D800 fine focus adjust πŸ€”

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Giovanni_1968
Giovanni_1968 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,083
D800 fine focus adjust πŸ€”

Got the D800 back from repair, first time I took it back because focus was nowhere near to acceptable, second time much better but still not spot on but before I take it back again I'd like to hear your opinion.

Today not in the mood to get the tripod, set the ruler bla bla bla so I used a homemade system, a pillow to lay on and the ruler at an arbitrary angle laying on the laptop's screen, took a series of shots from +20 to -20 at steps of 10 from positive to negative through zero, please tell me your thoughts.

Grazie

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Horoscope Fish
Horoscope Fish Senior Member • Posts: 1,143
Re: D800 fine focus adjust πŸ€”
1

In looking at your posted images it appears to me the last shot posted is the one that is has the most balanced depth of field from front to back. I'm unclear from your post what setting that was in particular though.

I don't really have an opinion on whether or not you should send the camera back for further analysis but I have a sneaking suspicion if you do you'll be told the camera is within specifications. But again, that's just a hunch. If it were me, I'd select the setting AF adjustment I thought was best and just get on with life.

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johnchap2 Senior Member • Posts: 1,366
Re: D800 fine focus adjust πŸ€”

Need a bit more info:

Presumably you were shooting hand held? At the focusing distances used, even slight head movement that you were not aware of could impact the results. Use a tripod please.

Presumably you were focusing on the "30", but you did not say. You need to state what you were focusing on.

And you did not say which image was the one shot without fine focusing adjustments.

I also assume that you were using single point focusing and the selected point was the center. But again, you need to state this so that this reviewer (and others) knows this for sure.

Presumably you were shooting wide open with whatever lens you were using.

What lens were you using? Something like a f1.4 prime lens shot at 1.4 would be recommended for such a test.

If I were you, I would do the same test with another fast prime to see if that lens produces the same or very similar results for the same fine tuning settings.

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Giovanni_1968
OP Giovanni_1968 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,083
Re: D800 fine focus adjust πŸ€”

johnchap2 wrote:

Need a bit more info:

Presumably you were shooting hand held? At the focusing distances used, even slight head movement that you were not aware of could impact the results. Use a tripod please.

Hand held but on a solid surface

Presumably you were focusing on the "30", but you did not say. You need to state what you were focusing on.

Yep, 30 is the target

And you did not say which image was the one shot without fine focusing adjustments.

In order +20 +10 0 -10 -20

I also assume that you were using single point focusing and the selected point was the center. But again, you need to state this so that this reviewer (and others) knows this for sure.

Center point single focus

Presumably you were shooting wide open with whatever lens you were using.

Yes, data is in the exif

What lens were you using? Something like a f1.4 prime lens shot at 1.4 would be recommended for such a test.

Again, in the exif, 85mm at f1.8

If I were you, I would do the same test with another fast prime to see if that lens produces the same or very similar results for the same fine tuning settings.

I will do tomorrow with the f1.4/85 on a tripod by repeating the stack from +20 to -20

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j_photo Veteran Member • Posts: 4,798
Re: D800 fine focus adjust πŸ€”
2

I don't trust focus tests when aimed at a slanted target. How you can be sure what point the camera is selecting to focus on, maybe the 30-inch mark maybe not? No fixed support would only add to possible variation in focus point between shots. I suppose the approach is ok up to a point. But since you are trying to dial everything in as precisely as possible, I'm not sure this is the best setup. No offense and carry on as you wish. Just sharing my thoughts and experience.

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Giovanni_1968
OP Giovanni_1968 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,083
Re: D800 fine focus adjust πŸ€”

j_photo wrote:

No offense and carry on as you wish. Just sharing my thoughts and experience.

No offence at all but with no suggestion it is no big help but thanks anyways

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j_photo Veteran Member • Posts: 4,798
Re: D800 fine focus adjust πŸ€”

Giovanni_1968 wrote:

j_photo wrote:

No offense and carry on as you wish. Just sharing my thoughts and experience.

