D800 back focusing real life samples/original files - your thoughts

Started Apr 15, 2012 | Discussions
bmcdad
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D800 back focusing real life samples/original files - your thoughts
Apr 15, 2012

Like I promised, some samples from the first engagement session I did with the D800.. Back focusing was prominent through out the shoot. I used my two main lenses 851.4G & 351.4G. the 35 was way off the 85 was also considerably off but not as bad.

These files are straight out of the camera.. Converted from Nikon NX2 into JPGs then uploaded. I tried to make sure all images were in (Neutral setting) if you open the files in ViewNX2 you should be able to see all my settings and the focus points at the time of capture.

Hopefully this helps.. I sent the same files to Nikon they responded two days later by asking me to remove any filters from the front of my lenses! and to send the camera in for evaluation.. I'm very busy this time of the year and will not send the camera and shoot my events with only one body.. I'm working around it until Nikon figures out the issue.

It's also important to note that when using Live view mode to acquire AF all the exibited problems disappear.

Let me know what you think.

Thanks
Bill

Link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/63784696@N05/

Making not Taking!

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Nikon D800
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mariuss
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Re: D800 back focusing real life samples/original files - your thoughts
In reply to bmcdad, Apr 15, 2012

I dont know about back/front focusing, but i marked your wesite as favorite.
Wonderful fotos, bmcdad.

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InTheMist
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Re: D800 back focusing real life samples/original files - your thoughts
In reply to mariuss, Apr 15, 2012

I'll say it again: your work is wonderful, masterful, amazing!

I hope Nikon gets the bugs worked out quickly. I'm perhaps missing one point tho, in the discussion. Are you saying that autofocus worked in live view (only) or did you have to resort to manual focus?

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DANdeMAN
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Re: D800 back focusing real life samples/original files - your thoughts
In reply to bmcdad, Apr 15, 2012

By no means, am I an expert. I don't even have a DSLR (waiting for my D800E) but I stumbled on this video. You can skip the promo stuff and go directly to 1:30.
It seems that you can calibrate your focus via the menu.

Disregard my suggestion if you already new that or it is not related to your problem.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=jofrsVusm3A# !
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Dominique Dierick
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Re: D800 back focusing real life samples/original files - your thoughts
In reply to bmcdad, Apr 15, 2012

Unfortunately my NX2 trial I downloaded to play with the D800 raws initially has expired, so I cannot check focus point or focus mode.

Did you made an attempt to fine tune the lenses?

Hopefully this helps.. I sent the same files to Nikon they responded two days later by asking me to remove any filters from the front of my lenses! and to send the camera in for evaluation.. I'm very busy this time of the year and will not send the camera and shoot my events with only one body.. I'm working around it until Nikon figures out the issue.

Not sure what you would expect if they cannot check the camera? It's not going to be a firmware fix or anything. They should be able to inspect and tune the camera body for calibration.

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Laci55
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Re: D800 back focusing real life samples/original files - your thoughts
In reply to bmcdad, Apr 15, 2012

Stunning pictures! As some others are also suggested... Why not calibrate your focus with the MA option??? Just some words about my experience with the 85/1,4 AFS lens... This lens is a wonderul lens if it is working well but I do think there are some bad examples of it too out there... I´m working with a D3s body and none of my lenses needed any MA focus adjustments. The AF is spot on with the 24-70/2,8 ,300/2,8 VR, 500/4,0 VR without and with 1,4 converter. I ordered the 85/1,4... I had 2 examples of this lens... The first one was very sharp in live wiew but had serious backdfocusing what I could not correct with upp to -20 calibration value either... The second one needed -18 MA... It was very sharp but it had a focus shift with smnaller appertures. (Back focus wide open... shift to front focus at 8...) That lens probably had some spherical aberration of higher grade what was acceptable... Needles to say that I sent back both lenses and since than I never tested another one for the third time...

Is your 85 working fine with the other bodies??? At any case give a chance to the MA!
Sorry for the long answer...
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alabaster
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Re: D800 back focusing real life samples/original files - your thoughts
In reply to bmcdad, Apr 15, 2012

bmcdad wrote:

Like I promised, some samples from the first engagement session I did with the D800.. Back focusing was prominent through out the shoot. I used my two main lenses 851.4G & 351.4G. the 35 was way off the 85 was also considerably off but not as bad.

