent me a brand new camera.
If you want the direct contact information of the individual I dealt with, let me know and I will send to you.
#15. "RE: D800 focusing issue saga" In response to Reply # 13
Yes, there is worse image quality in the second image, so assuming the test conditions were the same, they appear to have made it worse. So I would suggest recontact their service department and going higher up in the organization so you can get this resolved.
I also suggest that you consider using a different testing method and focus target. What you are using seems to me to be something that will not give reliable, repeatable results.
All companies produce the occasional dud sample of a product. For each one there are many more that work perfectly fine and have satisfied owners. Unfortunately, you got a bad one.
For those who think a $3,000 camera deserves "Premium" support, keep in mind, this is not in the top 1/2 of NIkon's price range. It is a mid range camera priced for significant sales volume. The D3 series and D4 are the premium cameras, and those who use them professionally and belong to NPS get the premium support. Essentially, you bought the equivalent to a very nice Toyota Camry, but you didn't buy a Lexus. I know that sounds harsh, but it is a fact of the market.
#16. "RE: D800 focusing issue saga" In response to Reply # 15 Wed 14-Nov-12 11:26 AM by venusian
I respectfully disagree with your viewpoint that this is an occasional occurrence. The focus issue has been more than an occasional dud. But what's really at the heart of all of this is the way Nikon has handled the problem with its customers...often forcing them to pay for sending their defective cameras in for repair and then messing up the camera even further afterwards.
A good number of posts show that there are customers who have not have their issues resolved after repeated tech service attempts to repair them, Nikon Japan needs to evaluate the data, the camera performs with specs, and on and on...one excuse/delay after the other without resolution of the problem.
I also feel that your "premium support" concept is off the mark. If a company puts a product on the market and it is defective, they should stand behind their work and fix it or replace it. Nikon has done very little to satisfy these objectives with the focus issue.
What I do agree with is that this issue needs to be dealt with at the Customer Service level and I would begin this effort at the corporate level and bypass all the layers in-between.
#17. "RE: D800 focusing issue saga" In response to Reply # 16
I agree that Nikon needs to take care of their warranty responsibilities, and certainly should not make a camera worse when servicing it.
The best approach when getting any new product is to use it and if defective, return it to the seller for a replacement or repair. Failing that, you need to deal with it through the warranty process.
The OP, by his own admission, bought the camera then let it sit around for a few months with out any or much use and no real analysis of it's condition. Seems odd, give all of the uproar over this issue. Many others, got a D800, deemed it defective, and held on to it because it was in short supply in spite of the known defect in their camera. Again, they elected to make fixing the problem more complicated for themselves. Many of us got perfectly good cameras out of the box, I suspect far more than received ones with problems.
Regardless, Nikon does need to fix these cameras under warranty. If their service center is failing, they need to be held to account. And the OP needs to get a fully functioning camera in the end. But he did make his life more difficult by waiting to address the issue until after the normal return period.
If he feels strongly enough about this and feels he is not getting satisfaction, he should pursue remedies afforded by consumer protection laws in his jurisdiction or hire a lawyer. Given his level of dissatisfaction, he should likely switch camera brands. No sense being a masochist.
#18. "RE: D800 focusing issue saga" In response to Reply # 17 Wed 14-Nov-12 03:20 PM by aay
I got the camera in May. I had only 1 week for return/exchange - we don't have any camera shops that have better return policy. Since the issue exhibits itself at large apertures it's not something that you would notice right away, but I started to get occasional issues with focusing on my trip to Europe, which I attributed to my bad skills. Then I got into some health problems while overseas and believe me, camera testing was not high on my list. And then in late August a friend of mine (who also has D800) has sent me Thom Hogan link which I couldn't really do anything with since I didn't have any fast and wide enough lens with me so that had to wait until I got back to Canada - in October. Not that testing it any earlier, while not being in Canada, would be of any use - Nikon has a very limiting service agreements - I have to send the camera for service in Canada.
