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D700 Low-Light Focus (SB-800) Serious Issues (And how I resolved them for the time being)

Ben B

Bury St Edmunds, UK
10 posts

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Ben B Registered since 24th Jul 2008
Wed 03-Sep-08 01:56 PM | edited Wed 03-Sep-08 02:04 PM by Ben B

I photograph a lot of weddings, at this time of year usually 2 a week (Just taken our 100th booking for 2008 between the two photographers here! ) and after receiving my D700 a few weeks ago have now photographed 4 weddings on it.

I've had a few focussing issues during the course of getting to know my new camera. Obviously a photograph that is out of focus is a complete failure, even more worrying if it's not obvious at the time, although thankfully I've picked the problem up by eye on most occasions...

My MB-D10 battery grip's trigger somehow won't focus correctly. It seems to, the camera even beeps its focus confirmation, but the photo isn't actually in focus. It will do this sometimes and work perfectly at other times. Very odd. This happens in any lighting. It got the focus so wrong (Complete blur), so I sent the MB-D10 back and it was replaced, the new one does seem to suffer the same problem, (but it gets closer than it used to!) I'm having to get used to contorting my hand to use the regular shutter release!

• Is this a second faulty one? Or is there a connection issue between the grip and the camera? Or a firmware issue to be ironed out?

Now the SB-800 problem:
Some areas of particular venues, especially the dancing in the evening for example have very, very low light. The SB-800 flash has its red focus illumination light that it uses to focus, but in low light, if that's all the D700 has to go on, the camera thinks it's focused (even beeps it's confirmation) and takes the photo, despite being far from in focus. Sometimes a complete blurry mess. It simply cannot read the SB-800 focus illumination. (The D700 has it's own white 'torch' to assist in focussing, though this doesn't work while the sb-800 flash has its own red focus illumination on.)

With the 'first dance' of the wedding underway and time ticking away, I found myself actually having to focus manually! Until such time when I could try a a few things and I found the answer: Turning the flash's illumination off (Hold 'SEL' until the menu appears and finding the option) that then allows the D700's built in torch to work, and hew presto, focussing is fine again. (The built-in flash also is perfect) But I hate lighting people with a torch while I'm trying to take candid photos!! It kinda makes me stand out!

• Again, is this a D700 issue? I put the same flash over onto my D2x and the problem wasn't there.

I'd like to know if anyone else has found this?
Perhaps if they are my workaround may be useful to them until I find a real answer!

| D700 | MB-D10 Grip | SB-800 Speedlight | Nikon 70-200 2.8 VR | Nikon 16mm fisheye | Sigma 17-24mm 2.8 | Sigma 24-70mm 2.8 |
---------------------------Tip: I Set WB to Flash for pretty much everything!---------------------------

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