D800 is within factory standard! Needs +20 to stop it front focusing.

Started Feb 20, 2013 | Discussions
primeshooter
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D800 is within factory standard! Needs +20 to stop it front focusing.
Feb 20, 2013

Received a mail regarding my D800 which has been at Nikon, Surrey for 3 weeks now:

I have spoken to the workshop manager and he has advised me that after careful examination your D800 is to Nikon standard and does not need any adjusting.

From the sample image you provided, he has commented that the shooting conditions may have caused issues that you are currently experiencing with the focus. Shooting in low light with a low contrast on a focus point that has small detail is a difficult subject for the autofocus to pick up so it is unable to create sharp images.

The unit has been through a full diagnostic test and it has also been tested by our professional department, work shop manager and service manager and they are all confident that the unit is to Nikon standard and the focus is correct. They are currently looking into the points that you raised in your previous email and are carrying out tests under these circumstances.

*******

To say I am not best pleased is an understatement. I need to apply ridiculous AF fine tune of +20 applied for EVERY lens I own (yes every) to make the camera focus correctly but since I am at the end of the scale, don't know if I could achieve sharper results. Yet they tell me this is within spec with no mention of why I am at the end of the AF fine tune scale with no where to go. They also don't seem to have an answer of why this camera severely front focuses with good light as WELL as bad light. They also don't seem to understand that I am saying it is consistently front focusing. Just keep telling me it's within spec. They have been looking at it for 3 weeks, camera has had a battery related issue, been off to get that fixed, then the remote terminal broke and had to be sent off, now I am stuck with them telling me this is as good as it gets...Total nonsense, as even downsizing the images that are front focused to 12mp, it's still clear the D700 and D3s would have done a much better job. I just want this fixed!

Nikon D3S Nikon D700 Nikon D800
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gl2k
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Re: D800 is within factory standard! Needs +20 to stop it front focusing.
In reply to primeshooter, Feb 20, 2013

primeshooter wrote:

From the sample image you provided, he has commented that the shooting conditions may have caused issues that you are currently experiencing with the focus. Shooting in low light with a low contrast on a focus point that has small detail is a difficult subject for the autofocus to pick up so it is unable to create sharp images.

At least now we know where Leonard Shepherd is working (at least part time).

Anticipating Leonard I would commend checking page 100 in the Nikon manual.

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Arretose
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Re: D800 is within factory standard! Needs +20 to stop it front focusing.
In reply to gl2k, Feb 20, 2013

I you read the fine print, "within Nikon standard" is applicable to the center focus point only, and they are not liable for varying degrees of focus tolerance outside the center point. Your camera is fine. Just get out and use it.

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primeshooter
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Re: D800 is within factory standard! Needs +20 to stop it front focusing.
In reply to Arretose, Feb 20, 2013

Arretose wrote:

I you read the fine print, "within Nikon standard" is applicable to the center focus point only, and they are not liable for varying degrees of focus tolerance outside the center point. Your camera is fine. Just get out and use it.

The centre point is front focusing by +20 on every lens!

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PatFahey
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Same here.
In reply to primeshooter, Feb 20, 2013

It's interesting to read this.  My 800E, focused perfectly out of the box -- no left AF problem at all.  I felt very lucky because it was an early one.  But I do have the "it auto-focuses at different distances in different light" issue.

But there's good news (at least in my case).  I've found that the focus is consistent in consistent light.  If I fine tune AF in tungsten and then shoot in tungsten, it's right on.  If I fine tune in daylight and shoot in daylight, it's also right on.  But if I fine tune AF in tungsten and shoot in daylight, it's way off.

It's never been to big a deal for me because I rarely use AF, but I can see how it could drive someone that relies on it nuts.

Primeshooter: are you fine tuning and testing/shooting in similar light?

-Pat

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primeshooter
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Re: Same here.
In reply to PatFahey, Feb 20, 2013

PatFahey wrote:

It's interesting to read this. My 800E, focused perfectly out of the box -- no left AF problem at all. I felt very lucky because it was an early one. But I do have the "it auto-focuses at different distances in different light" issue.

But there's good news (at least in my case). I've found that the focus is consistent in consistent light. If I fine tune AF in tungsten and then shoot in tungsten, it's right on. If I fine tune in daylight and shoot in daylight, it's also right on. But if I fine tune AF in tungsten and shoot in daylight, it's way off.

