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3rd time to Nikon for my D800e

gpoole

Farmington Hills, US
4133 posts

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gpoole Platinum Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for his excellent and frequent contributions and sharing his in-depth knowledge and experience with the community in the Nikonians spirit. Awarded for his very generous support to the Fundrasing Campaing 2014 Writer Ribbon awarded for his article contributions for the Articles library and the eZine Nikonian since 14th Feb 2004
Thu 06-Sep-12 04:26 PM

I'm getting ready to send my D800e to Melville for the third time. Last weekend I took some pictures with it at a Civil War re-enactment. The images were not as sharp as I expected so I did some brick wall testing. I used my 17-35/2.8 @17mm at a distance of ~1m and the 17-35 and my 28-70/2.8 @28mm at ~2m. For each lens and distance combination I made images focused with Live View, Phase detect AF starting with the lens set at infinity, and Phase Detect starting from minimum focus. I did this for the left most, center, and rightmost focus sensor positions. This gave me 27 images (3 lens/focal length combinations with 3 focus points each and 3 focus scenarios for each focus point). All exposures were made at f/2.8 and ISO 100. My D800e was tripod mounted and leveled with the artificial horizon and I used MUp with a wireless release

Comparison of the images showed that the Live View focused images were significantly sharper than the Phase Detect focused images for all nine combinations of lens/focal length and focus point selection. Unfortunately I wasn't thinking ahead because my images were all NEFs and I used my normal AF-ON only in AF-C mode for focusing. I couldn't upload my images to Nikon because they were too large.

In another thread in this forum I read about using the Focusing Distance in the Manufacturer notes of the EXIF data to compare Live View and Phase Detect focusing result. I checked the Focusing Distance data and observed the the Live View data for a given lens and focal length was consistent and that the Phase Detect data was different from the LV data and less consistent. I put the 27 Focus Distance data points into a spread sheet and sent that to Nikon along with a description of my method. I hoped this would be enough information for them to say it appears your camera has a problem, please sent it to us for repair.

But no, they said they needed UNedited images, taken using AF-S. So I repeated my experiment, this time using AF-S and large JPG fine. The images apparently were to large for upload to Nikon, because I got an error after several minutes of uploading and the question dialog hung. So did my experiment a 3rd time, this time using Large JPG Basic and got acceptable images. I uploaded just the nine images from the 17-35 @28mm along with a complete explanation of my experiment. I gave my opinion that the other 2 sets of images were similar to the uploaded ones. I also repeated my Focus Distance observations. Finally I noted that the LV files were all larger than any of the PD files; to me that is another indication that the LV focused files have more detail than the PD focused files. It's been almost 48 hours now without a reply from Nikon. I'll phone within the next couple hours if I don't get a reply.

My subject says 3rd time to Nikon. The previous 2 times were:


  • D8003 died: I had a complete power failure.

  • Another problem with my D800e: This time the 10 pin socket came loose and pushed back into the body. I sent the camera back to Nikon feeling this was the result of improper reassembly from the previous repair. After inspecting the camera Nikon decided it was not a warranty repair. Because I was suspicious of the infamous left AF point calibration problem I asked them to check that too. They charged me $244 plus tax and return shipping.

Now I have a consistent all over focus problem with at least 2 different lenses. I know this is a great camera, but I'm loosing confidence in Nikon to make it right. It's going to take a long time before I will be able to use it without worrying about getting the image quality I was expecting when I got it the 4 month's ago.

Gary in SE Michigan, USA.
Nikonians membership - My most important photographic investment, after the camera.
D4, D810, D300 (720nm IR conversion), D90, F6, FM3a (black), FM2n (chrome)
YashicaMat 124, Graflex Speed Graphic 4x5
My Nikonians Gallery & Our Chapter Gallery

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