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Nikon repair center messed up my D800

sylvatica

Somerville, US
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sylvatica Registered since 16th Jan 2013
Thu 17-Jan-13 12:25 AM

Hello Nikonians,

I've been reading you for a while, and today I need some advice. Here is my story.

I've bought my D800 in the USA in July 2012, and I've quickly realized that it was backfocusing with the left AF sensor. To be specific, my AFS 35mm 1.4 and my AFS 85mm 1.8 both needed an AFFT (AF Fine Tune) value of -5 for the center focus point and -15 for the extreme left focus point. The difference was manageable and I've decided to wait a bit before sending the camera to Melville to be adjusted.

That's what I did just after christmas. My D800 came back last friday and is now completely messed up:

- It frontfocuses with all my new lenses. I have tested the 35mm and the 85mm wide open with the central sensor and without fine tuning. The results are quite explicit.

Click on image to view larger version



Click on image to view larger version


My lenses are less than 6 months old and they are fine as you can see on this picture taken with a D200 (left is the 35mm, and right is the 85mm)

Click on image to view larger version


- The focusing system became unreliable. After fine tuning my lenses in daylight, first focus tests in daylight were acceptable. As soon as I entered my house with artificial light, it became totally unreliable. I then realized that the amount of fine tune needed for my lenses was dependent upon the color of the light. It was not the case before I sent the camera to Melville. I've done enough fine tuning in natural and artificial light before to be positive about it. Now, a lens that needs +10 in natural light needs +20 in artificial light. Of course, all those tests are done with the central sensor. The following picture explains that:

Click on image to view larger version


I have called Nikon on monday, and I first had someone nice who apologized, asked me to send pictures and told me that I will receive a UPS label in the afternoon to send the camera back. I've uploaded the files within 15 minutes and I haven't heard from them. I called back tuesday, and I've asked for a replacement as they have messed up my camera. I've been told that someone is currently looking at my pictures. They promised me to come back to me the same day, or on wednesday. I did not get any news from them today.

It is very hard for me to trust these people anymore. I would like to get some advices on how I should handle the case.

Thanks for your help,
Francois


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Ferguson

Cape Coral, US
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#1. "RE: Nikon repair center messed up my D800" | In response to Reply # 0

Ferguson Silver Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for the generous sharing of his high level expertise in the spirit of Nikonians Nikonian since 19th Aug 2004
Wed 16-Jan-13 11:43 PM


Certainly there are a lot of stories about it taking more than one trip. It's unfortunate, but I would say the path of least resistance is let them try again.

But the indoor/outdoor issue is interesting. I'm not an optics guy, but the little I know makes that sound really odd. Even though clearly a different wavelength, it's not THAT different. How much brighter/dimmer was it though? Is it possible the focus is simply inconsistent, and these were what you happened to get. If you do them again might they both be different? Or maybe it was dark enough indoor it was inconsistent there?

When I sent mine in, it took them DAYS to "look at the images". When I got it back it was much better, was symmetric left to right, but still off between outer and center focus. But not so much as to be a problem. So I'm satisfied, if not impressed, by their service now (NY by the way).

Linwood

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sylvatica

Somerville, US
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#2. "RE: Nikon repair center messed up my D800" | In response to Reply # 1

sylvatica Registered since 16th Jan 2013
Thu 17-Jan-13 12:05 AM | edited Thu 17-Jan-13 12:25 AM by sylvatica

Thanks for your advice.

Looking at those crops, it is hard for me not to be ballistic. But I am doing my best to keep cool.

Color of light: It is something that must be taken care of in phase detect system. This document from Canon ( http://www.canon.co.uk/Images/EOS%201DMKIV%20Technology%20Feature%20Guide_tcm14-721276.pdf ) shows on page 5 that their AF system is corrected for different wavelength. Nikon might do the same thing and I imagine that a camera not tuned correctly could be color dependent as far as AF is concerned. The most interesting thing is that even changing the color of the target makes a difference! Here are 8 shots in a row with the same amount of AF Fine Tune. The green line is where it should have focused and the pink line is where is has focused. As you can see, as soon as the target becomes red, it starts to front focus.

Click on image to view larger version


Click on image to view larger version


I've heard people complaining about the AF system to be unreliable after being "repaired". This could be an explanation.


Light intensity: I've done enough test to realize that an AF system never focuses exactly at the same point. Therefore, for all my tests, I use AFS single point, and I do 6 tests in a row, defocusing 3 times to infinity and 3 times to close range before asking the camera to focus. Everything is done on a tripod. And, the results are consistent.
I've tried to change the color of light with exactly the same intensity of light (this is not the pictures I've posted) and the exact same problem was here.

I just can't beleive they dare to send you back a camera in that state.

For you camera, I have some questions:
- Do you have lenses that you trust to be correctly calibrated, and are they fine for the central sensor at 0 ?
- How big is the difference in between the central and the outer sensor? I mean, what is the difference in between the optimal AF Fine Tune for the sensors?

