I am actually contemplating the purchase of this body and while researching I found this thread
and quite frankly, it is scaring the bejeepers out of me - $5000 for a camera with focusing problems! So here are some questions:
(1) Are these guys complaints valid? Statistically some D2X's will show up a variety of problems, but I would them to be smeared across all features of the camera system.
(2) Is this an issue of incorrect use of the equipment or the settings that control focus?
(3) Is there REALLY a focussing issue and all the wonderful photographs seen in this and other forums the result of unspecified work-arounds?
(4) Could the problems described be as the result of sub-optimal glass?
#1. "RE: D2X focussing issues" | In response to Reply # 0arthury Registered since 24th May 2002Fri 04-Nov-05 12:35 PM
Like you, I have come across these threads and I, personally, think that these are the minority. It's also understandable, that when you pay so much for a camera, you tend to be hypersensitive to every little problem.
I made the decision to get one myself and so far, I have not a single problem with any of my existing lenses; including the venerable 70-200VR.
#2. "RE: D2X focussing issues" | In response to Reply # 0Noel Holland Charter MemberFri 04-Nov-05 12:49 PM
The flat answer is NO.
Unfortunately no matter how good the camera is there will always be some peole who can't understand how it works and instantly fall back on the assumption that it's all the cameras fault.
It is true that any product will have faults during the manufacturing stage but it is highly unusual for a company like Nikon to allow faulty cameras out of the door. There will have been a few but they will be quite rare.
The fact is that if the D2x was so awful at focusing then we wouldn't be buying it. I have over 25 years of photography behind me (aged 36) and inside of the Nikonians we must have a combined experience of a few million years. I like Nikon but I'm not stupid, if it was a bad camera I wouldn't have bought mine and neither would any of the other D2x owners here.
So the answer is, don't worry. The D2x is one of the best digital cameras in the world today. You would have to be very, very unlucky to get a duff one and there is no question that Nikon would fix or replace it if you did.
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#3. "RE: D2X focussing issues" | In response to Reply # 0Fri 04-Nov-05 04:40 PM
I would not shy away from purchasing the camera, but I would suggest you do some reading in the different forums and come up with your own judgment. I do not think all these people complaining about a single specific problem are all wrong.
My first D2X could not autofocus consistently to save my life, lots of testing did not help, one trip to Nikon service improved the autofocus considerably, but they seem to have screwed up color rendition. A new replacement seems to work much better, but what I am seeing is that with the DOF of this camera being so shallow focusing is extremely critical and anything less than f/8 and higher than standard shutter speed is needed to get good results. Of course this leads to having to use higher ISO and places limitations on the use of the camera for action photography.
This is just my opinion after a few months and countless hours trying to figure out if my first unit was defective or if the camera was really such a beast to tame. I own a D2H so lack familiarity with the camera was not a problem.
Again, read on, so many people can't be wrong or be on Canon's payroll.
#4. "RE: D2X focussing issues" | In response to Reply # 3Fri 04-Nov-05 05:25 PM
"but what I am seeing is that with the DOF of this camera being so shallow"
I don't understand. What does the camera body have to do with DOF? Certainly that (DOF) is a function of the lens focal distance and its aperture setting. Please explain.
#5. "RE: D2X focussing issues" | In response to Reply # 4Fri 04-Nov-05 05:55 PM
DoF does depend on the camera body, or at least it depends on the format of the body. However, I'm not sure that Mike has it the right way round. A DX body has greater DoF for the same image magnification compared to a 36x24mm body, because the Circle of Confusion depends on the size of the recording medium.
#6. "RE: D2X focussing issues" | In response to Reply # 5Fri 04-Nov-05 07:07 PM
So DoF is not DOF (Depth Of Focus)?
When you have one of more bodies, all of the DX type with, say the same crop factor of 1.5, then that should take the camera body component out of the equation and reduce the problem down to either lens or focussing hardware/software in the camera body?
#8. "RE: D2X focussing issues" | In response to Reply # 6mgsylvestre Registered since 27th Jan 2003Fri 04-Nov-05 09:13 PM
Here are my two cents.
Depth of field is the distance between the fartest and nearest part of the scene which appears to be in focus. The DX format creates more, not less, depth of field at the same angle of view than full frame.
There are two things at play here. The first one is that the DX format is a lot smaller than FF, meaning you have to blow it up more to get to the same enlargement than FF. This effect reduces depth of field.
The second element is tied to the angle of view. To get the same angle of view than FF, you need a focal length which is 1,5 times less than FF. 100 mm on a DX camera will produce the same apparent effect than a 150 mm camera on a FF camera. The shorter focal length has inherently deeper depth of field at the same aperture. This effect more than compensates for the first effect and the net result is that DX has inherently more depth of field at the same angle of view and the same aperture.
This is one of the few remaining arguments in favor of FF. Some people prefer it because it has an inherently shallower depth of field at the same aperture and angle of view, which presumably suits their style better.
Depth of focus is concerned with tolerance in focusing. Think of it as this: you focus on a subject and you change the distance by moving the camera without refocusing. As long as your subject continues to look more or less as sharp as when it was in focus, you are in the depth of focus.
Depth of focus is influenced by aperture, the circle of confusion, distance between the subject and the lens and focal length.
Depth of focus thereofore has nothing to do with the camera itself, except for the format which obviously changes the circle of confusion.
IMHO therefore, I do not think that the D2X has anything to do with deeper or shallower depth of field or focus, except for the format issue.
High quality high resolution sensors like the one in the D2X are in my experience extremely unforgiving on lenses, technique and camera shake because they can render a hughe amount of tiny details while maintaining contrast, thus making things visible which would not have been otherwise.
The other thing is that it is obvious that there were defective cameras outhere which needed servicing, and the people who had this problem were obviously quite vocal about it.
The third thing is internet hysteria. When you look at your pictures with an electron microscope looking for flaws, you notice things you would not have noticed otherwise.
The D2X is a wonderful camera (when it is not defective that is), but there is a learning curve, especially if you graduate from a lesser camera like the D100 for example.
Michel G. Sylvestre
Nikonian from Montréal, Canada
Visit my Nikonians gallery.
#14. "RE: D2X focussing issues" | In response to Reply # 8Sat 05-Nov-05 02:12 PM
Everything in your explanation makes sense, therefore there should be no difference between the D2H & the D2X when it comes to DOF as long as all the parameters are the same and we are looking at the image in corresponding magnifications. However I have used the D2H extensively and now the D2X for about 4k shots and I am finding that unless I close down the lens with the D2X my DOF is extremely shallow, I never had to pay much attention to this with the D2H, unless I was looking for a shallow DOF effect.
Maybe there is something in the design of the D2X sensor that throws a curve to the theory, time will tell.
#40. "RE: D2X focussing issues" | In response to Reply # 14Mon 07-Nov-05 10:53 AM
I have taken the same shot from a tripod, with ALL parameters (lens, focal length, aperture, distance) being the same for a D70 and D2X. My "observed" DOF is identical between them. I've also tested theory this with a close-up lens mounted on my 70-200 where the DOF is in mm. Again, both cameras produce the same DOF.
I'd be very curious as to why you are seeing a difference mcampos, could you post some pictures? Maybe I, more likely someone else here , could help.
#50. "RE: D2X focussing issues" | In response to Reply # 40Mon 07-Nov-05 08:57 PM
>> could you post some pictures? <<
I am at work right now, I'll try to post some images tonight when I get home, one of the ones that sticks out in my mind is of a mother and child that are on the same plane and only the mother who is slightly front of the child is in focus. The aperture was over f/8, the shutter speed was quite high, a wide angle lens and quite a distance away from the subject. I'll try to dig that one up with the exact data and post it tonight.
On the other hand a friend today made a comment that may explain the perceived shallow DOF:
"In my opinion the digital DOF shows the focal plane precisely and not gradually like film. Which is why these OOF shot are so glaringly bad, film DOF was a bit forgiving"
#7. "RE: D2X focussing issues" | In response to Reply # 4
>> What does the camera body have to do with DOF? <<
I am afraid you got me here, I don't know the technicalities of it, but with the D2H with the same lens at a given f/stop with the subject at the same distance I get more Depth of Field. I have seen a couple of threads in other forums talk about this and I think the consensus is that the larger sensor produces less DOF, or possibly creates the illusion of it.
In my case for example this weekend I took a shot of a mother and child almost in the same plane at quite a distance with a 17-55 at about 24mm using f/5.6; the mother was tack sharp, but the child was soft as a result of him being slightly behind the plane of the mother.
In another thread here about Paris crico writes "Perfect D2X focus with aperture NOT WIDER than f6.3" that is pretty much what I am finding, I pretty much setup my D2X at f/8 and get fairly sharp shots handheld, anything wider leads to hit and miss results.
#9. "RE: D2X focussing issues" | In response to Reply # 7mgsylvestre Registered since 27th Jan 2003Fri 04-Nov-05 09:21 PM
On possible explanation is that the D2H has obviously less resolution, meaning that it is less obvious when you are just a little out of focus.
I don't have a D2H, but is this effect apparent at 100%? Did you try looking at the pictures at the same apparent size (not the same zoom ratio?)?
If you search for it, you will find a number of posts which explain that lenses interact with sensors in a way which is very different from film. Apparently (I do not profess to undersand this), this might explain why very good lenses which are not telecentric may produce disappointing results at wide apertures.
That potential explanation probably does not apply to the 17-55 however.
