I sold my D300 but kept my brand new 85 f1.4G to use on a D800 to be received soon. After reading several comments about the difficult auto focusing of this combo, I started to get worried. Does anyone with this equipment have any comments?
I'm not sure what you've read (or where you've read it), but I see no real reason why focusing this particular combination should present any problems
Focusing a fast telephoto is always more critical because of the potentially very shallow depth of field; the D800 won't make this any worse.
Some D800's do seem to suffer from mis-calibration of the left-most AF sensors (that's a discussion for our D800 Forum - let's not get into it here except to say that Nikon have shown that they are able to fix it) which might make it more likely that a subject will fall outside the shallow DoF in some circumstances.
Because of the problems with some D800's - and the recent availability of some quite sophisticated automated testing tools - we are seeing an unprecedented amount of focus (sorry...!) on this type of thing.
I guess it's easy for me "don't worry about it" because I don't have a D800 myself, but I certainly would not let these stories put me off buying a D800 if I had a need for one - and I would not hesitate to use it with my 85mm f/1.4G
It is a magnificent combination that works flawlessly with my D800E. The quality of the 85mm/ 1.4 with the D800/D800E is world class. For me, it is better than I thought possible. All the best. Good luck.
If it makes you feel any better I am struggling with this same combination.
I now have tried it on a D4, and am not having problems, at least so far.
I've tuned, retuned, set back to zero. I go out and shoot people outside, sometimes they are perfect, othertimes they are back and front focused like crazy. I can't find any pattern -- doesn't seem to be just those shot with the left focus.
I need some more practice with the D4 to really eliminate technique as a problem. I am sure some of it is technique with that very thin DOF.
But I'm no longer convinced it is just technique. I am even starting to wonder if I have a bad 85, but I can't reproduce anything reliable enough to feel confident.
And oh by the way, my left side focus is about 2-3x as bad on the 85 as it is on a 14-24.
I'm thinking to get my D800 back and see if they can fine tune the left side, then see what it is like - if no better, and still good on the D4, then the 85 goes back.
I was researching the Nikon 85mm 1.8 vs 1.4 and came across this picture. I love it! He is such a cute little boy, and you really captured him well. Great job! I however, did decide on an 85mm 1.8g as a combo for my D800 because of price. Happy shooting! Heidi
I can't speak on the 85mm 1.4G with the D800, but I love my 85mm 1.8G on my D800. I can't imagine having any problems with the 85 1.4G on the D800 since I have no problems at all with my 85 1.8G on my D800.
Sat 01-Sep-12 12:56 PM | edited Sat 01-Sep-12 12:59 PM by Ferguson
One of the links above was mine, and I was having serious issues with my 85/1.4G on the D800.
I had the left focus repaired, and things are MUCH better now, in a way not really expected.
Prior to the repair, up close, it required a positive AF of about 2, but at distance it required an AF of -10. There was no happy medium, and if tuned to either of those, when shooting at the other distance was soft.
After the repair there's still a difference (about 18 to 6) but at a compromise point there's no significant softness at either focus distance. Yes I realize both span 12, but the slope of the curves is different now, and up close doesn't (now) get bad as quickly as you move out from the peak AF.
While I have little real life experience with it since repair (only had it back a week), I think the repair has solved my 85/1.4G problem.
Oh... and in the meantime I bought a D4, and it works quite well there. But even there there is a significant difference in AF fine tune needed at distance vs. up close. But again, there's a happy medium that takes the difference below noticeable.
I had been thinking about dumping it, but now am happy with it. Amazing what a reasonably unrelated repair will fix. And the brokeah is just terrific on the lens, as well as the edge to edge sharpness when you do get focus correct.
(That's a D4, since my D800 was in the shop at the time)
I have recently seen the phrase used a lot "Low tolerance photography" and that is a good definition of the D800 and 85/1.4G. There are more ways to screw it up than get it right, but when it is right, it is terrific. I printed the curves at different distances, and if I REALLY want good results I will likely use live view, and if I can't, will set the AF for a specific distance. Not normally, but with fractions of an inch of DOF at times, there really are low tolerances.