D800 focusing issue. The beginning.

So, it’s been few months since I got my D800. Unfortunately there are issues with the camera – quite infamous focusing issue with left group of focusing sensors. What is even more unfortunate is that Nikon completely denies any problems related to this widely known and proven issue and does not take any responsibility that one would expect from a well know company.

After doing focus tests I decided to ship my camera to a Nikon service center in Vancouver, Canada for focus adjustment. Everything sounded rosy – I called Ontario head office and they told me that I can ship my camera to Vancouver. I then called Vancouver and they assured me that everything can be done quickly. I just need to ship my camera in. This is when things started to go wrong.

Nikon requires you to ship a camera in it’s original box. They also strongly suggest to insure the shipment. However shipping companies provide insurance (for an extra fee, obviously) only when their employees pack everything. It took a lot of effort to negotiate packing while including the original box. In the end the shipping costs skyrocketed to almost $180. To ship a product that should not have been defective in the first place. Nikon response was “Well, we only ship it back.” meaning “We don’t give a shit about you, really. You have to spend a lot of money to ship a defective product we sold to you. Never mind you not having it for a while”.

Before I sent the camera in, I made some test photographs to uncover the issue. I received my camera back in about a week or so. I was excited and hopeful (despite reading that too many people have been getting their cameras back from Nikon with no adjustment done). I set everything up for a test series and when I saw the results I got extremely upset – not only Nikon technical support was unable to make focusing better, but they made it worse, much worse.

I have sent my camera in for the second time. This time they actually sent me a shipping label (I doubt there was any insurance on it!). Next day they asked me for my sample photographs which I provided. Few days passed and I requested the status of the service via email and then a follow-up phone call only to receive a brush off reply – “Everything is within Nikon specifications. Pick up your camera.”. I sort of was afraid I would get such an answer but still I got extremely upset and disappointed.

Here are my sample shots of before and after the adjustment done by Nikon. These are produced by using central sensor to focus (the sensor that should be ideal in any camera and it was pretty good up until Nikon had it’s way with the camera). I followed a guide by Thom Hogan on how to test D800 focus.

Before the adjustment (click to see the full size):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the adjustment:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And here is how it was shot:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The second image does not look to me as something even remotely “within ANY standards”. Especially for a camera of this class and price range.

Now I am waiting for my camera to be shipped back. Once I have it I will do more testing with different kinds of charts and targets, will attempt some AF fine tuning of my lenses. But based on my investigation into this issue it is highly unlikely that the issue was or will be properly addressed by some ‘adjustments’ – too many people report that multiple services done on their cameras yielded no positive results. If that is going to be the case for my camera I will look into other options and start contacting Nikon’s corporate office to see what can be done about this.

To be continued… [Part 2]

2 comments


  • I appreciate knowing that someone is continuing to blog about this issue & hope that Nikon will make right the error that has cost many thousands in $ & time.

    Best Wishes!

    PS: Love your site: Clean, Smart & Beautiful Images!

    November 15, 2012
    • Thank you for your generous comment about the site. Seeing your work my amateur photographs look rather childish!

      As for the Nikon issue. Unfortunately it seems that way too many people have cameras affected by it with no real resolution in the end. I am less emotional now than I was when making my blog post but I still am upset and disappointed. I am now waiting for my camera to be delivered back to me at which point I will look into doing further testing and seeing how to proceed next.

      November 15, 2012

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