Michel G. Sylvestre
Nikonian from Montréal, Canada
Visit my Nikonians gallery.
#11. "RE: D2X focussing issues" | In response to Reply # 9Noel Holland Charter MemberSat 05-Nov-05 07:14 AM
>On possible explanation is that the D2H has obviously less resolution
This is entirely correct. DoF is not just a function of the size of the recording sensor but also of the amount of enlargement given to the final print. A D2H image would never be enlarged to the same size as one from a D2x so it appears to be sharper because everyone has the habit pixel peeping, looking at the finest detail possible which for a D2x would result in a much higher enlargement than for a D2H image. If you showed two images by each camera side by side which were the same dimensions then they would appear to have identical DoF.
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#10. "RE: D2X focussing issues" | In response to Reply # 0
I have had the AF problems with my D2X. NPS replaced them 3 times, but seemingly they can't really do anything about it. So, I had to find a work around to the issue. I posted my problems in this forum before it crashed. Basically, the D2 body (doesn't matter D2X or D2HS, I tried them all) just doesn't have accurate peripheral AF points, only the central AF is the most accurate. My work-around is to never use the other AF points other than the central point, but my work-around renders the group-AF modes virtually useless since by default they will require me to activate other AF points.
It bites, because I bought into the D2-series thinking that it has that 'awesome 11 cross-type/T-shape sensor'. Misleading marketing literature, I'd say.
Also, I personally had been trouble-shooting with two other pro-photogs with high-credentials to show, who finally switched to that other brand just because of this issue, and despite repeated returns and replacements by Nikon never really fixed that AF error. It's a shame since they tried so hard not to switch.
If you only shoot at f/5.6, f/8, f/11 or f/16 all the time, then you will not ever run into this problem just because the depth-of-field will mask that focusing error. Or if you only use the central AF, then you won't run into this problem, either. Why Nikon missed on something as basic as this, especially on a $5k body, is just beyond me.
#12. "RE: D2X focusing issues" | In response to Reply # 0
Nikonians has a reputation for good advice and quality information.
Anybody contemplating A D2x or having AF problems with one would do well to download the article on D2x focusing under resources on the home page.
The D2x AF has more AF options than any previous camera and the article helps explain what settings work best and when.
IMO this is easily the best AF article available.
With regard to reply 9 on dof DX has MORE dof than full frame.
Being technical dof is inversely proportional to the diagonal of the sensor.
A crop factor of 1.42 (the square root of 2) gives 1 stop extra dof for an equivalent available angle of view.
DX has just over 1 stop more dof than 24x36 and the available angle of view is similar with 35mm on DX and 50mm on 24x36.
If you switch the 50mm from 24x36 to DX the available angle of view becomes the same as 75mm on 24x36.
The extra magnification of going to 75mm looses 4 stops dof on 24x36.
The extra magnification less the 1 stop format gain on DX looses 3 stops.
No matter what you do, available angle of view for available angle of view DX has more dof.
In the early days of the D2x there were many howls of anguish about D2x focus problems, almost exclusively from those who insisted on settings appropriate to old cameras that were wrong on a D2x, who had not read or understood the instruction book, or in a lot of cases were unclear as to how to test AF for focusing accuracy, often relying on the discredited and unreliable 45 degree focus test that can still be downloaded from the web.
These issues lead to Nikonians producing probably the best AF guide in existence.
As regards reply 11 the profile is not up to date.
Although I do not own a D2x yet I have used one on several occasions and extensively use and F6 which has the same AF module.
I have found the off centre AF sensors much more sensitive than previous Nikon's.
As the D2x sensors are much bigger than the AF target areas (explained in the Nikonians article) you have to consider what you aim them at as AF can lock on the area of greatest contrast within the AF sensor area rather than the centre of the viewfinder target.
My experience is, with a clear understanding of AF sensor area size, the D2x off sensor points are brilliant.
There are probably well over 1,000 D2x users on this site.
It would be interesting to see if any other users agree it is impossible to get off centre AF points to focus accurately.
Photography is a bit like archery. A technically better camera, lens or arrow may not hit the target as often as it could if the photographer or archer does not practice enough.
#15. "RE: D2X focusing issues" | In response to Reply # 12Hansvg Registered since 07th Jan 2007Sat 05-Nov-05 03:37 PM
-There are probably well over 1,000 D2x users on this site-
I guess I am one of them.
I agree with some statements here:
-D2x gives beautiful results but is "sensitive" when it comes to focussing
-Darell Young's article on focussing with the D2x is great
-The AF areas are larger than one would assume from the target areas in the viewfinder
-The AF areas do not only focus on the largest contrast difference, but also to the closest item within the area if a large contrast is not present.
Hope this makes sense
Visit my Nikonians gallery.
Visit my Nikonians gallery.
#16. "RE: D2X focusing issues" | In response to Reply # 12Sat 05-Nov-05 03:48 PM
Len--with all due respect, I don't understand why the not-up-to-date profile have anything to do with what I'm saying. I said it before the forum crashed, I felt silly listing all my gears just because I don't want people to judge what I said or my work based on the gadgets (that's what hobbyist do, btw). But believe me, I actually own D2X and D2HS and the latest fancy lenses for my work. Want to see the receipt?
Also, if you haven't owned D2X then why would you advise people about it? I know F6 has identical AF engine, but consider this...F6 is full frame (i.e. fancy term for 35mm format), and if you look at the viewfinder the AF points on F6 cover smaller area compared to D2X. In D2X the 11-points AF spread all across the frame. Also, if you follow the thread by sport photographers of any brand (not just Nikon), the farther it is to the center the less accurate the AF is.
I read the article about Nikon latest AF written by a member. I read the manual, and I bought and read Thom Hogan's D2X e-book.
Len, rather than just saying "read this or read or your technique is at flaw" or "1000 users cannot be wrong", why don't you buy a D2X and do the test yourself. Stop keep saying that F6 will substitute the experience with D2X, etc. Get a D2X, borrow a f/1.4 lens and shoot at 1.4 using all peripheral focus points. Show us the result and show me that I'm wrong.
It's that easy, Len.
#17. "RE: D2X focusing issues" | In response to Reply # 16Sat 05-Nov-05 04:29 PM
I'm sure we all share your frustration at having owned (if I read your earlier post correctly) 4 different D2X bodies, all of which suffer the same AF problem. If you're sure that you understand the way the system works, then you must just be really unlucky
I do think Len's F6 AF experience is valid, as with the same lens and subject (let's say a horse), the size of the focus sensor(s) relative to the size of the image of the horse is identical. The overall size of the frame is not really relevant.
Anyway, let's all try to make sure this thread does not descend into the type of personal attacks that marred this forum for a time before "the crash". No-one wants that to kick off again.
#18. "RE: D2X focusing issues" | In response to Reply # 17Sat 05-Nov-05 04:55 PM
Brian-- what I'm attacking is the notion that the focusing error is due to operator error, when in fact it's not, and could be that Nikon messed up the design (gasp!!! heresy...Nikon is infallible). It's the equivalent of being clubbed with the same mantra over and over again. To me, that's insulting and worse than personal attack.
What I'm proposing is really simple: for those who said it's operator error, then show me the images shot at f/1.4 using all AF-points. Show us the comparison side by side. I'll be so happy to be proven wrong? Why? Because that means there's hope for me the 6th time I return my D2 to Nikon.
#19. "RE: D2X focusing issues" | In response to Reply # 17Sat 05-Nov-05 05:23 PM
Brian and all,
Just to make sure you all understand the issue I'm having...
The issue is not that I can't get sharp focus all the time. I can get sharp focus using central focus and the middle rows focus points.
The issue is with the AF points located in upper and lower rows are way off, and this occurs in every single D2 bodies Nikon sent me.
That alone should tell you that it's not operator error, otherwise I will get OOF images even when using central and middle row points.
And yes, I'm well aware about the T-Shape sensors on the upper and lower rows. During my test, I used heavy tripod shooting at static object. I did all those test not because I want to find faults, but rather I did the test because I couldn't get sharp image during the actual photo session when upper and lower row AF points are used.
Extremely unlucky with my D2's??? I doubt it.
There's something more serious going on here.
#20. "RE: D2X focusing issues" | In response to Reply # 19Sat 05-Nov-05 07:21 PM
David, I just tried a series of tests to see if I could replicate the problem you're experiencing. I shot a series of photos with three lenses (28-70mm 2.8 AF-S, 105mm 2.0 DC, 80-400mm 4.5-5.6 VR) to have a variety of focal lengths and maximum apertures. The photos were made with every AF sensor the D2X has. I also changed focus repeatedly and had the D2X reacquire focus with each AF sensor. I could not replicate your problem. My D2X focuses accurately with each of its sensors, and there was no apparent difference between them.
A couple of questions:
- Does this happen with all of your lenses or have you only seen it with certain ones?
- Have you tried both AF-S and AF-C modes to see if there's any variation?
- Which AF pattern did you use for the tests?
I'm not trying to say this is operator error. Clearly, there have been some instances of out of calibration AF sensors with the D2X. On the other hand, since I don't see the problem with mine, it can't be a problem with every D2X.
#21. "RE: D2X focusing issues" | In response to Reply # 20Sat 05-Nov-05 10:04 PM
Thank you for attempting to understand and to actually run the test.
