Nikon AF improvement?

Started Mar 12, 2013 | Discussions thread
T O Shooter
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Re: Nikon AF improvement?
In reply to Leonard Shepherd, Mar 13, 2013

Leonard Shepherd wrote:

Avoiding at first the "steady stream" of AF complaints, having used Nikon 14 years overall the F6 AF was an improvement over my original F100/5, The D200 was an improvement on the film bodies, the D3/300 were an improvement over the D200, the D3s was more a modest evolution, and the D4 (which I do not own) and D800 are a bigger AF evolution.

The D800 has faster AF in low light and improved f8 combination ability compared to D3/D3s/D300s/D700. In many photographic situations there is little difference, though neither old or new have fool proof autofocus.

This brings me back to the "steady stream" of AF complaints.

There was a similar steady stream when Nikon increased the number of AF points, the length of the detection lines and the sensitivity area in the D2 series - mainly from those who did not realise a new autofocus system sometimes requires a change of approach when selecting autofocus subjects. Overall with more AF points, more cross type sensors, and better focus tracking the new AF was better - provided you did not treat it exactly the same as an F5!

There were huge howls of protest after the D70 came out when an internet link suggested a 45° degree test target was reliable - despite the Nikon and Canon AF guidance saying this type of subject could cause focus error

Many, primarily those who did not change their focus selection technique, complained when upgrading from a D70 to more but smaller autofocus points in a D200, and again when upgrading to yet more autofocus points in a D300/3.

The change in the D3s, carried through to the D4 and D800 is subtle, with the size of the detection area (in single point AF) shortened to reduce unintended focusing on a background object.

Starting with the D7000 and carried through into the D800/4 the way autofocusing modes are selected is significantly changed, leading sometimes to potential confusion between different cameras.

Is the steady stream of D800 complaints justified?

Nikon say fine tune is not normally required, and some subjects can result in focus error.

Maybe the jury is not even out! I have seen 123 links to complaints on this forum which seem to ignore Nikon guidance on how to get good-quality autofocus, and none following it. It is difficult to understand a perhaps perceived problem in the absence of examples seeming to follow the makers guidance.

Maybe the situation is similar to the D70 where the furore died down once users started changing their technique, and more often followed Nikon's guidance on how to get good AF results. The D70 AF was never modified. 12 months after the D800 launch Nikon has not issued a service advisory or recall.

Some seen to take the view Nikon have become the biggest liars under the sun, by not organising a D800 recall. Others may take the view, as with the D70, reasonable evidence by way of images of an obvious problem using sensible autofocus targets seems difficult to find.

At Focus in the UK there were a number of refurbished D600 on sale, indicating several have had retailer refunds because of the "extremely rare" (Nikon's words) dust issue. I did not see any refurbished D800, indicating few retailer refunds. This indicates a much lower D800 issue if there is one, than D600 dust.

Digressing I saw more than 15 ex demo SB 910 on sale. Maybe a new top of the range flash is due soon!

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Leonard Shepherd
Many problems turn out to be a lack of intimate knowledge of complex modern camera equipment.

With all this said - one question. Do you own a D800?

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