Nikon D800 left-AF: Is LA or NY more reliable?

Started Mar 12, 2013 | Discussions
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entlassen Forum Member • Posts: 69
Nikon D800 left-AF: Is LA or NY more reliable?

I have one of the first-batch D800's with a severe left-AF problem.  I sent it in to Nikon LA a couple months ago, and it came back with the left-AF resolved but the center-AF really out of focus.  I then sent the camera back to Nikon LA a 2nd time.  After 3 weeks, I got the camera back, but nothing has changed (left-AF good, center bad).

On both of my repair forms, there is a notation that says "SC 201117".  I asked Nikon what that meant, and they told me it was the ID of the repair technician who worked on the camera.  I googled that ID, and I see several discussion with people who also had that same notation complaining about the EXACT problem I had -- that they got their cameras back with outer AF points fixed but the center completely off.

At this point, if I send the camera to LA a 3rd time, I fear that I will just keep getting this same repair technician (SC 201117), who appears to be incompetent.

So now I have some questions:

1) How is NY/Melville?  Is there anybody right now who is playing repair ping-pong with Melville and has had to send it multiple times?  For NY repairs that were successful, can you share your SC notation?

2) For anybody who has sent to LA and successfully fixed their cameras, can you share your SC notation?

3) Can I even request Nikon to specifically give me UPS labels to NY, even though I live closer to LA?  (i.e. b/c they want to save money by shipping to the closest station?)

BTW I called Authorized Photo Service, Nikon's ex-official Midwest center that seems to have a great reputation, but they told me that they don't have the proper calibration rig to fix the D800's AF problems, and that they'd simply forward my package to LA or NY anyway.

If anybody has experience with Melville and the D800 AF problems, please share any insight.

Thanks!

Nikon D800
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Joe Porto Senior Member • Posts: 1,064
Re: Nikon D800 left-AF: Is LA or NY more reliable?

I have a D800 received in June that had left AF issue. I'm finally got around to sending it to Melville last month. They had it for 7 business days, and completely fixed the issue. The camera requires no more than +/- 2 AF fine tune on any of my lenses.

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entlassen OP Forum Member • Posts: 69
Re: Nikon D800 left-AF: Is LA or NY more reliable?

Joe Porto wrote:

I have a D800 received in June that had left AF issue. I'm finally got around to sending it to Melville last month. They had it for 7 business days, and completely fixed the issue. The camera requires no more than +/- 2 AF fine tune on any of my lenses.

Thanks for sharing your experience.  Do you still have the SC number?

ARB1
ARB1 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,082
Re: Nikon D800 left-AF: Is LA or NY more reliable?

entlassen wrote:

1) How is NY/Melville? Is there anybody right now who is playing repair ping-pong with Melville and has had to send it multiple times? For NY repairs that were successful, can you share your SC notation?

Got mine back from Melville just this month and they got my D800 right the first time; the Melville guys are cool with me for sure.  It took about three weeks to get it back.

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geoffreyc Junior Member • Posts: 42
Re: Nikon D800 left-AF: Is LA or NY more reliable?

Is this AF problem something that affects early model D800's or is there evidence to suggest that it is still present in brand new samples?

Have Nikon acknowledged that there is a problem generally?

Thinking of buying one of these soon and am worried I'll get a lemon!

entlassen OP Forum Member • Posts: 69
Re: Nikon D800 left-AF: Is LA or NY more reliable?

geoffreyc wrote:

Is this AF problem something that affects early model D800's or is there evidence to suggest that it is still present in brand new samples?

Have Nikon acknowledged that there is a problem generally?

Thinking of buying one of these soon and am worried I'll get a lemon!

Thom Hogan estimated that about 1/3 of cameras from the first batches (around March-July 2012) were affected.  Nikon has not acknowledged the D800 left-AF problem whatsoever; my thread here is only to seek answers and not to hate on Nikon, but their public silence is one of the core reasons why many customers are upset.  If you get a brand new D800 now, you should be safe.

jmvdigital Regular Member • Posts: 141
Re: Nikon D800 left-AF: Is LA or NY more reliable?

I have had two brand new D800E bodies that are showing a left-side focusing issue (one I returned, one I still have). I have been in contact with Thom Hogan trying to figure this out. He says that "the original problem is almost certainly solved. It involves the tables internal in the camera being programmed wrong. Nikon stopped programming that wrong a long time ago, AFAICT. They can fix it in repair if someone does have a camera that has that problem. But because Nikon stayed silent and now we all try to test our cameras, we're finding all kinds of anomalies. They may just be noise, they may be real, they may be intermittent, they may or may not matter. Hard to tell."