To answer your questions:
1. It happens to all lenses (AF-S and non AF-S). I always felt funny to list all my gears but here they are: 70-200VR, 85 f/1.4D, 50 f/1.4D, 17-55mm AF-S. Those are sharp lenses when the right focus point is used. I have other lenses but the one I mentioned are my bread and butter lenses for my work, meaning that that other lenses hardly left the shelves so kind of pointless to even to bring it up. I have Nikon f/2.8 fisheye that I use a lot but as you'd know, fisheye will give you tons of DOF even if you missed your object by 100 yards
2. I shot AF-S 95% of the time. To test the lens using AF-C will be much harder since I'd just never know where and when it'll lock focus. I'd try to simulate my test as closely as possible to my actual working conditon (within reason). Even when I conducted my test condition to that of unrealistic level (totally isolating external factor), I still couldn't get satisfactory result.
3. I use the simplest AF pattern: single point (central AF), non-dynamic, focus-priority. It's the lowest position on the AF-mode selector switch.
4. You didn't ask this but on my test, I put the camera on a tripod, set the focus and locked it, put a delay on the shutter to minimize the vibration, then fire a burst of two shots just to see if the second image will make it okay (it's not).
My question to you, have you shot at f/1.4? I nail it most of the time using central AF point; the same can't be said about the other AF points.
My second question: can you post your test images, side by side, so I can take a look at them?
Thank you much.
#23. "RE: D2X focusing issues" | In response to Reply # 21Sat 05-Nov-05 10:14 PM
I just realized that shooting style may have something to do why people never saw this problem.
Shooting closeup, will reveal the AF error much easier.
In my case, I always shoot and isolate the bride's eye lashes and get that definite separation between each strand. I tried and tried and tried, but just couldn't nail it with non-central AF points. That's what leads me to conduct the AF test...again, I set up the test with that 'bride's eye-lashes' in mind...meaning, shoot real close...real-real close and isolate that object of interest with extra shallow DOF.
#26. "RE: D2X focusing issues" | In response to Reply # 23Sun 06-Nov-05 11:44 AM
> I tried and tried and tried, but just couldn't nail it with
>non-central AF points.
I am not saying it is not possible to have 3 defective D2x's.
I have used a D2xs for a portrait session and the off sensor point were very good for AF.
AF was not perfect because, as the instruction book points out (due to the larger AF sensors) the eye needs to occupy most of the viewfinder target area.
From too far back I could make the AF hunt when the eye occupied only half the sensor area.
Photography is all about compromises.
Do you want bigger AF sensor with fewer missed shots because there are fewer gaps with the trade off you have to choose your target with a little more care (D2x), or smaller sensors with bigger gaps between sensors as in the D50?
One also has to strike a balance between experience and what worked with old not necessarily working the same way with the new.
Cars with manual gearboxes get you from A to B just like cars with automatic gearboxes, but how you handle the gears is chalk and cheese.
Photography is a bit like archery. A technically better camera, lens or arrow may not hit the target as often as it could if the photographer or archer does not practice enough.
#27. "RE: D2X focusing issues" | In response to Reply # 26Sun 06-Nov-05 01:53 PM
>> what worked with old not necessarily working the same way with the new. Cars with manual gearboxes get you from A to B just like cars with automatic gearboxes <<
Hopefully the new would work better than the old, specially since you are paying almost 3 times as much for the new. With the automatic gearbox you had to make some adjustments to how you drove, but you still got from point A -> B successfully; with the D2X there are too many misses in focusing, this would be the equivalent of you hitting a wall a few times while getting from point A-B.
I keep hearing how much care it takes to be able to use the D2X successfully, but in real life sometimes you do not have this luxury.
#29. "RE: D2X focusing issues" | In response to Reply # 26Sun 06-Nov-05 02:43 PM
>Photography is all about compromises.
>Do you want bigger AF sensor with fewer missed shots because
>there are fewer gaps with the trade off you have to choose
>your target with a little more care (D2x), or smaller
>sensors with bigger gaps between sensors as in the D50?
Len, I agree about taking compromise.
However, I have to partially disagree when you stated that "fewer missed shot with bigger AF sensor". It all depends on what and how you shoot. For nature and landscape photographer, perhaps your statement is ture.
But try using wide-angle lens at its widest range. And try to shoot loose (meaning taking advantage of the widest coverage). The long AF sensor will throw you a nasty a curve ball since the long sensor will grab everything in sight regardless if it's the main object of interest of not. Wide angle lens will make the subject to occupy only a small section on the AF sensor. Consider those factors, then try carefully selecting an object with perfect contrast area to focus on in a high pressure situation (i.e. photojournalism) where you only have seconds at the longest to make decision whether to fire or not.
I would think shorter AF sensor will work better for photojournalist, as I can confirm when I shoot D70 (that I own) vs. D2-series. D70, slow as it is, hardly miss the AF using the wide-angle lens.
#25. "RE: D2X focusing issues" | In response to Reply # 21Sun 06-Nov-05 10:20 AM
David, I shot at apertures up to f2.0 on the 105mm and did not see a difference in focusing accuracy.
I just re-ran another test using an 85mm 1.4 at close range (about a meter) and maximum aperture. Again, I didn't see a variation. I'd post the shots, but I have to head to the airport and don't have time. You'll need to trust me that there was no visible variation in focusing accuracy.
#30. "RE: D2X focusing issues" | In response to Reply # 25Sun 06-Nov-05 03:07 PM
> You'll need to trust me that
>there was no visible variation in focusing accuracy.
Rick, thank you for sparing your time to do the test.
It's not that I don't trust you, but I just want to make sure we are comparing the same thing.
It's like the three blind men trying to describe how an elephant looks like. Well, I may be the blind man who's touching the elephant arse (or it seems like it with my D2X)... anyway, you get my point
#24. "RE: D2X focusing issues" | In response to Reply # 17
I doubt you can isolate problems with a DSLR by comparing it with a camera that is recording on film. No one here knows if there is a design flaw with the sensor on the D2X, maybe the autofocus system is working correctly, but the sensor is not recording the information as it should.
Too many people are having problems out there with this, some very experienced photographers, some with quite a bit of experience with the D2H, I doubt all of them are incompetent or on Canon's payroll.
I do think that being able to provide samples will go a long way toward backing up the common assumption of some that Nikon is perfect and the photographer has to be at fault, sort of put your money....!!!!
#35. "RE: D2X focusing issues" | In response to Reply # 24Mon 07-Nov-05 12:35 AM
1st this reply isn't specific to anyone. I've finally decided to pack my replacement D2x back to Nikon for focus issues. This morning I finally got a chance to use the new DK17M magnifier with my D2x thinking that it would help me determine if my focusing was working properly thinking I'd be able to see better to manually focus. Bottom line was even manually focusing I did not get 1 sharp image so back to Nikon it goes. Plus I've had trouble with the camera taking more than 1 exposure at a time in single shot mode making sure the other shutter button was locked off. Than the last problem I'm having is the rubber is coming off the body in places. Probably due to Nikon Service trying to get the focus corrected the last time I sent this body to them. I've kept quite for months now on focus issues but this mornings shooting convinced me to speak up again. I'm asking Nikon for a refund this time and hope the D200 will be a better choice for me. If not I guess my Nikon stuff will go up for sale.
Visit my Nikonians gallery.
#28. "RE: D2X focusing issues" | In response to Reply # 12
". . . often relying on the discredited and unreliable 45 degree focus test that can still be downloaded from the web . . . "
Len, since the archives are apparently clobbered, can we have a reiteration of exactly why the 45 degree test is discredited and unreliable?
#32. "RE: D2X focusing issues" | In response to Reply # 28Nick Onian Registered since 06th Nov 2005Sun 06-Nov-05 11:33 PM
I think the reason is that the distance of the bottom and the top edge of the lens to the point of focus will be different when you use any other AF sensors than the ones that are in the center row. For example, if you focus on a chart laying flat on a table from 45 degrees above using any of the bottom AF sensors, the bottom edge of the lens will be closer to the point of focus than the top edge. I suspect that this will not produce a sharp image.
#36. "RE: D2X focusing issues" | In response to Reply # 32avisys Basic MemberMon 07-Nov-05 01:54 AM
>I think the reason is that the distance of the bottom and
>the top edge of the lens to the point of focus will be
>different when you use any other AF sensors than the ones
>that are in the center row. For example, if you focus on a
>chart laying flat on a table from 45 degrees above using any
>of the bottom AF sensors, the bottom edge of the lens will
>be closer to the point of focus than the top edge. I suspect
>that this will not produce a sharp image.
That makes obvious sense when testing upper and lower sensors. But doesn't make sense when testing the center sensor, which is, I believe, what most people are doing.
#41. "RE: D2X focusing issues" | In response to Reply # 36
#46. "RE: D2X focusing issues" | In response to Reply # 41Mon 07-Nov-05 03:04 PM
>> I don't think mcampos has given us his test conditions <<
My test conditions are a bit unorthodox, I go out and shoot!
Seriously, I did not spend a lot of time shooting test charts, etc. I did try to shoot some objects with text, lines, etc., but how I came to realize my first D2X had a flaw in the autofocus system was by real world testing.
I shoot a lot of flowers, one of my favorite places is a greenhouse setting with plenty of sunlight and not a drop of wind; once I started noticing predominantly out of focus images I decided to be more careful, I took my solid Bogen studio tripod instead of my regular one, used a cable release, mirror lock-up, went higher on the ISO to be able to use a higher shutter speed and f/stop, held down the camera, etc. My AF settings are simple AF-S with single area AF; most of the first 500+ shots were predominantly out of focus. In contrast my D2H has always given me great results, which also points to the fact that I am quite familiar with the systems in the D2X. Also the D100s I owned before the D2H gave my much better results than the D2X.
