Has Nikon fixed the D800/E AF Left Side Focus Problem?

Started Jul 24, 2012 | Discussions
mbecke
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Has Nikon fixed the D800/E AF Left Side Focus Problem?
Jul 24, 2012

I guess when you get down to the bottom of the D800/D800E left side AF issue, the important question to ask is whether the problem has been cured by Nikon. Does anyone have a factually based response to this question? Thank you!

Cathymc
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Re: Has Nikon fixed the D800/E AF Left Side Focus Problem?
In reply to mbecke, Jul 24, 2012

Do we really need another thread on the Left AF sensor issue? Have we not pretty much exhausted what we know as of this moment? In a few days we may actually have more hard information. Would it not be better to wait just a bit before asking this question? If you know the answer is no at this point, then why simply beat the bushes and raise more useless anxiety.

In an email to another DPR thread a week ago, you indicated that you would wait two or three months before deciding whether or not to buy this camera? In view of your reservations, that would seem good advice. At the very least, you would save yourself a lot of aggravation and perhaps have more time to actually shoot photographs.

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John Motts
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Re: Has Nikon fixed the D800/E AF Left Side Focus Problem?
In reply to Cathymc, Jul 24, 2012

What, there are some problems with the focussing on the D800?

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Richard Spangler
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Re: Has Nikon fixed the D800/E AF Left Side Focus Problem?
In reply to John Motts, Jul 24, 2012

Yea I recall seeing a thread about this somewhere on the forum but can't locate it now

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larrywilson
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Re: Has Nikon fixed the D800/E AF Left Side Focus Problem?
In reply to Richard Spangler, Jul 24, 2012

No, user error of course ha ha!!!!!

I've read a lot of these left af threads and know less now than I did before this subject came up.

Larry

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Marianne Oelund
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Several steps to the "fix"
In reply to mbecke, Jul 25, 2012

mbecke wrote:

I guess when you get down to the bottom of the D800/D800E left side AF issue, the important question to ask is whether the problem has been cured by Nikon. Does anyone have a factually based response to this question? Thank you!

Cured at what level?

I'm sure by this time, that Nikon know the cause of the problem, and are either addressing that in production, or have finished doing so. If their production lines aren't putting out issue-free units yet, they should be very soon, so the number of "problem" units in the field will stop rising.

The next step is addressing unsold units in distribution. Re-inspecting and correcting these is quite likely outside of their distribution-chain capability, so I do not personally expect them to be fixed before they end up in the hands of buyers.

The evidence is that there are not "problem" batches that can be identified by serial numbers, as user reports indicate the "problem" and "good" units are interleaved. There is no reason to expect that Nikon can even identify affected units by serial number, and if this is the case they will need to rely on buyers detecting them.

That brings us to the sold units, and the capabilities of service centers. As reported by Ming, correcting the affected units requires some additional equipment to be provided to service centers. One should expect such equipment to be in short supply initially, so only the largest centers will be able to perform repairs at this time.

There could be a huge number of cameras needing re-calibration, and this is probably what's driving Nikon's silence: They simply can't handle the flood of submissions to service centers that would occur, if they admit there's a problem. Their only choice is to let them trickle through, as buyers discover issues. It's far from an ideal situation, but it appears to me that their hands are tied - except:

Certainly, communications between service centers and customers needs to be improved. Cases where owners have submitted their cameras for service multiple times, simply shouldn't be happening; the service centers should be explaining when they expect to be able to calibrate these units, and they should be providing shipping at their cost.

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bob elkind
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Re: Several steps to the "fix"
In reply to Marianne Oelund, Jul 25, 2012

Marianne Oelund wrote:

The next step is addressing unsold units in distribution. Re-inspecting and correcting these is quite likely outside of their distribution-chain capability, so I do not personally expect them to be fixed before they end up in the hands of buyers.

The flip side of this is that Nikon believe it is less expensive and less burdensome to re-inspect and correct units returned to service centres by customers than to re-inspect and correct units which are still in the supply chain.

Otherwise, Nikon would halt D800 sales until re-inspected units are available for sale, and Nikon would halt production until the production process and production tests are corrected.

Conventional wisdom is that the earlier in the production/sale process you fix problems, the cheaper the fix is.

  • It is cheaper to fix problems in the factory than in the supply chain or the field.

  • It is cheaper to fix problems in the supply chain than in the field.

In this case, it seems that Nikon believe the 'failure' rate is low enough that gearing up for customer returns is less expensive than 100% re-test of unsold units in the supply channels.

Certainly, communications between service centers and customers needs to be improved. Cases where owners have submitted their cameras for service multiple times, simply shouldn't be happening; the service centers should be explaining when they expect to be able to calibrate these units, and they should be providing shipping at their cost.

