Anatomy Of A Nikon D800 Repair

Update – I now have a new D800 that is working correctly. See comment 142 below for the details.

“Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”
The Inferno
– Dante

A number of our readers have been anxious to hear the results of my and others’ D800 repair experiences, particularly since they have sent their D800s in for repair but haven’t had them returned. Others are considering whether they should send their cameras to Nikon or return them to the retailer (if within the 30 day return window). What are the chances are of a successful repair? It is difficult to estimate. Based on a number of emails I have received and some posts on the various Nikon forums, it seems that Nikon’s success in repairing the D800 is mixed at best. Some people have enthusiastically given their D800 repairs a thumbs up. On a more disturbing note, however, others have reported sending their D800s back to Nikon’s Service Centers multiple times only to see them come back in the same shape as when they left. Those in the latter group are understandably very upset. A number of people are actively investigating the various “Lemon Laws” as possible mechanisms to force Nikon to provide new D800s. On just about every Nikon forum, at least one person has floated the idea for some form of petition, boycott, or other collective action that might cause Nikon to change its current strategy for dealing with the D800 autofocus issue. Everyone is wondering what it is going to take for Nikon to address this situation.

I have also heard from some people that they are “tired of hearing about D800 issues” because they neither own the camera nor have any intentions of buying one anytime soon. Fair enough. That’s one way to look at it. Another might be:

“Nikon is upping the game by significantly enhancing the resolution and capabilities of its new DSLRs. How is it doing on that front? How is it dealing with product issues when they arise? What should I take away from the D800 situation that might influence my decision to purchase the next DSLR from Nikon or any other manufacturer? Do I wish to take a chance ordering the ‘latest and greatest’ model given how Nikon has handled (thus far) the D800 situation or should I wait a bit? Is Nikon’s response to this issue consistent with what I would expect of a manufacturer if my DSLR experienced such an issue?”


That’s a long way of saying everyone should take heed of the D800 situation. It certainly is not indicative of Nikon’s quality across the board, but rather specific issues associated with this particular model, which unfortunately, affect the D800’s main appeal – near medium format quality resolution. The D800 autofocus situation, and Nikon’s response to it, however, do provide some data points that potential D800 and non-D800 owners should consider as they weigh future purchasing decisions. If nothing else, it is a reminder that it often takes some time to work through issues once the manufacturing lines start ramping up. If and when Nikon announces D700, D300 or D7000 replacements, one might want to pause for a bit in light of the recent D800 situation.

Having spent my career in the high tech industry, I am normally pretty hesitant to casually sling criticism toward Nikon and high tech companies in similar positions. I am sympathetic to the many challenges they face. Perfection may be the goal, but it is rarely, if ever, achieved. As the Sacred Book of Software (First Book of Bill to the Redmontonians, Verse I, Chapter II) admonishes us:

“Let he whose software is without bugs cast the first stone.”

I could forgive Nikon for the initial D800 manufacturing snafus, if it had handled them according to my recommended Press Release or similar strategy. And I would have been the first to wholeheartedly defend the company for doing the right thing by its customers after it identified an issue. But I defy anyone to show how Nikon’s current approach to dealing with this situation is helping Nikon or its customers.

Unfortunately, some in the photography forums have criticized those attempting to estimate the number of units affected, blamed the internet for some form of mass hysteria, or advised those with defective D800s to just (and I paraphrase) – “don’t worry, just take pictures!” This is the traditional “blame the victim” mindset. In a word – Baloney. Sure, there is a healthy amount of “buzz” on the net, but the simple truth is that none of us should have to worry about this issue as much as we are. Nikon should proactively inform its customers regarding the specific units impacted and/or help customer determine how to test their D800s. Nikon should not be sitting back waiting for its customers to call in with problems, when it clearly knows they exist. If Nikon wants to ease its customers’ minds regarding this issue, it should reach out to its customers, inject some certainty regarding the facts into the process, and indicate what next steps should be taken. Period.

Ok – on to the good (?) stuff…

Not So Ancient History

I received my D800 on June 26th, after placing my order at the very end of the first day preorders were being accepted by B&H. Based on my understanding of high tech product introductions and the wave of D800 autofocus issues being reported, I knew that keeping my place in the queue at B&H might result in my getting one of the defective units. I considered canceling it and bypassing the first few waves of shipments, but weighed this against the probability that I might not see a D800 until my 83rd birthday… Chalk one up for optimism and hope…

I won’t belabor my testing process as both Nasim and I covered the details in other articles.

Nikon Communication Process – Or Lack Thereof

My D800 landed in Melville on July 9th. It was clear at the outset that Nikon’s Service Center representatives were not going to engage in any meaningful discussions regarding the D800 autofocus issues. My emails to them regarding D800 autofocus links, videos, articles, tests, etc. were met with a resounding silence. Telephone conversations were always pleasant, but revealing nothing. I don’t blame the staff, as I suspect they were simply towing the party line and ordered not to say anything specific about the situation. Understandable perhaps, but not very comforting to the current D800 owners with a confirmed problem, or those that have yet to determine if their cameras are affected. And at no time did anyone express any confidence that they understood the issue and were confident in a fix for it. On July 12th, my D800’s status was changed to “Shop.”

I did find it interesting to see that Nikon includes this note at the bottom of each email response from its My Nikon page:

“Any use, dissemination, distribution, posting on Internet bulletin boards, disclosure or copying of this e-mail or any information contained herein by or to anyone other than the intended recipient(s) is strictly prohibited.”

Since Nikon wishes to express its concerns regarding communications, I suppose Nikon customers might want to include something like this in their correspondence with Nikon in the future.

“Any intentional effort to conceal, deny, or otherwise fail to inform customers of known product defects, that may materially impact customers’ ability to use the product for its stated purpose, is strictly prohibited. Failure to adhere to this stipulation may result in extreme customer dissatisfaction, eventual loss of market share, and potential legal action concerning False Representation.”

I gave Nikon a date by which I had to have the D800 back – July 25th. This was the last date by which I could reasonably test, pack, and ship the camera back to B&H in accordance with its 30 day return policy. I will give Nikon some credit for ensuring that I had the option to return it to B&H. Had Nikon missed this date, the D800 was mine for good, and thus I would have been at the proverbial mercy of Nikon’s Service Center to repair or replace the unit – not an enticing prospect given the mixed D800 repair results some of my colleagues were reporting.

Great Expectations – July 25th

My unit was delivered to my home at the end of the business day. According to Nikon’s Invoice Repair letter the following items were addressed. The first four items listed were consistent with what Nasim and others thought might be contributing to the autofocus errors. I took this as a good sign.

• Adjust Mirror Angle
• Adjust Defocus Control
• Adjust Autofocus Operation
• Checked Communication
• Clean CCD
• General Check & Clean

I immediately moved the dining room table out of the way and put the unit up on the tripod, measuring the distances from the floor to the sensor as well as the distance to the target according to the notes I had taken from the first wave of testing. I again went through the monotonous process of putting labels on the chart for Left, Right, Live View, Autofocus, 1, 2 and 3 – per photo, so I could identify the focus point used, the focus method, and the shot sequence (Zzzzzz…). I tested the same series of lenses that I tested the first time, with the exception of the Sigma 15mm fisheye:

• Nikon AF-S 28mm f/1.8G
• Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.4G
• Nikon AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8 ED
• Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.8G
• Sigma 85mm 1.4 EX DG HSM

I started zooming into some of the left autofocus shots in the viewfinder. The results looked promising. I zoomed in on some photos taken with the right side autofocus point. They also looked pretty good. Encouraging, but not decisive. I didn’t spend too much time “chimping” as they say, since I wanted to take the shots and then analyze them in Lightroom on my 26 inch monitor.

It’s Fixed!!!

I started poring over the 100+ shots in Lightroom, bouncing back and forth between the right and left focus points from both Live View and regular autofocus, zooming in and zooming out. The Live View and autofocus shots were very similar, with the latter being much sharper than before. The left and right sides look pretty close. I then compared the new left side focus shot to the pre-repair version. Night and day!

Could it be that my long sojourn in the Nikon Autofocus Wilderness was over? Hallelujah Hollywood! I declared “success,” and reported the good news to my wife, who said, “Does this mean you are going to finally start taking pictures of something other than test charts in the dining room?” [insert evil, sarcastic laughter here]. Et tu, Brute…


Uh-Oh… “Houston, We Have A Problem”

I was so busy zooming in on the right and left focus points, I passed right by the center focus point photos. I mean, who would have thought that in order to “fix” my D800 left side autofocus issues, Nikon’s technicians would simply ruin the focus of the camera’s best sensor point – the center? No one would do that…would they?
That’s when reality hit. The left and right focus points looked good, but the center – terribly out of focus. Not one of the 15 pictures taken with autofocus using the center point was remotely close to the sharpness of the Live View shots, which were all perfect. I went back and attempted to dial in some autofocus fine tuning adjustments based on taking a few shots of my LensAlign system, but had to use numbers ranging from +15 to +20 to get the center focus point in sharp focus. And even then some lenses were still showing some bias toward front focusing that I could not compensate for. Naturally when I then shot my test target again with the left autofocus point, the image was blurrier than a Joan Rivers glamor photo! Sigh…


“We’ll Fix It This Time!”

I immediately contacted Nikon the next morning and spoke with the Customer Service manager. I requested a new D800. He quickly apologized, offered to send a pre-paid shipping label, and assured me that Nikon would “fix it this time.” He indicated that only Nikon’s technicians could assess the camera and make the call regarding fixing it or sending me a new unit. This statement, of course, was fundamentally incorrect. Nikon’s technicians had already (allegedly) attached my D800 to Nikon’s sophisticated measuring devices and software programs, analyzed the data, made a series of adjustments, and then…. sent it back to me in the same, if not worse shape.

I informed him that I was going to make a decision by end of day regarding whether to send it back to Nikon’s Melville Service Center or return it as allowed within B&H’s 30 day window. I asked to have my case escalated. He wasn’t keen on doing so, and proceeded to tell me what his supervisor’s response would be. I expressed my appreciation for his prognostic capabilities, but reiterated that I wanted him to actually escalate the issue and we could then determine how well his forecast matched his supervisor’s response. He reluctantly agreed. I told the manager that I would think it over for an hour or two, and decide whether to send the D800 back to Melville or to B&H, and then put down the phone. But I didn’t need time – I immediately knew my response. I had had enough. I bent over backward to share links, photos, articles, etc. with Nikon and all I had gotten in response, were the phone and email equivalents of blank stares, stonewalling regarding any admission of an issue or assistance in determining how to test my camera, hours spent taking photos of test shots, more hours spent analyzing the test results, a $73 UPS shipping bill, a botched repair, 16 days of Nikon having my camera only to have it come back exhibiting the same issues, and a vague promise that my D800 would be fixed on the second attempt. The Nikon staff was polite as always, but the bottom line was that my D800 was not repaired, and I had little faith in the promise that it would be “fixed this time.” Despite being a long time Nikon fan and appreciating the phenomenal potential of the D800, I had to admit that Nikon had simply spun too many of my ever shortening supply of wheels…

I decided to return the D800 to B&H and take my chances with a new unit, hopefully from a batch of D800s that were produced after they discovered and rectified the autofocus issue (which, BTW, Nikon has never confirmed). If this means not getting a D800 for months – so be it. The FX lenses, and high speed CF and SD cards I purchased for my D800 will collect dust, and my DX lenses will have to wait a bit before going up on ebay. But my humble D7000 remains a solid DSLR capable of taking great pictures. It may now have the opportunity to take a few thousand more pictures before another D800 shows up. There are far worse things in life…
I have no doubt that when Nikon finally addresses this issue, the D800 will be hailed as the great camera that it is, and we can all move on from this chapter in its history. And I will likely be one of the loudest voices in singing its praises. Sadly however, Nikon’s inappropriate response to the autofocus issue is tarnishing the luster of D800, damaging the company’s reputation, wasting so much of people’s time, and chipping away at the goodwill it has built up among its customers. But that’s Nikon’s choice, isn’t it?


My choice(s)? Getting rid of a defective product, not bothering to check the My Nikon website each day for reasonable answers that never come, skipping the robotic conversations full of empathy but no meaningful information, not risking an additional failed attempt by Nikon’s Service Center to fix my D800, not wasting my time taking photos of test charts, and using the camera I already have. The good news? My doctor also tells me that, with time, the phenomenon of seeing Siemens Stars everywhere will eventually subside. ;) And if Nikon will reimburse me $73 for the scenic, but fruitless trip my D800 took to Melville, I suspect I will feel even better.

So once again, my D7000 is glad the D800 has left our home. And this time… so am I.


  1. 1) Adrian
    August 1, 2012 at 1:38 am

    Too right! I opted for a D700 after concluding that while the 800 improves on it in many respects, there is one area where it doesn’t, low light performance, at least not in a way that is significant or dealt with in a way I would prefer. I would wait a long time before pulling the trigger when the actual 700 replacement does come out in light of this issue.

    • 1.1) Jay
      August 1, 2012 at 1:56 am

      Really? we shot at High .3, and the image is actually not bad, at 6400, is about the same if not better than d3 at 4000. I have to really compare the two, but even at 6400, the d800 is great. Not to mention, you have so much details that you can do some post noise reduction and still maintain a very detailed image.

  2. 2) KHH
    August 1, 2012 at 1:45 am

    It seems to me that other than Nikon service centre in Asia and a few in Europe, the rest of the Nikon service centres just don’t have a clue at all on how to fix the left AF issue for D800/E. I sent my D800E in for the same problem although not as bad as some posted on the internet, and in little less than a week gotten my camera back with perfect focus on every single AF point (It still requires AF fine tuning on my lenses, but the largest tuning it needed was just a -3!).

    I have only heard of success from those that had sent their D800/E to the Nikon service centre in my region. On the receipt for the service, it is stated that they did PC adjustment and not those that you have listed. They are capable of calibrating each individual point of the AF module and I believe those in the US still haven’t had a clue of how to.

    • August 2, 2012 at 5:23 am

      There are obviously different results based on some success and failure stories that have been shared. There is also some very different levels of communication some are experiencing with Nikon Service Centers – some involve virtual stonewalling (“Problem? We don’t know of any specific problem!”), to a more open dialogue explaining the issues. I think if most of us had experienced some straight-forward communications with Nikon regarding this issue, we would feel much more positive about the experience and have a bit more hope that Nikon could resolve it. Unfortunately, that is not the way Nikon has chosen to handle the situation.

  3. 3) Harald Messner
    August 1, 2012 at 1:46 am

    I bought my D800 in Germany and I am
    Happy that I don’t have this sharpness issue! But I checked my D700 at the same time and saw a big problem which was very fast adjusted by the Nikon service in Germany!
    Yours harald

    • August 2, 2012 at 5:26 am

      I am glad to hear that your camera is not affected. It is good to know your local Service Center addresses issues in a timely manner as well. Unfortunately, such stories aren’t consistent with the results others have experienced. :(

    • 3.2) aron
      August 7, 2012 at 10:50 am

      How much are you zooming in? There has to be a point where an image focus is lost just because it has been over-magnified, right?

  4. 4) Tim
    August 1, 2012 at 1:49 am

    Wow…I had a personal debate between the D800 and a Canon 5D Mark III during my latest purchase. But the Incheon duty free price and the non desirable wait for the order to be filled by Nikon drove me to the Canon. As it turns out, the Canon has been everything I wanted in the camera and this article tells me that I have no further need to check the rear view mirror.