The consensus here was that it had to be my technique, that the D2X is quite different from the D2H, but the Nikon technicians kept telling me the opposite.
I finally took the camera to Nikon, they adjusted the autofocus and I saw a marked improvement, however my color rendition was quite disappointing, more so than before; no amount of playing with the WB and other settings helped and with post processing I could only go so far to extract satisfactory results. I finally took the camera back to Nikon and they replaced it with a new one. With this one color rendition is great, but autofocus still leaves a lot to be desired, I am seeing a lot of front plane focusing when the subject where the sensor locked is behind by about a foot. I may end up bringing the camera back to Nikon, but I want to do more testing to be able to bring enough samples to them.
#34. "RE: D2X focusing issues" | In response to Reply # 12
Len, if the "D2x sensors are much bigger than the AF target areas", please explain how you compensate to achieve accurate focus. I read the article on focus in Nikonians and understand what it means, but don't understand what you mean and how you would compensate for this. I cannot focus well manually due to my bifocals.
So, how in the world do you point a 6" pattern at a 2" target and expect it to work?
#22. "There ARE some problems with some D2x bodies" | In response to Reply # 0
I don't care what is said by whoever about poor technique. It is a fact that I exchanged my first D2x body as it back focused badly. Some others on this and other forums have had similar problems and also with uneven focus at certain focal lengths and certain focus points.
There is also no doubt that some focus errors are user and not camera, and also some lenses have been proved suspect.
So in summary, YES THERE ARE some QC issues with some lenses and some D2x bodies but if yours is a good one, and my new body is..... the quality is superb and I can recommend the D2x to you.
1. Try before you buy
2. Use only the best lenses and the extra resolution will show up poor lenses
3. Learn how to use the AF system properly, and it is a little complex. Use the wrong AF setting for the chosen subject and it will let you down.
Nikon D2x, F2A, F3, Panasonic DMC-LC1
#33. "RE: There ARE some problems with some D2x bodies" | In response to Reply # 22Sun 06-Nov-05 11:36 PM
Yes, there ARE problems with the D2x focusing. I have one and had to send it back to Nikon a week ago. When I bought this body, I used the standard brick wall shot test, on a tripod with the Nikon 17-55mm lens, using a shutter release cable---the whole system was rock steady. The focus was beautiful and sharp as a tack. When I take pictures where the subject is in the same plane, focus is good. However, when there is foreground and subject, focus is out. I found this out the first time I shot bridal pictures using a tripod, studio lights, and at f9.5. The front part of the picture was in focus, but her face and the area behind are out of focus. Only the first 3-4 feet were sharp, the rest are fuzzy. So yes, there is a front focus problem with mine. I had my wife pose as a model and I confirmed the focus problem again with her, so it was not the nervous bride. I used the D70s to check my technique, the picture of my wife was in perfect focus from foreground to background.
By the way, I have been using Nikon stuff for 33 years and yes I do know what I am doing. I do not work for Canon and never considered their stuff. I just want my $5000 camera to focus like my D70s, and my F100s as far as quality, cause right now, it "ain't" nuttin' but a paperweight.
Yes, Virginia, there is a focusing problem with the D2x and it is not necessarily technique.
#37. "RE: D2X focussing issues" | In response to Reply # 0
I have been worried that I had a focusing problem with my D2X for a couple of months. After results from today in the field, I am positive that I expected too much out of the D2X AF system. In my own case, whenever a subject is at least 20-25% of the viewfinder (or larger), my images come out extremely sharp. I was trying to get far away birds and was struggling because there is no doubt that I can't get a subject that is, for instance, only 10% of the viewfinder to be sharp! In essence, I was forcing images in distance situations that were not likely to get sharp AF lock, regardless of what camera I used. I understand that the situation with others on this thread may be different, but my own situation is resolved. The sieze of the center AF sensor is apparently much larger than the brackets seen through the viewfinder. With small subjects, the focus might lock onto something behind it with more contrast. I had to get the subjects bigger/closer, and THAT works for me.
Visit my Nikonians gallery.
#38. "RE: D2X focussing issues" | In response to Reply # 37Mon 07-Nov-05 03:36 AM
Try this; although it didn't work for me (read my post above). Use the AF button on back of the camera to focus (disableing 1/2 shutter press) than fine tune focus manually. This should give pretty good results if you can see well enough on subjects being about the size of the bracket. I'm not getting sharp focus either manual or AF so this of course didn't work for me. Bad thing about my D2x is the focus confirm green dot shows focus is supposedly right on.
Visit my Nikonians gallery.
#39. "MODERATORS PLEASE READ - D2X focussing issues" | In response to Reply # 38Mon 07-Nov-05 10:38 AM
Hmmm. A $5000 camera apparently cannot do what the $800 baby brother can. Kinda scarey when it comes down to plunking 5 big ones down on the counter top at the store.
What is missing in this thread are the comments from those that have NEVER had focussing issues from the time the box was first opened at home. PLEASE JOIN IN.
It would be rash of me to discount the camera if statistically there were only 2-3% of them having problems while the remaining 97% were performing "as advertised". If only 2-3% were generating 90+% of the D2X dialog on the D2X focussing topic, then that rather skews the performance picture.
PLEASE MODERATORS, can a poll be set up with 2 questions. Myself, and others I'm sure, would feel much more comfortable about this camera if we knew the problems commented about were statiscally small with respect to whole of the respondents. Maybe you could rephrase the suggested poll statements if necessary
(1) My D2X has produced a significant number of pictures with unexplained focussing problems?
(2) My D2X has not demonstrated any unexplained focussing problems.
Many thanks - enquiring minds need to know. If the board policy is not to run poll, then please advise.
#47. "RE: MODERATORS PLEASE READ - D2X focussing issues" | In response to Reply # 39Mon 07-Nov-05 03:14 PM
I think a poll would be a great idea, it will probably shed a very positive light on the D2X because I think there are a lot of people out there enjoying their cameras.
I also strongly believe that sample images will also go a long way toward proving the results that can be had when the camera works properly; I have seen a lot of D2X samples mostly of people with softer muted colors which are fine, but I think we need the punch-you-in-the-face vivid colors that should be had from such and expensive tool.
#43. "RE: D2X focussing issues" | In response to Reply # 0
David: I remember your posts before the crash, and you had me testing all 11 AF points weekly, if not daily . Certainly after one spends $5,000 for a camera, they want every function (especially the AF) to work perfectly. In order to eliminate as much user error as possible, I went (and still go) a bit overboard with testing, using a tripod and MLU. I shoot a brick ledge (at an angle), flowers in the back-yard and text in a book and on a beer bottle with a 70-200 (VR off). I shoot them wide-open (f/2.8) and alternate from having the camera focusing from the front to focusing from behind. All 11 AF points (even the ends) produce identical AF. I also test with a close-up lens (Canon 500D) on coins where the DOF is less than a mm and again, all 11 points are perfect.
I hear your frustration and even empathize with you, but for you to condemn the entire D2X production line seems a bit dramatic. There does appear to have been a very small percentage (far less than 1%) of D2X's with focusing issues when the camera first came out. But there also appears to be less than a handful of 'regulars here' (with more than XX posts) with recurring problems. There are at least 500 (maybe 2,000) other D2X owners here that don't have problems.
I'm not saying that those with fewer than XX posts are 'trolling' or that they are "on Canon's payroll", but more so that they only came here after they had an issue, thus their statistical relevance should be weighted more towards the total number of D2X's produced rather than the D2X owners here at Nikonians. (I also realize that XX posters have lost YY posts because of the crash, myself included).
There seems no 'light' way to say this, but just as you seem offended when your abilities/techniques are questioned, please keep that in mind when questioning the rest of our ability to determine sharp images.
Gonzo: The D2X has 90 lp/mm resolution with no real competitors in that department and demands excellent glass and technique. I think the Nikkor 70-200 f/2.8, 28-70 f/2.8 and 85mm f/1.4 would be 'my' ideal set of lenses, but I don't yet claim to have "great" hand holding technique.
I also think the 'tack-sharp' focus is a bit overstated. I don't think anyone with a D70,D100 (63 lp/mm; D2H - 52 lp/mm) paid as close attention. After a few of David’s posts a month or so ago, I found myself being over sensitive to this issue and trying to zoom in on every picture and find different levels of detail on the individual whiskers of my puppy... that just isn’t reasonable (however, for some shots, the detail is there). Maybe I'm wrong (it happens often ), but IMHO people might be expecting $5,000 to resolve at 300 lp/mm rather than just the world leading 90 lp/mm. Certainly with that much resolution, sharp images will be more difficult. Think of this in terms of light hitting the pixels... there are almost 4 pixel sites on a D2X for every one D2H pixel... the smallest movement/vibration which would allow light to 'bounce' around from corner to corner inside one pixel on a D2H, could be seen by four different pixels on a D2X sensor. It is going to require better technique and maybe even a little more light to get 'tack-sharp' images on the D2X.
Slower shutter-speeds are going to produce less sharp images, period. 'Slow' will be different for everyone based on their equipment and/or abilities, but at some point one cannot hand-hold for sharp images. After a few of jrp's shots showed up here, they have motivated me to concentrate on my technique. I'm still nowhere near as sharp as jrp, but I'm a lot closer than I was when I started (e.g. my ‘slow’ has become a little ‘slower’ ).