Thanks for your help,






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icslowmo

Surprise, US
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#3. "RE: Nikon repair center messed up my D800" | In response to Reply # 0

icslowmo Registered since 01st Jan 2012
Thu 17-Jan-13 12:13 AM

I would agree to have them check it again... Also take pictures of the camera before shipping it so as to have proof that camera was not damaged before shipping back to them, seen Nikon tell someone on here they suspected impact damage. Also I'm thinking when I send mine in for a general back focus adjustment... (Ranging from -5 to -15 depending on lens used), I may as well drop all my lenses off to have checked and adjusted to my D800E body.... Figure that might be the best way to get the best results.... Just my input

Chris

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sylvatica

Somerville, US
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#4. "RE: Nikon repair center messed up my D800" | In response to Reply # 3

sylvatica Registered since 16th Jan 2013
Thu 17-Jan-13 12:28 AM | edited Thu 17-Jan-13 12:28 AM by sylvatica

I always take pictures of my camera before sending it to the repair center. I already had a laptop damaged by an Apple repair center to be careful about this.

Thanks

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icslowmo

Surprise, US
613 posts

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#5. "RE: Nikon repair center messed up my D800" | In response to Reply # 2

icslowmo Registered since 01st Jan 2012
Thu 17-Jan-13 12:38 AM

What were the AF fine tune settings for each of these samples...???

Chris

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sylvatica

Somerville, US
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#6. "RE: Nikon repair center messed up my D800" | In response to Reply # 5

sylvatica Registered since 16th Jan 2013
Thu 17-Jan-13 12:39 AM | edited Thu 17-Jan-13 12:41 AM by sylvatica

The same, +10 which is the amount needed for the 85mm f1.8 with natural light and a white target .

Nothing has been changed, except the color of the target.

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Ferguson

Cape Coral, US
5751 posts

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#7. "RE: Nikon repair center messed up my D800" | In response to Reply # 2

Ferguson Silver Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for the generous sharing of his high level expertise in the spirit of Nikonians Nikonian since 19th Aug 2004
Thu 17-Jan-13 12:40 AM

>For you camera, I have some questions:
>- Do you have lenses that you trust to be correctly
>calibrated, and are they fine for the central sensor at 0 ?

I have a fair amount of glass, and while some come in at zero they are a minority. These are from old notes (I have done some more tuning), but I think I have:

14-24/2.8, AF=+10
24-70/2.8, AF=9
70-200/2.8, AF=2
85/1.4G, AF=+13
200/F2, AF=+11
200-400/F4 VRI, AF=0
200-400/F4 w 1.4x, AF=0

I'm definitely not one that believes that non-zero means bad, provided I have headroom to hit the right value.

>- How big is the difference in between the central and the
>outer sensor? I mean, what is the difference in between the
>optimal AF Fine Tune for the sensors?

The only one I checked the left/right points was the 85/1.4G. The number above was an average. The actual numbers were:

Left = + 2
Center = + 18
Right = +5

On paper that sounds horrible, but the shape of the curve for the left and right were pretty flat, so picking an average of +13 yielded an acceptable compromise. And in fact I couldn't really tell a difference in left and right by eye.

I believe left/right/center should be nearly identical and they are not. But it was "good enough" that on all my other lenses I could not tell the difference by eye in real images. Only on the 85/1.4 is it an issue, and only very slightly. I have not tried comparing inside and outside (but I use the tuned lenses both places without any apparent difference).

If you are expecting to be able to measure exactly the same value for left/right/center, my GUESS is you will never get there. I think the tolerance is beyond Nikon. But I think they CAN get it close enough that real images are OK. It doesn't sound like they did for you.

Linwood

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icslowmo

Surprise, US
613 posts

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#8. "RE: Nikon repair center messed up my D800" | In response to Reply # 6

icslowmo Registered since 01st Jan 2012
Thu 17-Jan-13 12:44 AM

Crazy... So with a good AF target, your camera under this test is showing a 75% hit rate, almost 50%......

I to have noticed my D800E to be not as accurate under poor lighting.... So I end up just using my 24-70 f/2.8 as I seem to have the best luck with that lens, with the added DOF and all....

Chris

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sylvatica

Somerville, US
14 posts

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#9. "RE: Nikon repair center messed up my D800" | In response to Reply # 7

sylvatica Registered since 16th Jan 2013
Thu 17-Jan-13 12:45 AM

That's a difference of 15 AF Fine tune units for the 85mm 1.4.

You have to know that the AF Fine Tune unit scales with the maximum aperture of the lens. For instance, a difference of 10 AF Fine Tune units with an 85mm f4 lens is worse than the same difference with an f1.4 lens.

Thanks for the information.

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Ferguson

Cape Coral, US
5751 posts

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#10. "RE: Nikon repair center messed up my D800" | In response to Reply # 9

Ferguson Silver Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for the generous sharing of his high level expertise in the spirit of Nikonians Nikonian since 19th Aug 2004
Thu 17-Jan-13 12:50 AM

>That's a difference of 15 AF Fine tune units for the 85mm
>1.4.