So, as you see, it's not that I didn't really care about my camera and kept it in a box and now all of a sudden I am asking Nikon for something exceptional. I also do not ask for "premium support" as you put it. I am just asking for this issue to be fixed. I do not even ask for a camera replacement, even though I believe Nikon should just replace all defective cameras. In the end there are warranty obligations which should protect the consumers from manufacturing defects.
Following a legal way of resolving this issue is not a small undertaking - legal fees will be much, much higher than the camera is worth. And this is one of the reasons why all these big companies do what they want - very, very few people will ever attempt to explore the legal route.
While I appreciate your comments I would like to see what would be your attitude and opinion have you had to deal with a situation like this. I would be quite surprised if you were defending Nikon service that made your camera worse after so called service.
#20. "RE: D800 focusing issue saga" In response to Reply # 18 Wed 14-Nov-12 03:13 PM by venusian
I wrote earlier that you should seriously consider contacting corporate Customer Service. I hope you do so. Otherwise, you may never reach satisfaction with your camera. Here is the Canadian corporate contact information (perhaps you already have it).
#22. "RE: D800 focusing issue saga" In response to Reply # 18
If you read my replies, you would see that I am not defending Nikon service. Quite the opposite.
To Nswer your question, if I bought something substantial with only a one week return policy, I would be sure to check it out before that week was up. Otherwise, I would accept that I would need to de with it later in a more complex manner.
So, I am not denying that you have a beef, but your situation limits your options to deal with it. Since you strongly hint that Nikon is not to be trusted, it follows that you might consider what you think is a more reliable photo equipment supplier.
#23. "RE: D800 focusing issue saga" In response to Reply # 22 Wed 14-Nov-12 05:24 PM by aay
Thank you for your opinion. Appreciate it.
As I mentioned, I am prepared to deal with this issue in a complex manner - time wise and frustration wise. I understand that there is hardly any other way now. I am just upset that Nikon does not take responsibility for the issue and that my camera came back in the worse shape it went in. There is no doubt in my mind that any product can be defective, what sets companies apart is how they deal with situations like that. Customer support is the king in my mind - even crappy products with good intentions from manufacturer and good support can produce good feelings with customers.
#24. "RE: D800 focusing issue saga" In response to Reply # 23
I understand the reasons for delaying service, and don't know that it would have changed anything. Early on Nikon was still trying to figure out the issues with AF and the ideal way to repair it. I've heard about some successes and failures. Personally, I've heald my camera back from repair waiting for a little more certainty.
I think Alex's suggestion of contacting Nikon Canada. The Nikon distributors are responsible for service - for better or worse. The performance of the various Nikon distributors varies widely around the world. Some have been very responsive while others have had problems.
Whatever you do, I would persist in your efforts to get it repaired. Keep documents covering your communications and problems. And don't wait any longer than necessary - it is easier to get it repaired immediately than to have a dispute over whether it is the same issue.
You might even ask for the to exchange the camera for a replacement. They certainly have the ability to solve your problem in that manner.
#25. "RE: D800 focusing issue saga" In response to Reply # 24
Thank you for your message and understanding. I am going to continue dealing with this issue. I have asked for the camera to be shipped to me. I have also received a Customer service ticket ID which I will use in my talks with Nikon Canada.
There will be slight delay as I am going for a trip in about a week time and need the camera. I will explore how it operates under real world tasks once again, but now I will have to compensate for extra uncertainty I have with focusing.
I hope I will see some progress in dealing with this issue. Sure, I'd love to have my camera replaced with a new one that doesn't have an issue, but I won't hold my breath on that one and would be happy if Nikon just manages to address the issues with my current body.