    • 4.1) Jay
      August 1, 2012 at 1:59 am

      TIm, did you have a camera before? Was it a Nikon or Canon? I would of sticked to the brand just because it does more harm than good to switch entire system. With that being said, Canon 5d Mk III is a fantastic camera, glad you’re enjoying it.

      • 4.1.1) Tim
        August 1, 2012 at 3:36 pm

        Jay – Unfortunately I was still locked back in the film processing world with my Canon A-1. So this is my first digital SLR. I researched both and probably would have bought the D800, other than the availability. I could get the Canon 5d Mark III at the Incheon duty free for a good price when I pass through Korea, whereas I was going to have to get in line for the D800 and wait. So opted to go with the Canon system. But thus far, I have no complaints except for the way you block the viewfinder window for a long exposure shot. It really is a great camera and I am definitely enjoying it!!

        • Jay
          August 1, 2012 at 5:53 pm

          I see, fair enough, I was lucky enough to play with my friend’s Mark5D3 a few times other than the d800 we own. And the truth is, either one, doesn’t matter, they both are amazing cameras.

          • Tim
            August 1, 2012 at 6:25 pm

            Jay – Yes, I believe I would be happy with either as well. So I think first priority in the decision making process of the purchase is if you already have certain system setup and don’t have to start over. In reality, the true “art” of photography is in the artist. The device is just his way of capturing his art. This is analgous to me spending $1000 on paints and such and trying to capture beauty on canvas compared to a street artist with a piece of charcoal. Considering my artistic skill, either the Canon or the Nikon are more than capable of me capturing my “art”. Either camera in the hands of a top quality professional will far exceed the product I could produce. But my joy comes in the doing and asipiration!!

            Although, I am certain my joy would fade if I were having issues with the device. So certainly I hope for the sake of those who have purchsed Nikon that this issue is solved quickly….and doesn’t crop up with the Canon!!

            • Jay
              August 1, 2012 at 6:31 pm

              I agree, the way i see my equipment is, they are tools. They are the ones that sets the technical limit, the rest is on you. What I mean by that is, the only difference between one equipment over the other, is the limit. For example, noise, a high end camera typically have better high iso setting, thus giving a higher limit. That doesn’t mean better picture overall, just limits.

              We have the d800, and it works fine (luckily), but i think what pisses people off the most with nikon is not that their d800 have issues, it’s the fact that they are NOT willing to admit it. Just admit it, if nikon can’t fix it immediately, well then tell people. People gets more piss from a turn away head than the truth. I really wish nikon is reading this somewhere.

            • Profile photo of Bob Vishneski Bob Vishneski
              August 2, 2012 at 5:29 am

              Indeed – these DSLRs are simply tools. I have seen reviews that favor each in head-to-head match-ups. If people were not invested in “systems” and could easily swap lenses, flashes, etc. between manufacturers, I suspect some in both Nikon and Canon would switch their DSLR choices much more often. The 5D Mark III appears to be a great camera. Some would say that it is the D700 replacement! ;)

  5. August 1, 2012 at 1:54 am

    Bob. Although I was extremely critical of the “press release” issue, mainly because I made myself look foolish by posting it on another forum for not reading it properly. However I enjoyed (if that’s the word about a sad D800 situation) this resume of the repair situation. I particularly concurred with the statement “If and when Nikon announces D700, D300 or D7000 replacements, one might want to pause for a bit in light of the recent D800 situation” and I have already decided that this is now a given! I have never pre-ordered and glad I haven’t just because of the situation D800 users find themselves in now. That may be viewed as a bit unreasonable, because it’s the early more serious users who detect the problems. For my part I am hoping for a D400 announcement at Photokina or earlier. If not I shall invest in a D800 when the dust has settled.


    • August 2, 2012 at 5:37 am


      Thanks for taking the time to comment. Yes – I am well aware of the fact that the Innovators and Early Adopters are the ones that champion the process of finding issues early in a product’s lifecycle. But Nikon can’t stiff arm people when they report issues and pretend there are no issues despite overwhelming evidence. That is not only unreasonable, it is not very smart. They should appreciate such feedback and maximize the potential so many early users can provide relative to working through issues. Such customer feedback can be extremely valuable and make the product and company much better – even if it is difficult to hear at times.

      I and others can accept the risk that goes along with buying an early model. But one would think that Nikon’s response would be something other than dead silence. And the notion that it is knowingly shipping defective cameras and/or knowledgeable of units in the field that are defective and not reaching out to its customers? Not wise or admirable…

  6. 6) Jay
    August 1, 2012 at 1:54 am

    interesting enough, Nikon is definitely being some jerks here, just admit the fault, and tell people we’re working on it, it might give bad rep and first, but I know for sure this kind of customer service is giving them far worst rep. It is professional photographers that even consider buying the d800, and they’re treating them like crap? seriously? Does it take a 17 year old to tell Nikon that they are being stupid and what to do? Don’t they find all the emails and phone calls regarding the D800 AF problem annoying? Just admit to the problem, and find a way to fix it, if can’t, take it back. This is like poison, it’s either you cut off a limp, or let it kill you, and it’s killing you alright.

    OH fyi, we have the d800, early batch, works fine (never did chart test, but never had problem shooting actual photos). Love it. Good luck to everyone else.

    By the way, Bob, why don’t you use the FX lens on the D7000?

    • August 2, 2012 at 5:39 am

      Unfortunately, the larger the institution, the odder the behavior can become. I do use my FX lenses on my D7000, but the cropped sensor of needs a different wide angle lens and some FX lenses are less appealing on DX than FX.

      • 6.1.1) Jay
        August 2, 2012 at 9:00 pm

        True, dx just can’t get as wide as fx. May i ask about some fx lenses are less appealing on dx than fx? Do you mean by image quality, and why it happens? Thanks

  7. August 1, 2012 at 2:25 am

    Thank GOD, I opted for the D4, which so far has been working well.

  8. 8) Martin
    August 1, 2012 at 2:28 am

    In wildlife shots I mainly use the center AF, continuous AF, I don’t care about left AF points, after having calibrated my lens, this with Nikon Switzerland, my pictures taken with the d800 and 500 f/4 are outstanding sharp, phantastic crop possibilities, great bokeh, but I am using cable release, very short shutter, f 5.6 and greater, eye piece magnifier, extremely sturdy tripod if ever possible, etc. To add the TC 1.4 does not add qualty, but loss in sharpness.
    If I have the slightest doubt and there is time, I do some manual correction, if required or check in LV (rarely as I use the eye piece magnifier. Results are miles better than with the D3, you can just not compare. But I will wait for quite a while to buy my 2nd body, that will be a 800E or subsequent model for landscape, etc

    • August 2, 2012 at 5:42 am

      I understand, but one might reasonably expect the cameras features to work correctly. The next person you sell it to someday might discount the price they offer you because of this issue – a very real possibility.
      Glad your D800 is working correctly. Now if Nikon can fix the rest of them… ;)

  9. 9) Tony Padua
    August 1, 2012 at 4:31 am

    Hey Bob,

    You forget to mention the main take away from the First Book of Bill.

    As the Sacred Book of Software (First Book of Bill to the Redmontonians, Verse I, Chapter II) admonishes us:
    “Let he whose software is without bugs cast the first stone.”

    You never buy any new version of Windows for at least three months, unless you are satisfied all serious issues have received patches.

    In the case of Nikon, it’s obvious to you by now the D800/E issues have nothing to do with customer satisfaction. Nikon knows enough about you, they can predict quite accurately that you will be back.

    I’m the proud owner of a D3100, and I’m watching the evolution of the Sony RX100, because if Sony tops this model I want to be there. Any objections I have read are pretty weak. Why really does any good photographer need to carry around inter-changeable lenses?

    Tony Padua

    • August 1, 2012 at 4:37 am

      “Why really does any good photographer need to carry around inter-changeable lenses?” Easy answer, try being a wildlife and/or landscape photographer, or for that matter a wedding or events photographer. Simply, there is no one lens that will suit all genres of photography. I’ve tried it when I started out many, many years ago. Most lenses will do one thing very well, but not everything very well.


    • August 2, 2012 at 5:44 am

      I am ok with dealing with some of the early issues. The frustrating aspect of this is Nikon’s lack of communication regarding this issue. It has been less-than-upfront in dealing with what seems like a healthy number of people that have this issue, and some from Nikon have been pointing too many fingers at the customers and failing to acknowledge the obvious.

  10. 10) Tony Padua
    August 1, 2012 at 4:51 am

    Richard, thanks for that and I stand corrected.

    I should have been more clear and said the Sony RX100 is a worthwhile second camera for the professional, and a first camera for the rest of us.

  11. 11) SK
    August 1, 2012 at 6:40 am

    Can we not write directly to Nikon Japan for their goof-up?

  12. 12) Anthony
    August 1, 2012 at 6:53 am

    Sorry to hear about the bad outcome. I thought Nikon in Melville had it figured out. They fixed mine, but I had to deal with all the silence and runaround you experienced, despite calling a supervisor almost daily.I would think that, given all the bad publicity Nikon has deservedly received about this, they would be doing their best to fix defective cameras, even if silence is their approach to communications. Since some people’s cameras are fixed and some are not, I can only conclude that 1) there is a range of defects, not one and 2) Nikon cannot fix them all!….and apparently Nikon is not willing to identify and replace the cameras they cannot fix!!! (like yours)

    I never thought it would come to this, but maybe it is time for a class-action lawsuit.

    • August 2, 2012 at 5:48 am

      I don’t know if a class action lawsuit is the answer, but certainly the Lemon Laws (in the USA) are one possible route. One always has to prove some sort of damages and that is where it gets difficult. This situation may be maddening, but no one is losing their lives or limbs over it.
      A petition may be another way of addressing the situation. Unfortunately Nikon hasn’t quite caught on to the fact that peer reviews on the internet are trumping advertising as a way to gain and keep customers. I have a feeling it is about to learn… ;)

  13. August 1, 2012 at 7:18 am

    Few people I know have picked up Canons and even Fuji X-Pro-s
    as they are afraid to buy a D800 …

    What I fail to understand is how Nikon can ignore this issue when it is becoming almost
    too late …

    Thom Hogan now says that Nikon D800 is NOT RECOMMENDED …
    I was pinning my hopes on you …

    Thanks and regards …

    • August 2, 2012 at 5:49 am

      Thanks for commenting. I so wish I could have been the bearer of “good news.” Alas, it was not meant to be. :)

  14. August 1, 2012 at 7:41 am

    I have no problems with mine. Love it.

    • 14.1) SK
      August 1, 2012 at 8:00 am

      Lucky you then!

    • 14.2) Anthony
      August 1, 2012 at 8:04 am

      How does your post inform this discussion? You are lucky, or have the problem and don’t know it. A lot of people have experienced a lot of aggravation from this!

      • August 1, 2012 at 9:21 am

        A lot of people are lucky not noticing the issues. I know that a lot of guys like finding problems in the gear or software and often forget about photography. Once my body told me that I have two tiny lines going across my Sony computer monitor, before then I didn’t see them and I was happy, now I see them all the time. So he made me unhappy and you making me unhappy too. I am not going to find more problems with my camera instead I am going for photo-shoot. Unless problem is really bad and prevent me to produce good photos I will keep shooting.

        • Stefan
          August 1, 2012 at 1:30 pm

          @ Vladimir

          The lines on your Sony monitor are ok – they are because your monitor was “Trinitron”
          Now back to the AF problem.
          I’m totally like you – don’t try to find problems and simply shoot. I have my D800 for about 4 months now. I shoot a lot and I thought I didn’t have the problem, simply because I never experienced it.
          Till one day, when I was shooting outside in the park and all my images came extremely soft (shooting with 24mm 1.4G) I saw that on the LCD screen – changed lenses to 16-35 f/4 – same thing.
          Then I remember about this left AF hype and decided to test myself. I wouldn’t do it if the problem wasn’t pretty big. The tree leaves in my pictures were looking like a mess!
          Then I downloaded charts and tested at home, just to realize how really big problem this is (if you use your left AF points of course).
          I don’t use them so often, so I was thinking for a while to keep the camera as it is and if I need left AF points to simply use the center ones and recompose, but WHY????
          I paid $3000 for this piece of equipment and it HAS to work as it is SUPPOSED to do!
          So my camera is back to Nikon – I hope they will take care, but after I read this article – I’m quite upset. There are similar “results” described on Amazon’s reviews.
          So it’s everyone’s decision to take – to keep the camera with the problem, or send it for repair.
          I assume if you paid such money – you’re not a newbie to use Auto mode all the time and neglected the problem.
          I’m happy for many people who don’t have the problem. This is my first and last camera which I PREORDER, just to get it as soon as possible. Lessons, which have to be learned I guess…

          • Profile photo of Bob Vishneski Bob Vishneski
            August 2, 2012 at 5:51 am

            Sorry to ruin your day. But as my buddy once said, “Bad news doesn’t get better with time.” And as history tells us time and time again, ignoring problems rarely makes them go away. If anything, it almost always makes them worse. You are indeed welcome to “be happy” with defective products. Others of us? We would like them fixed…

        • Casey
          August 3, 2012 at 4:47 pm

          Vladimir, keep in mind that this problem WILL affect your resale value. Any camera that was bought before whatever point in time where people know the problem was fixed will sell for less once the warranty has run out, unless, of course, Nikon admits there’s a problem and does a recall.

          I was planning on getting this body and now I’m on hold and even considering a switch to Canon. I probably won’t, but there’s a problem and their lack of openness makes me question their honesty and their dedication to the Customer. It’s a $3,000 body. They should be bending over backwards to fix it. that should include free shipping in both directions.

          • SK
            August 3, 2012 at 5:35 pm


            I believe that a malfunctioning professional equipment like D800 deserve a recall. I personally believe that I will switch to Canon at some point. Unfortunately, I just invested in 14-24mm and 24-70mm lenses while my D800. Had I known this issue earlier, I would have bought Canon 5D Mk III.

            You in the US bought this camera for USD 3k; but, i paid USD 3,700+. So, you well imagine the height of my frustration.

  15. 15) Peter
    August 1, 2012 at 8:30 am

    The Dante quote should read: “Leave all hope behind ye early adopters who need the latest and greatest DSLR asap.”

    But there is good advice for all of us in Canto 3 of the Inferno:
    After reading this inscription over the Gate of Hell, Dante asked Virgil, his guide, what the quote meant. Virgil responded: “We are come to the place where I told thee thou shouldst see the wretched people, who have lost the good of the intellect.”

    Translation: Wait until ALL the reviews are in (at least 9-12 months) before you buy what appears to be a gift from Paradise.

    Above provided by Dante Alighieri and a Nikon D700 owner.

    • August 2, 2012 at 5:52 am

      Love it! The world needs the next Dante. I think you may be in the running! :)

  16. August 1, 2012 at 8:31 am

    This comment is not aimed at anyone on this forum. However, It is causing much discussion on various forums, in fact so much so that if a future purchaser like me dares to appear to be criticising Nikon by the D800 owners interpretative inference where there is none, some (not all) get very defensive and on occasions down right rude. I have tried, without judgement on Nikon, to get a grip of both the problem and what Nikon are doing about it and that is all. I understand how owners of faulty units must feel as I had a dud D7000 which was replaced, but this issue is getting out of hand on forums. Something needs to give and it until it’s resolved many won’t buy one, including me. I have heard that many folks who had deliveries of new stock during July are reporting all ok. That doesn’t help the poor owners of faulty models though.