Yes. Like I said, I'm not impressed by the results from Nikon report, but I am satisfied as now the images are sharp for the real world. I could have easily argued they needed to try again and sent it back again, but real world is what I normally photograph, not focus targets.

I don't have any suggestions as to what might be wrong with your technique, so I too would be upset. But I would suggest you try some real world shots and just convince yourself they are also bad.


Linwood

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icslowmo

Surprise, US
613 posts

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#11. "RE: Nikon repair center messed up my D800" | In response to Reply # 7

icslowmo Registered since 01st Jan 2012
Thu 17-Jan-13 12:57 AM

I find it interesting that most of the AF issues were a general back focus to some degree in the center and more so on the left side points. But after many have sent their camera in for repair, the camera now takes on a general front focus across verious points.... Like you, I've been using mine for pictures of people places and things and have been generally happy with my results. But my question would be, if some lenses tend to have a back focus shift when stopping down, which would you rather have, a camera that tends to back focus or front focus....??? Almost would rather have front focus I'm thinking....

Chris

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sylvatica

Somerville, US
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#12. "RE: Nikon repair center messed up my D800" | In response to Reply # 10

sylvatica Registered since 16th Jan 2013
Thu 17-Jan-13 12:58 AM

Real world shots are worse than they used to be.

Falk Lumo, a german guy did some very serious testing about the discrepancy in between the different AF sensors. He tests D800, D700, D3 and Canon cameras. His findings is that one could not expect a difference less than:
- 10 AF Fine Tune for f2.8 lenses
- 20 AF Fine Tune for f1.4 lenses
So your camera is within the range of what is acceptable.

http://www.falklumo.com/lumolabs/articles/D800Focus/SensorArray.html

The biggest problem with mine, is that it became totally unstable. It was not the case before.

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sylvatica

Somerville, US
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#13. "RE: Nikon repair center messed up my D800" | In response to Reply # 11

sylvatica Registered since 16th Jan 2013
Thu 17-Jan-13 01:02 AM | edited Thu 17-Jan-13 01:03 AM by sylvatica

If it is consistent, across the AF sensors, the focusing distance and the color of the light, a slight frontfocus or backfocus is not a problem. That's what AF Fine Tune is for.

If a lens needs +20 and is reliable with that setting, I am happy with it.

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giorgiogu

London, UK
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#14. "RE: Nikon repair center messed up my D800" | In response to Reply # 1

giorgiogu Registered since 17th Jan 2013
Thu 17-Jan-13 12:07 PM

Hello all

I had many back/front focus issue since i bought the D800E with the 24-70 and 70-200 f2.8 few months ago and i'm waiting for Nikon repair centre to fix them if possible.

Basically my issue is not jus that the 24-70 and the 70-200 front or back focus, the front/back focus adjustment i have to apply is different for different focal lengths, for e.g., the 24-70 require -20 at 70mm and +15 at 24mm, similar for the 70-200, it require +4 at 200 and -15 at 70mm, this make quite impossible for me to get a decent image, as i zoom in and out very often and many of my shoots are at 2.8. I mainly use only the centre point to focus, and to be honest i never tried to see if there was a difference with the left or right points.

I should receive the camera and lenses back in these days, i will let you know ig the issue was fixed, hope so

Giorgio

sylvatica

Somerville, US
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#15. "RE: Nikon repair center messed up my D800" | In response to Reply # 14

sylvatica Registered since 16th Jan 2013
Thu 17-Jan-13 12:24 PM | edited Thu 17-Jan-13 12:26 PM by sylvatica

Hi hope that your repair will be fine. I don't have any fast zoom, therefore I have no experience with these issues.

I completely understand that gear can't be perfect and that there are some tolerances under which we can't ask Nikon to go. But, they should make these tolerances public. For instance, they could state:

- We can't tune a camera so that there is less than the following AF Fine Tune units of difference in between the AF sensors:
- 20 for a f1.4 glass
- 15 for a f1.8 glass
- 10 for a f2.8 glass
- Etc...

That's what a serious company would do: give their clients their error bar so they could know what to expect, and fix it in repair centers when the product is not within the limits.

I have heard that Zeiss test their lenses before being shipped. They measure the MTF curve of the lens and if it is not within a specific range, the lens is disassembled and built again.