#26. "RE: D800 focusing issue saga" In response to Reply # 25
St Petersburg, RU
It would help with suggestions if you filled in your equipment profile since it still lists the D90 and a few DX lenses. You mentioned the d90 was starting to fail in focusing, which prompted the upgrade. The mention that both LV and Phase Detection AF had the same problem after the first repair, and that the service center determined the camera was within spec. Those are interesting and contradicting details. What lens are you using now and did you send one with the camera the second time? LV focuses using the sensor itself as you know so did you test other lenses with the D800? Did the store check it with their own lenses? Did the AF Fine Tune range of +/- 20 bring it into focus. When shooting actual scene, did any focal plane look dead on sharp? Stan St Petersburg Russia
#27. "RE: D800 focusing issue saga" In response to Reply # 26
First thing first. A store didn't do any checking - I sent the camera directly to Nikon's service facility. A store I bought it from suggested me to contact Nikon directly as sometimes that allows for faster service times, which I did.
Live view focusing did have some change to it after the adjustment. Nothing major and I wouldn't care too much about it, but the fact that I see a difference in shots before and after a bit surprising to me.
Both tests were done with 50mm 1.8G lens on the same target (I didn't take it off the wall) from Gitzo tripod and Arca-Swiss Z1 ballhead.
I don't think AF fine tuning would make a difference here as it wasn't that the whole lens got worse after the adjustment. Here is how it is. Before I sent the lens in left sensors were somewhat out of focus, while center and right sensor were pretty good. After the service my left sensor got considerably better, right stayed roughly the same (a tad worse) while the center sensor focusing got much worse. You can see that from the sample images I posted above.
Unfortunately I do not have wide and fast lenses and 50mm is my fastest lens. I was planning on renting something like 24mm 1.4 to do more testing, but that is postponed for now until I get my camera back.
#28. "RE: D800 focusing issue saga" In response to Reply # 27
St Petersburg, RU
Given that contrast detection is not working as it should and Nikon says it is within spec, before sending it back any more, getting to the bottom of the VF problem will reveal more about any the root cause of your out of focus images. Does anything in a scene, seem to be perfectly sharp? If you are still not happy with it, send the lens with the body or verify the lens performance by using it on another hi-res camera. A D7000 would represent about the same pixel density. Did you start testing after seeing scenes out of focus or did you start with focus testing? For any test to have something to tell us, it must be conducted with the intent to control as many variables as possible but it appears in this case there are many uncontrolled variables that could spoil the relevance of the tests. Stan St Petersburg Russia
#29. "RE: D800 focusing issue saga" In response to Reply # 28
Stan, I would greatly appreciate any pointers you can share with me to allow for better testing of my camera. I tried to control everything I could - camera, lens, distance to target, target itself, aperture, shutter speed, horizontal and vertical alignment of the camera. I did not have another camera to perform the same test with, that is true.
Contrast detection is not something that I was and am concerned about. As I said, LV focusing is decent and while it seems to me that is has changed a bit when using right side focusing it is nothing that I would be considering as an issue worth sending the camera for service. The problem I have is with phase detect focusing which got worse after a trip to a service shop while I'm being told that this is "within specifications". This is the biggest issue I have with my experience.
Once I get my camera back I am going to retest the camera with different target, different lens and possibly try to do AF fine tune in the process.
#30. "RE: D800 focusing issue saga" In response to Reply # 29
St Petersburg, RU
"Then I tried Live View focusing. And guess what - it got worse as well" That statement suggests that something is not right in the basic test or conditions. Forget AF PD for now, determine whether there is or isn't a problem with Contrast focusing. What were the Manual focus shots like? In a scene, is anything in sharp focus? Without that anomaly resolved, drawing conclusions about blurry images being the AF PD fault is premature. What is your light temperature? Tungsten sources can bias phase detection to settle on a physically different focusing position. Was the 50mm used on the D90 when you started noticing AF deterioration? Did you identify the source of the D90+lens problem?
When seeking a diagnosis of anything from my car to complex electronic instruments, gathering data that I can have faith in, as evidence of the problem, is critical in finding a cause that explains all the evidence. Right now, I would say there is a problem with some of the evidence not fitting the conclusions because not all the evidence is not explained by the conclusion.
