The forth D800E, should I accept it?

Started Aug 30, 2012 | Discussions thread
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henry wl
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The forth D800E, should I accept it?
Aug 30, 2012

I know I know, some people will be furious about threads like this. But as long as Nikon keeps in silence and keeps shipping out D800s with left focus issues, customers have the right to know the fact. And I don't care if you are angry or not about my thread.

Some of you might see my posts about my first D800E. I was actually in denial of left focus issue and didn't want to test it until one day I shot my six year old daughter's activity using left focus point and realized focus landed on her left shoulder instead of on her eyes. As it's almost impossible to use focus-recompose technique on a constantly moving child, I decided I'd better test it. Since then my nightmare began.

I sent my d800e back to Nikon Mississauga, and it came back in one week. I first tested left focus, yeah! They fixed it! I was so exited but then I realized my center focus point had very bad front focusing. (it was actually -12 backfocusing before I sent it in). So I had to sent it back to Nikon for a second service just for center focus front focusing. Guess what? Front focusing got much worse, literally unusable at 24mm even at +20 AFT...

I eventually got refund from Nikon and immediately ordered one from a local camera store. It came in last Friday. Unfortunately it also had left focus issue, I quickly exchanged it for another one, front focusing was worse, I also got a ugly dead pixel right in the middle of the frame on this second body. Yesterday I exchanged it again for the third D800E from the same store, but it seems it also has the same focus problem.

Here are the test samples:

(More and original images can be seen here:
http://www.pbase.com/henrylw/d800e_left_focus_problem )

I tested it on both my 14-24 and 24-70. All shots taken using the same way I shoot landscapes: Gitzo tripod, mirror up, remote shutter release. Among around 200 test shots, the pattern is the same and typical: center focus is tack sharp, right focus a bit soft, left focus quite bad.

Please note these three cameras all came in last Friday, they should be the same batch. (last 4 digits of serial number all ended with 19xx), I think there is no point testing more cameras within the same batch. Now my question is, should I keep it? Return means I'll have to wait at least another one month or two and miss our beautiful fall season.

Believe me, I LOVE this camera. I switched from Canon to Nikon just because of its great dynamic range which, in my opinion, is most important feature a landscape photographer would ask for. But I also shoot my family events especially my kids activities, I want its focus functioning as advertised.

For landscape, even with its faulty left focus, it is still be best DSLR money can be now. These are what I got from D800E:

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