As Thom Hogan would say (forgive me if I am putting the wrong words in his mouth), this is not a communications improvement problem , this is a Nikon corporate culture characteristic . Until all the details are worked out, and training and spare parts and test gear are fully deployed, say nothing . Nikon is acting exactly as expected -- entirely true to form -- and as they have handled similar problems in the past. This is highly reminiscent of the manner in which Nikon handled the D200 "banding" problem.

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Lance B
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Re: Several steps to the "fix"
In reply to bob elkind, Jul 25, 2012

bob elkind wrote:

Marianne Oelund wrote:

The next step is addressing unsold units in distribution. Re-inspecting and correcting these is quite likely outside of their distribution-chain capability, so I do not personally expect them to be fixed before they end up in the hands of buyers.

The flip side of this is that Nikon believe it is less expensive and less burdensome to re-inspect and correct units returned to service centres by customers than to re-inspect and correct units which are still in the supply chain.

Otherwise, Nikon would halt D800 sales until re-inspected units are available for sale, and Nikon would halt production until the production process and production tests are corrected.

Conventional wisdom is that the earlier in the production/sale process you fix problems, the cheaper the fix is.

  • It is cheaper to fix problems in the factory than in the supply chain or the field.

  • It is cheaper to fix problems in the supply chain than in the field.

In this case, it seems that Nikon believe the 'failure' rate is low enough that gearing up for customer returns is less expensive than 100% re-test of unsold units in the supply channels.

Certainly, communications between service centers and customers needs to be improved. Cases where owners have submitted their cameras for service multiple times, simply shouldn't be happening; the service centers should be explaining when they expect to be able to calibrate these units, and they should be providing shipping at their cost.

As Thom Hogan would say (forgive me if I am putting the wrong words in his mouth), this is not a communications improvement problem , this is a Nikon corporate culture characteristic . Until all the details are worked out, and training and spare parts and test gear are fully deployed, say nothing . Nikon is acting exactly as expected -- entirely true to form -- and as they have handled similar problems in the past. This is highly reminiscent of the manner in which Nikon handled the D200 "banding" problem.

I think this is a Japanese company mindset. Having come from Pentax DSLR's, Pentax did the same with some of the issues they have had in the past. I have also heard that this happens with many other Japanese companies.

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Kwick1
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Re: Has Nikon fixed the D800/E AF Left Side Focus Problem?
In reply to mbecke, Jul 25, 2012
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michaeladawson
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Re: Several steps to the "fix"
In reply to Lance B, Jul 25, 2012

Lance B wrote:

I think this is a Japanese company mindset. Having come from Pentax DSLR's, Pentax did the same with some of the issues they have had in the past. I have also heard that this happens with many other Japanese companies.

Exactly!! I worked at a company in the past and worked closely with a person who was our Japanese liaison to our Japanese offices. He often talked about the Japanese corporate culture. Never lose face. Never say anything that might turn out to be untrue. Never commit to anything that you cannot absolutely guarantee you can deliver. Always answer something in a way that leaves you a zone of retreat.

"We need this by Friday. Can you get it done?". "It's possible."

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Malcolm L
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I cannot duplicate the problem
In reply to mbecke, Jul 25, 2012

Just got mine 3 weeks ago and I only have the 14-24 but I cannot make it misfocus on any point!
Malcolm

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fabgo
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No, they haven't fixed this issue.
In reply to mbecke, Jul 25, 2012

I sent my D800 in to Nikon for service. It came back unrepaired ("no problem found"). But I for sure have this issue with the left AF points. On my 28/1.8 the left AF point will focus past infinity, while the right AF point works just fine. A comparison with live-view confirms this issue.

I asked to send the camera in for re-repair but Nikon asked me to send sample images instead. That was two weeks ago. I have called repeatedly and they claim they are still evaluating.

I take this to mean Nikon Service ran my camera through the test workbench and could not find a problem, but that they agree from my sample images that the issue still exists. And that they have no idea how to fix it.

I don't think Nikon has fully solved this issue.

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Marianne Oelund
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Re: No, they haven't fixed this issue.
In reply to fabgo, Jul 25, 2012

fabgo wrote:

I take this to mean Nikon Service ran my camera through the test workbench and could not find a problem, but that they agree from my sample images that the issue still exists. And that they have no idea how to fix it.

I don't think Nikon has fully solved this issue.

Best information says that they know what the problem is, and how to correct it. The delay is that they must equip the service centers, and until they are ready, customers will keep getting the "silent treatment" or denials that there is a problem.

At this point, you should be able to obtain satisfactory service from Melville. It shouldn't be long before the other centers have the calibration capability.

This is actually not a difficult problem. I'm more concerned about the lockups that some users are reporting, which may not be straightforward to fix.