#32. "RE: D800 focusing issue saga" In response to Reply # 31
St Petersburg, RU
Any camera that has a non-apochromatic lens exhibit this problem. Color wavelength differences create different focus convergence position when passing through lenses commonly seen as color fringing. Color temperature affects focus in a similar way, since the path through the lens, the mirror and focusing sensors changes with wavelength, but to a lesser extent, although enough to see in with a high enough resolution sensor like the D800. Your D300 no doubt does not have the resolution to see it. There are lenses designed to pass the visible spectrum with equal diffraction but they are expensive and limited production, mostly for astronomy and cinematography. It is not a new concept, it dates back to the mid-1700's when the first wavelength corrected lenses were developed.
Regarding the problem camera at had, there is not enough information to draw any meaningful conclusions yet, or even whether the problem even is in the camera. Stan St Petersburg Russia
#33. "RE: D800 focusing issue saga" In response to Reply # 32
Stan is correct.
At the risk of drifting off subject, the IR spectrum is about 10% off from the center of visible light spectrum. Red is close to IR. Green is about the middle.
The Coastal Optics 60mm f/4 lens is one of the best lenses made. It is designed to eliminate focus shift across different subsets of the spectrum - including UV and IR. It is a manual focus lens costing nearly $5000 - but it is optically fantastic.
#34. "RE: D800 focusing issue saga" In response to Reply # 0
Farmington Hills, US
Have you tested with any lens besides the 50/1.8? Maybe you have a lens problem instead of a camera problem. Also have you done similar tests with the 50/1.8 on any other camera body?
Gary in SE Michigan, USA. Co-organizer of the Southern Michigan Chapter Nikonians membership - My most important photographic investment, after the camera. D4, D800e, D300, D90, F6, FM3a (black), FM2n (chrome) YashicaMat 124, Graflex Speed Graphic 4x5 My Nikonians Gallery & Our Chapter Gallery
#35. "RE: D800 focusing issue saga" In response to Reply # 34
My 50mm is the fastest lens I've got, so I tested with it. Friend of mine borrowed the lens for some shots using D700 and he didn't experience any focusing issues.
As I said - the problem that I experienced is not that the image is out of focus. It is that focusing before the adjustment and after with the same lens, same setup produced very different results - after the adjustment left sensors got better, right sensors stays almost the same and center (as I understand the sensor that is suppose to be the most precise) got much worse.
At this point I am going to wait for my camera to get back to me and then do more testing, as well as AF fine tuning to see where that will get me. I will update this thread with my findings after all those tests.
#37. "RE: D800 focusing issue saga" In response to Reply # 32
>Any camera that has a non-apochromatic lens exhibit this >problem. Color wavelength differences create different focus >convergence position when passing through lenses commonly seen >as color fringing. Color temperature affects focus in a >similar way, since the path through the lens, the mirror and >focusing sensors changes with wavelength, but to a lesser >extent, although enough to see in with a high enough >resolution sensor like the D800. Your D300 no doubt does not >have the resolution to see it.
I understand that most lenses have this problem. It's beside the point.
Whether the D300 has enough resolution to see this is another matter. If we restrict the discussion to the DX frame the D7000 has more resolution than the D800 and doesn't suffer this problem. However it has a different auto focus area. The D300 has nearly the same AF area as the D800 and only 15% less resolution. Therefore, my claim as stated before is that the D300 does indeed have enough resolution to see these problems.
One thing I will say is this: when you have an example of the D800 that suffers from the asymmetric focus problem, the results achieved with the poorer focus points are well, well below the equivalent resolution of the D300. That is, it would be overwhelmingly obvious even to a D300 user.
Finally, in my examples, I had to reduce the resolution of the image from the D800 down below 2 MP in order to "mask" the focus error. In fact, even at 2 MP, the acutance was not as good as a properly focused image reduced to the same resolution.
