Even though we ARE Nikon lovers,we are NOT affiliated with Nikon Corp. in any way.

English German French

Sign up Login
Home Forums Articles Galleries Recent Photos Contest Help Search News Workshops Shop Upgrade Membership Recommended
members
All members Wiki Contests Vouchers Apps Newsletter THE NIKONIAN™ Magazines Podcasts Fundraising

Zeiss: The Solution to D800 Focus Issues?

pastordcraig

Fort Yukon, US
37 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author
pastordcraig Gold Member Nikonian since 18th May 2011
Fri 06-Apr-12 05:16 PM

Greetings Friends,

I've been reading absolutely everything that I can find about the D800/800E. I've read "informed" opinions of those who say that there is no need to fear the resolution of the 800, or the lack of an AA filter on the 800E . . . "Go for it!" they say, "You'll be fine!" I've read other "informed" opinions of those who say, "If you're not the most recent incarnation of Ansel Adams, give up and die like the dog you are! Stick to your Polaroid One Shot!"

Obviously, I'm going to have to decide for myself . . . well, I've actually decided to allow fate to decide for me. I've ordered both versions of the 800 from Amazon, and I'll keep whichever one ships first. In case you're wondering, none of the preceding remarks have anything to do with my questions; they were made simply for your edification and amusement.

This is why I'm here. During my research (which includes downloading AND PRINTING all 472 pages of the D800 user's manual . . . and then reading it . . . no kidding)-- as I was saying, during my exhaustive (exhausting?) research, I found one reviewer who thought that the auto focus was a little "squirrelly" (my word, not the reviewer's). He said that the camera seemed to jump back and forth before finally settling down (I'm assuming he was using continuous AF, but I'm not positive). Anyway, he speculated that the focusing mechanism of the lens might simply be too coarse to achieve perfect focus every time. If I understood correctly, he was saying that even the smallest increments of movement were too much, so the camera was focusing too close, then too far, too close . . . you get the idea.

HERE ARE MY QUESTIONS (finally). 1) Does what that guy said make any sense to anyone? Is that a real possibility? 2) If that's the case, might it sometimes be beneficial to go with a manual focus prime (i.e. Zeiss)? 3) Have any of you tried a manual focus lens on your brand spanking new, shiny, fancy schmancy D800s, and what kinds of results did you get? (If you noticed a little envy peeking through in that last sentence, I apologize, but not especially sincerely)

I have a decent collection of lenses, and of course I will give them a good workout before I buy anything new. Also, I certainly wouldn't want to give up auto focus in every situation, but I shoot a lot of portraits, and I'm thinking that for that application, it might be worth sacrificing a little speed and convenience for precision.

I realize that with the D800 being so recently introduced, few folks have much experience with them, so truly "informed" opinions might be a little scarce. Still, I'm truly interested in your what you think, even if your thoughts are a bit speculative.

Thanks a bunch,
David Craig
Fort Yukon, Alaska

AreBee

Inverness, UK
531 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#1. "RE: Zeiss: The Solution to D800 Focus Issues?" | In response to Reply # 0

AreBee Registered since 27th Apr 2008
Fri 06-Apr-12 05:06 PM

David,

>...the focusing mechanism of the lens might simply be too coarse to achieve perfect focus every time...even the smallest increments of movement were too much<

More likely is simply the fact that autofocus will not focus 100% accurately 100% of the time, regardless of how well it operates.

Having said that, using the focus ring on an autofocus lens to focus manually can be frustrating, for the reason given in the quote. A focussing helicoid, such as that used in Zeiss lenses, will certainly improve the situation.

Rob
www.robbuckle.co.uk

pastordcraig

Fort Yukon, US
37 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#2. "RE: Zeiss: The Solution to D800 Focus Issues?" | In response to Reply # 1

pastordcraig Gold Member Nikonian since 18th May 2011
Sat 07-Apr-12 06:15 PM

Thanks for the response, Rob.

I appreciate, too, the technical jargon, though I confess I was a little concerned at first. To me, a focusing helicoid sounds like some kind of exotic military hardware-- For a moment, I thought that perhaps the Germans were up to more than just great photography equipment.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

JHzlwd

Calgary, CA
458 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#3. "RE: Zeiss: The Solution to D800 Focus Issues?" | In response to Reply # 0

JHzlwd Silver Member Donor Ribbon awarded for his support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Nikonian since 03rd Oct 2007
Sat 07-Apr-12 08:14 PM

Hi Dave,

Good posting. Yes, I was amused and edified. Much thanks. You have the right attitude. I take all these opinions and findings with a grain of salt (a few pounds of salt, in fact).

