The forth D800E, should I accept it?

Started Aug 30, 2012 | Discussions
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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Return it
In reply to henry wl, Aug 30, 2012

Try another brand and another forum.
Or, put on your big boy cap and make your own decision.
Good luck.

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Roy

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Great British Landscapes
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Re: Agreed
In reply to BackInTheGame, Aug 30, 2012

These threads are a joke.

BackInTheGame wrote:

Try another brand and another forum.
Or, put on your big boy cap and make your own decision.
Good luck.

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Roy

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Leos
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Re: The forth D800E, should I accept it?
In reply to henry wl, Aug 30, 2012

I think you really need to decide what is more important to you: the benefits that the D800 gives you in your landscapes or would you be happier with a better focussing and more "forgiving" camera (in terms of magnification).

When employing the D800 as a "general purpose camera" (handheld, wide open, PD autofocus, less than ideal light etc) you should learn to accept that you're not getting the full 36mpixel worth of resolution or should we say "magnification potential". At least not every time.

Some years back, Canons definition of autofocus tolerance was measured on the full frame print at A4 size. (Just to put things in perspective). Spend a minute thinking about what kind of magnification you are evaluating the autofocus precission at when viewing 100% crops.

That said, I think it would be a safe bet by now to conclude that Canon got it right with their new cameras AF this time around. While obviously, it cannot be judged at the same enlargement as the D800, at least when it comes to fast glass (The "Digillooyd" case - not the left AF point) it seems Canon doesnt miss as often and as severe as the Nikons.
Good luck in your chase for the perfect compromise for you.

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stany buyle
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Re: The forth D800E, should I accept it?
In reply to henry wl, Aug 30, 2012

Wow, that's a beautiful picture! Congratulations.

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Stany Buyle
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I like better one good picture in a day than 10 bad ones in a second..

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jonnyz2
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I would return it. Also, why are these posts/threads being attacked?
In reply to henry wl, Aug 30, 2012

I don't think that is acceptable performance if you expect to use the left focus point.

I do use the non-center focus points frequently on my on my D300 and do often use the extreme side focus points. So, I expect to use them on a D800/800E and want them to work well.

At this point I have returned one D800 and one D800E due to this issue. The D800E also had a broken remote trigger connector.

Worse yet, I have just tested two new ones received last week. One D800E and one D800 (Serials 300479x and 3003436x respectively) and both do not meet my expectations. My tests (multiple lenses, multiple side by side comparisons (4 per focus point, AF vs LV)) show that the D800 is way off on the left focus point and the D800E is so/so.

Now that I’ve tried four of these without success, I was thinking of giving up for a while and trying again in a few months. The only reason I've been pushing this is an upcoming trip where I would really like to have the D800/E instead of the D300.

So, I was really pleased to see some people now posting here that their newly received D800s seem to be OK. So, despite the folks criticizing these threads, I personally find them very helpful as they are helping me to decide whether I should bother to try again right now or wait for some time.

If other posters out there haven't experienced these problems, that's fantastic! If you fall in that category, please just ignore these threads. For some of us right now, these threads are very useful.

For those of us who have had these problems, we're frustrated and trying to find a way forward.

I really doubt that anyone has put out $3,000+ on a new camera and perhaps much more on new FX lenses without truly wanting it to work. For that reason, attacking such threads and posters, in my opinion, is unreasonable.

Hopefully, NIKON will get this fixed soon and all of these threads/posts can go away!

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RumpelHund
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Keeper threads coming to see where we are
In reply to jonnyz2, Aug 30, 2012

Same with me, testing D800s in shops with my most problematic 1.4/24 to finally get a good copy. No success yet. Seems to me either it's an all cams at all times issue or the bad samples keep reappearing on the shelves all the time until someone buys them.

Once these threads stop I'll take the next try, so keep them coming to show the status, please.

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djedi
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Judging by your photos...
In reply to henry wl, Aug 30, 2012

...you obviously have no idea what you are doing. And your tests are just irrelevant. At least that's what some of the posters here will tell you.

Personally, I feel your pain and hope Nikon service in Melville takes care of me when I send mine in for similar issues. I figured if I send it back to the seller, I may just get another customer's returned product, so I'll take my chances with the big N.
Seriously- great shots BTW.
Wolfgang
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TDong
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Re: The forth D800E, should I accept it?
In reply to henry wl, Aug 30, 2012

return it until you get the good copy. will let you know tomorrow to see if Nikon Mississauga actually fix mine. so far two said Nikon Mississauga fix their.

http://photokaz.com/2012/08/d800-autofocus-repair-testing/

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Todd Hargis
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Re: The forth D800E, keep it.....
In reply to henry wl, Aug 30, 2012

I would keep that one for that is barely noticeable. If that test was wide-open then at F/1.4? @ 2.8 it should go away completely. And do you actually use the extreme left AF point at all? However I guess if you're just kind of looking for floorman you might be looking too hard I don't know. But I would definitely keep that one because most of the time you're going to be using the center AF point anyway. I think you need to evaluate your style of shooting and base it off of that. If you shoot mostly landscapes you don't even need to use autofocus, but if you're doing sports ballet or anything with a lot of movement, then maybe so. Anyway I think that's probably the most important question… What is your shooting style? then you can determine rather you keep the camera not after that.
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Joe Porto
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How many TVs, or cars, or major appliances would you exchange...
In reply to henry wl, Aug 30, 2012

Let's put this in perspective. If you bought a defective tv, or car, or major apliance and it was defective, and you returned it for another which was defective, how many exchanges would you do before you gave up and bought something else. For me, ANY company gets one chance. If the second is defective, I'd move on. I've seen people stating that they are on their 4th, 5th, even 7th camera.