No offence at all but with no suggestion it is no big help but thanks anyways

You would add a target set up parallel to the camera sensor and in line with the 30-inch mark on the slanted ruler. Focus on the target and then look at the ruler to see where focus is actually falling. Hope that helps.

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Daniel Bliss Senior Member • Posts: 1,917
Re: D800 fine focus adjust πŸ€”

Set the whole rig up on a tripod and with the target well fixed as well. Even very minor wobbles are going to throw it off.

Furthermore, you need to do it under lighting of different color temperatures. With any phase detect focus system where a mirror is involved, this affects the plane of focus estimated by the AF system. For example, four Nikon bodies in a row that I owned had misadjustments to the AF mirror angle, which with two D7000 bodies I had were bad enough to require service from Nikon. They were "true" under 5500 Kelvin light (sunny daylight) but front-focused under bright cloud (which is a 7000 Kelvin or so, a blue tint to it), and back-focused badly under incandescent (typically 2500 to 3000 Kelvin). And under lights that cycle (e.g. some florescent, stadium lights) it was all over the place depending on what the color balance of the light was at the time. Nikon were at first very obtuse about this; only when I pointed out the differing performance under different lighting conditions, especially the contrast between sunlight performance and incandescent performance did they finally twig. Part of the problem is at the time they were only measuring their adjustments in 5500 Kelvin light--whereas for an accurate job you need for the camera to pass quality control at two distinctly different lighting points.

larrywilson
larrywilson Veteran Member • Posts: 7,009
Re: D800 fine focus adjust πŸ€”

Vertical target next to a slanted ruler or scale, fast lens wide open, tripod, shutter delay and tripod.  Be sure to have the camera sensor level with your target.  Shoot a good target, then look at ruler or scale at 100%.  I would shoot in 5 increments such as +20, +15, +10, +5, 0, -5, -10, -15, -20, then project on your computer monitor at 100%.  If needed pick the best two and refine in single increments.  This method works for me for fairly short focal lengths, with long lenses I chose my wood fence which in at an angle to me and focus on a screw in the fence.  I then look at image at 100% looking for a front focus problem or back focus problem and adjust af fine tune as needed.  The final check for focus on any lens is checking focus on real subjects and adjusting if needed.

Larry

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brodgar Forum Member • Posts: 89
Re: D800 fine focus adjust πŸ€”

We have two separate issues here. Firstly how to perform an AFFT and secondly the rarely discussed issue raised by Daniel Bliss of light frequency.

I struggled for years with a D800 and the 85mm 1.8G, which you used in your test.

I ended up using LensAlign and following every instruction to the letter and the results became stable. Larrywilson's approach should work very well as a quicky alternative.

However it wasn't enough to address the second issue which I think is the cause of much of the dissatisfaction with the D800. But this is not just a Nikon problem, Canons can show it also. Here is a post I made in 2016:

*************

"Many thanks to all those who responded to my post! After more investigation I will answer my own problem:

I was finding a very large (10 point) AFFT difference in focusing my 50 1.8G and my 85 1.8G when tested under “daylight” and incandescent light. Both of these lenses have a reputation for fairly high levels of chromatic aberration.

I found an article on Bob Atkins’ site and a thread in the Canon area of DPReview. He showed that the level of near infra-red in the ambient light was probably the cause of his focus problems.

I concur with this and now after doing extensive retesting with and without a B+H 486 UV/IR cut filter the difference in AFFT between light sources is now down to only 3 points if I use the filter. The results are quite repeatable.

The light sources used were daylight (outside at about 5800K), daylight inside behind double glazing, 4000K LED, studio fluorescents at 5000K, and tungsten at about 2800K.

The colour temperature of the light is not the issue, I believe it is the IR content which has an impact on the phase AF detectors.