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em_dee_aitch
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Re: No, they haven't fixed this issue.
In reply to Marianne Oelund, Jul 25, 2012

I'm wondering of some of the problem has to do with the (reported) reliance upon the 50/1.4G as the calibration lens. I found my 50/1.4G to be the most consistent focuser with respect to the 51 point field on my first "repaired" (yet still highly unsatisfactory) D800 body, while on the other hand my far more important 2.8G zooms produced wild, all over the map results that were not good overall (though perfectly fine if used at center point only, as if it were a 5Dm1).

When I personally dropped off my second D800 at El Segundo I specifically noted that my "reference lens" was the 24-70G. I suppose they will laugh that off, but on the off chance they heed it I can at least hope it will help.

My first D800 is now a "looper" and will be going to Melville as soon as the one currently at El Segundo returns. This is because, as a looper, it is now entitled to free shipping labels, which the service manager (who is at Melville) prefers to have sent near him so that he may personally evaluate whether the customers like me are correct in our claim or not (though he of course is not likely to divulge his determination back to us).

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ne beginner
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But there are still reports of people receiving theirs back ...
In reply to Marianne Oelund, Jul 25, 2012

... The same or sometimes worse. There appears to be no pattern, such as one service center completing satisfactory repairs, and other service center failing. Or improvement in the success rate, as in a trend in recent repairs being correctly done. Or even a "lucky number", as in takes 3 trips back in to get it right: some people are reporting multiple trips are required, while others end up unfixed after multiple trips. The same service centers seem to get some right, wrong, or no change ... no matter how many tries they get on the same unit.

That suggests that either Nikon has not clearly identified the problem and created a proper fix, or they know what the problem is but have failed to communicate and coordinate with their service centers so that all technicians know how to identify the problem and are trained to properly fix it.

Given the length of time since this has been identified, and a fix at a service center confirmed by a reliable source (Ming), combined with the urgency due to the large number if effected units, it seems inconceivable Nikon did not put in place a plan for handling incoming units.

Sure, it may take time for all service centers to get prepared to handle the repair. Parts may be needed for the cameras. BUT there is no rational explanation for service centers, made aware of the problem and plan, to be attempting to fix units when they are unprepared, and them sending them back the same or worse. Repeatedly ins some cases.

Any logical plan should include service centers not yet ready to be putting aside those units that demonstrate the problem until the tools, training and parts are in place. And service centers ready and able should have a near 100% success rate.

So how can we be seeing such random results?

There is a management failure here, either in Japan or at the service centers. Or both.

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rplst8
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Re: No, they haven't fixed this issue.
In reply to Marianne Oelund, Jul 25, 2012

Marianne Oelund wrote:

This is actually not a difficult problem. I'm more concerned about the lockups that some users are reporting, which may not be straightforward to fix.

You know, I've noticed several times on my D800 that it appeared to lockup. Turns out the way I was holding the camera I had a finger on my left hand resting against the AF Mode button. When that button is depressed, the rest of the controls (except the thumb-wheels) do not function.

It typically happened when i was in the menus or reviewing images.

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Benjamin Kanarek
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Re: No, they haven't fixed this issue.
In reply to rplst8, Sep 8, 2013

I got my D800 last week and tested the left focus and all of the focus points with my 24-120 and it is spot on...

Seems that they addressed the issue.

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lock
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You know how the saying goes: one swallow...
In reply to Benjamin Kanarek, Sep 8, 2013

There is still an inconsistent picture about this issue. Very much the same with the D600 oil//dust issue.

lock

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CFynn
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They have fixed this issue.
In reply to Benjamin Kanarek, Sep 8, 2013

Benjamin Kanarek wrote:

I got my D800 last week and tested the left focus and all of the focus points with my 24-120 and it is spot on...

Seems that they addressed the issue.

Then why revive a dead thread about it?

But, since you brought it up, I bought a D800E in March - and it doesn't have the issue.

Once there were innumerable complaints, but I have not seen any new complaints about it on this forum for quite some time, so I think it's fair to assume that Nikon have fixed the issue.

Of course there will always be a few new D800 cameras with one kind of problem or another - including with the autofocus.

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Boschje
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Re: Has Nikon fixed the D800/E AF Left Side Focus Problem?
In reply to mbecke, Sep 10, 2013

Well, I got myself a new D800 last week, the AF was terrible with the same lenses I use on my D4's and D3's (where no or very little  AF fine tune is needed)... So, I got a replacement... Even a bit worse...

Both cameras needed a global AF correction and the center and other AF-points where completely misaligned. So, I actually needed to change my AF fine-tine value when changing to some AF points. Pretty embarassing for Nikon in my opinion...

The shop acknowledged it was pretty bad also, and advised to have it calibrated by Nikon since they encountered it more often (or have a refund)... Hope it comes back OK.... Fingers crossed...

So fixed, not in my case, and both where new cameras just received from Nikon.

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