D800 autofocus problem

Started May 5, 2012 | Discussions
Marc Heijligers
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D800 autofocus problem
May 5, 2012

My D800 also has auto focus problems on the left AF field. The enclosed picture shows that from the middle to the right, the AF performance is as expected and good, from the middle to the left the focus performance becomes worse the further you go to the left.

The results are pretty bad overall when using the left-field AF points:

I've summarized my finding on my blog.
http://hifivoice.wordpress.com/2012/05/05/d800-autofocus-problem/

Nikon D800
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D800
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Re: D800 autofocus problem
In reply to Marc Heijligers, May 5, 2012

Thank you for reporting this in detail! Great article!

I did not see the comparison of Subject Distance values from images taken with left, middle, and right focus point. My tests showed a substantial difference. IMO, pointing these values out helps user to understand why the image taken with the left focus point is severe back focus. Take a look at your test, and if you feel the same, please report it.

Subject Distance from left focus point is way off (should be ~ 3.4m instead of Infinity)

Subject Distance of middle focus point:

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russbarnes
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Re: Great piece of work man
In reply to Marc Heijligers, May 5, 2012

Mine is with Nikon UK right now. I expect it back in a week or so. In the meantime, ignore ANYONE that comes on here telling you it's all in your imagination or you are somehow incompetent, because all these people bring NOTHING to the table but inexperience of the issue.

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Petruska
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Send this photo to Nikon
In reply to Marc Heijligers, May 5, 2012

and tell them that they are wrong in stating that there aren't any focus issues!

Nikon will keep saying that the AF problem isn't there as it will cost them a huge chunk of money to fix all the D4/D800's already in the field......

Bob P.

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xrdbear
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Re: Great piece of work man
In reply to russbarnes, May 5, 2012

russbarnes wrote:

Mine is with Nikon UK right now. I expect it back in a week or so. In the meantime, ignore ANYONE that comes on here telling you it's all in your imagination or you are somehow incompetent, because all these people bring NOTHING to the table but inexperience of the issue.

He'll be here soon.

To the OP, is the second image the whole frame?

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Petruska
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Yep, gonna be operator error, wrong target...
In reply to xrdbear, May 5, 2012

get ready!

Bob P.

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Jadis
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Re: Yep, gonna be operator error, wrong target...
In reply to Petruska, May 5, 2012

I personally saw this problem on a D800 from Craigslist. The left AF point focus was way off while the center and right were fine. The difference, as in these sample pictures, was night and day.

The guy from Craigslist was clearly trying to pawn off his problematic D800 to unsuspecting buyers.

It's not operator error, and anybody who says so clearly has not experienced the issue, it is so obvious there is a problem.

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u007
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Re: D800 autofocus problem
In reply to Marc Heijligers, May 5, 2012

Yeah, that does look like a problem. Any AF sensor should be able to lock onto text like that.

Was it repeatable? i.e. do you consistently get the wrong result?

In fact, do you ever get the right focus?

And have you tried subtly adjusting the position of the camera? The boxes in the viewfinder often don't line up with the actual lines that the camera uses. (You can't call them focus points since they only work in one directional line).

If so, looks like you have a problem.

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u007
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Re: Yep, gonna be operator error, wrong target...
In reply to Jadis, May 5, 2012

Jadis wrote:

I personally saw this problem on a D800 from Craigslist. The left AF point focus was way off while the center and right were fine. The difference, as in these sample pictures, was night and day.

The guy from Craigslist was clearly trying to pawn off his problematic D800 to unsuspecting buyers.

It's not operator error, and anybody who says so clearly has not experienced the issue, it is so obvious there is a problem.

I would never buy a used d800 right now for this very reason. People will be selling on their cameras with problems.

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PhillipAnthony
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Re: Yep, gonna be operator error, wrong target...
In reply to Jadis, May 5, 2012

Yes, i also am on my second body ( D800E) with major problems!!! Just waiting to send back for refund. Playing with it today and left is completely out!!!! when focussing at a distance of say 10 feet, it is literally 20 foot back focussing!! Close up focussing, say 3 feet, it back focuses by 1 foot!! I am SO gutted as i love this little body ( Compared to my d3s and d3x ). Not to mention the d800 green tinted screen is not nice but i could live with that if i had too. Middle point is amazingly perfect most of the time but anything to the left is off. Tried 35 1.4, 14-24 and 105 micro. Serial numbers on both cams 8000........
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ne beginner
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Is this how the AF problem looks?
In reply to Marc Heijligers, May 5, 2012

Is it what the left AF point is on that is OOF? And the back ground is in focus? Or is the whole frame OOF, as it appears in the full size picture you posted?

I've been playing around just to see if there might be a problem. The more I read about this topic, I'm starting to get the impression that, where this is present, it may be easy to detect, and complex processes may not be needed to see if there is an AF problem.