Einstein said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

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henry wl
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Re: The forth D800E, should I accept it?
In reply to TDong, Aug 30, 2012

Returning it means I'll have to wait for next batch to come in. That would be a couple of months, and I'll miss the fall season shootings.

Please do update your fix result. Last time they screwed up mine to the extend it was not fixable. Hopefully they have new cure and technicians are well trained now.

TDong wrote:

return it until you get the good copy. will let you know tomorrow to see if Nikon Mississauga actually fix mine. so far two said Nikon Mississauga fix their.

http://photokaz.com/2012/08/d800-autofocus-repair-testing/

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Steve Bingham
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Re: How many TVs, or cars, or major appliances would you exchange...
In reply to Joe Porto, Aug 30, 2012

Joe, I believe the quote came from Benjamin Franklin, not Albert Einstein.

Joe Porto wrote:

Let's put this in perspective. If you bought a defective tv, or car, or major apliance and it was defective, and you returned it for another which was defective, how many exchanges would you do before you gave up and bought something else. For me, ANY company gets one chance. If the second is defective, I'd move on. I've seen people stating that they are on their 4th, 5th, even 7th camera.

Einstein said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

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sfnikon
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Go back to Canon
In reply to henry wl, Aug 30, 2012

...and bother them. Your life is a "nightmare" since the extreme left focal point is a bit off - are you serious??

No the D800 is not a perfect camera but it's got the most amazing IQ this side of medium format and most of us happily live with it.

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Jake

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amobi
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Re: Judging by your photos...
In reply to djedi, Aug 30, 2012

Don't do it. Nikon Melville has no clue. I wish I had returned mine to the seller and keep trying different copies. Nikon Melville has screwed mine up so badly that I have since stopped using it for now.

Right now I will be glad if they can get the center to work.

djedi wrote:

...you obviously have no idea what you are doing. And your tests are just irrelevant. At least that's what some of the posters here will tell you.

Personally, I feel your pain and hope Nikon service in Melville takes care of me when I send mine in for similar issues. I figured if I send it back to the seller, I may just get another customer's returned product, so I'll take my chances with the big N.
Seriously- great shots BTW.
Wolfgang
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henry wl
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Re: How many TVs, or cars, or major appliances would you exchange...
In reply to Joe Porto, Aug 30, 2012

I see your point. Cameras are not like cars. You cannot just buy a camera of another brand and mount your current lens on it, Can you?

Like I already said, D800/E is a great camera for landscape, probably the best DSLR. It was the pure reason I switched from Canon. I didn't say it is a bad camera, but it has quality issues that need Nikon's attention and action. It's hard to believe after 5 month of production, they are still shipping out those defective ones, and there is still no single word from Nikon to address this issue.

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PhD4
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Re: How many TVs, or cars, or major appliances would you exchange...
In reply to Steve Bingham, Aug 30, 2012

Not to flame this into a discussion or even take a side, but actually there is no real clarity where that quote came from, interestingly enough.

http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Talk:Benjamin_Franklin#The_definition_of_insanity ...

Apparently both have been credited with it, and so have others.
My guess is, one of you is correct

Steve Bingham wrote:
Joe, I believe the quote came from Benjamin Franklin, not Albert Einstein.

Joe Porto wrote:

Let's put this in perspective. If you bought a defective tv, or car, or major apliance and it was defective, and you returned it for another which was defective, how many exchanges would you do before you gave up and bought something else. For me, ANY company gets one chance. If the second is defective, I'd move on. I've seen people stating that they are on their 4th, 5th, even 7th camera.

Einstein said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

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henry wl
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Re: Go back to Canon
In reply to sfnikon, Aug 30, 2012

When I said nightmare, I didn't mean the left focus issue itself. I meant multiple trips to Nikon service and eventually the camera was "fixed" to "unfixable". It stayed much longer time in Nikon service center than in my hand. I had to cancel a few of my shooting plans, and later I had to order another one, which was not available until last Friday, but then I saw the same problem.

sfnikon wrote:

...and bother them. Your life is a "nightmare" since the extreme left focal point is a bit off - are you serious??

No the D800 is not a perfect camera but it's got the most amazing IQ this side of medium format and most of us happily live with it.

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Jake

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kayaker353
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I chose to keep it
In reply to henry wl, Aug 30, 2012

I faced the same dilema and chose to keep it and have it repaired. I knew there was some risk that "repair" would be ineffictive or make it worse. I thought that I could wait for another body and have it be defective, also. So, I chose to have it repaired, which was successful on the first try. This whole process took several weeks and was frustrating. I also had to swallow hard in accepting a repaired new camera. However, I am now on my way with the camera and have retired the D300 to backup status.

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ukat123
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Re: I chose to keep it
In reply to kayaker353, Aug 30, 2012

Reading this forum, there are truckloads of D800 which are returned to vendors...and I doubt very much that they are returned to Nikon. Instead, they are put back on sale or at best reconditioned, for just another person to have the same problem. I wonder if there are still genuine new and un-boxed D800, with all these people who have tried 4-5 bodies. Just a thought.

Anyway, if the problem is as widespread as people are stating on this forum, I suggest the best action is to abandon Nikon once and for all. This is the only way Nikon can learn a lesson.

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