#38. "RE: D800 focusing issue saga" In response to Reply # 0
So, for those who are interested in what's happening with my case of dealing with D800 focus problem - I've got my camera back from it's second trip to Nikon's service center.
I was told that everything operates within specifications in terms of focus performance. I don't know what or how they were testing my camera and if they even bothered to test it during the second service round - few dust particles that were in the mirror chamber after the first trip to the same facility are still there. So I'm not sure if anyone was doing anything serious in the camera.
I spend some time running tests again. Different target this time - star chart. Two lenses - my original 50mm and 70-200mm to make sure that no-one can just brush me off saying "maybe your lens is at fault".
As I said before - after first trip my left sensor got much better at the expense (?) of the center sensor. As a matter of fact I do not see how center sensor can be usable at all at this point with large apertures. My last round of tests is clearly showing that the focus performance is the same for different lenses.
Any idea of "color temperature" and other factors affecting focusing at this point just make no sense - if left and right sensors manage to focus to a decent degree, but center sensor fails - then there is hardly any "color temperature" problem here.
Also I doubt that AF fine tune would do anything here - as I understand, fine tuning is not done on a per sensor base, it's a global adjustment for a particular lens. So while it's possible to get center sensor to operate better I would believe that other sensors would suffer from this adjustment.
I put up complete test result on my blog since I have tools there to make the issue clearly visible and comparable. If you are interested - please take a look at the post here:
And for those who don't want to visit some other site - here are only 2 images - Live View and Phase Detect from center sensor which clearly show the issue:
So, with all this in mind I have few possible scenarios:
1. Nikon does not have proper procedure to fix the issue 2. There are different kinds of problems with focus mechanism and only some cases can be fixed/adjusted while other - cannot 3. Only few Nikon service centers are capable of fixing this 4. Nikon doesn't really care about this issue and tries to brush off as many customers as possible and doing something to those few who are either too well known or raise too many problems.
#39. "RE: D800 focusing issue saga" In response to Reply # 32
Stan, at this point you are criticizing my test methods without any constructive arguments or suggestions. I have asked you for constructive suggestions about how to improve my test process but have not heard anything of constructive nature yet. I have followed procedures explained by Thom Hogan and Nasim Mansurov and I would think that they know and understand what they are talking about.
Your comments seem to be aiming at making my issue sound self-inflicting and irrelevant. I wouldn't want to go further and assume that you are trying to make me look like an ignorant uneducated person. I want to ask you to provide relevant and constructive remarks, be it criticism or not. Otherwise they are of not much use to me or others who might be interested in the subject.
#40. "RE: D800 focusing issue saga" In response to Reply # 38
I would be extremely frustrated with the results you are getting. If the center sensor results you are getting are representative - and I assume they are - it's clear you have a major issue.
I think we are all hoping to find a problem with your test methodology that could reasonably resolve your problem - but I don't see anything that would be a major flaw. Your Live View test shows the lenses are capable of properly focusing, but Phase Detect AF is not working.
I think at this point you have two paths:
The first - and most obvious step - would be to talk to a real person at Nikon Canada, send them the sample results if needed, and ask for their help. The logical solution and the right thing to do would be to replace your camera.
The second option is to send your camera to one of the large Nikon Authorized Service locations - possibly in the US - and have your camera properly repaired. Someone like CRIS in Arizona or Precision Camera in Texas. I'd talk to them first. You'll probably have to pay for the repair, but it should fix the camera and provide a dollar amount for you to pursue further action with Nikon Canada.
I have a D800E, and the issues you have experienced certainly make me reluctant to have the Left AF sensor fixed. The camera works fine except that sensor, and I don't want to make the situation worse even though I have heard many good reports from others who have had their cameras fixed by Nikon in the US. As you suggest, It makes me question other purchases from Nikon. I currently have a D600 that I planned to convert to IR, but that voids the warranty. So I am spending several months testing it before conversion to make sure there are no issues at all (like the dust/oil problem that has been reported).