Here's what I'm finding. Using a 24-70, at 24 mm, f2.8, and a curved wine bottle with a crisp label, what is under the left AF points on my D800 are in focus. Two bottles behind, on either side, are OOF. If I had the AF issue you have, would this front bottle be OOF instead?

At 24 and f2.8, the sharpness is not quite as crisp as the center, but the extreme right AF looks the same.

Using LensAlign, the center AF looks to be about right at 50mm, and perhaps a little BF at 24mm. If I line up the holes in LensAlign using the far left AF, the target is in focus, but the ruler indicates strong BF. I think because this set up puts the ruler at a strong angle compared to when using the center AF. If I align the holes on the center AF again, but this time put the wine bottle label where the left AF point is, and us the left AF to focus lock, the wine bottle label is in focus.

Any help appreciated. I think I'm measurbating this to the point where my deficiencies in technical skills could lead to the wrong conclusion. By gut feel is the 3 year old 24-70 lens may be a little out of calibration.

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gl2k
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Re: D800 autofocus problem
In reply to Marc Heijligers, May 5, 2012

Is it only me or what ?
But I don't see any sharp image at all.
Not even the middle one is really sharp.

Maybe in this special case everything adds up. D800 AF problem + lens finetuning.

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frenchy01
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Same here...
In reply to Marc Heijligers, May 5, 2012

Nicely documented tests, I hope Nikon will start to look seriously at this issue...

Got my D800 two days ago and did a basic AF test to check focus accuracy (with 24-70mm f/2.8)...and got same results as you! Middle and right focus points perfect, left focus point out of focus. As you, I checked in liveview with CDAF (at the same position as left focus point) and no problem to achieve correct focus in CDAF.

Just for the few that deny the facts, it is not my first Nikon camera (coming from D70-D200-D300) and I know how to use them.

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rondhamalam
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Is 5D3 Better ?
In reply to Marc Heijligers, May 5, 2012

With more focus points and AF system of 1D series, is 5D3 AF better than d800 ?

Marc Heijligers wrote:

My D800 also has auto focus problems on the left AF field. The enclosed picture shows that from the middle to the right, the AF performance is as expected and good, from the middle to the left the focus performance becomes worse the further you go to the left.

The results are pretty bad overall when using the left-field AF points:

I've summarized my finding on my blog.
http://hifivoice.wordpress.com/2012/05/05/d800-autofocus-problem/

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u007
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Re: D800 autofocus problem
In reply to gl2k, May 5, 2012

gl2k wrote:

Is it only me or what ?
But I don't see any sharp image at all.
Not even the middle one is really sharp.

Maybe in this special case everything adds up. D800 AF problem + lens finetuning.

It's the 24-70, at 24mm, wide open. It's probably as sharp as you would expect. And the side images will be worse, even if focused correctly, because that lens isn't as good away from the center of the frame.

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sssesq
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Re: D800 autofocus problem
In reply to u007, May 5, 2012

You have a problem with Queens English vs Continental English? The frames are shot using the different focus points, duh.

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sssesq
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Re: D800 autofocus problem
In reply to D800, May 5, 2012

D800 wrote:

Thank you for reporting this in detail! Great article!

I did not see the comparison of Subject Distance values from images taken with left, middle, and right focus point. My tests showed a substantial difference. IMO, pointing these values out helps user to understand why the image taken with the left focus point is severe back focus. Take a look at your test, and if you feel the same, please report it.

Subject Distance from left focus point is way off (should be ~ 3.4m instead of Infinity)

Subject Distance of middle focus point:

This is just the kind of test that debuggers would like to see. Knowing what productions runs have cause this issue they will, and prob already know, where the problem lies, hardware - Expensive to fix, or firmware - Cheap to fix. I suspect that since Nikon is not forthcoming in giving an explaniation that it is in the hardware and they hope that most people will consider it to be a non-essential defect and just go away...

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Reimar Gaertner
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Re: D800 autofocus problem
In reply to D800, May 5, 2012

Hey D800, how do you get the distance info?
I use Nikon View and Capture NX2 as well as PS CS3.

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ukat123
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Re: D800 autofocus problem
In reply to sssesq, May 5, 2012

What is weird is that Nikon Rumors is silent on this. On the other hand, it looks like they received a lot of "leaks" for the D800 and D3200, etc. But nothing on AF issues. Yes, right.. After all these posts on internet. Nikon Rumors cannot be credible if they are silent. They are either because they want to continue to receive "leaks" direct from Nikon; or that Nikon Rumors IS Nikon Marketing dept.

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ne beginner
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So if your distance to subject is the same at any AF point ...
In reply to D800, May 5, 2012

... Then you don't have the AF problem?

I just looked at some test images, and all distances show the same. I can also look at the distance gage on the lens, test the AF points, and see the same.

I can also see from test images that what my left AF points are focused on see OK, as far as I can tell. Using LensAlign seems confusing when testing outer AF points, and kind has me wondering ...

Looks like mine is OK. No tint on the LCD or lock ups. Serial number is 30014XX.

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