    • 16.1) KHH
      August 1, 2012 at 8:41 am

      Well, it’s common for people to voice out their discontent and complain than the other way round. Given any circumstances, it is always the case that you will see more people complaining than giving praise. I called this the loud minority phenomenon.

      Also, it’s not like there’s not a fix for this issue nor is it that majority of D800 in the market has the problem. Some Nikon service centre just isn’t competent enough to fix it, period. Mine had the left focus problem but was fixed in less than 4 days. Every AF point now is way sharper than they used to be on my D700. The left AF point is so sharp and accurate it felt like a centre focus point.

      • August 1, 2012 at 9:03 am

        Perhaps folks are awaiting for just a simple “sorry”, as it can be a softening and take the strength out of feelings. Provided they follow it with a solution of course.


        • Profile photo of Bob Vishneski Bob Vishneski
          August 2, 2012 at 5:54 am

          Some acknowledgement of the issue, helpful information, testing guidelines, next steps, etc. from Nikon might be a good first step to making the customer base feel better and have hope that Nikon can and will address the situation. We are all currently in limbo. Without the internet’s various photography forums, we would all be in the dark so to say. We should expect a bit more from Nikon.

  17. 17) Art
    August 1, 2012 at 9:03 am

    I feel extremely lucky that my D800’s left auto focus problem was resolved. With all the reported repair failures I was beginning to worry. Even though it was repaired successfully I am still upset at Nikon for two reasons:
    1. I had to pay for shipping costs to send a defective unit back to Nikon for repair that was clearly their fault. That added $104 dollars to the cost of the camera. Nikon should review it policy on paying for shipping costs when they determine that the repair is covered under warranty.
    2. The way Nikon is handling the issue. I am not upset that I received a defective product; however I am upset at Nikon’s denial that the problem even exists. This is just bad way to do business period. It has me wondering about Nikon’s commitment to standing behind their products. The message I am receiving is that Nikon’s responsibility ends after you buy the product, now it is the consumers responsibility to figure out how to test the product for a known defect, to pay for shipping costs for something that should have been caught at the factory, and for some having to put up with a failed repair because apparently Nikon is not taking the lead on this and telling its repair centers how to fix the problem. Yes admitting problems is hard and may hurt sales for a short while, but the silent treatment Nikon is giving us will hurt sales for the long haul.
    I have been very happy with Nikon products for the last 35 years or so, from my first F-3 to my D3X and countless lenses. But my D800 experience has put me on the defensive. In the future when new products come out I am going to have to ask myself a few questions: “What am I going to gain by buying this product?” “And if the gains are worth it, can I wait for a few months for the bugs to be worked out?” “Do I really need it to improve my photography?”. If I would have asked myself these questions before I purchased my D800 I would have not bought it. My D3X has plenty of resolution for the work I do and the only thing a really am gaining with the D800 is video of which I really do not shoot much. Yes the resolution is better than the D3X when you pixel peep, but I rarely print above 19” anyway so the difference is not perceivable to me. The money would have been better spent on a 24mm 1.4.
    I guess in a nutshell what this has taught me is that there is no “Got to have product anymore”. The old adage “Consumer beware.” is true, even for Nikon Products. Well time to go out and take some pictures of some beautiful Hawaiian scenery today.

    • August 2, 2012 at 5:58 am

      I am glad to hear that your D800 was successfully repaired. As I indicated however, not everyone is having the same level of success. I am in the same boat – I can accept the initial manufacturing issues, but the silence on the issue for both existing and prospective customers is maddening. Regardless of anyone’s enthusiasm for any brand/product, the “Consumer Beware” notion should never be forgotten.

      • 17.1.1) Cruiser
        August 7, 2012 at 7:45 pm

        When I called in to report my viewfinder issues and get my shipping label, the person at Nikon said they knew of no such issue with the viewfinder or the focusing issue. I knew this was a lie, and thought to myself, I’m not buying a used car here, this is a $3300 camera. The Nikon guy blamed the problems on internet hype. Another lie. Nikon seriously needs a management shake up, or sell the business to someone that can run it. They’re dealing with serious photographers here, not grade school kids. I’m insulted, to say the least. I can accept some manufacturing faults, even though I couldn’t even see through the viewfinder without the diopter adjust cranked all the way, but don’t treat me like an idiot.

  18. 18) DavidW
    August 1, 2012 at 9:39 am

    Awesome Bob!!! Thank you very much for the update! I’ve been wanting to find a time to submit my camera but it’s been too much fun playing with it to sacrifice time away. But this entry has up’d the temptation level to just bite the bullet and submit her.
    Now get out there and make up for lost time!
    Best regards,

    • 18.1) DavidW
      August 1, 2012 at 9:58 am

      Oh boy, do I feel dumb. I didn’t finish the entire blog before commenting. Oy vey….my expectations have just been crushed. My apologies.

      • Profile photo of Bob Vishneski 18.1.1) Bob Vishneski
        August 2, 2012 at 5:59 am

        No problem! Just thought I would add a bit of clarity to a situation that Nikon seems to be intent on obfuscating. Wish this would have been a “success story,” but it wasn’t meant to be! ;)

  19. 19) Pads
    August 1, 2012 at 10:07 am

    Thanks for the feedback, Bob! I am actually waiting for this post to decide on whether to send my camera for repair too. My problem is that I get the AF issues with the 28mm f/1.8, but works fine on my 16-35mm. For now, I have been working just fine using the center AF point. With this workaround, I calmed myself down a bit. As soon as I re-confirm (this would be my 3rd) testing of the AF of my D800, I will decide whether to have it fixed by Nikon or leave it as it is and use just the center and right AF points.

    • August 2, 2012 at 6:01 am

      This issues seems to manifest itself on larger apertures, so the f/4 associated by your 16-35mm may mask the issue. I would trust more in the results from your 28mm 1.8 than your 16-35. Try to get your hands on a 50 mm 1.4 or 1.8 or similar aperture lens to do another test.

      • 19.1.1) Pads
        August 2, 2012 at 10:10 am

        Thanks for the response, Bob! That makes sense. I haven’t tested on my 50mm 1.8 or 85mm 1.8 yet. Will have to make time for that.

        In the meantime, using the center focus point works like a charm for me. Since I have no other camera, I would have to settle for this setup. Will have to send it to Nikon once I confirm and have nothing lined up for using my cam. Keep us posted with your issue resolution with Nikon!

  20. 20) Synn
    August 1, 2012 at 11:39 am

    I bought a Singapore set a week ago. No issues whatsoever. However, I’ve heard that those who have the issue have had them rectified at Nikon Service in Singapore. Issue or no issue, me depending on the left-most AF points for a money shot are next to nil in any real world conditions, as per my shooting style. YMMV.

    • August 2, 2012 at 6:04 am

      The issue is whether there is something wrong with the phase detect autofocus system, which could impact not just the left most sensor, but a number of the sensors. I suspect if you test most of the defective D800s, you will find gradual sharpness improvements as you move from the left to the center. While the center may be the most reliable, it is not acceptable that the left bank of sensors may produce consistently poorer results than the others.

  21. 21) Ed Holzer
    August 1, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    If I were Nikon…I would sue for defamation of character with respect to all the codswallop
    printed on your site with respect to the D800. I’ve tested mine extensively…with 5 different lenses…
    and I continue to be astonished at the magnificent resolution and color contrast produced…
    with no focus problems whatever!

    My guess is that half the D800 uproar comes from people without the experience required to
    operate this very sophisticated camera properly. The other half I think comes from the
    media generated panic which causes even good photographers to see things which simply
    are not there.

    As a loyal reader, I’ve had much respect for the opinions and information on your site. But I really think you’ve gone over the top on this one.
    mostly non-issue

    • 21.1) Stefan
      August 1, 2012 at 1:40 pm

      please read my review above (31)

      You’re not right to judge about this problem if you don’t have it with your camera.
      It is not just a hype and it is a real problem.
      If you like give me your e-mail address and I’ll send you some sample images and you judge again!
      Please, don’t call newbs people, who experience the problem – even simply because they may be bigger “experts” than you are – especially if you sit and use only your center points (I’m not saying you do that).
      I do agree that internet and all forums “help” problems like this to be easily exaggerated. I also thought so. (again – refer to my review no.31 above).
      But hey it’s a real issue and I would like to see how you would react if your camera was affected.

    • August 1, 2012 at 3:15 pm

      Ed, nobody says that the Nikon D800 is a bad camera. In fact, I have not downgraded my review of the D800, since I still consider it to be the best high resolution DSLR in the world today. However, this particular issue with the left AF point is real, we are not making it up. I have seen it in many Nikon DSLRs and the ratio of problematic vs good cameras is rather high, as I have already indicated in one of my posts before.

      All this coverage of the D800 problems in our site is done on purpose – we want Nikon to acknowledge the issue and take care of it, not sit in silence like it has for so many months. Why should a person be responsible for paying for shipping and waiting for weeks, if a camera comes out faulty from Nikon? Would you want to have the same experience when buying something? If this was a Nikon D3200 issue, it would have not received as much attention. But this is a 3 thousand dollar camera that is targeted for professional use. Wouldn’t you expect it to perform as it is supposed to?

      We are not going to sit silent on a huge problem like many other sites choose to do for political reasons. We want our readers to be aware.

      If your camera had this particular problem, I think you would have a different opinion about all this. Suggesting that Nikon sue us for defamation? Are you serious?

      • 21.2.1) Allan Wood
        August 1, 2012 at 3:43 pm

        Well put Nasim! The purchasers of a very expensive camera should expect bottom draw treatment as if the had bought some cheapy, and not complain to avoid hurting the feelings of some company? I do not think so. I am glad that this site and some others are helping us who like to be informed, before a large purchase, are involved. Thanks Nasim!

      • 21.2.2) Stefan
        August 1, 2012 at 5:02 pm

        Great said, Nasim!!
        That was exactly my point!!!
        Not Nikon – we should sue them for such irresponsibility!
        I completely support your efforts to see this problem acknowledged and force any reaction from Nikon’s side.
        More, they should not only pay us for the shipping costs, but provide a replacement camera if the diagnostic/repair process lasts more than let’s say 3-5 days.
        And I won’t even mention how frustrating this all process is.
        Plus, if you have just one camera (as I do) – how many projects and shootings I missed? Who’s going to restore that value to me?
        So I think Nikon should at least give us a good apology for all the inconvenience!
        I hope they read your site! I know they DO read Thom Hogan (a guy from the technical department told me that). And you both are not staying silent about this problem.
        Thank you again!

      • 21.2.3) Mark
        August 1, 2012 at 5:32 pm

        Nasim: “If this was a Nikon D3200 issue, it would have not received as much attention. But this is a 3 thousand dollar camera that is targeted for professional use.”

        Dear Nasim,
        I know 100% what you want to say and I respect you and I enjoy to read your good articles. But the hassle and effort for all affected D3200 customers would still be the same. Therefore I find it not really wisely to keep repeating that on cheaper cameras such an issue would be okay. Yes, it would be a little bit more less shocking, but still not okay at all. Making this statement several times may send the wrong signal to Nikon.

        I suppose that you would NOT welcome the prospect of a future where rich customers become working products and good customer service, whereas the average Joe must accept defective products and a bad customer service.

        • Profile photo of Nasim Mansurov Nasim Mansurov
          August 1, 2012 at 5:48 pm

          Mark, I am not saying that failure is acceptable on cheaper cameras. But if you are paying for a premium product that costs thousands of dollars, you expect its QA to be a bit better too, don’t you? It is normal to expect better QA from a higher-end product. Pro-level cameras like D4 go through more extensive QA controls than cameras like D700/D800 do.

          • Tim
            August 1, 2012 at 6:16 pm

            Nasim – Nikon is an ISO 9001 certified company. Their QA approach has to be the same for all components for them to maintain this certificate. Now obviously there are more QA check points on a higher end camera because it is more complex. But the failure rate of either the low or high end should not be any different. Price has nothing to do with it. When I buy a bottle of aspirin for a headache for a few dollars, I certainly expect a high level of QA to ensure one of those pills aren’t a poison. So if the reject rate of a Nikon product is high, then there is a problem that needs to be solved, regardless of that product’s price.

            • Mark
              August 1, 2012 at 6:55 pm

              True and wise words Tim,

              I totally agree with you, 100%. The quality control of a product has nothing to do with its price.

              If you buy a cheap car or a expensive car, if you buy a cheap medicament or an expensive medicament, if you book a cheap flight or an expensive flight, if you purchase a cheap bike or an expensive bike, if you acquire a cheap watch or an expensive watch: The product must work properly. There is zero margine for speculations and excuses.

            • Profile photo of Nasim Mansurov Nasim Mansurov
              August 2, 2012 at 2:38 am

              Tim, I understand what you are trying to say and I agree. I am not talking about a higher failure rate, but rather about how well a product is made and tested. A higher-end product will have better components that will overall perform better than a lower-end product. There is a reason why a pro level lens costs so much more than a cheap kit lens. It is not just about optical design, but things like type of material used (plastic vs metal), quality of lenses and other internal components, etc. All this comes into play during QA testing. You would not expect a plastic lens to have the same tolerance level for QA as a metal lens. The same goes for cameras. Variance depends on many different factors…

              I agree, price is not a factor here. I mentioned price, because that’s the typical human perception – “the more I pay, the more I should expect”. Companies know this all too well…

          • Mark
            August 1, 2012 at 6:45 pm

            Hi Nasim,

            I dont really agree with that. More expensive products have more features, better handling, better specifications. But the quality control (I suppose QA stands for this) should be EXACTLY the same. unless its a cheap disposable for under 50 dollar. and while cheaper products have less features, the quality control can be done faster. But I 100% disagree the the quality control of a product should depend on its price (cheap disposals excluded). Do you seriously see this different?

            • Profile photo of Nasim Mansurov Nasim Mansurov
              August 2, 2012 at 2:56 am

              Mark, the QA process could be the same for both D3200 and D4. But the QA thresholds will be different for certain components, simply because they are made of cheaper/less tolerant material. The Nikon D3100’s shutter is rated for 100,000 actuations, while the shutter on the D4 is rated for 400,000 actuations. Do you think the QA tolerance level for the D3200 will be the same as for the D4? No, it won’t be. The same goes for lenses – cheap zoom lenses will have a higher variance in QA than expensive pro lenses. There is more sample variance in the 18-55mm lens than there is on a 70-200mm lens. Cheaper components, simpler design and other factors all come into play here.

              I am not saying that the quality of a product should depend on its price – I think you are misunderstanding me here. It would be awesome if D3200 had the same components as the D4 does. It would be awesome if lenses produced in China were no different than lenses produced in Japan (although it has gotten pretty close lately). It would be awesome if the 18-55mm lens lasted as long as the 70-200mm lens. But let’s be a little more realistic here – that’s not the case in today’s world of manufacturing (unfortunately).

          • Mark
            August 2, 2012 at 4:27 am

            Dear Naism,

            My posting earlier posting was 52, your reply was 60. this is a reply to 60 :

            Now you introduce new terms: tolerances, variances. Probably you want to say with that, that the autofucus of a D800 should work, because it has bettere components. Is that your point?

            Anyway, I was not speaking about the quality of components but about the quality of the end-control of a product, in german “qualitätssicherung”. Doesnt matter if a device has cheap components or sophisticated ones: After production each device has to be controled in way that ensures, that the device is working. Obiously this end-control failed for D800, and it would not be better if it fails for D3200.