From my comments to David, I think the 'statistical' relevance of a poll would be zero. It would take one troll to come here and pound the "Have Problems" lever and invalidate any statistics. As well as 'only problem' owners would be searching/find this topic. The million plus happy owners are not searching the internet for focusing issues... they are out taking pictures.
A company like Nikon with a storied history of making the absolute best photographic equipment in the world would not let a problem like this go unresolved. I'm not saying they are perfect (I have several issues slash friendly requests for improvement ), but after being a world leader for 60 or 70 years, I would hope that all of us would give them a little more credit than to think they would just sluff-off an AF problem on their flagship product.
The D2X is an incredible camera and pushes me every day to improve as a photographer. I whole-heartedly recommend this camera to anyone that is considering it.
#44. "RE: D2X focussing issues" | In response to Reply # 43Mon 07-Nov-05 01:38 PM
I agree with everything you say 100%, except maybe the numbers of users with good versus bad because we really don't have that data at hand. I respect what you say and appreciate you taking the time to post it. There is one thing I would like to highlight:
>> give them a little more credit than to think they would just sluff-off an AF problem <<
My experience with Nikon is that they will try to deny a system wide problem when it exists if they can get away with it. Two examples come to mind; I owned a 35mm f/2 which is notorious for a problem with oil leaking onto the blades, I had mine repaired under warranty and the second time it was repaired at no charge out of warranty, but yet the technician at Nikon told me that there is no known problem of this type with the lens, that mine was an isolated case.
The second was the meter board problem with the D2H, yes, eventually Nikon issued a system wide service advisory, but this took quite a long time; I took mine in to Nikon Torrance and was told the same thing, that mine was an isolated case which by then I knew was not true.
The other thing Nikon seems to be leaning toward doing is coming out with s models of the cameras to address issues thus leaving owners of the original model out in the water without recourse. When I bought my D2H within a week Nikon dropped the price by $1k, then came out with the D2Hs to address issues with the D2H, at the time there was a rumor of an exchange program such as the one they had with the D1, but this never materialized. My fear is that they will release a D2Xs and leave a lot of us holding a $5k paperweight.
These are just 2 cases where it has affected me, I don't expect anyone else to share my opinion; I have been a loyal Nikon customer for 27 years and have the invoices to show for!!!
#45. "RE: D2X focussing issues" | In response to Reply # 43Mon 07-Nov-05 02:38 PM
Jess--it's great that you have no issue with peripheral AF points. But could you post the image side by side so I can better understand how you test them?
Slightly off tangent here, the reason I didn't participate more actively is that I've been observing that this forum has the tendency to *frown* on any post that shed bad light on Nikon products. So, I've been in lurking mode for quite a while until I can't take it anymore where most active participants use the same mantra of "bad technique" when describing any malfunction on any Nikon products. Some insistence upon bad technique is just so prevalent it becomes comical. Plus, in the time I've lurked, I've spent a lot of time honing my skill using the D2-seried just to make sure that it's not just operator error that produces the soft image.
Back on topic, I've said it before...but shooting style may have a lot to do with why most people don't realize the existing AF error. It's not just testing all the AF point, but *how* you test it. I simulate my test similar to the actual working condition that I usually encounter when I shoot wedding. Meaning, that I shoot very close (very close to the minimum focusing distance the lens will allow to lock the AF), and use very thin depth of field (i.e f/1.4) to isolate the object.
Getting away from my subject will lessen the impact of the AF error since the depth of field will increase with the increase of the shooting distance.
An example of how I shoot mine in real condition: I have my bride to sit on a chair while I'm standing up shooting down at her eye-lashes so the eye occupy most of the AF box (and hopefully most of the AF sensor). I want the eye lashes to be sharp where I can see individual lash, and I want the rest of the face to be out of focus. I nail it most of the time with central AF points, but the same can't be said when I use upper and lower AF sensors and I have to compensate this way and that way (usually by moving my body forward or backward) to acquire sharp image. That's my actual shooting situation, so I set up my test target with static object similarly and it confirms my suspicion.
Again, I am so wanting that NOT all D2-bodies have this quirk...but then again *how* you use your camera may or may not reveal this problem.
Finally, please post the test images where I can see them...that would be great.
p.s. Btw, it's my competitor, not the tool, that pushes me to become a better photographer
#51. "RE: D2X focussing issues" | In response to Reply # 45Tue 08-Nov-05 05:09 AM
David: All tests were with D2X, 70-200 (VR-off), camera on a tripod and ISO=100, no flash in the first three tests, flash in the final test (all tests were different days about a week or so apart – thanks to your earlier posts ). Hopefully my test cases can help you ascertain whether or not they are similar to your situation.
First test case was shot at 9:00 am on sunny day, with a very porous rock sitting on a brick ledge of a flower bed retaining wall. The rock was slightly smaller than an ‘egg’ shaped Silly Putty canister. The rock looks like a miniature version of a beehive (except grey and made of rock). The rock was about 3 horizontal meters from the lens and 45 cm below. FL=86mm, f/2.8, SS=1/160th. The rock occupies about 5% of the total frame. Pores on the rock make it very easy to determine if the rock is in focus. DOF should be about 9 cm. I was expecting the DOF to be even on both sides of the rock, but it may closer to 60/40 behind the rock... or maybe my eyes are deceiving me (I couldn’t really judge this on the following three tests). I was also using this case to test the ISO noise. This will be another thread, but IMHO, there is no noise at ISO 800 (or below). At Hi-1, I doubt any normal person would notice it, but if you ‘want’ to see it, maybe you can. I still ask myself “Is it really there, or do I just want to see it?” Clearly at Hi-2 there is noise, but probably less noise than the non-existent ISO 3200 color film I never shot.
Second case (Nikon lens cap) was shot at 11:00 pm in my office (one 60W desk lamp to light the room) with the close-up lens (Canon 500D) attached to my 70-200. The lens cap was about 40 horizontal centimeters from the lens, with very strict attention to keep the lens cap at the same height and parallel with the focal plane of the camera (this is very important because of the shallow DOF). FL=200 mm, f/5.6, SS=1/500s. DOF should be 0.45mm. These pictures are INCREDIBLY sharp. When I first opened them in Photoshop I wondered ‘where did I get that lens cap’. I was focusing on the N-I-K-O-N letters and the camera shows sharp edges around the letters, but also resolves the material behind the letters (I seem to have slightly greater DOF than my calculation, maybe a full mm). I never noticed the textured surface behind the letters on the lens cap, but it is pretty cool when studied up close.
My third case was 10:00 am on another sunny day using a rose out in the back yard. This test took forever because even the slightest wind can affect your results. These are different than your normal roses in that they have very large petals, the rose is about 7 cm in diameter when opened up. I was focusing on the pistols (??? I don't know much about flowers) inside the center of the rose. The lens was about 2 horizontal meters from the rose and maybe 15 cm above the rose. Sharp focus here was also easy to see because of the 20 or so small pistols in the center of the flower. FL=200mm, f/2.8, SS=1/60s (I was partially shaded from the house). DOF should be about 1 cm, which makes for a great effect of the petals losing focus as you move back to the viewer. The full rose occupied approximately 60% of the frame.
My fourth case (just last Saturday night) was a beer bottle (Anchor Steam) on my desk (same light as lens cap, only farther away). I was especially interested in losing focus on the label moving around the curved surface of the bottle. Initially I thought the focus failed, but it was the result of too much flash on the front lettering that washed out the entire area. I added a diffuser and rotated the flash up and got the sharp images I was looking for / expecting. DOF (about 3 cm) was too large for me to see the letters lose focus like I wanted, but the letters at the very back edge were out of focus. FL=120mm, f/2.8, SS=1/100 (FP mode). I was at about the same height, and must have been near 1.75 meters as I positioned the tripod just beyond the minimum focus distance. These pictures were the most ‘questionable’ of the in-focus images, but I think that is because of the relative size of the letters being HUGE compared to the pores in the rock, rough Nikon cap surface and pistols of the flower. I have the same amount of 'blur' if I blow up the letters in this text to a 72 point font (similar to the size of the letters on the beer bottle at 100% crop).
I can assure you that the images are in sharp focus for all four tests described above, but it is a bit of a hassle uploading forty-four 20 Mb images as well as finding someone that is willing to host them. I’m more than willing to answer any questions that could further help describe these pictures to you. Test two was especially interesting because I was able to focus on different parts of the lens cap without adjusting the camera on the tripod for each row of sensors. Thus as I scan the images, I have three of the exact (close anyway) same images as I move across the top row of sensors, four+one (I had to move the cap for the last sensor) in the middle row and three of the ‘same’ picture on the bottom row.
#48. "RE: D2X focussing issues" | In response to Reply # 0
Having just joined Nikonians, I have been following the various threads about focussing problems on the D2X as I am thinking of upgrading from my D1 to either the D2X or the D2HS.
I know that there are issues as a friend of mine had his D2X replaced by Nikon for this reason.
What I don't understand is why no one seems to report similar problems from the D2H or F6 as they both use the same CAM 2000 module.
Does this mean that it is the sensor that's the problem?
Any views on this might help me decide.
#53. "RE: D2X focussing issues - FIRMWARE FIX?" | In response to Reply # 52Tue 08-Nov-05 01:41 PM
For those of you who believe that it is MY technique at fault, I can report that the new firmware has had no effect on my technique either way.