These files are straight out of the camera.. Converted from Nikon NX2 into JPGs then uploaded. I tried to make sure all images were in (Neutral setting) if you open the files in ViewNX2 you should be able to see all my settings and the focus points at the time of capture.

Hopefully this helps.. I sent the same files to Nikon they responded two days later by asking me to remove any filters from the front of my lenses! and to send the camera in for evaluation.. I'm very busy this time of the year and will not send the camera and shoot my events with only one body.. I'm working around it until Nikon figures out the issue.

It's also important to note that when using Live view mode to acquire AF all the exibited problems disappear.

Let me know what you think.

Thanks
Bill

Link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/63784696@N05/

That's a damn shame as they are otherwise great images. You can see the back focus clearly in the first image here (if you download the original from Flickr). The creeper on the concrete at the couples' feet is in focus but not their faces - the creeper is further from the camera, and at f/1.8 there is little DoF to play with.

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inasir1971
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Re: D800 back focusing real life samples/original files - your thoughts
In reply to bmcdad, Apr 15, 2012

Don't know how relevant this is but some people have pointed out unexpected differences in performance of lenses with the D800 compared to other bodies. The following is from Ming's blog with specific reference to the lenses you are using. I would take it with a grain of salt as he was having the AF/alignment issues:

http://blog.mingthein.com/2012/04/05/and-the-nikon-d800-autofocus-saga-continues-with-some-comments-on-specific-lens-performance/

AFS 35/1.4 G: No good wide open. Center is okay, both sides are not good – even after AF fine tune. Not recommended. The 24-70 performs much better at 2.8 than the 35/1.4 does at the same aperture. Slight AF issue noticed, same as 24/1.4.

AFS 85/1.4 G: Inconsistent. Wide open displays LCA and LoCA at edges. Nowhere near as good as it was on the D700/ D3/ D3s. Stopped down to f2.8, it improves, but only to about the same level as the 70-200/2.8 II wide open. Note T stop is pretty high for this lens though – probably 2/3 stop more than the 70-200/2.8 II, and half a stop more than the 85/1.8 G for the same aperture. Good to very good stopped down. Honestly, I’m not liking this lens very much anymore.

AFS 85/1.8 G: Incredible. Sharp everywhere at every aperture, no LCA or LoCA. Bokeh is neutral, not quite as good as the 85/1.4 G. Surprising considering this lens has no ED glass, Nano coating or aspherical elements. It’s honestly an optical masterpiece, and very, very cheap. If you need an 85mm and don’t have the 85/1.4 G already, I’d suggest buying one of these. Performance at wide open at f1.8 is better than the 85/1.4 G at 2.8; it matches or slightly exceeds even the 60/2.8 G Micro at the same distances. You’re probably wonder what’s the catch: two things; T stop and build quality. T stop is half a stop down on the 85/1.4 G for the same aperture, and it’s light and plasticky. Still weather sealed, though. Excellent plus performance, no visible AF issues.

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bmcdad
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Re: D800 back focusing real life samples/original files - your thoughts
In reply to InTheMist, Apr 15, 2012

Thanks!

Live view works perfectly.. Thats what is weird. On the D3 both lenses are fine / no issues. I have another engagement session today.. I'll dial in some AF adjustments and report back..

thanks!

InTheMist wrote:

I'll say it again: your work is wonderful, masterful, amazing!

I hope Nikon gets the bugs worked out quickly. I'm perhaps missing one point tho, in the discussion. Are you saying that autofocus worked in live view (only) or did you have to resort to manual focus?

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rockjano
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Why don't you AF fine tune???
In reply to bmcdad, Apr 15, 2012

I only have a D300 but I had to fine tune every lenses. With 36Mpixel it is even more important.

This seems to be clearly AF problem. At F1,8 the DOF is really thin so every problem comes stronger.

There is also quite strong CA, but at f1,8 it is OK. (I am just wondering if NX should help more with CA, Camera RAW works very well and makes wonders with CA problems)

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Dominique Dierick
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Mileage may vary
In reply to inasir1971, Apr 15, 2012

I'll add my insights too, as the issues may not be what the OP sees.

