I don't know if I am the only one struggling to understand face recognition on the D800. Notably in still (not movie) and not in live view.
I stumbled across something that may be documneted but I cannot find it anywhere. See the attached image taken with a cell phone of the back screen of the D800. This image shows the little navigation window that appears when you hit the zoom botton. It appears for a couple seconds then disappears. Notice inside the image, the square rectangles over the faces.
This is the only place I ever see indication of facial recognition working in normal use. Once displayed, you can cycle the zoom among those points by the front command dial.
These images were shot in AF-C mode, variously in single or nine point generally. NOT in full auto.
The actual focus point won't appear on this screen when zoomed, but I did compare and while often the focus point matched a face rectangle, often it did not.
I don't know quite how to make use of this, but at least it is a way to tell (apparently) whether or not the camera was aware of facial information.
Is this documented somewhere, or just a hidden feature?
As you know, I was perplexed by the exact same thing and started my own thread a couple of weeks ago. This software issue is perplexing. If the D800 does have effective facial recognition, why can't it work simply and intuitively? Perhaps this will be fixed in a firmware update. Here's the question I have for you, though: How well did the camera focus on faces? Upon looking at the results can you tell that the sensor was prioritizing this function? Unfortunately, I no longer have the D800 so I can't run tests myself. I do plan on buying the D800E.
> Here's the question I >have for you, though: How well did the camera focus on faces?
I believe that focus priority would only occur in full auto focus, and I was shooting in manual focus point selection, so it does not apply.
I would expect it to use this facial information for meter prioritization in this case, but I have no idea how to verify that it did.
It is interesting how often (in browsing through shots) it did not select faces at all, or selected incorrect faces (as it did in this if you notice the third rectangle). A plain, ordinary group shot of 8 people, done several times, did not detect one face.
I remain very impressed with the metering ability of the matrix mode on this camera; but the facial recognition aspects baffle me.
I found out that the D800 does not have the AF-area mode selector switch that is on the D300 and D700 cameras. Instead the D800 has a Live view selector. You will find that the equivalent of the face recognition of the D700 and D300, provided by the upper position of the AF-area mode selector switch can only be obtained in live view for the D800 - see page 50 through 54 of the D800 manual. The D800 can only follow a subject in mode AF-C, but not a face, - see pages 91 through 97 in the D800 manual. Mode AF-S could be made to behave as the AF-C mode.
There is no problem with the software. The OP was in playback mode reviewing images.
When the camera recognizes faces when you are zoomed in (in Playback mode) you can then use the sub-command dial to jump from face to face in the LCD monitor. This makes a quick method to check focus, exposure, etc on faces when in playback mode.