            I was working myself in production of electronical devices. For each indivudual product there is a test routine, which ensures that the product is working properly. If it does not ensure that, the routine fails and has to be overdone. Important is sole and only that every product is sold in a working condition, doesnt matter if the device is cheap or not. This is what I called “Quality of (end-) Control”.

            • Mark
              August 2, 2012 at 4:34 am

              p.s. the example you made with the shutter is another topic too. A D4 will last longer, but that has nothing to do with the demand that a product has to work proper at the BEGIN of its life cycle.

            • Profile photo of Nasim Mansurov Nasim Mansurov
              August 2, 2012 at 4:58 am

              Mark, point taken, I agree with what you are saying.

        • Mark
          August 1, 2012 at 9:26 pm

          about D3200 and D800:

          If I would buy a swiss pocket knife with 100 tools in it, I would understand better, when one of these tools is not working properly – still I would return it.

          But if I buy a pocket knife with 3 tools, and one of these 3 is not working, my astonishment would be much greater.

      • 21.2.4) Mark
        August 1, 2012 at 5:39 pm

        I know, here you dont say on cheaper cameras it would be okay. but in earlier articles you said its not acceptable that this error occurs in a very expensive camera. which in a way pretty much says it would be acceptable in a cheaper camera. With this single point I disagree.

    • August 2, 2012 at 6:25 am

      I have to admit that your “Codswallop” comment made my day! If you don’t like/appreciate my writing style – I am ok with that. It is not for everyone. But am I the issue? Or is it Nikon’s apparent attempt to “Bamboozle” or “Hornswoggle” its customers on this issue? Me thinks it is but that latter…

      With respect to lawsuits however, I have consulted with our Mansurovs highly respected legal team.
      Here’s what I found:

      – There are no laws against reporting one’s experience with a product. Without a law being broken, there is no lawsuit.

      – The details I have outlined can all be supported by facts – testing processes, results, EXIF data, etc. Thus far, Nikon has not disputed any of the information I have shared with them, despite it having plenty of opportunities to do so. And while you may think it is some form of rocket science to properly test a DSLR for autofocus issues, I can assure you it is not. Tedious – yes. Difficult? No…

      – If Nikon were to initiate a lawsuit of some sort (likely stretching the interpretation of some law not quite applicable), we would immediately demand to see its defect rates for the D800, as well as the repair history for each Service Center. We would then seek access to any/all correspondence between Nikon staff members up and down the corporate chain of command regarding this issue. This might make for some interesting reading…

      – If by chance the lawsuit did proceed, we would subpoena Nikon staffers, to testify, under oath, regarding who knew what and when. This might also be entertaining… I have little doubt that eventually, we would come across someone that indicated, “Yes – we knew these models coming off the line were defective, but chose to ship them anyway.”

      BTW, after going back and forth with Nikon’s Melville facility, one of their Directors had his team go through all my EXIF data. They essentially came back and indicated that they could not identify any reason why my camera should be producing such different results from the center and left AF points. None. Clearly my D800 in both before and after testing scenarios, was capable of taking very sharp photos with the left, center, and right AF points. Unfortunately, it cannot seem to do so at the same time.

      Look if you want to stick your head in the sand, shoot the messenger, blame the victim (not that I am one), etc. go right ahead. Others among us simply want the problem acknowledged and resolved. I would even accept an answer of “it may take us some time to resolve it” as plausible and acceptable. Not all technical issues can be resolved in a NY minute. But Nikon isn’t doing anything of the sort. Its silence is a form of disheartening denial…


  22. 22) Tony Hills
    August 1, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    I got mine early July, after a months wait.

    I find it a fantastic camera, tested my left points and can’t see any problem.

    Guess it was mainly the early adopters?

    • August 1, 2012 at 3:18 pm

      Tony, congratulations on a “caviar” unit! The Nikon D800 is a fantastic camera, without a doubt. I very much hope that all the new units are now properly calibrated and tested before they are released. Seems like yours is in good shape, which is good news.

      • Profile photo of Bob Vishneski 22.1.1) Bob Vishneski
        August 2, 2012 at 6:27 am

        This one is odd, in that it doesn’t seem to be confined to a specific set of serial numbers. You may have gotten one that works perfectly off the front of the line. Others produced during the same time or afterward, however, may have issues. That is perhaps the most troubling aspect of this – it appears to be somewhat random relative to the batches. I may indeed be wrong on this issue, but that is the sense I have from reading the various blogs. Perhaps when Thom Hogan publishes his survey results, he may show a more narrow range of serial numbers involved.

  23. August 1, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    Given the mess with way too many early copies of what is undoubtably a good camera, and Nikon’s blame the user mindset, I for one will stay well clear of the D800; and will not go for any replacement of the D700 for a long time after Nikon sorts out likely hassles with that as well. Few who buy such an expensive machine will be neophytes, so the blame the user game just does not wash. Canon and others are likely quite pleased.

    • August 2, 2012 at 6:29 am

      The “blame the user” mentality is perhaps the most disturbing aspect of this. My advice to anyone is to push back hard on anyone from Nikon that gives you that line.

  24. 24) Chris Kern
    August 1, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    Let me see if I’ve got this straight:

    In addition to the manufacturing quality-control problem afflicting many D800, D800E and, apparently, at least some D4 cameras, Nikon has a service quality-control problem. Send your defective camera to the right national service center, and it will be repaired promptly and properly. Send it to the wrong service center, and it will be returned without resolving the problem. Except that if you get the right technician in the wrong service center, it may still be properly repaired. On the other hand, if you get the REALLY wrong technician in the wrong service center, your camera may be returned with a worse problem than it had when you sent it to Nikon, in most cases at your own expense. Unless you are submitting it for calibration again because the service center failed to repair it properly when you sent it before, in which Nikon may offer to pay the shipping both ways. And then again, it may not.

    Sooo, in addition to Nikon’s much-discussed failure to communicate adequately with its customers about the manufacturing quality problem, the company is also failing to communicate adequately to its technicians, who apparently are left on their own to develop a reliable regime for recalibrating the phase-detect focus systems of defective cameras. However, the effective procedures that some techs in some service centers have developed aren’t being propagated to other service centers—or even, sometimes, to other techs in the same service center.

    Does that about sum it up?

    • 24.1) Martin
      August 1, 2012 at 4:56 pm

      Yes. Succinctly. Thank you.

      I WILL buy a D800, but only when Nikon have got it right. We remain months away from such a situation.

    • 24.2) Martin
      August 1, 2012 at 5:06 pm

      And, I should have added, by which time the D600, and rumours about the D4s, or the D5, may well have me hesitating even further.

      At the moment, I have a D3s, a D700, and a D200. I have no need, nor do I have the desire, to add problems to an absolutely excellent array of cameras, irrespective of the outstanding credentials of those D800s which actually work. It’s the all-too-many D800s which DON’T work, and Nikon’s continued state of denial, which are the problems.

      Just in passing, under NO circumstances will I ever buy a “used” D800.

    • August 2, 2012 at 6:30 am

      Indeed – you got it!

  25. 25) Mark
    August 1, 2012 at 5:04 pm


    Great article!

    But something I dont understand (yet) :

    When looking at your two before-after-fotos from center/left autofocus point, I notice that the before sides have both a strong red stinge/cast, whereas in the after sides of the picture the reddishness has gone and therefore black looks singnificantly more like real black. I was surprised NOT to read anything about reddishness, you talk only about focused/not-focused, sharp/not-sharp.

    So, I am puzzled and asking myself (and now you) :

    Is this red stinge a problem that was solved by the service center, or is this kind of reddishness no problem at all (so if I would buy a camera with such a red stinge, the camera would be totally okay?) ?

    Best regards

    • August 2, 2012 at 6:34 am

      Chromatic aberration is more likely to occur at the wide end of the lens, particularly toward the edges. Some of this may be due to the lens being wide open. The other aspect of producing a CA effect is when the image is out of focus. I did comment on this in a previous article. I didn’t say much about it since if the image was sharp, but exhibiting a bit of CA, it may simply be a characteristic of the lens. Any comprehensive lens review will usually comment on the CA levels associated with a given lens, and sometimes include a measurement of it in pixels.

      • 25.1.1) Mark
        August 2, 2012 at 11:26 am

        Hi Bob,

        Thanks for the explanation. So this reddishnes is only CA? Remarkable is that only the “before”-part of both pictures is reddish.

        Lets look at the picture of the center autofocus point: The “before”-part is more in focus but nevertheless more much more reddish than the “after”-part. Can I therefore deduce, that you must have made the “before”-part with a much wider aperture than the “after”-part?

        • Profile photo of Bob Vishneski Bob Vishneski
          August 2, 2012 at 8:14 pm

          All pictures were taken at the same aperture. I can’t explain that one, but then neither can Nikon explain these photos, either from the visual inspection or by examining the EXIF data. I did notice that in general, the blurrier the images, the higher the CA. This was most noticeable on the extreme left and right images. Again, I took this to be an issue with the lens if the image was in focus. But given that something is awry with the autofocus system, it is hard to say how much of the CA is being produced by the lens vs. the image being out of focus and taken in reasonably strong light.

  26. 26) Mike
    August 1, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    Nasim and Bob,
    As you may know, Thom Hogan is keeping an informal count of new D800/E bodies which do not have the autofocus problem, in order to determine if those shipped recently are being manufactured with corrected factory autofocus test rigs.

    May I suggest that we D800 owners who’ve received and tested ours since say August 1 tell you and him about whether they’re focusing properly.

    Perhaps Nikon has finally corrected the faults in their factory calibration and it would be good to know for those who haven’t jumped into the pool, yet.

    i’m personally hoping the they have, since my D800 shipped from Cameta today.


    • August 2, 2012 at 6:35 am

      Here’s hoping you got a Caviar model coming to you! ;) Nasim and I are discussing what potential next steps we can take to either collect more information regarding this issue and/or help Nikon change its strategy.

      • 26.1.1) Mike
        August 8, 2012 at 8:57 pm

        Sorry to say that I have sardines. The left focus point isn’t just bad, it’s really gross. I tested it using a rented 24mm f1.4G and on my 24-70 at 24 and 35mm, all lenses wide open.

        So now, the conundrum. Do I send it back to Cameta for a refund/replacement and roll the dice that I get one that works? Do I send it to Nikon Melville and pray that they’ve figured out how to fix the problem, or do I just shoot landscapes and macros carefully monitoring focus until Nikon really does figure out how to fix this sometime during my 1 year warranty period?


      • 26.1.2) Mike
        August 9, 2012 at 12:57 pm

        Well, I re-tested using a combination of Thom’s procedure and the Air Force’s resolution chart ( process. I used my 24-70 f2.8 at f2.8 and 24 and 35mm. Exposure delay was 2 sec.

        Using their suggested distances for the focal lengths I used, I placed the camera & tripod at 4.3 ft from the three charts for 24mm and 6.3 ft for 35mm.

        Result—-Caviar!!!! Autofocus results at 24mm and 35mm were equal across focus points.

        That is to say that at each focal length, the amount of focus error was consistent across right, center, and left focus points for Live View, and also consistent across all points for AF, although LV was always better focused than AF.

        I’ve since tuned the lens to -10 and re-tested it in AF. Right, left, and center points are better, still consistent, but just a bit out. However, it’s well within tolerances and I’m keeping the camera. Once Reiken comes out with the Mac version of FoCal Pro, I’ll buy it and test all of my lenses, but I’m a happy camper.

        Whew! Maybe the tide has turned.

        BTW, I bought the camera from Cameta last week, S/N 3027xxx.


  27. 27) terry
    August 1, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    Nasim and Bob, I’m a new reader to your blog but have found all of the useful info on the D800 Left AF issues extremely helpful and easy to read. Thank you. Bob, sorry to hear that you sent yours back but I would have also come to the same conclusion. I’m posting about my experience on getting the left AF point fixed in the hope that others in a similar situation can find it useful. My situation is more particular in that I live in the same city as a Nikon Service Center.

    I bought mine from the US but reside in Hong Kong. My D800 also had the issue and was afraid that I’d have to send my camera all the way back to the US for servicing since body warranties are only good from each respective region. However, Nikon HK was extremely helpful and offered to fix it for free.

    The cust svc rep said that since it was an issue from the factory, they could recalibrate that sensor on the spot. I provided a lot of sample shots and documentation and they only took 24 hours to fix it. However, when I went to pick up the unit from the service center, I took a Siemens Star chart with me and did a impromptu test on the spot. AF was marginally better but still not resolved. I asked to see talk to the technician and then walked him through what the issue was on the spot. He then had a “lightbulb” moment and knew exactly what to do. Less than 5 mins later I had the D800 back with all AF points working properly (most importantly, left and right were equal. Center was also tack sharp).

    During this time, I was also in contact with Nikon USA via email and they were of no help. Despite links to your site, documentation and sample shots, there was no headway in even acknowledgement of an issue.

    I’m not going to speculate on why or why not there hasn’t been an official release or acknowledgement but what is certainly clear is that there is not a clear cut answer or statement for technicians/customer service reps to work with. As such, there is a large difference to how they are responding and providing solutions.

    I’m fortunate b/c Nikon HK has been so gracious and also b/c I had the ability to walk into the service center and speak to someone there to explain my case. For others that live near Melville, El Segundo, or any other Nikon service center, it may save you a lot of frustration and time if you can get yourself there in person to explain the issue to a technician. Don’t forget to bring as much documentation and your lens/charts to do a quick test on site.

    • August 2, 2012 at 6:39 am

      Glad to found our site and enjoy the content. You are very fortunate to deal with the HK Service Center. It sounds as if they are very helpful and open. Unfortunately, the HK’s approach isn’t consistent with what we are seeing here in the US and some other sites. I have communicated with a variety of people from Melville and despite the pleasantries, no one has been willing to level with me regarding the situation.
      I am not sure we can move Nikon off its perch concerning this issue, but we will try our best.

  28. 28) Mako2011
    August 1, 2012 at 10:04 pm

    As posted on another site:

    “Just got my D800E back from NPS. Apparently, the cause of the focusing problem in all cases is some inaccurate calibration data entered during the alignment/ calibration process. I was told it’s basically a case of hooking the camera up to the laser calibration jig, and letting a piece of software run a calibration routine point by point – there are no physical or mechanical adjustments made to the camera. The software then writes this somewhere in the camera’s ROM for future use.”

    If this is the case, then the problem is close to resolution. The same sort of thing occurred with the oil issue of the D7000 and a bad lot perhaps of mirror motor assemblies. I kind of understand Nikon’s approach of no official announcement while simply fixing the problem ASAP. Many may not like that but I think it may have both advantages and disadvantages in the long run. The heavily invested Nikon users eventually get it fixed and talk among themselves while new Nikon adopters are less scared off vs a big “recall” announcement effect. Pluses and minuses to both approaches. Only time will tell. Re-look at the state of the company in say 1 year to see.

    That said, I really would not recommend adding this statement to your request for service/support.

    ““Any intentional effort to conceal, deny, or otherwise fail to inform customers of known product defects, that may materially impact customers’ ability to use the product for its stated purpose, is strictly prohibited. Failure to adhere to this stipulation may result in extreme customer dissatisfaction, eventual loss of market share, and potential legal action concerning False Representation.”

    Human nature is Human nature. The statement above may move the process towards a more positive outcome, but having been in the service industry, I seriously doubt it. You really get better service when you ask nicely and smile. That may not be how people feel about it but it is reality. The guy getting the box, with your camera in it, is a normal person. You set a certain tone with your wording and that sets the mood. The mood affects ones work. That’s the way it is. You can affect the outcome with a smile vs a threat. Good luck all and I wish you the very best. Sorry for the rant. Just get a little bummed seeing this site get so negative in it’s tone. Used to be a more pleasant place to visit and look forward to happier times. Best wishes.