A bit on tuning: so far none of my lenses required AF tuning. Maybe, just maybe, some could benefit from slight tuning, if I would examine them under the post picky conditions, but I feel it would be too much waste of time as they deliver the sharpness I expect from them.

AFS 35/1.4 G: No good wide open. Center is okay, both sides are not good – even after AF fine tune. Not recommended. The 24-70 performs much better at 2.8 than the 35/1.4 does at the same aperture. Slight AF issue noticed, same as 24/1.4.

Mine: very good wide open, close and far. Edge AF sensors as good as can be, with the limitation that the best performance of the lens is in the center, wide open.
24-70G: no issues at all

AFS 85/1.4 G: Inconsistent. Wide open displays LCA and LoCA at edges. Nowhere near as good as it was on the D700/ D3/ D3s. Stopped down to f2.8, it improves, but only to about the same level as the 70-200/2.8 II wide open. Note T stop is pretty high for this lens though – probably 2/3 stop more than the 70-200/2.8 II, and half a stop more than the 85/1.8 G for the same aperture. Good to very good stopped down. Honestly, I’m not liking this lens very much anymore.

I still find this is to be an extremely capable lens, indeed some CA, but nothing that one cannot get rid of. Excellent as of f2. Specular highlights get hit by CA below f2.8, but in any case less than with the 85L 1.2II from Canon, still a reference for portraits (be it much slower to focus than the 85G).

AFS 85/1.8 G: Incredible. Sharp everywhere at every aperture, no LCA or LoCA. Bokeh is neutral, not quite as good as the 85/1.4 G. Surprising considering this lens has no ED glass, Nano coating or aspherical elements. It’s honestly an optical masterpiece, and very, very cheap. If you need an 85mm and don’t have the 85/1.4 G already, I’d suggest buying one of these. Performance at wide open at f1.8 is better than the 85/1.4 G at 2.8; it matches or slightly exceeds even the 60/2.8 G Micro at the same distances. You’re probably wonder what’s the catch: two things; T stop and build quality. T stop is half a stop down on the 85/1.4 G for the same aperture, and it’s light and plasticky. Still weather sealed, though. Excellent plus performance, no visible AF issues.

Can't comment on this one. I have an older version, which is definitely not so good as the above described G-version.

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Shotcents
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Re: Mileage may vary
In reply to Dominique Dierick, Apr 15, 2012

I don't have my D800 yet....but....

On my D700 the 85mm 1.4 was a real pain to use. It required HEAVY AF tuning to be used at typical portrait distances and then it was incapable of focus on more distant subjects. Before I sold the D700 I tried Sigma's version and it was perfectly sharp.

This also happened with the 50mm 1.4 AF-D version, though it was less of an issue. I bought the Sigma 50mm 1.4, which exceeded the Nikon's performance in every way except size. The Sigma 50 is huge, but the focus was always great.

Still, it looks like your camera is seriously defective. I would return it or at the very least get more aggressive with Nikon. Waiting for them to "work out a solution" doesn't sound like a good game plan when you're camera may have a real issue. Looking at those shots is like watching money fly away and not acceptable.

Robert

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Emile de Jong
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Re: D800 back focusing real life samples/original files - your thoughts
In reply to bmcdad, Apr 15, 2012

I use both the Af-S 85 and 35 1.4 on a D800 and both work great.
Both are stellar performers, image quality and autofocus wise!

What you need to keep in mind is that with all fast lenses an amount of autofocus finetune is indeed necessary.
In case you don't know: You can do this in the camera under the setup menu.

However be sure to inform yourself about the specific workflow you need to get good results. (I use the "live view and compare it with normal AF" method)

All 1.4 lenses are known to exhibit focus breathing to a larger or lesser degree. This is means that the focus shifts when stopping down, for example from f1.4 to F2.8.

The AF-S 50 1.4 is most influenced by this, but also the AF-S 85 and 35 1.4 exhibit this. With all three of them the focus shifts backwards when stopping down.

My advice: ask yourself what is the aperture you use most, and fine tune the lens at that aperture. Also make sure you test and fine tune by using with your avarage subject distance, as the focus breathing depends on the working distance as well.