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DAJolley

US
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#16. "RE: Nikon repair center messed up my D800" | In response to Reply # 14

DAJolley Silver Member Nikonian since 19th Dec 2007
Thu 17-Jan-13 02:27 PM

Giorgio,
Nikon won't be able to fix the issues with your zooms requiring different fine tune adjustments at different focal lengths. That is just a fact of life with Nikon zoom lenses.
Dave Jolley

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giorgiogu

London, UK
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#17. "RE: Nikon repair center messed up my D800" | In response to Reply # 16

giorgiogu Registered since 17th Jan 2013
Thu 17-Jan-13 02:31 PM

>Giorgio,
>Nikon won't be able to fix the issues with your zooms
>requiring different fine tune adjustments at different focal
>lengths. That is just a fact of life with Nikon zoom lenses.
>Dave Jolley

Hi Dave,

I understand the zooms might require different adjustment at both the end, but i will ok for example if the difference is minor, like +4 at 70 and 0 at 24, in this case i can thing to set a +2 so to have sharp images at both the end, but with -20 at one end and + 15 to the other i really can't use the lens

Giorgio

briantilley

Paignton, UK
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#18. "RE: Nikon repair center messed up my D800" | In response to Reply # 15

briantilley Gold Member Deep knowledge of bodies and lens; high level photography skills Donor Ribbon awarded for his support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Nikonian since 26th Jan 2003
Thu 17-Jan-13 03:07 PM

>I have heard that Zeiss test their lenses before being
>shipped.

That must be why I've never heard of an autofocus problem with a Zeiss ZF lens...

Brian
Welsh Nikonian

sylvatica

Somerville, US
14 posts

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#19. "RE: Nikon repair center messed up my D800" | In response to Reply # 18

sylvatica Registered since 16th Jan 2013
Thu 17-Jan-13 04:36 PM

>That must be why I've never heard of an autofocus problem with
>a Zeiss ZF lens...

I was talking of sharpness of their lenses, measured by the MTF curves. Obviously not the focusing accuracy

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venusian

US
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#20. "RE: Nikon repair center messed up my D800" | In response to Reply # 3

venusian Registered since 17th Dec 2008
Thu 17-Jan-13 05:12 PM | edited Thu 17-Jan-13 05:15 PM by venusian

Chris,

Why would you think about sending your camera and lens in to Nikon for adjustment after reading the horror stories about Nikon repair?

Does anyone know of a non-Nikon reliable contract service one can send a Nikon camera and lens to?

Nick (Roxbury, Connecticut Nikonian)

Ferguson

Cape Coral, US
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#21. "RE: Nikon repair center messed up my D800" | In response to Reply # 20

Ferguson Silver Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for the generous sharing of his high level expertise in the spirit of Nikonians Nikonian since 19th Aug 2004
Thu 17-Jan-13 05:31 PM

Just to have a bit of counter point....

>Why would you think about sending your camera and lens in to
>Nikon for adjustment after reading the horror stories about
>Nikon repair?

Well, consider that you can easily find one success story for every failure, but more importantly consider that people with success generally don't go online to write something.

Nikon's reputation frankly is pretty bad right now, but I never even considered finding a 3rd party when I needed to send mine in. They broke it, they should fix it, and if they can't fix it why would I think someone outside of Nikon's inner circle could -- it's not like Nikon has a reputation for sharing engineering information with their 3rd party network.

I would hesitate sending one in that could be fine tuned to be acceptable, even if it wasn't perfect. But if it's focus is out of calibration, I view them as the only viable game in town.

Unless you can figure out how to get another country's team to fix it.

Linwood

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ericbowles

Atlanta, US
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#22. "RE: Nikon repair center messed up my D800" | In response to Reply # 2

ericbowles Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge and high level skills in various areas, especially Landscape and Wildlife Photoghraphy Writer Ribbon awarded for for his article contributions to the community Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Nikonian since 25th Nov 2005
Thu 17-Jan-13 05:47 PM

The variation in results by color is not surprising. If you recall, each wavelength of light has a slightly different focus. If you were to only use one wavelength - IR - there is a significant adjustment. Many of the older lenses have a mark on the lens to indicate the adjustment. IR conversions provide the ability to adjust focus so that it is corrected for IR spectrum instead of the visible spectrum. Red spectrum adjoins IR spectrum, and is the most likely to show a focus shift.

Likewise I would not expect the same AF fine tuning value for different sensors. The purpose of AF fine tuning is to adjust the focus of the lens camera combination. Normally the center is the most accurate sensor and the most accurate portion of the lens. Expecting the outer sensors to have the same AF adjustment as the center adds a number of variables beyond just the camera body combination.

Variation in the outer sensors can be a function of lens design as well as lens issues or defects. Most lenses have less accurate focus at the outer edges compared to the center, so even if the AF sensor is accurate, the lens is not as sharp.

Add to that a difference in the AF performance of sensors. The center sensor is different than the cross sensors, and they are different still from the non-cross sensors. The center sensor will AF at f/8, the cross sensors at f/5.6, and the other sensors at f/4. Tracking and AF speed are considerably slower and less reliable with outer sensors. Focus errors are greater with outer sensors. And frequency of accurate focus is better with the center sensor than outer sensors.

AF systems are getting better and better each year, but they are not perfect. A recent test comparing the D4, D800, and D600 AF tracking showed 80% successful captures with the D4 and only 45% with the D600 - and the D800 in between. But 45% was still far better than manual focus for action shots by anyone but the very top pros.

Zoom lenses perform differently at different focal lengths. I saw test results recently where the greatest error on a 24-70 lens was around 50mm - and it was in the opposite direction of the errors at 24mm and 70mm.