Anyway, if anyone is having a focusing problem that is not solved by other means it may be worth trying out the IR cut filter, especially for lenses with high chroma."

****************

The AF mirror angle must be set properly, and that might be a challenge to get a Nikon or other tech to do it. Then you need to do the AFFT with a IR cut filter.

My D800 and that lens are now perfectly satisfactory in all lighting conditions, and are both long term keepers.

Leonard Shepherd
Leonard Shepherd Forum Pro • Posts: 19,923
Re: D800 fine focus adjust πŸ€”

Try this.

Attach a strip of coloured tape to a white wall.

With single point AF using AF-C aim the camera at the white wall, keep first pressure on the shutter and wait about 1.5 seconds for AF to stop hunting, then keeping first pressure on the shutter move the viewfinder slowly toward the tape - and AF should stay before the AF point reaches the edge of the tapeΒ 

This demonstrates the D800 AF can lock on something outside the viewfinder rectangle.

With a 45 degree ruler, if you start AF from infinity, AF can lock on the first ruler line it detects within the depth of field - which is unlikely to be the 30 line you intended.

This is why a ruler at the side of an AF target is better - though there can still be moderate issues if the lens has a curved field.

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Giovanni_1968
OP Giovanni_1968 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,083
Re: D800 fine focus adjust πŸ€”

I repeated the test with some rough DIY, an aluminum straight profile with a piece of black taper as a target for the AF system then the ruler aligned on the 20 mark with the black marker and a series of shots from -20 to +20 with +- 5 increments from negative to positive.

-20

-15

-10

-05

0

+05

+10

+15

+20

Now, tests aside, the fact is that in real life shooting focus is not consistent at all, I tried both the 85/1.4D and the 50/1.4D fully open onto a real target and with a very slight adjustment like +1/+2 it seems to be near to fine focus but there still are hits and miss, more of the latter than the former.

Let me please know what you think about it and thank you for your attention

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SushiEater
SushiEater Forum Pro • Posts: 11,356
Re: D800 fine focus adjust πŸ€”

Giovanni_1968 wrote:

Got the D800 back from repair, first time I took it back because focus was nowhere near to acceptable, second time much better but still not spot on but before I take it back again I'd like to hear your opinion.

Today not in the mood to get the tripod, set the ruler bla bla bla so I used a homemade system, a pillow to lay on and the ruler at an arbitrary angle laying on the laptop's screen, took a series of shots from +20 to -20 at steps of 10 from positive to negative through zero, please tell me your thoughts.

Grazie

Your target should be parralel to the camera. The ruler at 45 degrees. That is the only way you can reliably check your camera. Just the ruler at whatever degree you set it is not going to cut it. In the picture below target is parralel, ruler is at 45.

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Giovanni_1968
OP Giovanni_1968 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,083
Re: D800 fine focus adjust πŸ€”

Leonard Shepherd wrote:

Try this.

Attach a strip of coloured tape to a white wall.

With single point AF using AF-C aim the camera at the white wall, keep first pressure on the shutter and wait about 1.5 seconds for AF to stop hunting, then keeping first pressure on the shutter move the viewfinder slowly toward the tape - and AF should stay before the AF point reaches the edge of the tape

This sounded a bit complicated for my English understanding, I moved the aluminum thing on the wall, switched to AF-C and left the AF hunt on the white wall for couple seconds then moved the camera till center AF point reaches the black tape and it actually quit hunting and locked but, fully open, focus is off.

This demonstrates the D800 AF can lock on something outside the viewfinder rectangle.

With a 45 degree ruler, if you start AF from infinity, AF can lock on the first ruler line it detects within the depth of field - which is unlikely to be the 30 line you intended.

This is why a ruler at the side of an AF target is better - though there can still be moderate issues if the lens has a curved field.

Did the test as by the above post, what did it tells me?