I have had my D800 (not the "e") for about a week. It is as close to flawless as I have discovered in 45 years of some pretty serious photography. I have been shooting a lot so as to stress the system before my 15 days "no questions asked" store warranty runs out. With the best lenses it invades medium format territory and I say that as a m/f film bigot. There are *no* focus issues with any of my Nikkors and I have a lot of those. In fact, focus is better than on either my D7000 or D300 and they are pretty darn good. The D800 jumps instantly to the right spot. No hesitation, even with the somewhat notoriously finicky 105 mm Micro-Nikkor. Right on every time. How nice! Of course, a "pixel peeper" will always find fault but that's a dreary sort of existence I avoid. Auto focus cannot be expected to achieve theoretical perfection for a variety of reasons but the D800 nails it 99.9% of the time which is about 30% better than what I can manage with manual focus. I do not give a rat's -ss about the 0.1% near misses. Isn't that what "chimping" is for?

Remember, pre-production D800's have been in the hands of selected "pros" for months and received a lot of field testing. This is not some wacko experimental product launch.

I am leery of the "e" model though, being a signal processing scientist. The need for anti-aliasing is mathematically well-established. Once you get aliasing it cannot be painlessly removed after the fact no matter what you may hear. The "e" might give you a bit more detail in some cases but will you see the difference in a finished print? I don't think so but ... to each his own.

Spend the $3000 and enjoy life. There are no pockets in the shroud. Avoid obsessing. That way lies misery. Don't read too many postings. Take pictures instead.

You asked for it so there it is. "The voice of experience", such as it is. I am just an old f-rt trying to help out you young whipper-snappers .

Best wishes,
JH

http://www.wolfwillow.com/Photo/WPhoto

mikesrc

OKLAHOMA CITY, US
299 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#4. "RE: Zeiss: The Solution to D800 Focus Issues?" | In response to Reply # 3

mikesrc Registered since 03rd May 2009
Sat 07-Apr-12 08:23 PM

I've owned mine since March 22. All I can say buy it shoot it and you will love it. Nuff said???

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

AreBee

Inverness, UK
531 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#5. "RE: Zeiss: The Solution to D800 Focus Issues?" | In response to Reply # 3

AreBee Registered since 27th Apr 2008
Sun 08-Apr-12 07:32 AM | edited Sun 08-Apr-12 01:19 PM by AreBee

Garth,

>...a "pixel peeper" will always find fault but that's a dreary sort of existence I avoid.<

A so-called "pixel peeper" can only find fault if it exists. Others have found significant autofocus error of far greater magnitude than the 0.1% you claim, with a range of lenses. A so-called "pixel peeper" is able to achieve 100% focus 100% of the time. Who wouldn't want that result?

It really is astonishing how many people use the term "pixel peeper" in a way that carries with it a negative, essentially derogatory, connotation, yet purchase the world's highest resolution DSLR currently available. Presumably the same people never:

1. So-called "chimp" because that can involve viewing at a magnification up to or exceeding 100%

2. Write or allude in forum threads to the extraordinary resolution of the files that they have marvelled at by viewing on their computer at 100%

3. Provide crops at 100% in forum threads.

4. View at 100% when sharpening for display or for subsequent printing.

5. Validate that a lens purchase delivers the perfomance they paid for, by examining test images at 100%

Rank hypocrisy.

>I am leery of the "e" model though...The need for anti-aliasing is mathematically well-established.<

With regard to moire, this can still be captured in certain situations with cameras with an AA filter. The D800 (non E version) is not immune from it.

Rob
www.robbuckle.co.uk

pastordcraig

Fort Yukon, US
37 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#6. "RE: Zeiss: The Solution to D800 Focus Issues?" | In response to Reply # 3

pastordcraig Gold Member Nikonian since 18th May 2011
Sun 08-Apr-12 04:20 PM

Thanks everyone for your thoughts. I'm not quite the "young whipper-snapper" that JH took me for-- I just write young. I've been at this for about forty years myself; I'm not sure that my early years should really count though. I have an old album filled mostly with photos of our dog doing her business out in the yard. I guess that was my idea of high comedy as a first grader. I'm not sure why Mom kept buying film and having it developed for me-- I suppose I was spoiled.

Anyway, thanks again. You all are great. Even all of you rank hypocrites.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

DigitalDarrell

Knoxville, US
5988 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#7. "RE: Zeiss: The Solution to D800 Focus Issues?" | In response to Reply # 0

DigitalDarrell Team Member Founding Member of the Nikonians writer Guild. Author of most of the NikoniansPress books. Donor Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Charter Member
Sun 08-Apr-12 01:05 PM

I'm not having any focus issues, so far. However, I am having a great deal of fun with my old manual-focus AI Nikkors from the late 70s.