For those who have some issues with the D2x AF system I can confirm that there is a marked improvement in close up images with much sharper focus and clearer definition between 'in-focus' and 'out-of-focus' areas. This appears to be with ALL focus points, though I have done only limited tests so far.
There is no question IMO that this is a major improvement to the AF system. I have yet to test in other areas especially longer lenses and C-AF, but I have high hopes that there will be improvements here.
Nikon D2x, F2A, F3, Panasonic DMC-LC1
#54. "RE: D2X focussing issues - FIRMWARE FIX?" | In response to Reply # 53Jason Replica UK Registered since 08th Dec 2004Tue 08-Nov-05 01:54 PM
As someone who had one of the early D2x bodies and had to return it within a few days to Nikon for "mirror box alignment", I have never been totally happy about the focus on this camera especially when compared to my D70. It was only last week that I was discussing returning it with Nikon UK for checking yet again last week but before I got around to it the new firmware appeared.
I don't want to get hopes up to high but I really think this update has solved my problems.
This morning, after updating the firmware, I took over 20 shots of items around our garden that I use as my standard "real world" test targets, these include a very stony textured post and some little plant markers with text on them. ALL of the shots looked better than my previous efforts. They had the 'snap' that I have been looking for and even the colour rendering looks better. The shots were taken with my three main lenses 18-70DX, 50mm 1.8 and 80-400VR. No tripod used and under dull lighting so I wasn't looking for this amount of improvement straight away. I would nearly go so far as to say that it feels like a different camera altogether, more 'shootable' under normal conditions.
I also took a few indoor shots of my better half with flash and the closeups, while not winning any portrait competition, were much sharper than I recall having seen before. With the 50mm at f1.8 the shots from around 20 inches away show every fine hair and mark on the skin - so now the complaints about the camera come from my other half rather than me but that I can tolerate!
I really think that something major has been done in this update, I'd really like to know how other users feel after updating their cameras, especially those who have had issues with focus in the past...
Replica Imaging Limited - UK
"It's not the dates on your headstone
that matter, it's how you spent the
dash in between."
#67. "RE: D2X focussing issues - FIRMWARE FIX?" | In response to Reply # 54fotosbydennis Basic MemberThu 10-Nov-05 12:36 AM
jason i agree that it feels like a major difference in camera,i believe that nikon has dampened shutter,mirror action. seems like it is smoother and more control. i too came from d70 as soon as i got my d2x thought it tried to focus and shoot too quick. some of my initial focus problems was me. even though the white balance changes was for presets,think it has changed my kelvin levels also. i seem to have to set higher in usual lighting let me know what you think.think they have changed whole camera curve,that will take an expert like bob j to tell us thx dennis
#55. "RE: D2X focusing issues" | In response to Reply # 0
First I did not expect my replies 13 and 27 to stir up such a hornets nest.
My experience is limited to 5 hands on Nikon D2x training sessions and loaning one for a portrait shoot and one for a room interior shoot.
What I have done (stirred by the internet traffic) is tested all the AF points with a 50mm f1.8, both f2 DC primes and 3 f2.8 zooms and have not detected any focus issues not referred to in the instruction book.
Like my F6 the D2x in my hands locks on accurate far more often than the F100 and F5.
What is pertinent to the CAM 1300 and CAM 2000 is the Nikon sensors are bigger than tiny "point and shoot" and it does help to watch what AF is locking onto with a subject at an angle to the AF sensor.
As I do not use a D2x full time I asked (reply 13) if any of the other possible 1000+ D2x users here could not get any of the D2x off sensor focus points to focus.
I think I am right in interpreting the replies as whilst some are happy and some are not, no-one else has reported all the AF sensor points are off.
Last night I saw a lecture by a mature disabled lady who put up 360 superb slides, many of which have won international awards, and all taken within the last 2 years using 50 ASA slide film.
They included full frame birds in flight, motorcyclist stunt riders in mid air, sports action and a host of landscapes, figure studies, and table tops, all superbly lit.
As she is disabled 50% of the shots were taken indoors with no more than an old soft light, reflectors and mirrors and all had superb lighting.
This is the first time she has lectured and her reputation is such that 1 top photographer traveled 50 miles to see her show.
She confided to us she had come into some money and upgraded from 2 manual focus Ricoh to 2 manual focus Nikon FM's.
As the top photographer said afterwords to you me "You know Len, this shows the camera has very little to do with it".
Think about that - birds in flight, stunt riders, and sports action - at 50 ASA with no AF.
Looking specifically at reply 35 and the problem with poor eyesight an option is the D50 with it's small "point and shoot" sensors.
In some circumstances more expensive is not better.
Looking at 45 degree tests and why I say they are discredited
1/If you use a ruler at 45 degrees in the center, as one observant D2x user confirms, the AF tends to lock on a part of the ruler closer than the AF target - part of the challenge of using large sensors well.
To give an idea of how big the Nikon D2x sensors are in low light I found Pop Photo are right.
The centre row sensors are cross shaped with no gaps between horizontal sensors and slight overlap between top and bottom sensors.
2/If you substitute a black horizontal line as the target the instruction book for just about every Nikon says this is a target where AF may not work well.
In the context of the small D70 viewfinder and the kit lens at f5.6 visually confirming AF is spot on is far from easy.
With good eyesight (and regular trips to an optician if you are no longer young) confirmation is not to difficult with a D2x with an f2 lens, but still nothing like as conformable as an F5 with a 6x magnifier.
More specifically as Nikon say this type of target is one where AF may not work I can understand Nikon engineers treating warranty issues accompanied by 45 degree tests as less than authoritative and doing no more than doing the routine test bench checks.
3/If the lens has a curved field, like the 18-70 kit lens or the 50mm f1.4 at close focus, focus is not in a straight line across the frame.
If focus is bang on in the centre it is in front or behind further out.
This is an optical limitation of the taking lens and not front or back focus.
4/The authoritative test method (using a firm tripod) is to AF on a good test target parallel to the film back, check the AF confirmation is on, switch to MF and take picture 1.
Then move the tripod 3 inches back to take shot 2, and then 3 inches forward to take shot 3.
If AF is accurate shot 1 will be the sharpest.
Do this test for the central sensor and any sensor where you think you have a problem.
The good news is that I have corresponded with over 20 D70 and D2x users who thought they had a focus issue because that had heard about the 45 degree type test and tried it.
When the did the authoritative test all found they did not have a focus issue and did not need to send their camera back for a check.
I am aware of 3 instances where a D2x had an authoritatively established focus problem so I am not saying there are no defective cameras.
There are also some 70-200's where the AF instructions are not correctly interpreted by the in lens motor.
Equally there are some who I do not think are testing in an authoritative way.
The other not good news is you do not have to ask if you have an AF problem - you have authoritative test information for Nikon to work on.
If you do these authoritative tests when you first get the camera and there is a problem you can exchange it straight away
Getting back to the lady doing good action shots with MF if you want to make the AF target too small for AF to detect by using extreme wide (as one reply complains) switch to MF or get a camera with small AF sensors like the D50.
MF is not as "taboo" as some might think.
With a wide angle and a middle distance dof is significant.
Often you can pre set focus, set f8 or f11 (as our grandfathers did), shoot without focusing, and get sharp focus every time.
If you are using an f1.4 wide open close up with depth of field front to back may be no more than a quarter of an inch.
If a portrait subject moves an eighth of and inch or the photographer sways an eighth of an inch as the shutter is released the picture is outside the sharpness zone.
A tripod and the model resting her head on the back of a chair are compromises that might have helped get the picture within the sharpness zone.
To sum up the camera can be at fault, but if it is there are quick to do authoritative tests.
100% of the times when my pictures come out wrong, as they sometimes do, so far it has always been me, not the camera.
#56. "RE: D2X focusing issues" | In response to Reply # 55Tue 08-Nov-05 08:54 PM
>> To sum up the camera can be at fault, but if it is there are quick to do authoritative tests <<
You can rest now, the firmware update released today resolves the REAL problems with the D2X autofocus system; the results after the update are outstanding!
#57. "RE: D2X focusing issues" | In response to Reply # 56DiverX Basic MemberTue 08-Nov-05 09:00 PM
>You can rest now, the firmware update released today
>resolves the REAL problems with the D2X autofocus system;
>the results after the update are outstanding!
Which is what many of us were saying from the beginning, there were some issues and "perhaps" they would address it at some point with a firmware update...TADA!!!
#58. "RE: D2X focusing issues" | In response to Reply # 57Tue 08-Nov-05 09:03 PM
>> many of us were saying from the beginning <<
Absolutely, all that is left now is a formal apology from the head basher set and an official statement from Nikonians <g>.
OK, I go back into my cave waiting for the incoming missile!
I am a happy camper today, my D2X finally is going to make me feel pain when I take a picture of someone bleeding!
#69. "RE: D2X focusing issues" | In response to Reply # 58Thu 10-Nov-05 07:36 AM
>Absolutely, all that is left now is a formal apology from
>the head basher set and an official statement from Nikonians
>OK, I go back into my cave waiting for the incoming missile!
I doubt it will come (the apology) so don't hold your breath. I also experienced this kind of mindless 'blind support' when I used an Olympus E1 (until September this year). It seems no one should ask for help, or query an issue or problem they might have if it in someway casts even the merest hint of a shaddow over the 'beloved Nikon' (or Canon or Olympus..... - in their respective forums).