Take a look at some of the articles of focus and testing at LensRentals.com . Roger Cicala has done a nice job of testing, but he does not even bother to test the extreme sensors for AF fine tuning or AF consistency and accuracy. He also has invested lots of money in test setups to accurately fine tune and test for specific issues.

As Linwood suggests, this is all about compromises. If you really want the best result, you can send your lenses with the camera body for service. If you truly want perfect results, you are probably joining the camp of Lloyd Chambers and only shooting with Zeiss or Coastal Optics prime lenses that are manually focused using Live View.



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sylvatica

Somerville, US
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#23. "RE: Nikon repair center messed up my D800" | In response to Reply # 21

sylvatica Registered since 16th Jan 2013
Thu 17-Jan-13 05:47 PM | edited Thu 17-Jan-13 05:48 PM by sylvatica

>Unless you can figure out how to get another country's team to
>fix it.

Nikon USA seems to be pretty bad. Although I would never send my gear to a 3rd party, it is possible to send it to another Nikon facility.

Nikon France seems to be quite good at fixing the problem. Same for Nikon Netherlands. They will do it if you ask them, but it will be done out of warranty as Nikon USA is the only one responsible for that.

For the time being, I'll try to be patient and stick with Nikon USA. But something I'll never do after this experience, is sending them something that work. So, I'll keep my lenses...

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sylvatica

Somerville, US
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#24. "RE: Nikon repair center messed up my D800" | In response to Reply # 22

sylvatica Registered since 16th Jan 2013
Thu 17-Jan-13 06:06 PM | edited Thu 17-Jan-13 06:10 PM by sylvatica

I appreciate your input Eric. I've read LensRentals blog for a long time and value a lot what Roger has done.

Concerning the dependance of the focusing system upon the color of light, I agree with the fact that a dependance is likely to exist. Note that some Canon have focusing algorithm that take that into account and therefore correct it. Nikon may have the same kind of correction. All of that is theoretical, and although I value highly theory, there is nothing as good as experience. And experience shows that:

- Before going to Melville, my D800 did not have that dependance. I've fine tuned it under exactly the same conditions, and there was no difference in between the AF Fine Tune measured under natural and artificial light. The way I measure it gives me an accuracy of 3 AF Fine Tune units, and I measure here a difference of 10 AF Fine Tune units! I would be interested to see any other user of a D800 showing me such a difference.

- My D200 does not show this color dependance problem. The way my test is done (measuring the distance in between the focus point and the expected focus point), is resolution independent. There is no reason a D800 should fail a test passed successfully by a D200.

I agree with you that they are error bars that manufacturers can't shrink with a given technology, at a given price of production. All I want is a D800 that works as good as the D800 I sent to Melville. It is not the case, and it obviously fails at tests that are passed successfully by my D200, tests that are resolution independent.

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ericbowles

Atlanta, US
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#25. "RE: Nikon repair center messed up my D800" | In response to Reply # 24

ericbowles Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge and high level skills in various areas, especially Landscape and Wildlife Photoghraphy Writer Ribbon awarded for for his article contributions to the community Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Nikonian since 25th Nov 2005
Thu 17-Jan-13 06:43 PM

Yes - I can completely sympathize. I have the left AF issue and have been reluctant to send my D800E to Melville for service. I plan to send it before the warranty expires - and already have a case pending with approval to send it. But my center sensor is so good that I don't want to risk creating a new issue.

I would send your camera back to Melville. They should do better with a second try.


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sylvatica

Somerville, US
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#26. "RE: Nikon repair center messed up my D800" | In response to Reply # 25

sylvatica Registered since 16th Jan 2013
Thu 17-Jan-13 07:05 PM

I was in your case before sending it to Melville. My advice would be not to take the risk.

I'll definitely send it to Melville once I have the approval from Nikon. It seems to take so long from them to review the images.

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M_Jackson

Jackson, US
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#27. "RE: Nikon repair center messed up my D800" | In response to Reply # 14

M_Jackson Silver Member Nikonian since 28th Oct 2005
Fri 18-Jan-13 01:53 AM

Giorgio,
Did you ever notice this kind of AF fluctuation when using another body?

I have a new D800 and seem to be having similar issues with the same lenses. At 30.5 feet and at 200mm, I am set to +20 and still need a couple more points of +AF to get to sharp using a LensAlign and large ruler. The 70-200 VR2 is only a few months old.

M. Jackson
Jackson Hole, WY

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icslowmo

Surprise, US
613 posts

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#28. "RE: Nikon repair center messed up my D800" | In response to Reply # 20

icslowmo Registered since 01st Jan 2012
Fri 18-Jan-13 06:00 AM

I should have clarified that the main lens I have the most trouble with is my 50mm f/1.4G. As it seems it needs the most adjustment (-15 to -20) depending on lighting of course. This same lens had the same issues on my D7000 that I had before I traded that body in on my 70-200 VRII.... Should have kept the D7K for a back up.... The lens tends to be the least accurate of the bunch for me... But when it does nail focus, I love the IQ.... I guess I could be asking too much from a f/1.4 lens to track my moving child in in door house lighting.... But even for stills, it needs the most adjustment.

