Update on D800 AF issues

Started Apr 5, 2012 | Discussions thread
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Ming Thein
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Update on D800 AF issues
Apr 5, 2012

I thought users here might want to read an update on my D800 AF issues. You may recall that I found some problems with the left hand side AF sensor bank only on my body, specifically when trying to focus fast wides; center and right side points were okay, but the entire left group would wildly back focus. Curiously, only with wide angle lenses.

I spent the morning at Nikon again trying out a number of D800 bodies and various popular lenses - I'll put up a detailed analysis on my blog later once I get a chance to write (www.blog.mingthein.com) - but the current situation is this:

1. It seems to be a batch issue. If you have a D800 body with the serial in the 8000xxx to 8001xxx range, check your left side AF sensors (single point mode, AFC or AFS) with a fast wide (24/1.4 is ideal) if you have one. You'll most probably find it's off. We tried a total of five bodies in this serial, and not one could focus either of two 24/1.4s properly on the left side - the center and right points were fine, and the lenses were fine on a D3x, D4 and D700.

2. There is no known fix at the moment, but I'm told that after I reported it and it was verified by the techs here, Nikon HQ are looking into it as an urgent matter.

3. I don't have a fix either. Right now I'm using my D800 as a studio only camera with lenses 50mm for longer, and there don't seem to be any AF issues there (though image quality is quite another matter). Image quality is superb, and there are no one-sided softness issues with planar subjects that makes me believe it's still the AF sensor which is the root cause of the problem. I've been offered to swap for another camera (that makes a total of two so far) but since they're all from the same serial batch, I elected to take a D800E instead as a replacement from the next production batch instead at the end of the month, hopefully it'll have come off a different line. Looks like I will be reviewing both after all.

If anybody has questions, please post them here or on the blog and I'll do my best to answer them.

Ming

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Leica Camera brand ambassador and NPS member.
Portfolio and photographic musings at http://www.blog.mingthein.com

 Ming Thein's gear list:Ming Thein's gear list
Ricoh GR Digital III Leica D-LUX 5 Nikon D700 Nikon D3X Leica S2 +20 more
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