PDAF issue on D800E

Started Nov 17, 2012 | Discussions thread
Flat view
S1m0n Regular Member • Posts: 195
PDAF issue on D800E

Hi all

Its been a long time since I wrote on this forum but I would like to add this thread.

I have read through the other threads and see there are some folk who have seen an issue with the AF on their D800 and others who have not. There are also some who aggressively think the issues are due to the person behind the camera, well it may be the case in some instances but I doubt in all.

Recently I decided to update my D700 to a D800 a decision not taken lightly as the D700 is such a good camera and has for filled all my needs to date. My previous Digital cameras started with the D1 series, moving to D1x D200 and D700. I have also had a few point and shoot cameras, the latest was the Canon G12 which has also served me well.

Moving forward to the purpose of this thread. I actually have had 3 D800e's in the last 3 month period and all have had PDAF issues. Let me elaborate.

1. The first unit I had suffered from the left autofocus issue, which to begin with I had not been aware of as I usually use the centre AF point and move the camera for framing. What I did find is when using my F:1.4 lenses at anything wider than F:2 I was getting inconsistent focus issues. When focussing at say a face 8 feet away using PDAF I was getting Sharp results, but moving the subject back a couple of feet the Sharp result was no longer there. So at different focal distances from the subject using the same aperture and shutter speed was giving me a front or back focus issue. After reading the forum and seeing folk were getting the left autofocus issue I tested for this and found I also had the problem. I thought this was causing my inconsistent focus problem, the dealer replaced the unit for me.

2, The second unit, I tested immediately for the left autofocus issue, it was all but nonexistent. So I thought I had a good copy this time. Again this camera was giving me the same results of inconsistent PDAF at varying distances. I again got a third replacement unit.

3. The third and final D800/e. This camera had just been delivered to the dealer, it was the very latest serial number, so I thought 3rd time lucky. No such luck, the camera had the PDAF issue and there was also a mark on the body of the camera which was under the paintwork, so this camera had a quality of build issue too.

Let me elaborate a little on the testing of the cameras. The testing was done using a tripod and I would also use the CDAF system as well as PDAF and manually focusing. I also used high shutter speeds of 250th and same subjects. Large aperture was used as narrow depth of field would show up the focus inconsistency. I have 3 1.4 lenses and all showed focus issue at large apertures.

The CDAF acted the same as manually focus, results almost all of the time were pin sharp and extremely consistent.  Only when using PDAF I would get inconsistent results. Note, the led in the viewfinder would light to show I had focus. I would also take more than one shot at the same focal length just to rule out possible miss focus.

I did try the AF fine tuning of the lenses which all needed a slight tweak, between +1 to + 5 so not too far out. This made no difference to the inconsistency at different focal distances.

As a quick test I would take a picture of an object sitting on grass. If it was pin sharp focus at say 3 meters. I would do the same at four meters. In my case I was getting front focus issue were the grass in front of the object was in sharp focus on the second distance. If I fine tuned the lenses to this distance to get a sharp result. Then the subject would be out of Focus on the first focal distance.

Please understand we are not talking blurred images here, it's just not so pin sharp as it would be if manually focused or using CDAF.

The D800 series is a magnificent tool. Results are nothing short of amazing from this camera. My only gripe is the PDAF system, that for me with the three cameras I had was not perfect. I have had no issue with the previous cameras from Nikon, although of course resolution has never been so high. I would say there is a tolerance issue here and because of the high resolution sensor this tolerance has not been met in the manufacturing process. (at least not for my cameras).

By the way folks, although the first camera was returned for the left autofocus issue, apparently Nikon could find no issue with this. The third camera which was returned for focus issues as above they could also find no issue with. What does that tell you, for me I am wondering how they test and what lens they use. I stand by my tests and know all three cameras had an issue. What do you think will happen to the three cameras I have returned, no there is a pause for thought. I will wait before jumping in on my next D800, maybe the D600 would be better.  At the moment the D700 is still a brilliant camera.

Guys, this is my story. I am happy some of you have had good results with your cameras. This is for the few folk who have noticed an inconsistency with PDAF on their units, I have had it too.

All the best now


Canon PowerShot G12 Nikon D1 Nikon D1X Nikon D200 Nikon D600 Nikon D700 Nikon D800 Nikon D800E
If you believe there are incorrect tags, please send us this post using our feedback form.
Flat view
Post (hide subjects) Posted by
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum PPrevious NNext WNext unread UUpvote SSubscribe RReply QQuote BBookmark MMy threads
Color scheme? Blue / Yellow