Now my 24-70 f/2.8 has a AF fine tune of -7 for the average. If I could tune both ends it would be -10 @ 24mm and -5 @ 70mm. So mine seems to have a little tighter swing compared to others maybe... I tend to use it more at 70mm and at 24mm the DOF tends to be enough to make up for the looser AF fine tune value.

Now my 70-200 VRII, I believe I have set for a -2 AF fine tune value. And seems to work well. I haven't really noticed much AF shift with this lens when zooming in or out.

I have a 85mm f/1.8G lens and I think I have it set to about -10. I don't use this lens as much as I thought I might, but is nice to have and I like the IQ I get with it. For portrait work, I tend to just use the 70-200 VRII @ f/2.8 and is more then sharp enough to cause moire'....

So in general, my D800E is over all back focused. So that is what I would send it in for (more then likely dropped off as I don't trust shipping everything to them) Yes I believe mine does show the left side AF concern, but in my use, I really don't notice it... So would like my lenses matched to the body and the body checked and fine tuned.

That is my full story.... Worth a try under warranty while I still can...

Chris

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richardd300

Dyserth, UK
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#29. "RE: Nikon repair center messed up my D800" | In response to Reply # 27

richardd300 Silver Member Nikonian since 19th Apr 2009
Fri 18-Jan-13 06:14 AM

<<Zoom lenses perform differently at different focal lengths. I saw test results recently where the greatest error on a 24-70 lens was around 50mm - and it was in the opposite direction of the errors at 24mm and 70mm. >>

I've been following this post with interest and also have tested numerous lenses via the LensAlign and FocusTune, both prime and zoom. I got myself in a real mess as I only undertook the testing as I was interested in the concept. In the end I abandoned it in favour of testing my zooms against a flat target. My conclusion is that attempting to calibrate zooms is fraught with difficulties unless a single focal length is selected I.e. treated as a prime. My 24-70 and 70-200mm AF-fine tune values varied enormously between the widest and longest focal lengths.

With the primes I did have success and was pleased that the required fine tune setting was minimal (+-0 to 5). In fact in real world operation I noticed no difference in IQ unless really looking very hard.

In the end I suppose I am lucky and I have abandoned fine tuning and reset all values to zero. I feel if I hadn't I would have imposed a problem that wasn't there in the first place. I do feel the pain of those having problems with their D800's and hope they are resolved quickly.

Richard

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giorgiogu

London, UK
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#30. "RE: Nikon repair center messed up my D800" | In response to Reply # 27

giorgiogu Registered since 17th Jan 2013
Fri 18-Jan-13 07:30 AM

Hi Jackson,

i'm new to Nikon so i have not tried the lenses on others body,i bought them all together October 2012.I came from Canon, where i had similars problems with zoom lenses even if the difference between the ends was smaller and Canon support was able to fix them (fixing i mean reduce the difference between the 2 ends within +-5). I think this is a common "issue" for fast zoom lenses, infact Canon have introduced the option to Fine Adjust each zoom lens for 2 different values and i hope Nikon will do the same in some future firmware update

giorgiogu

London, UK
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#31. "RE: Nikon repair center messed up my D800" | In response to Reply # 17

giorgiogu Registered since 17th Jan 2013
Fri 18-Jan-13 07:43 AM

Hi all,

Good news

I have received the camera and lenses back from Nikon UK and after a real world test i'm very happy with the results
In the Nikon invoice they mentioned that they had to calibrate both the camera and lenses.
Now, the AF fine tune is turned Off, and the 24-70 is much better now at all the focal lenghts, the 70-200 is probably backfocusing a little bit at 70 but you can't really notice it.

So, for now,i agree with Richard, i will not perform any others Lens Align test as the real world results are good now and thanks to Nikon for fixing this issue

M_Jackson

Jackson, US
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#32. "RE: Nikon repair center messed up my D800" | In response to Reply # 29

M_Jackson Silver Member Nikonian since 28th Oct 2005
Fri 18-Jan-13 01:27 PM

Hi Richard,
After spending some time Adjusting the AF Fine Tuning on my 200-400 on my D4, I got amazingly sharp images all the way across the full 200-400 focal lengths. Both are back at Nikon Service right now after a bad drop, but that's another story.

You mentioned going back to 0 AF. My new D800 arrived late on a Friday afternoon, so I didn't have a chance to test it. Saturday, I went out and shot a normal group of nature shots and again on Sunday. After looking at them on the computer Sunday night, I didn't feel they were as sharp as I wanted. That's when I started testing them on a LensAlign. Shots after I adjusted from +11 to +15 were much better, but I also noticed the variation between zoom ranges. At any rate, mine seems to NEED some adjusting.