==============================================
Darrell Young (DigitalDarrell) www.pictureandpen.com
"Better too many words than not enough understanding."
==============================================

Arkayem

Richmond Hill, GA (Savannah), US
6134 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#8. "RE: Zeiss: The Solution to D800 Focus Issues?" | In response to Reply # 0

Arkayem Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in flash photography Charter Member
Sun 08-Apr-12 03:22 PM

I have now shot two assignments (approx 2000 images), and have found the autofocus to be the best I have ever used. My previous best was the D3.

I also was very pleasantly surprised when 'pixel-peeping' my images taken with my 24-70mm f/2.8. They are sharp to 300% on my PC, with most being hand-held with flash, where the flash freezes any camera motion in low ambient light.

The D800 is now my main camera! The images are simply amazing!

My lower cost FX lenses (35-70mm f/2.8, 24-85mm f/2.8-f/4.0, 50mm f/1.8) do show some softness when pixel-peeping, but they are plenty sharp for 8x10 prints, even when wide open.

Russ
Nikonian Team Member
Russell MacDonald Photography
Nikon CLS Practical Guide

walk43

Pennsylvania, US
719 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#9. "RE: Zeiss: The Solution to D800 Focus Issues?" | In response to Reply # 0

walk43 Registered since 07th Feb 2012
Sun 08-Apr-12 07:40 PM | edited Sun 08-Apr-12 07:48 PM by walk43

I did use the D800 with a Tamron 90 macro in manual focus mode. Had no problems at all. However.....in Live View, it (the image in Live View) jumps a very little bit every now and then within the range, as you turn the focus ring, and makes a very little 'clicking' sound....but it focuses and the image is fine.

Used my Nikon 28-300VR in manual mode and it was fine. In Live View the 28-300 was fine also...no clicking or little jumps in Live View.

I put the Tamron on my D90 and there was no clicking or little jumps in the Live View image.

So ...it seems to me that the D800 has a bit of a problem (of some sort) interfacing with the Tamron 90 focusing mechanics when focusing manual on the D800. But it has no impact on the image.

The IQ (including sharpness) was fine on all tests...just a bit jerky with the Tamron, manual mode only, in Live View on the D800.

That's the first issue I have had with my D800 and I have taken about 740 shots.

Wonder if I should worry????

Dan
(Nikon D800,V2,Sony HX400V,Lumix ZS40)
"I don't read, I just look at pictures" - Andy Warhol

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Herbc

US
75 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#10. "RE: Zeiss: The Solution to D800 Focus Issues?" | In response to Reply # 0

Herbc Registered since 10th May 2012
Fri 25-May-12 08:49 AM

David, I have the D800E, and have not had any issues with a 24-70 auto focus lens, but shooting a zeiss 35mm on it makes you realize how shallow depth of field is, so when shooting a serious subject for a competition portfolio, tripod, live view and manual focus is a more prudent practice

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

gmth

Lewisville, US
761 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#11. "RE: Zeiss: The Solution to D800 Focus Issues?" | In response to Reply # 0

gmth Gold Member Awarded for sharing his excellent work and continued contribution to the forums, most notably at the Aviation forum. Donor Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Nikonian since 10th Feb 2012
Fri 25-May-12 09:35 AM

>This is why I'm here. During my research (which includes
>downloading AND PRINTING all 472 pages of the D800 user's
>manual . . . and then reading it . . .

Just wondering why you would print the 472 page manual. With a PDF on the computer, you have zoom in/out font adjustment, search, goto function, etc. - making it much easier to read than paper.
Amyway, just curious...

Glenn - Nikonian in North Texas - USA


my Nikonians gallery.

PhotoSpydie

Buckeye, US
226 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#12. "RE: Zeiss: The Solution to D800 Focus Issues?" | In response to Reply # 0

PhotoSpydie Silver Member Donor Ribbon awarded for her support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Nikonian since 17th Jul 2011
Fri 25-May-12 11:02 AM

If by squirrel-like you mean it changes in the 'in focus' indicator on the lower left of the screen (where it tells you dead on, before or after where you have indicated you want to focus) - well, a bit more movement than I got with my D300s. For me, the difference is that on the D300 it simply indicates a focus has been achieved. On the D800 it tells me if it is focusing in front of or behind the point I want. So until I get my part of the bargain done right the indicators can go back and forth (like a squirrel) whereas before I simply would not have anything to look at.

Must admit that I really like the results I am getting and am having no focus problems once I learn and do it right. I am a relatively beginner photographer so am more patient in taking shots, perhaps. I also find that there is more to a full frame than I would have imagined. The resolution and color density on the D800 is just awesome.