I have been testing using Reikan FoCal software to test the AF. Both bodies exhibited an obvious lack of focus on the left side using phase detect, and perfectly sharp using contrast detect (live view). The far left focus point achieves a quality of focus (QoF) of approximately 30-40% less than the center point. From some quick actual shooting, it appears to back focus considerably with the left focus point. I've only been testing with the Nikon 14-24mm @ 24mm so far. I have a 35 1.4G coming tomorrow, but I don't expect the results to be any different.

EDIT: Both of my bodies were purchased from B&H in the last 2 weeks and have serial numbers of 30108xx and 30109xx.

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entlassen OP Forum Member • Posts: 69
Re: Nikon D800 left-AF: Is LA or NY more reliable?

jmvdigital wrote:

I have had two brand new D800E bodies that are showing a left-side focusing issue (one I returned, one I still have). I have been in contact with Thom Hogan trying to figure this out. He says that "the original problem is almost certainly solved. It involves the tables internal in the camera being programmed wrong. Nikon stopped programming that wrong a long time ago, AFAICT. They can fix it in repair if someone does have a camera that has that problem. But because Nikon stayed silent and now we all try to test our cameras, we're finding all kinds of anomalies. They may just be noise, they may be real, they may be intermittent, they may or may not matter. Hard to tell."

I have been testing using Reikan FoCal software to test the AF. Both bodies exhibited an obvious lack of focus on the left side using phase detect, and perfectly sharp using contrast detect (live view). The far left focus point achieves a quality of focus (QoF) of approximately 30-40% less than the center point. From some quick actual shooting, it appears to back focus considerably with the left focus point. I've only been testing with the Nikon 14-24mm @ 24mm so far. I have a 35 1.4G coming tomorrow, but I don't expect the results to be any different.

EDIT: Both of my bodies were purchased from B&H in the last 2 weeks and have serial numbers of 30108xx and 30109xx.

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You purchased two new D800E's just 2 weeks ago, and both of them have left-AF issues?  I thought new cameras didn't have that problem anymore.

Jim Trainor Regular Member • Posts: 270
Re: Nikon D800 left-AF: Is LA or NY more reliable?

I've just sent my D800 to LA for work on the left AF issue. I'll report how it goes. After your bad experience, I'm hoping to hear some more positive reports here about the LA center. Now I'm anxious.

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jmvdigital Regular Member • Posts: 141
Re: Nikon D800 left-AF: Is LA or NY more reliable?

entlassen wrote:

You purchased two new D800E's just 2 weeks ago, and both of them have left-AF issues? I thought new cameras didn't have that problem anymore.

Unfortunately, yes. The second body came only yesterday. It was shipped back today.

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TOF guy MOD Forum Pro • Posts: 12,927
Re: Nikon D800 left-AF: Is LA or NY more reliable?

Jim Trainor wrote:

I've just sent my D800 to LA for work on the left AF issue. I'll report how it goes. After your bad experience, I'm hoping to hear some more positive reports here about the LA center. Now I'm anxious.

We're read positive stories from LA as well. Good luck !

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buzzbob New Member • Posts: 18
Re: Nikon D800 left-AF: Is LA or NY more reliable?

Seems to me there is a lot more to this issue than a few dud copies in Nikon's assembly line. If that as the case, they'd have been mad not to say so and end speculation. I personally have had 3 duff ones. I sent two back and the 3rd let Nikon try to repair it. They had two attempts, each time worsening the situation. I didn't buy another and don't believe this is just a simple error.

More like something awfully wrong with their AF technology not being up to the Sony sensor I'd say. If you want more on Nikon's "great" AF performance check out Diglloyd's articles on it.

Dave Largent Senior Member • Posts: 2,068
Thom Hogan needs to stop misleading people

jmvdigital wrote:

I have had two brand new D800E bodies that are showing a left-side focusing issue (one I returned, one I still have). I have been in contact with Thom Hogan trying to figure this out. He says that "the original problem is almost certainly solved. It involves the tables internal in the camera being programmed wrong. Nikon stopped programming that wrong a long time ago, AFAICT.

Both of my bodies were purchased from B&H in the last 2 weeks and have serial numbers of 30108xx and 30109xx.

Thom Hogan is obviously WRONG about the current D800s being ok as to the left-focus point.  Time for Thom Hogan to re-visit his earlier errant statement.

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