    • 28.1) Chris Kern
      August 2, 2012 at 6:17 am

      “As posted on another site:

      “ ‘Just got my D800E back from NPS. Apparently, the cause of the focusing problem in all cases is some inaccurate calibration data entered during the alignment/ calibration process. I was told it’s basically a case of hooking the camera up to the laser calibration jig, and letting a piece of software run a calibration routine point by point – there are no physical or mechanical adjustments made to the camera. The software then writes this somewhere in the camera’s ROM for future use.’ ”

      That was Ming Thien, on July 4, describing repairs that had been performed in East Asia (I’m not sure whether there is a repair center in Kuala Lumpur, where he is based, or whether he had to send the camera to Singapore)—and that’s precisely what’s so maddening to many of us, I think: at least some Nikon repair centers are able to promptly and properly recalibrate the phase-detect focus system of defective cameras. It sounds as though there are additional fine-tuning parameters for each point stored in non-volatile memory, not accessible via the camera’s end-user menu system, that allow a technician to adjust the default focus on a point-by-point basis.

      Now if that’s all there is to it, presumably what Nikon needs to do to be able to successfully repair all defective units is to propagate that information to its repair centers. If the “laser calibration jig” Ming refers to isn’t available in every repair center, the company would also need to establish an internal procedure to ensure that cameras needing this repair were forwarded to the nearest center that had the required equipment.

      Or, better yet, Nikon might explain what is going on in a public statement instead of leaving it to third parties (however expert) in the blogosphere, and set up a procedure for affected customers to send their cameras to the nearest center with the expertise and equipment to repair them.

    • August 2, 2012 at 6:50 am


      I understand your point, and am not one to start lobbing verbal grenades at the outset of any issue. I have been polite, but firm in my dealing with Nikon. Nearly 30 days into this situation, I have expended quite a bit of time, money, and energy and have no working D800. And as you can see, I have quite a bit of company. Do you think if I put more smiley faces in my correspondence to Nikon I would be in a different place? If so, I have a 120MP DSLR that shoots 102,000 ISO with zero noise to sell you… ;)

      But you are being a bit naive if you think smiling and pleasant emails are going to resolve this situation. So far, despite our collective pleasantries and reasonableness, all most of us have gotten is a good lesson in stonewalling. If there is any “negativity,” it is on the part of Nikon for failing to do right by its customers. It has an issue. It knows it has an issues. Its ability to fix the issue is mixed. It continues to adopt a “it could be everything but the actual D800 unit that is the cause of the issue” mentality. “That” is the only negativity associated with this situation.

      The rest of us simply want some honest answers and properly working cameras.


      • 28.2.1) Mako2011
        August 2, 2012 at 9:08 am

        I understand your frustration completely. Many had exactly the same level of frustration with the D7000.

        Yes, I do think that had you been more “friendly” with Nikon you might have gotten a more friendly response back. Maybe. I’m really not sure but it could not have hurt. I’m just saying that it’s a possibility and how I always recommend folks start a conversation the tech support. From experience, that approach does seem to get better results from time to time.

        Not naive I think. I do have extensive experience in this regard and I can truthfully say that starting with a soft friendly approach does in-fact lead to a more positive experience more times than not. It is in fact documented in places. The officer is more apt to give a warning when greeted with a smile than when greeted in a confrontational manner. That’s just human nature.

        The frustration you have, an honest one, is simply spilling over here, in a small way,and starting to set a different tone to the site. I simply wanted to note that…as the unique friendly and helpful quality of this site is why I frequently visited it and recommended it to others. I hope it can continue to be that way rather than take on the “frustration” of the forums. My best wishes to all and hope for a speedy resolution. It does seem to be trickling in and that should be a source of some optimism.

        • Profile photo of Bob Vishneski Bob Vishneski
          August 2, 2012 at 7:54 pm


          Thanks for the lesson in human nature. But why you assumed I was somehow less than cordial toward Nikon is a mystery to me. So these people that have sent their cameras in 2 or 3 times without a successful repair – it is “their” fault? Fascinating concept…

          How about this one – maybe, just maybe… it is Nikon that needs to change its approach toward communicating with its customers? Maybe it needs to actually fix the D800s when they show up at the Service Centers? Radical, huh? ;)

          This post has nothing to do with the “changing tone” of the Mansurovs site. It is rather our attempt to highlight an issue of concern to many Nikon customers. It was not caused by Nikon customers, but rather Nikon. This is a hot topic not because we are making things up, but rather because people are justifiably upset at how Nikon is handling this issue and the time they hav to waste on it. Thom Hogan changed his opinion to “Not Recommended” based on the many credible reports of quality issues. Do you think he did this casually? Bjorn Rorslett received 3 defective D800s in a row. Coincidence?

          As I have said multiple times, if Nikon wishes to change the tone of such discussions, they only need to proactively address the situation. Expecting Nikon customers to stick their heads in the sand on this issue, smile, and pretend that their D800 takes sharp pictures across the range of focus points – when they do not – is not a realistic expectation.

          How’s that for a positive perspective? :)


          • Mako2011
            August 3, 2012 at 7:11 am

            I’m only saying that Nikon does not set the tone of this site….you and the other contributors do. And it seems to be changing. Your article even advises users seeking 1st time support add a confrontational statement to any support request. If you honestly think that is a good ideal for an initial support interaction, then you may never understand what I was trying to convey. I often communicate poorly in text only forums. Sorry for any misunderstanding. Sorry your experience is so different from Jorge G’s. Good Luck going forward and hope things here can rapidly move forward in a positive way.

            • Adam
              August 3, 2012 at 8:02 pm

              Please put a cork in your nonsense.

            • Profile photo of Bob Vishneski Bob Vishneski
              August 3, 2012 at 9:24 pm

              There is no single “tone” to the site. Each of us writes differently and covers a variety of subjects. My suggested line to include in emails to Nikon was simply to stress the point that Nikon has some clear ideas about what you can do with information. As customers? We should have the same rights to determine what is/is not acceptable. There are a few people that choose to “shoot the messenger,” but for the most part, I doubt you can find many that think it is acceptable for Nikon to ship camera that it knows are defective, and not offer any advice, assistance, or insight into this issue.

      • 28.2.2) Mark
        August 2, 2012 at 2:34 pm

        “Do you think if I put more smiley faces in my correspondence to Nikon I would be in a different place?”
        Good humor ;)

  29. 29) Nikon Guy
    August 1, 2012 at 10:44 pm

    Well, to be honest, I would have done exactly the same thing. As much as I love my D800, if I had to put up with this customer service crap, I too would have immediately returned it for a refund. You owe Nikon nothing. You plop down $3K and you expect to get your monies worth. My D800 works out of the box and it is an amazing camera. After having used it, I doubt I could let it go, but I wouldn’t hesitate to return a crappy one and buy another one after. For the money, this is the best there is, the image quality is second to non and that is good enough for me.

    • August 2, 2012 at 6:51 am

      I wasn’t going to be beholden to Nikon to resolve this issue, given one failed attempt and the lack of silence regarding the nature of this problem. I am fortunate that I had the chance to send my unit back. Others weren’t so lucky, as they went by the 30 day return window.

  30. 30) HarveyG
    August 2, 2012 at 1:10 am

    Thank you for the monumental task of testing and documenting. You just saved a lot of fence sitters a lot of money. One thing I’d be interested to know is that in a year or two when D800/E’s start popping up for sale 2nd hand (well a few have already popped up!) is a serial number list of batch 1 and batch 2 if and when Nikon’s 2nd batch emerge from the factory, hopefully fixed. It would be spare me the hassle of buying an out of warranty dud.
    Regards, Harvey

  31. August 2, 2012 at 6:52 am

    I wish I could have reported better results. I sure wanted to, but that was up to Nikon’s Service Center to deliver them…

    • 31.1) HarveyG
      August 6, 2012 at 12:34 am

      No, your reporting was exemplary considering the frustration levels you went through!
      Leo Foo’s MIR site often has references to Nikon lens and body serial numbers (ranges) and I’m sure in time the batch numbers will pop up there :)

      • Profile photo of Bob Vishneski 31.1.1) Bob Vishneski
        August 6, 2012 at 6:40 am

        Just trying to shed some insight into my experience in the hope of helping some others deal with their issues. I did a quick search but didn’t find a Leo Foo site associated with DSLRs. Can you send a link? See my update on comment 142.

        • HarveyG
          August 7, 2012 at 1:56 pm

          Sorry remiss of me not to add the URL. It is (was) extremely comprehensive, I’d compare it to an electronic photographic museum the size of the Louvre! It’s not data driven so searching is librarian but Google Site Search might be useful. It has however stalled wrt updates and thus appears somewhat outdated.

 then speed read!

          Checked #142. Might be wise to get everyone to record their D800/E serial numbers before returning it or if they still have the box, compare body ser# to box# serial number when receiving it post repair!

  32. August 2, 2012 at 3:45 pm


    I got a D800 from the first US shipment and received in on April 2. I found the problem by mid April. A Nikon rep had me send it to El Segundo as I was in California at the time. It came back in the same condition. It was so frustrating. It is still in the same condition and I wonder how much money I’ll spend in shipping before Nikon makes good. They will not replace it. I’m stuck with it. I have complained on Nikon forums only to get flamed and told to “just don’t use the left sensor”, and this by supposedly “professional” photographers. Have we become so enamored by technology that we will continue to defend it even if it doesn’t work?

    Anyway, if a class action ever is filed, I’ll have to be included because I was charged $3,000 for something that does not work and the manufacturer refuses to repair or replace it. Any suggestions?

  33. 33) Jorge G
    August 2, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    Allow me to step forward to provide a ray of hope for those who own a D800 with a fuzzy left side and have left forums such as this with sadness and despair after reading story after story of repair failure.

    My D800 was on the same repair timeline and pathway as that of Bob’s — arrived at Melville on July 9, and was listed as “in shop” by Thursday of that week. However, there it stayed for a good 16 days until I finally received notice that it was en route via UPS. Needless to say, after grappling with the Nikon Wall of Silence throughout the process, and learning that Bob’s camera returned from its NY sojourn in an even worse state, I had the darkest of expectations.

    But to my surprise, the left-most focus point, center, right and all those in between were all spot-on with their LiveView counterpart. I was so surprised that I tested it several times more that evening, and then again the next morning using a variety of lenses. Now whether my success was specific to my copy or to the technician who performed my repair… we will probably never really know. But as I chanted to myself and others throughout this ordeal, hope springs eternal… and with a camera as groundbreaking as the D800, clinging to that belief is well worth it.

    Best of luck to those still seeking a fix!

    • August 2, 2012 at 8:01 pm

      So glad to hear that Melville got yours right. Congrats! Nikon went over my EXIF data the other day, and cannot explain why my center shots were not as sharp as the left. They are sending me a check for my shipping fee of $73. I appreciate that they at least admitted that they were at a loss to explain the clear difference between the sharpness of the autofocus points.

      • 33.1.1) Jorge G
        August 2, 2012 at 9:44 pm

        I also give them *some* credit for reimbursing you for the cost of shipping. Would have been better had you, and others, not have to front that cost in the first place.

        Hopefully Nikon truly has turned a corner and the next D800 you get from B&H will be sprinkled with focus goodness…

        • Profile photo of Bob Vishneski Bob Vishneski
          August 2, 2012 at 10:13 pm

          I have already scheduled a Tarot card reading to coincide with the arrival of the D800. I am hoping my D800 does not draw this card…
          Wish us luck! :)

          • Jorge G
            August 3, 2012 at 9:16 am

            Given your proclivity with the Siemens star, I would think a well-crafted series of incantations while kneeling in front of a candle-lit array of them would prove a more effective touch of black magic. ;-)

            Best of luck! I have a feeling my friends on Ninth Avenue will get you your plate of caviar this time around…

  34. 34) UncleDusty
    August 3, 2012 at 9:08 am

    My D800 came back from Melville today UNREPAIRED. El Segundo had it for 19 days and couldn’t fix it. Melville received it Tuesday, overnighted it to me last night and it is still not focusing on the left. This issue was escalated to Nikon’s Sr. Management (I spoke to them on the phone yesterday) and they still could not get it right.

    • 34.1) SK
      August 3, 2012 at 9:36 am

      Will they replace it with a good one?

    • 34.2) Anthony
      August 3, 2012 at 1:24 pm

      Please let us know how things go…and good luck!

    • August 3, 2012 at 10:02 pm

      Uncle Dusty,
      This has gone beyond ridiculous. Demand a new camera. There only so many days in one’s lifetime to test defective products that keep showing up at our door. Keep fighting the good fight.

    • 34.4) Stefan
      August 4, 2012 at 10:51 am

      I’m sorry to hear that, UncleDusty!
      I have my camera in Melville now – and really don’t know what to expect.
      I saw the status “in Shop” changed to “Parts Hold” – but what parts are they going to replace??????
      And yes – demand a new camera – without the problem! I don’t want to get to taht point (although I probably will), but I’ll do the same!
      Can’t afford to spend $4k for not working camera!
      Wish you luck, man – keep us posted!

  35. 35) JJ
    August 3, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    Why should a shooter buy a defective $3000 camera and have to pay $75-$80 in shipping to get the focus where it should have been in the first place?

    IMHO, everyone with a defective Nikon USA D800 should should file suit in small claims court for all shipping costs. Nikon would then have to show up in court and defend the suit or lose by default. Obviously paying up would be much less expensive for them.

    With enough small claims suits perhaps the folks at Nikon would drop their arrogant attitude and be paying attention when releasing future products.

    • 35.1) Stefan
      August 4, 2012 at 10:47 am

      ha ha – good idea JJ!!!!

  36. 36) SK
    August 4, 2012 at 8:52 am
  37. 37) FF
    August 4, 2012 at 11:08 am

    I spotted some interesting reader’s comments:

    — “Thom Hogan now says that Nikon D800 is NOT RECOMMENDED …”
    Thom was trying to tell Nikon for years how to do business, but they didn’t listen : – (
    He was also dreaming about becoming a spokesmen for Nikon.
    With this recommendation he lost it and went into hiding.

    — “we want Nikon to acknowledge the issue and take care of it,”
    That’s what Thom Hogan was trying. Good luck!
    Admitting the problem now opens the flood gates. They already had batteries recall.

    — “I am not talking about a higher failure rate, but rather about how well a product is made and tested.”
    So, the failure rate does not reflect product design, manufacturing and testing quality? What does FR indicate then? This is pure nonsense.

    — “Nikon is an ISO 9001 certified company. Their QA approach has to be the same……..”
    Ha, ha , ha. How naive! Do you have any idea what you’re talking about?

    — “I have no problems with mine. Love it.”
    The lack of symptom isn’t a proof of absence (inadequate testing)?

    — “they did PC adjustment and not those that you have listed. They are capable of calibrating each individual point of the AF module and I believe those in the US still haven’t had a clue of how to.”

    These talented Asians – amazing! Why does Nikon employ idiots? : -)

    — “you will find gradual sharpness improvements as you move from the left to the centre.”
    If true, then is points out to the AF module optical centring That would explain why some units may be fixable by module repositioning and need for the lens excessive micro-adjustments after the fix, while others are not. This is identical to the common lens defects in Nikon line, especially zooms, but not only.