Maybe I am weird but I don't form significant emotional attachments to inanimate objects or corporations. As a photographer (albeit one who could not focus with his D2x despite 30 years experience with countless other bodies) I just use what I deem to be the 'right kit for the job'.
As for the firmware update, I said in a previous post that the firmware had had no effect on me but the D2x now seemed fine. Maybe in hindsight it was me that the firmware fixed and not the D2x which was of course fine all the time.
On this assumption, I have now emailed Nikon UK with a list of my other ailements and shortcomings and await their new firmware solution.
Nikon D2x, F2A, F3, Panasonic DMC-LC1
#70. "RE: D2X focusing issues" | In response to Reply # 69Thu 10-Nov-05 01:59 PM
I am with you on this Ian, photography is the goal, the camera is the tool to accomplish that goal. The passion expressed in some circles can only be explained by knowing what other motives the person may have, it could either be monetary of psychological.
In the end all the "it is your technique" crowd did was alienate those having problems reaching out for help and end up with pie in their face, I agree none are going to acknowledge the error of their ways, but what is more amusing is that some are still trying to bash people in the head with the "Nikon is grand, the D2X was perfect"
Back to the cave.
#78. "RE: D2X focusing issues" | In response to Reply # 71Thu 10-Nov-05 09:55 PM
>> Let's end this discussion topic - it's been overdone to say the least <<
Why is it that these threads can go on forever as long as we agree with the status quo, but as soon as someone expresses a different opinion the threads have to be shut down?
I understand, I'll let it go.
#80. "RE: D2X focusing issues" | In response to Reply # 79Thu 10-Nov-05 10:32 PM
>> sniping at each other with the same statements over and over, it becomes unproductive <<
I agree, but why does intervention seem to come when someone loses their patience as a result of having their technique questioned over and over without the basher even having the decency to ask how are you shooting, experience level, etc. and defends themselves against persistent attacks on their opinion, why not jump in while the heat is building up? We all know where the thread is going to end up as soon as the chants of "you don't know how to shoot" start building up.
There has been a mayor improvement in the operation of the D2X, some of us spent countless hours trying to work through this, just because we could not resolve the problem does not automatically mean we were not paying attention to all the good advise being given, but I think it is time for the "it has to be your technique" crowd to back off. They are simply doing a disservice to the members, Nikon and the forum.
Personally what I got today in a short shoot was short of amazing, extremely beautiful flower shots without hardly any post processing. Something was done to the camera to improve it and we should not continue to bash those that claim that their camera now works and before it did not.
That is just my opinion. I have a hard time with censorship, it's my upbringing in a communist country, I enjoy freedom of expression. I apologize for going against the common opinion expressed by many here.
#84. "RE: D2X focusing issues" | In response to Reply # 80Fri 11-Nov-05 01:03 AM
>That is just my opinion. I have a hard time with censorship,
>it's my upbringing in a communist country, I enjoy freedom
>of expression. I apologize for going against the common
>opinion expressed by many here.
Great. Please realize that what you are attempting do is suppress an alternate view - one that does not agree with yours.
The best course of action is for everyone to back-off and be a bit more tolerate of each other's viewpoints. This site is not interested in censorship, but we do insist upon having a tone of respect amongst members.
#88. "RE: D2X focusing issues" | In response to Reply # 84Fri 11-Nov-05 06:27 AM
>The best course of action is for everyone to back-off and be
>a bit more tolerate of each other's viewpoints. This site
>is not interested in censorship, but we do insist upon
>having a tone of respect amongst members.
That's fine but it cuts both ways. A number of us who have experienced focus issues with the D2x (and no other issues in my case I might add) are just fed up with the "you are a cr@p photog" response from some quarters.
My original pre site crash post showed a number of images that demonstrated what I now know was back focus and nothing to do with my technique. I was a bit paniced as I had sold all my E1 gear which worked perfectly and upgraded to the D2x which appeared not to be working.
Greys of Westminster changed my first D2x body without question. Funny they never said "go learn how to focus". My post was asking for help as so many others have done on the same subject and is was (and still is) disappointing to receive the kind of unhelpful comments from some quarters.
It's sad that no one has seen fit to acknowledge that those of us with problems not of of own making had had those problems removed by an upgrade of firmware and not by improveing 'our' technique - that was MY point.
Nikon D2x, F2A, F3, Panasonic DMC-LC1
#89. "RE: D2X focusing issues" | In response to Reply # 88Fri 11-Nov-05 08:55 AM
This back-and-forth debate really does need to stop; it is not helping anyone.
Without taking any "side", it is clear that some members have seen an AF improvement after having their camera replaced (and more recently, after installing the firmware update). Equally, other members have found that they needed to change either their technique or their expectations in order to get the best out of the D2X's AF module. Members with AF problems would do well to consider either scenario before jumping to conclusions.
Now let's draw a line under this discussion, and move on. Please.
#61. "RE: D2X focusing issues" | In response to Reply # 57
Well I say shame on Nikon. I have spent close to $200 sending D2x'es back to them and they sending D2x'es back (and even replaceing one)improved but not really right. If they'd had acknowledged the problem and said they were working on a firmware fix many many people could have saved hundreds of dollars shipping cameras back to them for service. Not to mention the worry and frustration many of us with problems have gone through.
Visit my Nikonians gallery.
#62. "RE: D2X focusing issues" | In response to Reply # 61Wed 09-Nov-05 04:53 PM
>they'd had acknowledged the problem and said they were
>working on a firmware fix
Depends what the "problem" was.
The original post was about the D2x not being capable of accurate focus.
With over 60 replies no-one so far has said they have a similar problem.
Quite a few are doing just fine and these seem mainly to be those who test authoratively, follow the instructions, and have good technique.
Perhaps Nikon have found a fix that helps those who may do otherwise to get good results.
#63. "RE: D2X focusing issues" | In response to Reply # 62Wed 09-Nov-05 05:01 PM
Continuing to support the theory of poor technique is an insult to those that have been struggling with this problem. Given the fact that Nikon released a fix it is absurd to continue to beat this dead horse.
#72. "RE: D2X focusing issues" | In response to Reply # 63Thu 10-Nov-05 03:08 PM
>Given the fact that Nikon released a fix
With the fix Nikon say they have sorted a flash problem, removed a white balance colour balance issue, and when it comes to AF it is improved.
There is no mention of an AF fix.
There are reports on pro only forums that focus tracking is improved but other characteristics seem unchanged.
#73. "RE: D2X focusing issues" | In response to Reply # 72Thu 10-Nov-05 03:42 PM
"There are reports on pro only forums that focus tracking is improved but other characteristics seem unchanged"
Could you do some "cut and paste" so we all can read the content to which you refer.
Provide some links so we can read for ourselves.
#74. "RE: D2X focusing issues" | In response to Reply # 72Daianto Basic MemberThu 10-Nov-05 03:59 PM
>>Given the fact that Nikon released a fix
>There are reports on pro only forums that focus tracking is
>improved but other characteristics seem unchanged.
I'm on one such pro forum, haven't as of yet seen this statement posted there. This firmware has only been out two days now. NOBODY has had time to fully test it under field conditions.
To tackle the various elements of this thread.
One\ I did have a focus problem, Nikon reloaded the firmware and made adustments. It gave better overall performance after.
Two\ I changed my settings to reflect those posted on this site. That made improvements.
Three\ The new firmware has seemed to have made improvements so far. It is the middle of a winter storm here with heavy overcast. More snap to the autofocus. Excellent colour rendition under low light levels at H-2. Shot some tests 80-400VR, handheld at 1\100 f8. Sharp.
The weather man is calling for -25C and sun on the weekend. It will be interesting to see how the WB renders the snow colour, let alone how the camera performs in extreme cold. What little snow shooting I have done in recent days, prior to the new firmware, indicates the camera may be too warm in winter conditions with ABW. To date it has demonstrated good battery life at -10C.
#75. "RE: D2X focusing issues" | In response to Reply # 74Thu 10-Nov-05 05:51 PM
> This firmware has only been out two
>days now. NOBODY has had time to fully test it under field
A pro on one of the pro forums has put 600 shots through in the 2 days it has been out.
>One\ I did have a focus problem, Nikon reloaded the firmware
>and made adjustments. It gave better overall performance
I have never said there are no problems.
What i have said is those who have problems are able to show what they are. Nikon then seem to resolve it.
>Two\ I changed my settings to reflect those posted on this
>site. That made improvements.
This is the real issue.
There are still some posting here who in my opinion seem reluctant to change settings, or who continue to test in an authoritative way, or who are expecting too much from the techniques they say they are using, and blame Nikon.
>Three\ The new firmware has seemed to have made improvements
This is what others are reporting.
A good camera in capable hands is being made better.
If (as when this thread started) some-one reports the same fault on three D2x's, and no-one can reproduce the fault, either they are extremely unlucky, or there is some cause other than a camera fault.
#76. "RE: D2X focusing issues" | In response to Reply # 75Daianto Basic MemberThu 10-Nov-05 06:53 PM
>A pro on one of the pro forums has put 600 shots through in
>the 2 days it has been out.
600 shots in two days is NOT, thoroughly tested under field conditions. It is one person's opinion based on a couple of days shooting!
>>Two\ I changed my settings to reflect those posted on this
>>site. That made improvements.
>This is the real issue.