Some people use a "LensAlign" tool to do this, I don't. I use one of the many free charts. You can find a lot of info by searching on focus test chart.

I am sure you will get terrific results and please don't listen to people claiming
these fantastic lenses don't work well on a D800.

Good luck!

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bmcdad
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Re: D800 back focusing real life samples/original files - your thoughts
In reply to Emile de Jong, Apr 15, 2012

Emile,

Thanks for your input..

Are you telling me that I can only expect these expansive lenses to perform best at a certain aperture due to focus breathing!

I never had this issue shooting D3-D700-D3S.. But you are saying that it's expected with the D800..

Emile de Jong wrote:

I use both the Af-S 85 and 35 1.4 on a D800 and both work great.
Both are stellar performers, image quality and autofocus wise!

What you need to keep in mind is that with all fast lenses an amount of autofocus finetune is indeed necessary.
In case you don't know: You can do this in the camera under the setup menu.

However be sure to inform yourself about the specific workflow you need to get good results. (I use the "live view and compare it with normal AF" method)

All 1.4 lenses are known to exhibit focus breathing to a larger or lesser degree. This is means that the focus shifts when stopping down, for example from f1.4 to F2.8.

The AF-S 50 1.4 is most influenced by this, but also the AF-S 85 and 35 1.4 exhibit this. With all three of them the focus shifts backwards when stopping down.

My advice: ask yourself what is the aperture you use most, and fine tune the lens at that aperture. Also make sure you test and fine tune by using with your avarage subject distance, as the focus breathing depends on the working distance as well.

Some people use a "LensAlign" tool to do this, I don't. I use one of the many free charts. You can find a lot of info by searching on focus test chart.

I am sure you will get terrific results and please don't listen to people claiming
these fantastic lenses don't work well on a D800.

Good luck!

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TDong
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Re: D800 back focusing real life samples/original files - your thoughts
In reply to bmcdad, Apr 15, 2012

definitely a problem, try af adjust or just use manual focus

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Ayrshirephotographer
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Sorry, but these are well out of focus...
In reply to bmcdad, Apr 15, 2012

Most of your shots here are well out of focus. If I was your client, I'd want my money back. Why test a camera at an engagement shoot? Shouldn't you have recognised this problem first, before doing a shoot and taken an old camera whilst you ironed out the problem / had the camera returned for fixing?

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Ayrshirephotographer
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Re: Sorry, but these are well out of focus...
In reply to Ayrshirephotographer, Apr 15, 2012

ps I know you admit they are OOF but why use it with a client?

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Zoran K
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Re: D800 back focusing real life samples/original files - your thoughts
In reply to bmcdad, Apr 15, 2012

Your D800 is fine, you just have to make AF fine tuning.

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alabaster
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Re: D800 back focusing real life samples/original files - your thoughts
In reply to Zoran K, Apr 15, 2012

Zoran K wrote:

Your D800 is fine, you just have to make AF fine tuning.

Now I know that we all like to tinker with our equipment, but really, is it acceptable that we buy a $3000 camera and a $1700 lens, which have an underlying technology called auto focus that has been in development since the early 1990s, and then we - the users - have to apply a fine tuning to actually get them to focus accurately.

It wasn’t until recently that AF fine-tuning became an option. The earlier AF systems apparently didn’t need it. Then due to consumer demand the option was added for tinkerers with AF targets and hours of spare time to spend fine-tuning their arsenal of lenses.

I can just see the 30,000 D800 buyers per month all out on the lawn fine tuning their AF systems. I mean what a joke. Face it, these are consumer electronic devices that are just good enough to be sold and get away with it.

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reginalddwight
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Option for pixel-peepers
In reply to alabaster, Apr 15, 2012

The AF fine-tune option is for the pixel-peepers and measurebators in the photographic community. For better or for worse, it's there for hours upon hours of pure unalderated joy.

Nikon do not generally recommend users fine-tune their lenses but offer it anyways.

From p. 338 of the D800 User's Manual:

"AF tuning is not recommended in most situations and may interfere with normal focus; use only when required."

Normal focus? Hhmmm.

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