I would still take it back to the repair because to me it keeps looking weird and even exposure doesn't seem to be sharp, now I am gonna try the D800 alongside the D850 with manual settings to check exposure as to eventually also have it checked, such a pain, it used to be spot on before the repairΒ 

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AZBlue
AZBlue Senior Member • Posts: 2,919
Re: D800 fine focus adjust πŸ€”

This is yet another example of why nobody should buy a D800. The damn thing never could focus properly for many, myself included. I relegated mine to real estate photography that gets downsampled into the 5-10 MP range. At this low resolution, the D800s soft focusing problem is not discernible.

This was one of Nikon's most botched releases in recent memory.

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Giovanni_1968
OP Giovanni_1968 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,083
Re: D800 fine focus adjust πŸ€”

AZBlue wrote:

This is yet another example of why nobody should buy a D800. The damn thing never could focus properly for many, myself included. I relegated mine to real estate photography that gets downsampled into the 5-10 MP range. At this low resolution, the D800s soft focusing problem is not discernible.

This was one of Nikon's most botched releases in recent memory.

Mine, before repair, used to work flawlessly, you can check in my Flickr that all of the portraits I shot wide open or thereby are in perfect focus, something happened after repair and before I go back there I want to make sure what it is about so that they can't argue.

Thanks

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AZBlue
AZBlue Senior Member • Posts: 2,919
Re: D800 fine focus adjust πŸ€”

Giovanni_1968 wrote:

AZBlue wrote:

This is yet another example of why nobody should buy a D800. The damn thing never could focus properly for many, myself included. I relegated mine to real estate photography that gets downsampled into the 5-10 MP range. At this low resolution, the D800s soft focusing problem is not discernible.

This was one of Nikon's most botched releases in recent memory.

Mine, before repair, used to work flawlessly, you can check in my Flickr that all of the portraits I shot wide open or thereby are in perfect focus, something happened after repair and before I go back there I want to make sure what it is about so that they can't argue.

Thanks

Why was it in repair?

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Giovanni_1968
OP Giovanni_1968 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,083
Re: D800 fine focus adjust πŸ€”

AZBlue wrote:

Why was it in repair?

It got splashed and most of the electronic boards got changed, on first pickup even with a +-20 fine focus adjust won't focus anywhere near target, on second pickup it got much better but still the defects as above

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Leonard Shepherd
Leonard Shepherd Forum Pro • Posts: 19,923
Re: D800 fine focus adjust πŸ€”

Giovanni_1968 wrote:

I repeated the test with some rough DIY, an aluminum straight profile with a piece of black taper as a target for the AF system then the ruler aligned on the 20 mark with the black marker and a series of shots from -20 to +20 with +- 5 increments from negative to positive.

I am satisfied this test is hardly near the standard needed for critical testing.

0

Now, tests aside, the fact is that in real life shooting focus is not consistent at all,

Exactly- but is it the camera - or not using a good test subject/

Let me please know what you think about it

Not much - as you have not used a set-up suitable for critical testing.

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Giovanni_1968
OP Giovanni_1968 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,083
Re: D800 fine focus adjust πŸ€”

Leonard Shepherd wrote:

Giovanni_1968 wrote:

I repeated the test with some rough DIY, an aluminum straight profile with a piece of black taper as a target for the AF system then the ruler aligned on the 20 mark with the black marker and a series of shots from -20 to +20 with +- 5 increments from negative to positive.

I am satisfied this test is hardly near the standard needed for critical testing.

Now, tests aside, the fact is that in real life shooting focus is not consistent at all,

Exactly- but is it the camera - or not using a good test subject/

Let me please know what you think about it

Not much - as you have not used a set-up suitable for critical testing.

So Leonard,

you mean that this is what I should expect from my camera? Test wise I did it with what I have home just to find out if with some adjustment I could reach acceptable focus but, still, in real life usage I never had to face such issues and I have way many shots wide open where focus is spot on and where the subject is not on purpose posing so I say that after repair something is not working as it was.

The following is an example of how it used to be spot on

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