One thing to keep in mind - Nikon is made of many different individual managers. Nikon Japan may care about the issue and have one way of dealing with the problem, but Nikon Canada may be slightly different, and the individual handling your camera may have still different ideas. Hopefully you can get to someone who will do the right thing.
#41. "RE: D800 focusing issue saga" In response to Reply # 40
According to 3 separate tests, done with 2 lenses and 10 different test shots for each sensor I think the results are conclusive.
Thank you for your suggestions and advice. I am going to contact Canadian corporate and see who I can talk to there. Hopefully something comes out of that, not sure yet. Service center is Vancouver does not seem like a good place to send my camera to anymore.
I guess I will leave large Nikon Authorized Service locations as a last resort - it would be extremely upsetting and aggravating to have to pay for a repair of a manufacturer defect. And who knows if that even can be fixed at all?
In your case I wouldn't send my camera in just yet. If it's only the left sensor that's misbehaving, then maybe it's not the worst thing. On another hand - once your warranty runs out there is nothing you can do, period. And maybe Nikon hopes for people to just live with the issue because the situation can get worse? There is a reason as to why they keep quiet on the issue.
#42. "RE: D800 focusing issue saga" In response to Reply # 39
St Petersburg, RU
I am sorry you feel that way, it was not my intent. I did however, in every post ask for specific checks to isolate or reduce the variables that so far have not been replied to. Without some indication of testing variables reduced there is nothing anyone can do remotely to pinpoint the problem. As has been suggested in recent posts, taking itup with Nikon through other channels is the best way to resolve the issue. Stan St Petersburg Russia
#43. "RE: D800 focusing issue saga" In response to Reply # 41
Your experience as well as that of others has made me delay a purchase that I had been eager to make. The initial shortage while frustrating became a blessing in disguise. While waiting I began to read of the problems so many new owners were facing. My plan to own this camera is now on indefinite hold. I have owned and used Nikon cameras my entire life and except for a couple minor blips have been more than pleased with the product and service. My service has always been performed at Melville and has been exceptional. I am still using manual lenses that I purchased with my first FtN many years ago. I am as much concerned with the poor service being documented as I am with the hardware problems. Nikon seems to be approaching the D800 problems with a form of denial that I have never seen before from this company. I am sure that many remember the D2H shutter issues and the very effective response generated by Nikon to resolve those problems. I look forward to a major recall by Nikon as it appears that step will be all that resolves the problem. I wonder if the problems continue to be unresolved because Nikon can see no economically viable solution? At any rate, the entire situation is beginning to resemble the old Hans Christian Andersen fable in which the King was sold an invisible suit. When out and about, everyone praised his new suit. All but one boy who commented that "the King has no clothes." It is time to apply this fable to the D800 problem.
#44. "RE: D800 focusing issue saga" In response to Reply # 43
Well, it seems that shortages have been a blessing in disguise for some people, that's for sure. I know that if it was me and I learned about the camera issues I would definitely hold off buying D800 or went with another camera. I think people should be really careful when considering or purchasing D800. While $3000 for some may seem like it's not much or a good price, in reality and in this economy $3000 is a LOT of money. And if you don't get a product that works as it suppose to then spending this much money should be thought about very hard.
#45. "RE: D800 focusing issue saga" In response to Reply # 0
I've purchased FoCal to run tests on all of my lenses to see if I could figure out at least a single focusing sensor that I can use safely with this camera. At this point I run through adjustment process for 2 of my lenses - 50 mm and 70-200 @ 70mm for each of three sensors - right, center, left. The results are sort of resemble my own findings - both lenses have left and right sensors very close to each other in terms of performance while center is severely out of alignment (I proved this with test shots for each sensor applying AF Fine Tune):
50mm: Left -1, Center +9, Right -1 70-200 @ 70mm: Left 4, Center 11. Right 5
Pretty much at this point I have to use AF Fine Tune for a specific sensor and always use that sensor. Forget any sort of advanced focusing with this camera.