    I appreciate your efforts to sooth the pain of all D800 owners, but frankly you are all whines.
    Ask yourself: “How many AF points yo find on the Leica M?” If the Leica is a good camera why the D800 isn’t and it only costs $3k. Nikon, and other makers should remove all extra AF points and offer just one – that’s enough. The other question is why people feel they need 36MP? 95% of them don’t even print except posting on the social media.

    When will you post the Olympus OM DE – M5 which is much more interesting camera with superb optics.

    • August 5, 2012 at 12:19 pm

      — Ask yourself: “How many AF points yo find on the Leica M?” If the Leica is a good camera why the D800 isn’t and it only costs $3k. Nikon, and other makers should remove all extra AF points and offer just one – that’s enough.

      I think this is the quote of the century …

      Why do we need digital cameras at all ?
      Nikon F5 was a great camera.
      And then perhaps why we need to photograph at all … ?
      We can sketch & paint … !!!

      No disrespect intended … but I could not help replying …

    • 37.2) Tim
      August 5, 2012 at 11:35 pm

      FF — I have full understanding of ISO 9001 Certification and industry Quality Assurance practices and procedures. Rather than state a counterpoint by calling someone “naive”, your argument would better be served by providing factual data to counter. As is, your point of debate lacks constructive comment and really serves no purpose. If you studied your Debate 101 in college, certainly you would remember that if your counterpoint is a non-constructive personal attack, then it totally discredits your argument.

  38. August 4, 2012 at 12:04 pm


    Thanks for the critique. Since the dawn of technology, there are always those that say, “Just why would you need more than [insert CPU, hard drive size, hard drive speed, sensor size, etc.]?” While they rail against new technologies they don’t fancy, people always have creative rationalizations for all those technological advances that they adopt.

    Most people use their PCs for little more than internet access. Excel, Word, and Powerpoint users barely use 1% of the applications capabilities. Who needs a high definition TV for reality TV programs? If you want to go through needs vs. wants, their are plenty of places to start before you get to the D800. I am sure if I examined your possessions, I could probably find plenty of “overkill” items, which have more capacity, speed, technology, etc. than you ever utilize on any regular basis.

    The D800 is a great camera for a variety of reasons. Is it for everyone? Probably not. Will some people get their use out of it? Absolutely. The ability to crop into a photo without losing detail is a handy option to have for wildlife, particularly when you can’t muster the gazillion $$$ for a 500mm f/4. I for one appreciate the opportunity to exploit the dynamic range potential of the D800, without introducing a boatload of noise. Expanded DR capabilities alone will save me quite a bit of time working in Photoshop.

    I wouldn’t classify attempting to highlight a defective product issue, educate others, and draw more attention to the issue as “whining” – unless of course you think you don’t deserve to buy products and have them work correctly. If so, I can sell you a few broken lenses and see how you react when you realize they don’t work. ;)

    Will this and other articles make Nikon change its policy? Who knows? You can be skeptical of such efforts, but one thing is pretty certain – doing nothing is not likely to do much either. And as the Good Book says, “Better to expose one D800 AF problem that needs to be addressed, than curse Nikon forever.”

    History tells us quite clearly that customer sentiment can indeed change corporate strategy. If you wish to debate that, consider Coke’s attempt to change back in the 80s. Companies indeed listen to the market, even if it takes them some time to recognize it.–Coca-Cola-Company-Releases–New-Coke-.html

    Good luck with the “1 AF point” suggestion. I am sure that is high on the feature list for Nikon’s next DSRL. Following that feature would likely be removal of AF altogether and getting back to good old fashioned manual focus! ;)


  39. 39) Soem Oen
    August 4, 2012 at 8:48 pm


    Sorry to hear about your experiences. This is just not done.

    You might want to try small courts to recoup all monies lost in this mess. Won’t be easy, but it will bring Nikon to their senses.

    Good luck…

    • August 5, 2012 at 8:59 am

      My experience, although frustrating, is certainly not as bad as those experienced by others. Innovators and Early Adopters expect some issues. That is simply part of the process. But the silence regarding the issue and the number of botched repairs is something that defies logic.

  40. 40) Don T
    August 4, 2012 at 11:36 pm


    It’s a shame when we see companies like Nikon have significant manufacturing defects like these but I suppose this is the price for early adopters! And by early I mean within 1 year of a new shiny dslr being available for sale. What you wrote reminded me of the AF woes the Canon 1D Mark III had when it came out in 2008 — boy, was that a fiasco! Canon users were seeing red over this issue and threatened all sorts to jump to Nikon. Ultimately Canon made it right and made the fix available for free. I’m sure Nikon will ‘fess up and do the same.

    • August 5, 2012 at 9:04 am

      No one is expecting Nikon to respond to every rumor or singular incident with a press conference, press release, or other extensive communications effort. But when enough owners of a brand new product demonstrate that they have a serious focusing issue, and Nikon’s repair centers can’t seem to reliably fix it? That deserves a response that is quite different than what we are seeing from Nikon. I hope they will wise up soon. Nikon makes great products and provides solid value for the money, but this affair has plenty of people wondering.

  41. 41) FF
    August 5, 2012 at 7:37 am

    > “The ability to crop into a photo without losing detail….”

    You don’t loose detail after cropping, only when you start enlarging the crop – thenyou loose detail. I’ll not repeat what Thom Hogan wrote about “croppers”, but it is wrong approach and wroong justification for choosing this camera. Good photographers never crop, even the PJ’s – e.g. HCB photographs.

    Why have you twisted my msg. “Get the right tool for the job” into “railing against new technology”?

    >“I wouldn’t classify attempting to highlight a defective product issue, educate others, and draw more attention to the issue as “whining”.
    > “………….getting back to good old fashioned manual focus! ;)”

    I thought you had a sense of humor : -( Well, too bad.

    > reminded me of the AF woes the Canon 1D Mark III had when it came out in 2008 — boy, was that a fiasco!……
    A case of bad memory or lack of understanding?
    Those who read Rob G. reports and owned the camera know better. The article is in the archives for anyone interested. But it is typical of the internet gossip. However the current Nikon debacle is unprecedented and not surprising considering their corporate culture and attitude.

    • 41.1) UncleDusty
      August 5, 2012 at 8:05 am

      “Good photographers never crop, even the PJ’s – e.g. HCB photographs” is an absolutely ridiculous statement. That is all.


  42. August 5, 2012 at 9:13 am


    Unless you focus on one type of photography and only one type, the “right tool for the job” concept isn’t always so clear. Suppose you engage in a variety of different photograph interests – landscape, wildlife, architecture, portraits, occasional high quality videos, etc.? Then you pick the DSLR that gives you the most capabilities to meet those needs. For many people, the D800 fits that bill, albeit a bit shy of the FPS scale for fast action sports or birds of prey photography.

    I have managed to maintain my sense of humor regarding all of this. These are cameras and technology issues – not matters of life and death. There is little doubt that millions around the globe would trade a few body parts to have some of “problems” that some of us have! :)


  43. 43) lorenzo
    August 5, 2012 at 11:29 am

    Bob and Nasim,
    despite feeling bad for what happened to you in this repair story, I have absolutely no problems and see nothing wrong with your site. Actually I should thank you for making this issue public with the sole intention to make Nikon wake up and apologize for their mistakes and mostly for their attitude.

    I read the whole blog and saw that some people disagreed. The US is a great Contry and there is freedom of thoughts and speech, we are not ashamed of say when we fail, contrarily to Japan that seem to bury their mistakes in silence. Making this story public is the only way to get a solution.

    I have been with Nikon since ’71 but this event made totally lose respect for them. I was in list for a D800E and I am so glad that I cancelled the order. Perhaps I will order it again but not earlier than next year when possibly Nikon would have come out with both apologies and a real solution. I can’t buy a defective unit, waste my time, money and patience taking photos of Siemens Stars and fighting with Support; it is simply ridicolous! So, for now thay didn’t just miss my $3.3K but also the accessories and Pro lenses for a total over $10K, and I am not the only one. Maybe they don’t care…

    Thanks again for your effort. Kind Regards,

  44. August 5, 2012 at 11:46 am


    I certainly didn’t need any sympathy or to sound like, according to some, I was “whining.” I have plenty of experience with sophisticated software programs, most of which come with plenty of challenges, issues, bug fixes, dependencies, etc. Most of these would make the D800 issues seem pretty trivial.

    But for mass produced items, the expectations are a bit different. The wedding photography who has a split second to frame a shot may not always have time to focus on a center point and readjust. They simply want to know that all their AF points can deliver accurate focus. The sheer amount of hours people are spending to test, analyze, and verify the D800’s autofocus capabilities is likely staggering. I have even had people offer to pay me to analyze their D800 photos!

    But as you indicated, more than anything, Nikon’s silence on this issue is wasting a tremendous amount of its customers’ time. I would even accept Nikon indicating that it has an issue and don’t yet have a fix. But its silence is unacceptable. The least it could do is add some clarity to this issue and be more helpful to its current and prospective D800 customers. What good reason does it have for letting its customer base “stew” over this issue, particularly when it has been demonstrated that there is an issue with the D800?

    If Nikon does come out with a press release or something similar, I would like to think that, in some small way, we may have helped push it along. ;)


    • 44.1) lorenzo
      August 5, 2012 at 12:41 pm

      Thank you for replying.
      My comment more than a sympathy in your regards was a thank you for what you did and a reply to those here that think differently. Just wanted to add myself to those that are in favor of your actions.

      I also have been dealing with s/w for all my life and I know what you meant. But now I am on the other side and I think I have all the reasons to get upset for a product that doesn’t work as advertised and a support that treats you like a stupid.

      I spent all 2011 and part of 2012 fighting with Nikon support that destroyed both my D100 and D300s, sent those cameras back for 7 times to El Segundo and then to Melville, wasted days in trying to prove it was their fault, but unsuccessfully.

      When I heard of the D800E I thought of dumping in the closet for good the other two pieces of junk and have a serious camera. It was not the case. I believe that recently Nikon has deteriorated at the point to be removed from the professional camera manufacturers, from my view. But I can’t. I have so much Nikon units that unless I sell them all for few bucks I can’t move to Canon – beside that I never liked them.

      And this is why I am upset: I can’t use the Lemons I have and I can’t order what I would like to have to replace them. I can only wait, reading every day blogs with the hope that this story one day will end.

      Thanks again,

  45. August 5, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    Man I feel you pain. But really, just get a 5D Mark III and stop waiting.

    • 45.1) lorenzo
      August 5, 2012 at 12:58 pm

      Karel, if you addressed me I thanks for your suggestion but
      1. I don’t like Canon cameras and style
      2. What do I do with 30+ Nikon lenses, do I give them to charity?

      Glad you like the 5D3, have fun with it, that is NOT my camera.

      • 45.1.1) Karel Donk
        August 5, 2012 at 1:12 pm

        Actually it was for the writer of this blog post. But I see you’ve also been struggling with Nikon. Why not get a D700. Or wait for the D600. Or, try a 5D3 :P

      • 45.1.2) FF
        August 5, 2012 at 1:37 pm

        # 132
        First question are you a photograpger or collector? I’m serious. +30 lenses?
        Canon wasn’t and isn’t my preferred camera either, but it works and it is a tool. I had to sell Nikon and lenses which resulted in a loss, but my frist, second and thrid priority for choosing the tool is its RELIBILITY. Inless you’re a hobbyst….
        If you want a Nikon pick up an older model with good track record. Any new model may have a different problem.

        • lorenzo
          August 5, 2012 at 2:57 pm

          Probably both.
          Beside the most recent FX Pro lenses that count for the highest value, have many DX and even type E, fisheyes, a 1,000mm f/11, fixed and zoom lenses and you name them – also have 3 Sigma. Some of the very old lenses of my F2, F3, F4 are just manual focus but still work great; one can’t sell them unless desperate and “Sell for food”, so I keep them.
          From what I heard Canon 5D3 had a similar problem to the d800: light leak. That bug also went for a long time before they fixed it. So, don’t tell me it is more reliable.
          Instead I agree with you on older Nikon models. But I think it is human to want the latest and the best on the market. If this issue is not resolved by the end of this year I might consider an used D3x rated E+ at Ado.

  46. 46) FF
    August 5, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    First you tried to trivialize the problem referring to only few affected cameras.
    Then, you gave a terrible advise to sent defective cameras to Nikon for repair.
    Lastly, you advised to waste time testing a brand new product to verify that it isn’t defective.

    A good advise would be to stay away from junk (including many Nikon lenses), but if someone bought it and still can return to the store, to take money and run.

    I too, was trying to maintain a sense of humour, but it is difficult, after spending lots of money only to discover that you’ve been taken for a ride and there is no recourse. Unless you can get a refund from Nikon, which I doubt.

    >“There is little doubt that millions around the globe would trade a few body parts to have some of “problems” that some of us have! :)”
    Are you referring to the human organ’s trade or the world’s oldest profession : -)

    > “Good photographers never crop, even the PJ’s – e.g. HCB photographs” is an absolutely ridiculous statement. That is all.”
    Maybe you should dust it off? : -) I mean your picture taking methods.
    If you crop often, then get a longer lens or move closer to the subject or learn to compose. Otherwise tell HCB this if you know how : -)

  47. August 5, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    I have always indicated that, based on feedback I have seen on the net, there seemed to be quite a few D800s affected – in each article I have written. You are playing a bit of Monday Morning quarterback on this one. It is only after a number of us sent our cameras in for repair that we found out that Nikon’s record of fixing them was rather spotty. Not sure how I would have been able to predict Nikon’s success rate. Ming Thien’s blog suggested that Nikon might have solved this issue. From the time I sent mine in, I began reading more and more accounts of repair failures, and my confidence regarding Nikon’s ability to resolve this issue started waning.
    Regarding cropping, I think I will pass on your advice to get closer to the grizzly bears, and rely on those cropping those 36MP to get me closer… ;)

    • 47.1) lorenzo
      August 5, 2012 at 3:11 pm

      “based on feedback I have seen on the net, there seemed to be quite a few D800s affected”

      Bob, you are too nice and I am too pessimistic; I will change that statement into
      “based on feedback I have seen on the net, there seemed to be quite a few D800s WORKING fine”

      There are too many peole that don’t care about the LT AF issue, many others that want to pay you to send you their photo to know if they are on focus or not and many others that think testing the LT AF requires a science rocketing knowledge.

      BTW for the bear don’t need a 600 mm, just use a 50 mm, insure camera and tripod, use a 2 GHz remote shutter release and RUN FAST when the bear starts destroying the equipment :-)

  48. 48) Noons
    August 5, 2012 at 10:57 pm

    May I congratulate you on your decision to send the camera back?
    About time Nikon gets a few returns to see if their marketing finally awakens to reality!
    It’s not as if folks are getting these cameras for free, is it?
    Like any other consumer item: fix it, or lose it.
    Simplest form of logic, but it seems to escape the ‘geniuses’ at Nikon…

    • August 6, 2012 at 6:29 am


      Well, given how many were coming back without being fixed, including mine, I thought that at least for some portion of cameras with this issue, they might not be easily fixed. “Once” should be enough on a repair of something that needs to function like clockwork.

      The good news is that I received a new D800 on Friday. After taking pictures of Siemens Stars, bar codes, labels, and just about everything else I could think of with various focus points, I am happy to say that my new D800’s autofocus is consistent between the right and left sides. The 24-70mm was exactly the same across all three focus points. The 50mm 1.4’s right and left focus points resulted in a tad softer image than the center point, but approximately what Live View produced.