Carol
photospydie.com

chiefmasterjedi

US
313 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#13. "RE: Zeiss: The Solution to D800 Focus Issues?" | In response to Reply # 11

chiefmasterjedi Silver Member Nikonian since 26th Feb 2009
Fri 25-May-12 11:24 AM | edited Fri 25-May-12 11:51 AM by chiefmasterjedi

I will add my 2 cents here. I've had the D800 for a month now and shot around 4,000 images with various lenses. The camera is a step up from the D700 in many ways. The dynamic range is unreal, it almost felt like HDR when I took my first few shots but now I've got use to it. The metering system is a masterpiece and I have tried many times to fool it but it seems smarter than me (no real feat there!). As for the focusing system, I do find it a little "picky" at times. When using AF-S single point, it seems to lock on to the subject immediately but then gives a tiny micro stutter before confirming focus. Now don't get me wrong, I don't see this as a problem, more like the camera is double checking itself (if that makes sense). Maybe it's the sort of photography and subjects that I focus on that causes this, I will have to try some larger targets in better light to confirm.

I noticed a poster above talking about the Tamron 90mm macro lens.My wife owns this lens and I often take it instead of my Sigma 150mm to save on weight. I have also found a issue with the Tamron. I used it recently with a SB-900 in the hot shoe and found that TTL and TTL-BL was giving very badly over exposed fill flash, I ended up using manual flash. All my other lenses, including the Sigma 150mm give perfect fill flash. I haven't had any focus issues with the Tamron but I've not really put it through it's paces or have I used live view with the Tamron.

I will also add my personal opinion to lens sharpness. I do pixel peep because I like to see how sharp a lens is and how well it focuses.

Nikon 16-35vr F4 - Immediate auto focus and very sharp for a wide angle lens. The VR works great and I can hand hold shots at 1/5 second on the D800 and get sharp results. This was my go to lens on my trip to Scotland last week.

Nikon 24-120vr F/4 - Great walk around lens and is a real gem on the D700. The D800 on the other hand is a different story, I've had mix results and can only put them down to my own sloppiness because I can get very high quality images with it but I need to watch the shutter speed.

Nikon 50mm 1.8G - You just can't go wrong with this lens for the money it costs. It is so sharp that I can take shots of bees on flowers at about 3' away and then crop them 100% and get a macro looking shot. The new "G" model is better at F/1.8 than the older versions and has better contrast.

Nikon 85mm 1.8D - This lens is seriously sharp, even stupidly sharp! I've read about how good the 1.4 is and how much better the new "G" is, but I must have a very good copy of the 1.8D because I can't see anything ever being sharper on my D800. It is also the only lens I own that didn't need any AF tuning, it was bang on at every aperture.

Sigma 150mm macro - Very sharp as a macro lens should be. It's a little heavy but I love the extra reach on FX format. This lens does not work in live view mode. Will need to be sent to Sigma for an update to work in live view.

Nikon AF-S 300mm F/4 - This lens really surprised me because I didn't think it would handle the extra resolution of the D800, but I was wrong. This lens gives stunning images when use at 1/500 second or faster hand holding. It is sharp even wide open at F/4 and is super sharp at F/5.6. Tracking birds in flight with AF-C and 21 points on the D800 is a pleasure and gets fantastic results. Even the subject that are a little further away can be cropped in and retain great detail.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.
Visit my web site.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

alleese

Pennsylvania, US
19 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#14. "RE: Zeiss: The Solution to D800 Focus Issues?" | In response to Reply # 13

alleese Gold Member Nikonian since 19th Feb 2009
Sat 26-May-12 01:15 AM

Thanks Christian for that breakdown on each of those lenses. I own most of those and will be testing soon.

Still waiting on my D800E from B&H!!
-Al

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

pastordcraig

Fort Yukon, US
37 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#15. "RE: Zeiss: The Solution to D800 Focus Issues?" | In response to Reply # 11

pastordcraig Gold Member Nikonian since 18th May 2011
Mon 28-May-12 05:58 PM

The computer is certainly more convenient when I'm in my office, but when I'm lying on the couch with some Oreos and milk, the hard copy is nice.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Gator Bob

SANTA FE, US
582 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#16. "RE: Zeiss: The Solution to D800 Focus Issues?" | In response to Reply # 0

Gator Bob Silver Member Nikonian since 28th Jul 2006
Wed 30-May-12 12:42 AM

> During my research (which includes downloading AND PRINTING all 472 pages of the D800 user's manual . . . and then reading it . . . no kidding)


The D700 and D800 manuals are on my ipad3. Superb carry-around references, instantly searchable and very easy to read. Free Nikon Manual app.

Gator Bob in Gainesville FL
D700 & SB800 * D800 on order
Nikkors: *14-24 * 28-300 * PC-E 85mm *50mm 1.8
Tamron 90mm Macro

G