It's never been to big a deal for me because I rarely use AF, but I can see how it could drive someone that relies on it nuts.

Primeshooter: are you fine tuning and testing/shooting in similar light?

-Pat

Hi Pat. Tuning in the same light I am shooting in yeah. I am just hacked off that I am at the end of the scale - yes I can leave it at +20 but why should it be like this, seriously?

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kb2zuz
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Re: D800 is within factory standard! Needs +20 to stop it front focusing.
In reply to primeshooter, Feb 20, 2013

So set it to +20 and start shooting. Though in the old days photographers who were having issues with focusing would also send in their lenses so that the techs could see the problem first hand. Maybe your lenses are -10 and your camera is -10, requiring +20 correction. In that case if they happened to test it with a +10 lens, it would need 0 correction (or even if they test it with a +6 lens and it only need -4 correction they might deem that as "within standard")

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digital ed
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Re: Same here.
In reply to primeshooter, Feb 20, 2013

primeshooter wrote:

PatFahey wrote:

It's interesting to read this. My 800E, focused perfectly out of the box -- no left AF problem at all. I felt very lucky because it was an early one. But I do have the "it auto-focuses at different distances in different light" issue.

But there's good news (at least in my case). I've found that the focus is consistent in consistent light. If I fine tune AF in tungsten and then shoot in tungsten, it's right on. If I fine tune in daylight and shoot in daylight, it's also right on. But if I fine tune AF in tungsten and shoot in daylight, it's way off.

It's never been to big a deal for me because I rarely use AF, but I can see how it could drive someone that relies on it nuts.

Primeshooter: are you fine tuning and testing/shooting in similar light?

-Pat

Hi Pat. Tuning in the same light I am shooting in yeah. I am just hacked off that I am at the end of the scale - yes I can leave it at +20 but why should it be like this, seriously?

Seriously, if the camera did not have AF Fine Tune and the factory had to set the camera to an effective +20 you would never know it. You would go on taking pictures getting good results. Practically, what difference does it make if the pictures are in focus?

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primeshooter
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Re: Same here.
In reply to digital ed, Feb 20, 2013

digital ed wrote:

primeshooter wrote:

PatFahey wrote:

It's interesting to read this. My 800E, focused perfectly out of the box -- no left AF problem at all. I felt very lucky because it was an early one. But I do have the "it auto-focuses at different distances in different light" issue.

But there's good news (at least in my case). I've found that the focus is consistent in consistent light. If I fine tune AF in tungsten and then shoot in tungsten, it's right on. If I fine tune in daylight and shoot in daylight, it's also right on. But if I fine tune AF in tungsten and shoot in daylight, it's way off.

It's never been to big a deal for me because I rarely use AF, but I can see how it could drive someone that relies on it nuts.

Primeshooter: are you fine tuning and testing/shooting in similar light?

-Pat

Hi Pat. Tuning in the same light I am shooting in yeah. I am just hacked off that I am at the end of the scale - yes I can leave it at +20 but why should it be like this, seriously?

Seriously, if the camera did not have AF Fine Tune and the factory had to set the camera to an effective +20 you would never know it. You would go on taking pictures getting good results. Practically, what difference does it make if the pictures are in focus?

Well, if you read the manual you will see that setting high values of tuning can affect infinity focus. Also, being at the end of the range, I cannot see if a little more adjustment in the same direction would give sharper results. This is an expensive camera...it might have a great sensor but if it cannot focus reliably like the last generation, it's not worth much. This is why it's so important to me. I may try using the default setting, which if there is no specific lens setting, apparently works much more. Ie if a lens needs +20, on the default scale it would need about +8 only, then I could tune further if you get what I mean.

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Kaj E
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Re: D800 is within factory standard! Needs +20 to stop it front focusing.
In reply to primeshooter, Feb 20, 2013

Send them one of the lenses that requires +20 and quote the D800 manual: Page 338; "AF fine tuning is not recommended in most situations and may interfere with normal focus; use only when required". Page 339; "The camera may be unable to focus at minimum range or at infinity when AF tuning is applied".

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Art Jacks
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Re: D800 is within factory standard! Needs +20 to stop it front focusing.
In reply to primeshooter, Feb 20, 2013

I am assuming you do not have the camera back yet ? it would be good to re test when you have the camera returned as you may find that whatever they have done or checked has improved the fine tuning adjustment required.