#46. "RE: D800 focusing issue saga" In response to Reply # 45
I had same issue of left and right being close and center not useable abfter repairs by Melvile. Finally exchanged the camera and got "lucky" with a D800e that focuses with out issues so far. Sorry you are having problems. After 3 repair tries they will exchange for a new body
#47. "RE: D800 focusing issue saga" In response to Reply # 46
Peter, good for you! Nice to hear that some people get it right with Nikon - makes me feel a bit better.
As for the fact of 3 failed repairs and exchange. This is the first time I hear about that and based on lots of other responses online and my own experience in dealing with Nikon repair it doesn't seem they are willing to do much. Well, time will tell.
#48. "RE: D800 focusing issue saga" In response to Reply # 44
You are assuming that somebody buying a new D800 will get a bad camera. You did, I didn't. Based on that small sample there is a 50-50 chance. The odds are probably better, as I do not think the majority of D800's have the focus issue.
Perhaps more sensible advice is that if you buy the camera, check it out promptly and return it for an refund or exchange if you are not satisfied.
The D800 is a wonderful tool, but a defective one is not acceptable. However, don't forgo buying one just because there is a chance that you'll get a bad copy. As they say: "Trust, but verify".
#49. "RE: D800 focusing issue saga" In response to Reply # 45
>50mm: Left -1, Center +9, Right -1 >70-200 @ 70mm: Left 4, Center 11. Right 5
This is actually not that terrible. At it's worst, I think my center and left differed by about 25 fine tune points (an assumption, based on the curve that FoCal generated showing the best fine tune value for the left being well off the chart).
After the first trip to Nikon this came down to less than 20 fine tune values, but more than 15.
#50. "RE: D800 focusing issue saga" In response to Reply # 49
Wow, that is indeed not that bad compared to your situation, Ryan. In my case what worries me is that center sensor got worse after the adjustment and Nikon still says it's within their specification. Not sure if that was the case with your camera as well.
#52. "RE: D800 focusing issue saga" In response to Reply # 51
Well, I noticed issues with my focusing a while ago when taking portrait of my family members with my 50mm @ 1.8. I always make sure to focus on one of the eyes, and I've been getting a considerable percentage of images soft. I kept looking at online images from D800 seeing how sharp those are, I compared with shots from my D90 and D800 was just softer. I didn't connect the dots with the whole focusing issue at that time, so I was just purging those soft shots being unhappy with myself for not doing something right and missing opportunities.
Since then my camera was adjusted for left sensor issue, so now I don't think any of those problems apply anymore and I have to deal with problems associated with my central sensors.
I cannot tell you the exact distance that the focus misses. I never thought to try to calculate that.
With the AF fine tune parameters now, it seems that using a single sensor I manage to get sharper photographs, but then again - it's been only 2 days since I got those AF fine tune parameters calculated. So I will need to keep using them to understand how the camera behaves. The problem here is that I can use only single sensor or Live View, which is not always feasible.
#53. "RE: D800 focusing issue saga" In response to Reply # 0 Fri 23-Nov-12 07:21 PM by avisys
I'm a little afraid to insert here. There are SO many threads on the subjectS of D800 focus. (and I have the problem with my $3,000) I'm afraid I may be outside the current thread subject, which seems to have been split between focus issues and other failures by Nikon service.
HOWEVER, in various threads on the subject, I see comments to the effect, "I never use the left focus point," which also suggests, just maybe, "Why are you all so upset about that outlier focus point? Nobody uses it! That's too much to expect of Nikon to make that thing way out there perform just like the one in the middle!" (And I understand that there is a technical difference between the middle and outer focus points -- but the bottom line is, they are both expected to 'FOCUS' dammit! Otherwise they wouldn't be there).