I have a few friends that adjust their AF Fine Tune throughout the year based on the subjects and exepected distances. For example, with some lenses, they adjust for the long side during grizzly bear times in the spring. Then, when the songbirds start moving through and the are shooting closer, they readjust for the best results.

The takeaway of this thread might be I might need to expect more variation in sharpness at different zoom lengths than I had originally thought.

M. Jackson
Jackson Hole, WY

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Web Site: www.tetonimages.com

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Ferguson

Cape Coral, US
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#33. "RE: Nikon repair center messed up my D800" | In response to Reply # 32

Ferguson Silver Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for the generous sharing of his high level expertise in the spirit of Nikonians Nikonian since 19th Aug 2004
Fri 18-Jan-13 01:37 PM


>I have a few friends that adjust their AF Fine Tune throughout
>the year based on the subjects and exepected distances. For
>example, with some lenses, they adjust for the long side
>during grizzly bear times in the spring. Then, when the
>songbirds start moving through and the are shooting closer,
>they readjust for the best results.

One thing I've been doing is saving the Focal results (the graphs) and then I will put the graphs together into one composite image with near, middle and far, and for zooms all the way out, and all the way in.

Putting these all one one page is a great way to look for the happy middle -- if you just draw a line down them you can see where on the falloff graph each extreme falls, and get a feel for the price you pay for any given compromise. You could also use this as a reference, e.g. if you were going out to shoot long, you could go to the distant/zoomed-in graph, and just adjust to that value; and then the reverse later.

I do not find myself changing as a shoot normally, as I already have too many variables I need to adjust. But on certain lenses for certain activities I might.

Here's an example (happens to be the D4 with 85/1.4G not a D800) but

Click on image to view larger version


Frankly it's a case one could argue should go back to Nikon, but I suspect it's not really fixable. It also has a bit of focus shift as well (which is a well known feature of it). Since I mostly shoot it closer, I just leave it set on the positive side, but if I were going to use it for something long while wide open I'd probably either use live view or tweak the AF fine tune, since now I know it's going to be off quite a bit.

Linwood

Comments welcomed on pictures: Http://captivephotons.com


Attachment#1 (jpg file)

richardd300

Dyserth, UK
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#34. "RE: Nikon repair center messed up my D800" | In response to Reply # 32

richardd300 Silver Member Nikonian since 19th Apr 2009
Fri 18-Jan-13 02:08 PM

<<After spending some time Adjusting the AF Fine Tuning on my 200-400 on my D4, I got amazingly sharp images all the way across the full 200-400 focal lengths.>>

What concerns me especially with zooms is that the environment that LensAlign and FocusTune images are taken in i.e. almost laboratory conditions. The real world is very different with no fixed aperture, speed or even ISO or focal length (unless using a prime, Where I get confused is where the two environments cross.

For example, I tested my 70-200mm f2.8 and it stated for 180mm it required a fine tune of +15, whereas at 70mm it gave -5!. So, I fixed a flat target ISO test chart and handheld at 70 and 200mm. On checking the chart it was sharp as could expect. The same happened on my 24-70mm with different AF fine tunes massively apart. I think that the difference between the tests was that the LensAlign takes into account discrepancies caused by front and back focus. In contrast my 300mm f4 resulted in a fine tune requirement of -5, so I just left it as when I compare 0 and -5 against a flat target handheld the results were virtually identical.

I too am a wildlife shooter and I feel as I use mostly single point focus (occasionally multi-point 3D tracking) fine tuning doesn't help me. Interestingly, I have noticed no narrow DOF or wide front or back focus problems either.

Richard

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richardd300

Dyserth, UK
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#35. "RE: Nikon repair center messed up my D800" | In response to Reply # 33

richardd300 Silver Member Nikonian since 19th Apr 2009
Fri 18-Jan-13 02:20 PM

Ferguson.

That is extremely interesting in the fact that your highest sharpness is around 2300 at the closest test! Am I missing something vital I wonder? The lowest sharpness values my tests showed on both the 24-70mm were 15,000, some were up at 18,000. On my and 70-200mm the lowest were 8000. On my 50mm f1.8 G lowest 15,000 and highest 20,000.

Can anyone advise me please why your sharpness values are so low? Am I misunderstanding something

Richard

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Ferguson

Cape Coral, US
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#36. "RE: Nikon repair center messed up my D800" | In response to Reply # 34

Ferguson Silver Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for the generous sharing of his high level expertise in the spirit of Nikonians Nikonian since 19th Aug 2004
Fri 18-Jan-13 02:23 PM | edited Fri 18-Jan-13 02:24 PM by Ferguson

>What concerns me especially with zooms is that the environment
>that LensAlign and FocusTune images are taken in i.e. almost
>laboratory conditions. The real world is very different with
>no fixed aperture, speed or even ISO or focal length (unless
>using a prime, Where I get confused is where the two
>environments cross.
>
>For example, I tested my 70-200mm f2.8 and it stated for 180mm
>it required a fine tune of +15, whereas at 70mm it gave -5!.
>So, I fixed a flat target ISO test chart and handheld at 70
>and 200mm. On checking the chart it was sharp as could
>expect.