No, it isn't the real issue! I did have a defective body which Nikon adjusted. The settings posted here were a prudent benchmark on which to base further trials. I have no trouble admitting they did improve my understanding of the camera and aided in improved shots. Had the camera not gone in for repair these settings would have been no help to me.
They will be of little help to me in six weeks when the tempertatures here drop to -40C. At such temperatures you have about a minute to expose flesh before frostbite sets in. The adjustments required by such settings are impossible. Based on the settings here, I have run a number of tests to determine which one setting is best so I can shoot without taking my fingers out of my mitts.
>This is what others are reporting.
>A good camera in capable hands is being made better.
It may be splitting hairs, but from my recent tests, the camera I have now is superior to the one I had three days ago. Has nothing to do with technique.
#77. "RE: D2X focusing issues" | In response to Reply # 72Thu 10-Nov-05 09:48 PM
Sure Len and all those reporting improvements in this and other forums must be wrong based on your extensive experience with the D2X.
I just came back from shooting 66 perfectly focused flower shots effortlessly with beautiful color rendition, nothing short of amazing, what I thought the D2X would do when I bought it, but the previous attempts were fruitless. I am sure you have a logical explanation for that.
#59. "RE: D2X focusing issues" | In response to Reply # 55
This is Tom, the guy that has recently sent his D2x back to Nikon for the focusing problem. Boy, those techs at Nikon in Melville, NY are touchy. They won't even discuss the subject and each of them always gives the corporate answer: "if there is a problem, sir, you can be assured that the camera will be repaired and tested to factory specs before it is returned to you".
Won't even admit that others have returned the cameras for a focusing problem. Also would not admit that the early models of the D70 had a focusing problem either. I guess that I would not admit anything publicly either, since the phone conversations are recorded.
But boy, are they touchy and extremely defensive.
By the way, my D2x focusing module should be relaced within the next 2 days, they say.
#60. "RE: D2X focusing issues" | In response to Reply # 59Tue 08-Nov-05 09:13 PM
That has been my experience with Nikon also. I lived in NJ before and used to drive out to Melville, now I live in California within driving distance of their Torrance/El Segundo service centers. Every time I took something in with a known system wide problem they would tell me that mine was an isolated case, this happened with the 35mm f/2 lens oil leak problem, the D2H meter problem and the D2X.
I think it is insulting to your customers to deny that there are some issues, after all Nikon will service the stuff very expediently, why not admit there are problems, no one is perfect.
Your D2X should work fine, I am sure they are going to install the new firmware in it.
#64. "RE: D2X focussing issues" | In response to Reply # 0
The follow is from a post I made on the D200 conference
My camera has been serviced by Nikon in Düsseldorf.
It has been in two times for AF adjustment.
Now there is nothing wrong with the auto focus of my camera.
Camera movement causes all my sharpness issues.
I have had lengthy discussions with the staff in Düsseldorf about the DX2 and its focus issues.
To make a long story short, the testing equipment Nikon was using at the time to test and refocus D2X bodies was not accurate enough.
The most skilled technician was on vacation the week my camera was in for its first service.
I tested the body in the front yard of the Nikon office. After the first service the body was still out of focus.
I gave it back to them and returned a few days later. The technician who knew what he was doing had returned from vacation and hand adjusted my camera. Maybe hand adjusted is the wrong term.
Even after the testing equipment said the camera was "in spec" he was able to make more adjustments.
After the second adjustment, the body has a margin of error of about +/- 2.5cm at 20m with my 300 2.8 at f4
I photographed a EUR 50.00 bill in the front yard of the Nikon office. I attached the bill to the visitor parking sign with a paperclip and set up my tripod 20m away in full sun, ISO 100 at f4 with a high shutter speed.
I made test exposures, leaving the camera in focus and moving the tripod. I could then view the images on my laptop. Looking for fine detail in the bill.
A EUR 50.00 bill makes a very good test subject. Lots of fine detail in color.
I have nothing but good thinks to say about the staff in Düsseldorf. They have been very helpful to me. They even offered my NPS membership.
I thought it might be helpful to someone.
#66. "RE: D2X focussing issues" | In response to Reply # 65Wed 09-Nov-05 11:04 PM
I find it almost funny that I am about to defend Nikon, but bear with me. In the very early 1980s I worked for a person who owned a Rolls Royce. He brought it in for a "problem". There was no charge for the fix, because Rolls Royce never acknowledge that their autos ever had problems!
Perhaps Nikon has taken a page from the old Rolls concept. Whatever it is, I would point out that, regardless of whether Nikon was confirming problems with meters, etc. with the D2H, they DID fix at no charge a number of D2H cameras that were no longer in warranty. Of course, since then there has been an announcement by Nikon of certain problems with the D2H. Whether Nikon acknowledges in public that there are problems with the D2X, they HAVE come out with this new firmware upgrade. Yes, it would be nice if a company made products with no problems, or if they acknowledged those problems. At least Nikon appears to be looking for ways of fixing things! I hope that folks will give credit to that fact.
I am not married to Nikon in any way, including having no emotional investment to supporting the company. I simply chose to use Nikon and would switch to some other company if I felt that their products were more beneficial to my needs. I read many posts on other sites about problems with Canon lenses and cameras. I read posts about how Canon products are returned from being worked on with the same problems they had when sent in for service. Therefore, I see no real alternative and no company that can make perfect digital high end cameras and lenses. I simply am grateful to Nikon for trying to solve these problems.....acknowledged ones or not!
Visit my Nikonians gallery.
#68. "RE: D2X focussing issues" | In response to Reply # 66Thu 10-Nov-05 02:30 AM
I pretty much agree with you 100%; Nikon does a good job of servicing defective equipment and they seem to aggressively seek a solution when a system wide problem exists; their little sin of not admitting the problems is minor as long as they make good and fix them, except maybe when they release a "new" S model to resolve issues with a camera and leave people out in the water. The D2H/D2Hs and D70/D70s comes to mind, although the issues corrected with the S model were not items that would render the previous model useless. In this high tech digital age no one should expect any company to put out perfect products; back in the days of film it was easier.
For me the relationship with Nikon is of a business nature, I give them my hard earned money and they give me a product in return; I have been a loyal customer for 27 years and will continue to do so now that the D2X seems to have been fixed; had they not done so and released a replacement model they would have definitely lost me. I am definitely not in love with Nikon or my equipment, I just have a passion for photography.
"RE: D2X focussing issues"
Focus? This shot was taken from over 250,000 miles away (on a tripod). The camera is an absolute jewel! I've experienced NO focus issues that weren't attributable to me.
D2x, Nikkor 80~400@400mm (VR off, tripod w/ remote), ISO SR 100, 1/350@f/7.1, Spot Metered.
Attachment#1 (jpg file)
"To every thing there is a season..."
"Take this thread, please"
All of the useful information has been wrung out of this thread and it's beginning to descend into bickering. Let's all go out and shoot with our newly upgraded firmware, shall we?
Attachment#1 (jpg file)
Wethersfield, CT, USA
Connecticut High School Sports Photos
Visit my Nikonians gallery.
#82. "RE: Take this thread, please" | In response to Reply # 81Thu 10-Nov-05 11:37 PM
>John...........Where did you manage to find a photo of my
Hate to tell you this... but your cousin died of old age today!She did however leave behind what I guess will become 2nd cousins in the Spring.
"To every thing there is a season..."
#83. "RE: Take this thread, please" | In response to Reply # 82Fri 11-Nov-05 12:08 AM
This is Tom again---the guy that sent his D2X back to Nikon cause it would not focus. The repair center told me today they replaced numerous parts, upgraded the firmware and put it in the mail to me this afternoon. It is interesting to wonder what the AF firmware will be upgrading since officially there is no "focusing problem"--ha.
Anyway, I will post back once I have tried out the camera again.
Thanks for your support and cute photos on the last couple of threads. You guys are a blast.
#90. "RE: Take this thread, please" | In response to Reply # 87Fri 11-Nov-05 10:32 AM
My intent in this thread was to try and determine if the alleged focussing problems with the D2X were a rarity or running rampant - after all I am planning an upgrade to this camera, once I've seen the "profession user" reviews on the D200, maybe sooner.
Parts of this thread have proved very useful, and it was an added bonus that Nikon released a firmware upgrade during its lifetime that has help a number of people with THEIR problems. Some remain on the fence....
What bothers me is the nit-picking, name-calling, finger-pointing and general back-biting. There are a number of people who may (regardless of upgraded f/w) still have focussing issues. There are others who claim those problems are technique related. Here is a possible solution that should benefit everyone -
Chances are that poeple from both camps live in relatively close proximity to one another. Why not arrange a meet to get together, trade cameras and evalute the other's person's equipment with your "proper" technique. If a camera's photos show no improvment, then Nikon will be busy fixing stuff. If focus issus disappear on one camera, but reappear on the other or greatly improve, well then consider it a free, personal lesson in technique - NO I-TOLD-YOU-SO'S!
Now everyone kiss and make up! (And share what you learn from the exchange)
After all, MY MONEY is at stake here, and I really need to know if I SHOULD invest in this camera, in spite of my WANTING to.
Thank you to all the participants.
#91. "RE: Take this thread, please" | In response to Reply # 90Fri 11-Nov-05 11:07 AM
Good thoughts on all counts. Let's hope the firmware upgrade resolves any remaining problems people have and that focus settings recommended in our D2 autofocus article. Given that we've hit almost one hundred posts in this thread and have started to circle rather than move forward, it's best we stop here before tempers arise any further.