Well, just do a vertical head and shoulders at f1.8 or 2.8, from a POV of above or below the model, and you'll see that focus point right on top of the eye you want in crisp, sharp focus. Now do you worry about that "outlier" focus point?
If Nikon says, "The left-most and right-most focus points are not as reliable as the more central focus points," then I would accept the current issue. But Nikon won't say that. And, apparently, they have made SOME cameras conform to expectations for all focus points.
I understand the mechanical and optical challenges in this issue. The real point is: Has Nikon solved those issues, or haven't they? They are advertising as if they had, or at least are not signaling that they really haven't. It's time for either: Full disclosure that the problem really exists and that they don't have a solution; or that they do have a solution and all D800 users can expect that if they send a camera in for correction it will be repaired within specs.
Neither seems to be the case at this point --- shame on Nikon (which I know the forum managers don't like to hear).
And I might add: I've been in the camera and electronics/computer/software business for for 56 years, and a Nikon owner since 1957. I thoroughly understand the challenges Nikon is dealing with. However, if Nikon is advertising that they have solved those challenges (simply by providing all those focus points without warning that they might not really work as suggested), then they must deliver, or shut up and remove the focus points from the camera (since they are useless, in fact dangerous, if they don't work).
#54. "RE: D800 focusing issue saga" In response to Reply # 53
Thunder Bay, CA
sorry to hear about your ongoing problems with your D800 Alex, i also feel your pain with the D800 in taking pictures that look good on the LCD but finding that they are pretty much #### once viewed on the computer
the way Nikon is dealing with this is pretty much disgusting and yours is not the only horror story of dealing with Nikon customer service
Nikon seems to of lost its way of quality with their last few offerings, and now the D600 with its dust and oil problems
i am at the point of dumping my nikon equipmemt and going canon
#55. "RE: D800 focusing issue saga" In response to Reply # 54
It is indeed frustrating, alarming and concerning. As it stands now, I received a response from Nikon's corporate Customer service saying that my samples are inconclusive (if you want to see them - look up few posts earlier with star charts) and that I will need to send the camera in again. That will happen after I get back from Asia in December, but the tone of correspondence so far is not encouraging.
I take it you have some problems with your Nikon gear? Sorry to hear that. I hope you can find ways to deal with that. Please post your experience - that could help others.
#56. "RE: D800 focusing issue saga" In response to Reply # 48
Mick, totally agree with you. That's why I said - think really hard before going out and buying it. As a matter of fact one should think really hard and research the subject when spending that much money on anything. As I mentioned as well in other posts - make sure to test the camera and do not delay that. At least that way a customer is protected by a virtue of a return procedures.
I guess my post might have sounded more like "don't buy it at all", while it was more of "think hard and research" connotation.
#57. "RE: D800 focusing issue saga" In response to Reply # 56
Well I've had 3 D800s and they all had this issue. The first two I sent back to the dealer but the 3rd I sent to Nikon UK with pretty much the same results as the OP. Nikon UK don't make you pay for postage, but given their abysmal customer service, I suspect this might be to do with UK law. I find it hard to believe it has anything to do with Nikon's goodwill ( of which I have yet to see any evidence ).
Anyway, it came back worse than ever. The left AF point was all right but all the others were off by varying degrees. The centre point was absolutely awful!
I phoned Nikon who gave me some waffle about high resolution being responsible. They took it back again and it came back no better. I had bought it from Amazon who warranty their electrical good for a year and so I returned it. I was extremely disappointed with Nikon's service and attitude. I don't think I've ever had such a poor experience from a major company.
I haven't tried another D800 since. I might next year to see how well I do in the Nikon lottery but I'll make sure that I buy it from Amazon again. At least you can trust them to serve their customers which is sadly not the case with Nikon.
TBH I feel a bit of a chump for switching from Canon to this dreadful company.