I don't know about your particular case, but one reason these tales abound is that some lenses have a relative flat response to fine tune.

Here's my 200-400 for example:

Click on image to view larger version


While there's a peak, the visual difference from the range of about -5 to +10 or so is really negligible, and more importantly is lost in the noise of focus inconsistencies (look at how the points vary on the chart). I'd have to get down to +15 or -15 to really get something visually wrong in the real world.

Now look at my 200/F2 on a D800:

Click on image to view larger version


Notice the sharp falloff. Even though there's a lot of variation in individual points(e.g. look at zero where it ranges from 1100 to 1300), there's a very clear difference. Here the "visually ok" range is more like +5 to +16 or so, both tighter and also shifted a lot.

I think seeing these curves helps to explain a lot of what people see. Lenses with a relatively flat response to fine tune "work fine at 0 on all my cameras, like it should" (as many have said). Some with more rapid falloff are less likely to look fine at zero unless by chance they and the camera all end up at zero. My D4 tends to be best negative, my D800 (post repair) tends to be best positive. So the 200-400 would be fine on both at zero, but the 200 definitely needs fine tune to be sharp on either one, and in opposite directions.


Linwood

Comments welcomed on pictures: Http://captivephotons.com




Attachment#1 (jpg file)
Attachment#2 (jpg file)

Ferguson

Cape Coral, US
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#37. "RE: Nikon repair center messed up my D800" | In response to Reply # 35

Ferguson Silver Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for the generous sharing of his high level expertise in the spirit of Nikonians Nikonian since 19th Aug 2004
Fri 18-Jan-13 02:27 PM | edited Fri 18-Jan-13 02:27 PM by Ferguson

>Ferguson.
>
>That is extremely interesting in the fact that your highest
>sharpness is around 2300 at the closest test! Am I missing
>something vital I wonder? The lowest sharpness values my tests
>showed on both the 24-70mm were 15,000, some were up at
>18,000. On my and 70-200mm the lowest were 8000. On my 50mm
>f1.8 G lowest 15,000 and highest 20,000.
>
>Can anyone advise me please why your sharpness values are so
>low? Am I misunderstanding something

The sharpness values are meaningful only within a given test. Change distance, lighting, target scale they change. You can't compare two lenses by comparing these calculated values (with Focal). It's not like an MTF or other lens sharpness measure, it's just a measure of, for a given test setup, the edge sharpness it finds on the image. So on one chart it's meaningful to compare data points, but not between charts.

Linwood

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sylvatica

Somerville, US
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#38. "RE: Nikon repair center messed up my D800" | In response to Reply # 36

sylvatica Registered since 16th Jan 2013
Fri 18-Jan-13 08:36 PM

Linwood,

If you look at your graphs, you can see that both of them have a "Quality of focus" divided by two on the side. The visual difference on those graphs is due to the fact that the vertcial axis in the first graph starts as 0. Therefore, your graph does not prove anything.

It would be meaningful to have crops so we can appreciate the difference.

There might be differences, but the Nikon AF Fine Tune units scale with the largest aperture of the lens. If you have time, try a 85mm at f1.8 and add 20 to your usual AFFT and measure how the focus moves. Do the same with an f4 lens. You will see clearly the focus moving further away now. Therefore, the blur should be about the same.

The scaling might not be perfect, but your graphs show it is: quality of focus is divided by 2 at the same distance from the pick.

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Ferguson

Cape Coral, US
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#39. "RE: Nikon repair center messed up my D800" | In response to Reply # 38

Ferguson Silver Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for the generous sharing of his high level expertise in the spirit of Nikonians Nikonian since 19th Aug 2004
Fri 18-Jan-13 09:03 PM

>If you look at your graphs, you can see that both of them have
>a "Quality of focus" divided by two on the side. The
>visual difference on those graphs is due to the fact that the
>vertcial axis in the first graph starts as 0. Therefore, your
>graph does not prove anything.

I think you are correct. One was recent, one was an older version. It appears they have changed the axis scale to no longer start at zero, which definitely did exaggerate the shape of the curve. I need to go back and look at some of the decisions I made; I had been depending a lot on the shape of that curve and had not realized it was being compressed/expanded.

Thank you.

Linwood

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sylvatica

Somerville, US
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#40. "RE: Nikon repair center messed up my D800" | In response to Reply # 39

sylvatica Registered since 16th Jan 2013
Fri 18-Jan-13 09:15 PM

My guess is that they compute the resolution at which the MTF curve drops at 50% as an indication of sharpness. In one they might use LP/PH (Line pair per picture height) and in the other one LW/PH (Line width per picture height). That explains the ratio of 2.

But it is nice to show these graphs. They are the reason why I don't like to Fine Tune any lens just taking a picture of a target. The curve is too flat for this method to be accurate, and a tool like LensAlign is way more accurate.

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G