      The 28mm 1.8 didn’t do well with either the left or the right side AF using phase detect. It did a bit better with Live View, but still produced blurry images. As I saw with my previous D800 that came back from Melville, the only way they could get the 28mm 1.8 to focus on the left and right, was to throw the center out of focus, producing blurry images for the center focus point, for each of my lenses.

      I sent this 28mm to Nasim for him to do some additional testing. I think that my results may simply be the heavy diffraction of this lens. If anyone has tested their D800s with a 28mm 1.8G, please point us to some test images.

      I found it interesting that the serial number of this camera is lower than the one I returned. The Melville team also went through my EXIF data and could not explain why my all my images with the center points were blurry. While not admitting they did not correctly repair the camera, they did agree that they would refund my $73 UPS shipping fee.

      Little did I know that the D800 is capable of taking pictures of something other than test charts! ;) This one was taken handheld with a 70-200mm 2.8 VRII, and a 2X T/C III at ISO 3200.


      • 48.1.1) Stefan
        August 6, 2012 at 7:42 am

        After my D800 is with Nikon for about 10 days – they just changed the order status from “In Shop” to “Parts Hold”.
        I don’t have a clue what parts they need to recalibrate the focus points.
        Does any other have such status?

        Congrats for the deer shot – it’s really nice.

        • Jorge G
          August 6, 2012 at 12:46 pm

          Sorry to hear about your continued bad experience. I experienced much of the same with my D800 Melville repair. FWIW, here is how mine progressed:
          My repair was labeled “B2” throughout which implied major parts to be replaced. Additionally, the online status tool read “in shop” up until the day I received it (go figure). What was not reflected, and was related only after constant calls to their service center, was a delay in the repair process due to a shortage of parts. It took over a week and a half before the relevant parts were acquired, and then another TEN days before it shipped back to me.

          Fortunately, the repair itself was successful. But one more however… In the one page summary provided with the returned D800, there is no mention of any replaced parts. I’ve followed up with Nikon but they have failed to respond with any further detail (shocker).

          Now, it’s entirely possible that their documentation and systematic update of the status system failed and that some parts were, in fact, replaced… but right now I just don’t know.

          If it gives you any measure of solace to think that my successful repair might be replicated with your camera given the replacement of parts, then by all means, cling to that hope.

          Please keep us posted.

          • Stefan
            August 6, 2012 at 1:54 pm

            Thank you so much for your reply – I now have at least some hope that my camera can come back “repaired and working correctly”.
            My repair is in B1 from the beginning, but the status changed to “Parts Hold”.
            I’ll keep you posted, guys.
            I so much want to have this camera working properly – I was planning to “get old” with it.

            • Profile photo of Bob Vishneski Bob Vishneski
              August 7, 2012 at 9:15 pm

              I have to wonder if the status updates reflect the true nature of the repairs. According to some, there are no parts involved, but merely a software calibration. I suspect if, and when we find out the true nature of this issue, it will turn out to be a mix of issues, not a single problem.

      • 48.1.2) lorenzo
        August 6, 2012 at 9:46 am

        “I found it interesting that the serial number of this camera is lower than the one I returned. ”

        Hi Bob,
        glad you got the new camera, great photo of the Bambi, and good that they refund you the $73.

        Regarding the statement on the serial number, I can think of 3 possibilities:
        1. you got one of the earlier batch that perhaps didn’t have the bug – so this was introduced later and they might still produce cameras with it
        2. thee bug happens randomly (at about 50% rate?)
        3. there is no relation between serial numbers and production time/arrival to the US (which I doubt)

        However, I still think that the defect with the 28 f/1.8, being similar to the camera Melville returned to you, is a simptom that the bug in some way is still there – a camera should work with all lenses.

        Hopefully one day we will know.

      • August 8, 2012 at 7:47 am

        Dear Bob

        We are curious to know if you have fully tested the second D800 that you’ve received.

        It seems to me that there are many who have not properly tested or even not used those far off
        focus sensor points.

        My point is “Are these guys wrong ?” Maybe not. Why do a person buying a product like the D800
        has to go through all these test procedures to make sure the product is not defective ? Do I have to test all the food products I buy to ensure they are not adulterated before consuming ? ( I apologize if the analogy is not correct). Nikon has to make sure the products are perfect as per specifications before releasing them. I do seriously believe that NIKON has or will lose in the long run because of this …

        I know very well that you do not need a particular brand of camera to make good images. NIKON knows this as well. But I have quite a few Nikon lenses including Some AI and AI-s lenses that I love and will hold on to NIKON hoping that this bad phase will pass.

        I follow this site regularly and respect you guys a lot. And have learned so many thing about photography from this site. We learn everyday … :-)

        Kind regards

        • Profile photo of Bob Vishneski Bob Vishneski
          August 8, 2012 at 8:02 pm

          I did test it as thoroughly as my first two attempts (pre-fix and post fix). You may not like the fact that you have to test your D800, but you only have 3 choices: 1. Test it resolve any issues via Nikon, or 2. Return it and wait until the issue has been resolved via the testing of others that can provide such confirmation. 3. Don’t buy the D800 and buy another model or brand.
          But there is no telling that you won’t run into a similar situation down the road with the “next” new model of DSLR. You could place your trust blindly in Nikon, Canon or others, but that doesn’t seem wise given some of these companies’ current and past strategies for dealing with such problems.
          I am afraid it will only get worse before it gets better. With more sophistication and software, miniaturization of circuitry, etc., the chances of bugs and other problems increases. That is part and parcel of getting more for less. The simple truth is that most of us don’t really know if every one of our DSLRs features are working correctly. Some yes, but all of them? :)
          Thanks for the compliments. How soon we all forget just how early into the DSLR revolution we are . We are all learning. Every time I think I really know something, I am reminded of how much more I have to learn.

      • 48.1.4) marko
        September 2, 2012 at 1:58 am

        Hi Bob, re post #142… I have similar experience – after getting my camera back from NSP for the 2nd time 50mm, f1.4 as well as 70-200mm, f2.8 looked ok however 60mm micro lens is still far away from what it should be. Center looks pin sharp while left and right is totally blurred …

        i did similar test with my 10yrs old D200 which shows good and consistent results with all of the above lenses. I can not imagine myself sending in for tunning all the lenses I own and all I may purchase in the future?!

        • Profile photo of Bob Vishneski Bob Vishneski
          September 2, 2012 at 9:39 am

          I am suspicious of any answer that begins with, “We need to have ALL your lenses.” The only reasonable answer to this suggestion is, “No!” That simply shows that some people are grasping for straws and do not have a handle on the problem.
          It seems that when you focus on the left or right, both sides are the same, but your center point is just a tad more fuzzy. My left and right focus points were pretty sharp, but the center was total mush.
          I strongly suggest that you push them to replace the camera if you are not satisfied. There are only so many hours in a day/life…

  49. 49) FF
    August 6, 2012 at 10:10 am

    Nikon D800 saga entered a new phase on Thom Hogan’s blog. He is in the damage control mode blaming users for bad testing in hope this will put him on the good page with Nikon again.

    Bob, are you sure your test method is correct?

    > “Regarding cropping, I think I will pass on your advice to get closer to the grizzly bears, and rely on those cropping those 36MP to get me closer… ;)”

    A better advice then: get jar of honey or try sweet talking – it usually works : – )

    >”………could not explain why my all my images with the center points were blurry.”

    Have you considered a possible bear effect : -)

    # 144
    Some cameras had defective prisms. They may be short of spares. Why don’t you call and ask?

    • 49.1) Stefan
      August 6, 2012 at 11:41 am

      Because from all my experience with Nikon they won’t give me the answer.
      In this case even your guess for the prisms is better than what I’m going to get from them.
      Can’t do anything but wait…

    • 49.2) badboy
      August 6, 2012 at 8:23 pm

      maybe Nikon heard of the poll and paid him to shut up and change his attitude :-(

    • August 6, 2012 at 8:59 pm


      I am thinking of taking you with us so you can show us your “how to get closer to wildlife” techniques+ – particularly when we get to Grizzly country! A few fresh lamb chops in your pockets and I am sure I could get pretty close to the bears and never have to crop one photo! :)

      I am pretty confident in my testing technique. Nasim outlined it pretty clearly, so I won’t repeat it here. I also referenced a great youtube video as well. Thom is probably right about some people screwing up. But I believe plenty more were probably capable of getting it right. Nikon had my camera, had my test images and EXIF data. I even provided photos of my set-up in my article. Not one word from Nikon regarding anything specific that was at fault for my set-up, camera settings or test targets. It had its chance…

      I didn’t take Thom’s statements as his walking back his thoughts, but merely to point out what I have already mentioned – products are getting increasingly sophisticated, and the average person likely doesn’t have much time and energy to put them through their paces to ensure they are indeed working as intended. Many good/great photographers are not gear junkies. They probably don’t know half of what many people that routinely inhabit some of the more popular photography forums know about the details of their cameras’ operations. It is probably not in most people’s DNA to rigorously test each piece of equipment they purchase. Maybe it should be…

      If Nikon had bugs in 80% of the menu items I never use – how the heck would I ever know? Would you? Some of these cameras are of such complexity that there is an inherent assumption from most buyers that they simply “work” correctly. I just went through the entire D800 menu system and entered in my values. Apart from setting the values, did I actually test each feature? Nope. And considering that some features work in conjunction with others, creating a gazillion (ok – perhaps a few less than a gazillion….) permutations, I would bet it would take a few solid weeks to test a D800 and verify that each feature and the permutations of it were working correctly.

      With complex systems, that is not a wise assumption to assume that everything is working. Businesses put mission critical software through its paces before implementing it in production. There is no such paradigm with respect to complex consumer electronics. You don’t know if your new XYZ is really working correctly until something goes awry – or someone else tells you. But at the time you get it home? You likely have no plans to put it through any rigorous testing. That is supposed to be Nikons’ and others’ job.

      But as we clearly have seen with the D800 and the Canon 1D Mark III, manufacturers don’t always get it right. And just as clearly, we have seen that they sometimes don’t care to admit it either. You cannot simply put blind trust in the manufacturer.

      The D800 focus issue raises quite a few interesting issues, not the least of which is determining how we can answer a basic question -“How do I know my new DSLR is working correctly?” Obviously it is not as simple as it seems.


  50. 50) Cruiser
    August 6, 2012 at 11:35 am

    Nikon agreed to send me a link to print a prepaid UPS return label for shipping to the Eastern service center. I have(had) an early D800E. They seem to be trying to control their damaged reputation. Professionals that need their gear back soon seem to be getting preferential treatment. The squeaky wheel gets the grease.

  51. 51) Shannon Sorg
    August 7, 2012 at 10:16 am

    After reading your article on the D800 repair.

    I to was dragged through a certain company line of stupidity. What I’m about to write may not have anything with the camera itself. But it does have to do with the similar situation with Tamron Lens. Being a proud owner of a Sony DSLR a 560 camera I’ve never had any issue with the camera.

    Few week ago I sent Tamron Lens a email asking them about dust inside of a lens. I have a Tamron AF 18-200mm F/3.5-6.3 XR Di-II LD A spherical Model A14 lens. I had purchase back in 2010. They replied back stating that since the lens is still under the 6 year warranty if is send it in along with proof of purchase. They will clean the lens. OK. Great! So I sent the lens in. Few days after they have received it I get a email stating that the lens in not under warranty due to I was not purchased by a authorized Tamron dealer. Witch brings me to a point.

    You mention that you were going to put your DX lens on Ebay? I ‘m not sure if your DX lenses are still under some type of warranty or not. But know this. According to Tamron (I would assume that not all lens companies think alike, hopefully not anyway) they seem to think if you purchase anything from Ebay or Amazon that it is stolen or not purchasing from a authorized dealer. Witch is in my case.

    This is how it was explained to me by Tamron.

    The takeaway from this is that when you purchase a sensitive electronic item from a random person on the internet (or from a pawn shop, or a flea market, or eBay, etc) you will find that the manufacturer (this goes for Canon, Nikon, Sigma, Sony, does not extend a warranty to these items. An analogy would be if you purchased a TV from someone in a parking lot – it comes with no warranty, because it was not sold by the manufacturer’s representatives or a reputable store. You purchased the lens for significantly under the market price, from someone who I’ve never heard of and who certainly does not sound like a reputable store (“joo rat”). It is definitely used (or even could be stolen), regardless of what this disreputable seller wrote on his listing, and we cannot extend a warranty to this item.

    So be careful putting things on ebay.

    This may not be the as the same as you went though with your D800 Repair. But the thing in my case. If Tamron would have asked the questions I wouldn’t have had to spend $20 to send the lens in. So they could tell me that it was going to cost me $140 to clean the lens. And the fact that they “Tamron” provided me indurate information. I’ve had friends that have sent in Tamron lens in for cleaning. Only to find when they get them back. They are not cleaned. And have to send them back.

    The issue here is that companies quality service is gone down hill. Regardless if it’s Microsoft, Nikon,Tamron,Sony. Customer service quality of service has gone to. In my case. I may be wrong or right. However. Tamron is a business. Now if they would have offered to discount $40 from the $140. I would have done that. And not have them send the lens back. And not be sitting in the bottom of the lake near my house.

    I’m in the process of shopping for a Sigma lens, from a authorized Sigma dealer.

  52. 52) aron
    August 7, 2012 at 11:02 am

    I’ve tested mine… and from what I can tell it seems fine. But in some ways it feels like a guessing game… how far can I zoom in on any “star chart” before it’s just over magnified and appears blurry regardless of if the camera has great focus points or not??

    I’m not sure what’s worst, thinking there mine be a problem, knowing there is a problem or just reading all the various comments and posts because it just all feels so subjective

    • August 7, 2012 at 9:12 pm

      I had the Siemens Stars such that they were at ~2X the focus point as seen in the viewfinder using phase detect. I was consistent with distances to the charts, having the sensor/lens at the exact height as the Siemens Stars, etc.
      There is a bit of randomness, as the phase detect AF is not perfect. But taking 3-5 shots per focus point with each focus mechanism should give you a sense for how the camera is performing.

      • 52.1.1) aron
        August 8, 2012 at 10:48 am

        Is there anyway I could talk or email you outside of this thread (where most posts are just rants)? I’m curious to know more details on the testing setup… as I’ve said before, I’d kind of like an independent review… because I honestly believe that results can become very subjective, based on the user and the attitude of that person

  53. 53) aron
    August 7, 2012 at 11:03 am

    I’ve tested mine… and from what I can tell it seems fine. But in some ways it feels like a guessing game… how far can I zoom in on any “star chart” before it’s just over magnified and appears blurry regardless of if the camera has great focus points or not??

    I’m not sure what’s worst, thinking there mine be a problem, knowing there is a problem or just reading all the various comments and posts because it just all feels so subjective… honestly, at this point I would pay for a local testing (if there was one) just for peace of mind.

  54. 54) Kevin
    August 7, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    Hi Bob,

    Appreciate if you can give me your comment on my test result. I followed Nasim’s guideline and tested my D800 with two lenses: Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.4G and Nikon AF-S 24-120mm f/4. The Live View images from both lenses are perfectly sharp on all center, left and right focus point. However, I got confused with the Viewfinder result, since only the left and right VF images from the 50mm are showing sign of AF issue (the right is slightly better).

    If that’s the case, do you suggest my D800 also have the AF issue? Or is it more sounds like the problem from the lens (50mm f/1.4G)?