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primeshooter
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Re: D800 is within factory standard! Needs +20 to stop it front focusing.
In reply to Art Jacks, Feb 20, 2013

Art Jacks wrote:

I am assuming you do not have the camera back yet ? it would be good to re test when you have the camera returned as you may find that whatever they have done or checked has improved the fine tuning adjustment required.

Hey, not yet but considering it. They have given me a choice, to continue looking at it or send it back and they will "look into it" also. I am starting to think that there isn't really anything they can do. It's been looked over by the workshop manager, and the pro dept, all confirm it's working as it should.

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moving_comfort
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body swap?
In reply to primeshooter, Feb 20, 2013

primeshooter wrote:

digital ed wrote:

primeshooter wrote:

PatFahey wrote:

It's interesting to read this. My 800E, focused perfectly out of the box -- no left AF problem at all. I felt very lucky because it was an early one. But I do have the "it auto-focuses at different distances in different light" issue.

But there's good news (at least in my case). I've found that the focus is consistent in consistent light. If I fine tune AF in tungsten and then shoot in tungsten, it's right on. If I fine tune in daylight and shoot in daylight, it's also right on. But if I fine tune AF in tungsten and shoot in daylight, it's way off.

It's never been to big a deal for me because I rarely use AF, but I can see how it could drive someone that relies on it nuts.

Primeshooter: are you fine tuning and testing/shooting in similar light?

-Pat

Hi Pat. Tuning in the same light I am shooting in yeah. I am just hacked off that I am at the end of the scale - yes I can leave it at +20 but why should it be like this, seriously?

Seriously, if the camera did not have AF Fine Tune and the factory had to set the camera to an effective +20 you would never know it. You would go on taking pictures getting good results. Practically, what difference does it make if the pictures are in focus?

Well, if you read the manual you will see that setting high values of tuning can affect infinity focus. Also, being at the end of the range, I cannot see if a little more adjustment in the same direction would give sharper results. This is an expensive camera...it might have a great sensor but if it cannot focus reliably like the last generation, it's not worth much. This is why it's so important to me. I may try using the default setting, which if there is no specific lens setting, apparently works much more. Ie if a lens needs +20, on the default scale it would need about +8 only, then I could tune further if you get what I mean.

I forget, are you out of your return window? If so, how did you not notice this while you were in your return window? (not being critical, just wondering, and the answer could be "I didn't shoot much then, I was busy.")

Anyway, even if it's outside of the window, have you considered demanding a replacement body? You are in contact with Nikon now, you have their ear, there may be a manager who will simply swap out the body for a new one if you become vocal and insistent.

I really hope you get resolution, I know you like to shoot your primes as I do and you're missing out on the greatest camera I've yet used

.

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Art Jacks
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Re: D800 is within factory standard! Needs +20 to stop it front focusing.
In reply to primeshooter, Feb 20, 2013

They rarely own up to issues so maybe some adjustments have been made and then when you get it back re test and find an improvement they can turn around and say ' told you so '

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primeshooter
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Re: body swap?
In reply to moving_comfort, Feb 20, 2013

moving_comfort wrote:

primeshooter wrote:

digital ed wrote:

primeshooter wrote:

PatFahey wrote:

It's interesting to read this. My 800E, focused perfectly out of the box -- no left AF problem at all. I felt very lucky because it was an early one. But I do have the "it auto-focuses at different distances in different light" issue.

But there's good news (at least in my case). I've found that the focus is consistent in consistent light. If I fine tune AF in tungsten and then shoot in tungsten, it's right on. If I fine tune in daylight and shoot in daylight, it's also right on. But if I fine tune AF in tungsten and shoot in daylight, it's way off.

It's never been to big a deal for me because I rarely use AF, but I can see how it could drive someone that relies on it nuts.

Primeshooter: are you fine tuning and testing/shooting in similar light?

-Pat

Hi Pat. Tuning in the same light I am shooting in yeah. I am just hacked off that I am at the end of the scale - yes I can leave it at +20 but why should it be like this, seriously?

Seriously, if the camera did not have AF Fine Tune and the factory had to set the camera to an effective +20 you would never know it. You would go on taking pictures getting good results. Practically, what difference does it make if the pictures are in focus?

