D800 Autofocus issues II

Started Jan 25, 2014 | Discussions thread
fPrime Senior Member • Posts: 2,704
The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence

Simon Garrett wrote:

We know there was a left-focus issue with early D800s (now long-since fixed), and I'm sure any particular D800 might have a manufacturing defect (or have broken).

Left AF fixed? That's a bit assumptive given the problem continues to be reported to Amazon in units sold as late as Q4 2013. It's even more troubling because not everyone rigorously tests their camera for focus accuracy upon receipt nor do most enthusiasts have the fast primes with shallow DOF required to detect the Left AF issue. If anything, the anecdotal evidence suggests that the Left AF problem persists and is not identified by Nikon's internal QC. See just one example below:

Soooo many 5 stars - Did I get a lemon?, October 14, 2013

By Nelson - See all my reviews Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?) This review is from: Nikon D800 36.3 MP CMOS FX-Format Digital SLR Camera (Body Only) (Electronics) I'll not spend too much time on this review because most problems I got has already been extensively written in here. Since on its release the D800 had the soft focus issue, I waited until now to buy it in the hope the bug had been fixed. I got the camera on Sep 15, 2013 and on the first pictures I noticed right away the bad soft left focus. Not sure about this one, so take with a grain of salt, the liveview mode apparently accentuate the soft focus issue.

Either someone has evidence of a generic focus issue with the D800, or it's reasonable to assume that there isn't any generic issue. Just as it's reasonable to assume that D800s don't spontaneously morph into candyfloss and it's reasonable to assume that using D800s doesn't give you warts. I can't prove any of these, but they're reasonable assumptions given the lack of evidence to the contrary. And I haven't read any evidence here; forgive me if I've missed it.

More assumption from flawed logic. As Carl Sagan said... "The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence."

Consider this... what's been suggested by Primeshooter (as well as Ming Thein, Lloyd Chambers, and others) is that PDAF on the D800 is less accurate and less consistent than the D700. As such, a single mis-focused D800 image scaled to 12MP reveals little about focus accuracy in the absence of a D700 comparator image taken under similar scientifically controlled conditions. And given that the AF consistency of the D800 is suspect, really what's required here is a repeated set of comparison images with both cameras under the same challenging lighting conditions described and all scaled to 12MP.

Since this involves a lot of work and time (not to mention access to both a D800 and D700) it's somewhat unreasonable to ask a DPR member to report more than the empirical evidence of their relative experience of PDAF between the two cameras. My own experience is that the D800 is fine high resolution camera suitable for studio and landscape work when restricted to being mounted on a tripod and focused with Live View CDAF. For all other applications (reportage, wedding, sports, low light, and general use) the D700 is simply a better camera IMHO.


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