Well, if you read the manual you will see that setting high values of tuning can affect infinity focus. Also, being at the end of the range, I cannot see if a little more adjustment in the same direction would give sharper results. This is an expensive camera...it might have a great sensor but if it cannot focus reliably like the last generation, it's not worth much. This is why it's so important to me. I may try using the default setting, which if there is no specific lens setting, apparently works much more. Ie if a lens needs +20, on the default scale it would need about +8 only, then I could tune further if you get what I mean.

I forget, are you out of your return window? If so, how did you not notice this while you were in your return window? (not being critical, just wondering, and the answer could be "I didn't shoot much then, I was busy.")

Anyway, even if it's outside of the window, have you considered demanding a replacement body? You are in contact with Nikon now, you have their ear, there may be a manager who will simply swap out the body for a new one if you become vocal and insistent.

I really hope you get resolution, I know you like to shoot your primes as I do and you're missing out on the greatest camera I've yet used

.

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Here are a few of my favorite things...
---> http://www.flickr.com/photos/95095968@N00/sets/72157626171532197/

I have asked them if they can seriously fix this and if not I would want a new body - this is how I started the proceedings with them. But, I do believe that something isn't right. It however, has been looked at by their pro team (not normally done) the workshop manager and their overall manager and all claim it's within spec. This is just such a headache.

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primeshooter
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Re: D800 is within factory standard! Needs +20 to stop it front focusing.
In reply to Art Jacks, Feb 20, 2013

Art Jacks wrote:

They rarely own up to issues so maybe some adjustments have been made and then when you get it back re test and find an improvement they can turn around and say ' told you so '

Thanks for posting this, am I clinging to hope or is this actually likely though? I HOPE, so much!

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lock
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Definitely the best solution:send them lenses.
In reply to Kaj E, Feb 20, 2013

So they can see it themselves.

lock

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Rudy_from_Canada
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Re: D800 is within factory standard! Needs +20 to stop it front focusing.
In reply to primeshooter, Feb 20, 2013

Out of curiosity, why not focus manually via LV and see how much sharper your images can get?  At the very least, you should be able to get a good reference point for the techs if you send the body back with the same lens...

primeshooter wrote:

I am at the end of the scale, don't know if I could achieve sharper results.

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digital ed
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My technique...
In reply to Rudy_from_Canada, Feb 20, 2013

Rudy_from_Canada wrote:

Out of curiosity, why not focus manually via LV and see how much sharper your images can get? At the very least, you should be able to get a good reference point for the techs if you send the body back with the same lens...

primeshooter wrote:

I am at the end of the scale, don't know if I could achieve sharper results.

My technique after trying FoCal and Horshack's method:

Assume LV manual focus gives best focus for Cam/Lens/FL/Aper/Illum.

Critical focus using manual LV and take picture. This is your reference for best focus.

Change to PDAF and take picture with current AF Fine Tune value. Helps to use LR4 in tether mode. Critically evaluate PDAF photo w/r reference photo.

Adjust AF Fine Tune by zeroing in (values both sides of optimum) until you achieve photo similar to LV reference photo. This can be done on computer images or with camera playback with LCD zoomed in to next to last zoom increment.

Using this method I know that the pictures taken will be in optimum focus with no guess by taking an average value. I have double and triple checked in both incandescent and sun light and both agree to the same setting for optimum focus.

Results trinity lenses:

14-24 2.8 -18

24-70 2.8 -3

70-200 2.8 +2

With the 14-24 the results with FoCal Pro were too variable to get good results and with Horshack too wide to trust average.

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Robin Casady
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Re: Same here.
In reply to primeshooter, Feb 20, 2013

primeshooter wrote:

Well, if you read the manual you will see that setting high values of tuning can affect infinity focus.

Good point. Try it with all of your lenses. If one or more cannot be focused to infinity you would have a reason to claim it is defective. Then you could send it back with the lenses and ask them to calibrate it so it will focus both at close distances an at infinity. If they can't, then you could demand a new body.

Also, being at the end of the range, I cannot see if a little more adjustment in the same direction would give sharper results. This is an expensive camera...it might have a great sensor but if it cannot focus reliably like the last generation, it's not worth much. This is why it's so important to me. I may try using the default setting, which if there is no specific lens setting, apparently works much more. Ie if a lens needs +20, on the default scale it would need about +8 only, then I could tune further if you get what I mean.

That sounds like a good idea, and maybe why they see it as in spec. Since they didn't have your lenses to test with they may have just been calibrating the default setting. Once you have determined a good default setting you can test to see how much variation there is in your lenses.

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