    • August 7, 2012 at 9:07 pm

      Wide open, you will find that the right and left points will be a bit softer than the center, particularly with at f/1.4. I don’t suspect you will see much of an issue at f/4, but I didn’t do much testing at anything other than each len’s wide open aperture.
      I can say that my 28mm 1.8G didn’t do very well on either the right or left, but the center was reasonably sharp, but not outstanding. Live View wasn’t terribly better. As I indicated in #142, I think this is the lens and not an issue with the D800. Nasim will have a chance to verify.
      If you send me a copy of your images or post them on flickr, I will take a look at them.

  55. 55) Alan Richey
    August 7, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    I sold my DSLR and all associated equipment recently and bought the Olympus OM-D and a couple of lenses. Traveling light and taking great pictures! I love it and I’m not looking back.

  56. August 7, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    After hearing all about Bob’s problems with the D800. I’m tempted to just say “Screw it” and go straight up to a D4. After all that…I’m wondering if the D400 DX sensor is going to have the same problems as the D800.

    • August 7, 2012 at 9:03 pm

      I hope Nikon is reading your answer. Can anyone really believe that Nikon wants its customers to have this perspective? Unfortunately, Nikon is responsible for your and others hesitancy to purchase a D800. That is not good for anyone, including Nikon.

      • August 7, 2012 at 11:24 pm

        Bob, as a fellow nature photographer (I shoot birds); I rely on speed. The D800 (the large sensor and the less fps) did not impress me. If the tradeoff between speed and larger sensor so that one can get a higher resolution image ended up with the fps being 6 fps barebones as opposed to almost 6fps with the MB-D12 attached, I might consider it. But at current with the fps being 4 fps/5 fps at DX mode – it’s a deal killer. Nikon needs to understand the market that they are tailoring it to. 4 fps is great if you’re a wedding photographer or shoot a lot of static subjects or a slower action sport. But it’s unacceptable for most highspeed sport photography and especially for wildlife photography if you shoot fast moving birds. A lot of wildlife/nature photographers oohed and ahhed over the D800 thinking that it was a great possibility with the high resolution until we saw the fps and found that it may be great for shooting relatively static animals, but when you talk about shooting birds in flight. 5fps at DX is unacceptable. I currently have a D300s with no MB-D10…and I shoot 7fps barebones. If I threw a MB-D10 (which unfortunately, I don’t own) onto it, I’d get an extra fps.

        • Profile photo of Bob Vishneski Bob Vishneski
          August 7, 2012 at 11:49 pm

          I don’t think Nikon ever indicated that the D800 was meant for fast action wildlife photography. I suspect that for most wildlife however, 4FPS is adequate. It all depends on your needs. I think they understand the market for the D800 pretty well, as evidenced by their sales numbers and crushing backlog.
          But the D800 is not the right tool for every job. Neither is the D4. I am sure some landscape photographers would never need the faster FPS of the D4.

  57. 57) Mahan
    August 7, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    Hi Bob,
    Interesting to find out that other people had the same problem. (unfortunately though)
    After reading Nasim’s article I tested my D800 and found out that it had the left focus issue, returned it to Nikon in Canada and got it back in few days, ran the tests and figured the left and right points are focusing properly but the center focus is not working. I decided to give Nikon another chance… was before I read this article. Today I was talking to Customer Service and asked what if the second attempt fails and if Nikon is going to replace the defective camera for me. The guy said I am not aware of such policy!!!! I asked who should I talk to then….he replied: “me, this is Nikon headquarter”… is that possible?! so I paid $3000 for a defective unit and that is it?!!

    • August 7, 2012 at 8:58 pm

      Sounds like you had the same “fix” I had. They will give you a new one. Escalate to the Customer Experience Manager. Keep pushing the “up” button until you get some good answers!

      • 57.1.1) Mahan
        August 9, 2012 at 8:16 pm

        Hi Bob,
        I got the camera back today and it was not fixed (after second attempt)…so I went back to Nikon again, went through the sample results with the technician and after he was convinced that there is an issue they agreed to replace it for me….I am hoping the next one is not defective.
        It was smart of you to return the camera after the first time….
        and thanks for the articles and info…both you and Nasim…much appreciated….

        • Mahan
          August 9, 2012 at 8:21 pm

          Btw, I think we can expect an announcement from Nikon soon….they do it when the failure reports reach a certain number….so maybe in the end of this month when they collect all the reports from the subsidiaries… ?!

          • Jay Gosdin
            December 18, 2012 at 12:07 pm

            The announcement never came?

  58. 58) Anthony
    August 7, 2012 at 7:02 pm

    Nikon’s stupidity and arrogance are beyond belief!…or are they? As much as I and many respect this site, Thom Hogan, the more sane posters at dpreview, etc., many D800 owners,such as those Thom met in Alaska, have no idea they have a defective camera and a manufacturer whom doesn’t give a damn.
    Galbraith is offline, Nikon Reviews is apparently a shill, Kelby is all self-promotion now—who is going to speak up for poorly treated Nikon customers?
    It unfortunately seems that there are many cameras Nikon cannot fix with recalibration. If recal was the solution, they would have done it a long time ago. It is a stopgap measure which can improve some cameras, but there must be a major manufacturing/structural error which is so expensive for Nikon to fix or replace, they have decided not to do it. That is why there has been no public statement.
    So, if you have a camera they cannot “fix” with recal, Nikon has abandoned you. What can we do about it?
    No class action suit unless someone is injured (your response when I suggested this previously)? I’m not an expert or a lawyer.
    Nikon needs to pay for this, in more ways than one. What can we do?
    Those readers who have suggested we need a kinder, gentler response to those nice Nikon people need not apply.

    • 58.1) Tim
      August 7, 2012 at 7:19 pm

      Anthony – I think Nikon USA is headquartered in Melville, NY. As a start, I would certainly contact the New York Better Business Bureau and issue a formal complaint. At least in this manner, you now have slightly more push for resolution than on an individual basis, and your claims become documented if there is a future legal action. May not resolve the problem, but then again, it might not hurt either.

    • August 7, 2012 at 9:01 pm

      I am aware of the old adage, “you catch more flies with honey than vinegar,” but that is not always the best analogy or advice in every situation. You can indeed be polite, but you don’t have to swallow unacceptable answers or spending all your time taking pictures of test charts.
      I urge people to politely, but firmly keep pushing for an acceptable answer. If Nikon can’t fix it the first time, then demand a new camera.

  59. 59) FF
    August 8, 2012 at 8:20 am

    If anyone has doubts about my earlier opinion regarding Nikon abysmal service and corporate culture of arrogance toward cusrtomers here is another case from a user and Nikon evangelist:
    Really Nikon? August 7 (commentary)

    This is just confirmation of my personal many experiencees.

  60. 60) tellulah
    August 8, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    After hearing of the mess Nikon has made of this problem and comparing it to my experience with my first Nikon, the D5000, I am seriously considering selling all of my Nikon equipment and moving to Canon.

  61. August 9, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    Being in a very similar position, I much appreciate this post and all of the follow up effort!

    I finally got my D800 back from Melville, exactly a month after sending it in due to extremely inconsistent af. I of course had to cover the shipping and insurance costs. I tested it once again and found that it was in much worse condition than before sending it in. Before I sent it in the center point was slightly off and the edges were a complete mess. After receiving it back the edges are slightly better but the rest of it is absolutely horrendous, including the center! The af is so bad that I can even see through the viewfinder that it is not grabbing focus and it goes without saying that the resulting images are completely fuzzed. I am using charts and multiple lenses to test, i.e 24 1.4, 35 1.4, 24-70 2.8 and so forth. I am comparing all my results to lv which is perfect.

    Being a full time photographer with multiple Nikon bodies and lenses including the D4, I am somewhat astonished and appalled by the conversations I have had with Nikon and with the treatment I am receiving.

    I wish I had returned my body when I had the chance but wrongly trusted Nikon repair to do the right thing. It’s back in a box heading to Melville yet again and my fingers are crossed that I do not get stuck with a $3000 lemon.

  62. 62) nnfan
    August 9, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    I have tested in total 5 D800 bodies. One received on July 3rd had serial #3023XXX, another two received on July 27th and August 3rd had serial ##303xxxx and the last two I received today August 9th with serial ##3035xxx and 3025xxx. ALL FIVE had LEFT AF bank problem. I used a 14-24AFS and two copies of 24-70mm lens at F2.8 at 24mm using two types of charts (horizontal patterns for outer points) with LiveView contrast detection and viewfinder phase detection using FoCal software.

    The center and right bank AF points are PERFECT, requiring from 0 to -1 AF Tune adjustment.
    The Left AF bank points require -20 on three bodies and larger than -20 value on the other two. This is unbelievable how Nikon is screwing its loyal users by shipping defective cameras!

    It is extremely hard for me to believe that there is any SINGLE D800 body that doesn’t have this left AF problem.

    • 62.1) perfectionist
      August 10, 2012 at 12:55 pm

      Your conclusion is what I said about a month ago when I was told to be more nice v/s Nikon. In my opinion has nothing to do with the serial number or the batch, as today I disagree with someone here that said that only 25% have the problem and think that:

      All the D800s have the AF issue, some less pronounced than other – and Nikon can fix those.

      Owners that are consciously aware of the problem are either in denial or have learned how to live with it (i.e. using the center focus point).

      Bob says that his new camera is fine now, but it doesn’t work well with the 28 f/1.8. That’s is not fine for me, especially if the same lenses he has worked fine with the D3x/D3s/D300s. + + + + +

      • 62.1.1) nnfan
        August 10, 2012 at 2:40 pm

        @ perfectionist

        yes that is the question: Will D800 ever be fixed so it can work with all Nikon lenses without Left AF problem?
        If not, I would get and keep the best copy I can get, otherwise I would wait

        • perfectionist
          August 10, 2012 at 3:25 pm

          Yes, the D800 will be fixed… and called D800s – will it have AF issues on the RT? :-)

          Beside joking, I wonder why no one has considered that the problem – before Service messes up with them more – is always on the LT. if the issue was a s/w bug or wrong data entered it should have been random and anywhere. I think instead that it was a bad PDAF design and what is even worse I think that Nikon doesn’t really care! Did they show that customers are important for them? No. They treat us like monkeys when we contact them and deny any problems. In addition they also want to get rid of these “jewels” with the special offers :-(

          Did you return those 5? If not yet I believe you should. I cancelled my D800E order.

          Let’s hope for the best.

  63. 63) Art
    August 9, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    Bob very happy to hear that you finally were able to obtain a D800 that works correctly and you were able to recoup your shipping costs. The camera is absolutely the greatest thing since sliced bread when it works correctly. It is so good I was thinking about getting a D800E to use with my D800 (which had to be fixed) but after some time to think about it I am not going to purchase another D800 or D800E. With a better than average chance of being defective it is just to hard and expensive to get the silly thing fixed. I am still trying to get my shipping costs back, but have been unsuccessful. Until Nikon states that the production problem has been solved I will not buy another one. My D3X still has a lot of life left in it and is a fine backup.

  64. 64) Chuck
    August 9, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    My D800 is boxed up and ready to go. Tomorrow morning I will take it to AAFES and return it for a refund. I will then have them special order a D800E. They claim a 60 day backorder but at least I can be fairly certain that the problem will be fixed by then. If I like the E, I will order another after the frenzy has died down. I don’t make a living with my equipment and still have my lowly D3s to play with for the next couple of months. I have a long and not so illustrious history of being an “early adapter” (camera equipment, cars/SUVs, etc.) and have paid the price more than once. Maybe I will learn someday ….NOT.


  65. 65) FF
    August 12, 2012 at 8:43 am

    Another interesting read confirming my bad experience:

    Quote: “Today’s tests with my factory serviced D800 and D800E + Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.4G were a huge disappointment……..In my testing today under the same conditions, the Canon 5D Mark III + 85mm f/1.2L II achieved both high precision and high accuracy, similar to what I found with the Canon 1D X autofocus.”

    That is why previously I have questioned Bob’s testing method.

    I do landscapes and over the years the AF on Canon 10D, 5D, 5D2, Nikon D300 and recent D800E tests were all disappointing. My current 1D4 seems best (I didn’t try yet the 5D3 or 1Dx).

    Do I already hear the funclub boys howling?

  66. 66) dencelly
    August 16, 2012 at 8:39 am

    My D800 is back from the second repair attempt. The left focus issue is not resolved. Maybe I can return it back to Amazon after 5 months of use … unbelievable …

    • 66.1) Chuck
      August 16, 2012 at 9:00 am


      After reading your story and several others in a number of forums I am convinced that I made the right decision when I returned my D800 to the vendor. As much as I like the D800 I cannot bring myself to spend $3k on something with a known defect that Nikon can’t seem to repair.

      It also disturbs me that Nikon is not being more supportive of its customers. This is my 9th Nikon dslr since the D70 was introduced (along with 12 lenses, mostly “gold-ring”) and I know that there are people out there with a lot more money wrapped up in Nikon gear than me. Why are they not publicly admitting that they have a problem with a number of D800/E bodies (rhetorical question)? This is not a good way to inspire customer loyalty or confidence.

  67. 67) Stefan
    August 16, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    I received my Nikon yesterday and after I did the same tests I can say I can pretty much call it “repaired”.
    There is still small difference in sharpness using the left AF points, but it is visible now only when I use my 24mm at f/1.4. And it is not so much.
    At f/1.8 and above there is no visible difference with the 24mm lens. I tested 50mm at f/1.4 – it’s sharp as well.
    So considering all this, I will call it “repaired” and won’t risk to send back to Nikon to perfect it.
    I’ll do some real life tests this weekend, to make sure once more everything is fine, but so far so good.

    • 67.1) dencelly
      August 16, 2012 at 2:02 pm

      Stefan, nice to hear that your camera is “repaired”. But “repaired” sounds not like repaired ;) And that’s my problem. I expect more from a camera in (semi)professional category. My suggestion, send it back to Nikon and if it’s not really fixed again than you can go to your dealer and change the camera or get your money back. Nikon must learn that they can not make stupid betatests with their loyal customers!

      • 67.1.1) Stefan
        August 16, 2012 at 4:27 pm

        Saying “repaired” means it’s not a perfection, but at 1.4 when there is very slight difference – it’s even arguable if there is a problem at all. I’m very (means extremely) maniacal when speak about my gear, so if this doesn’t bother me (I can live with it) it’s ok.
        I got my camera in March, so I don’t think I would able to return and get my money back.
        Again – I will do detailed tests this weekend to MAKE SURE it is really OK.

        I had troubles with D7000 before (hot pixels) and after I had to send it 3 times they finally replaced the camera with a new one. But the whole shipping and repairing saga lasted 4 months.
        It took Nikon 3 weeks to repair this one. I really need the camera to shoot with it.

        But you’re right saying that we should have only high expectations when spend such money and buy semi-pro and pro equipment. I’m just afraid that they can actually dis-calibrate what is good now in seeking of that little tiny bit of perfection, which I may never really see in my real use.

        Your last sentence is exactly what I think as well.

        • dencelly
          August 17, 2012 at 12:59 am

          Stefan, don’t afraid about discalibrating. Give Nikon a second chance and if they can’t calibrate the camera to 100% then you can return it to your dealer for money back or a new one. You mentioned that you live in Germany and it’s possible there …

          But it is your decision, for myself I can’t live with a hair in my soup ;)

          • synn
            August 17, 2012 at 1:03 am

            You people make me laugh. His Camera is fine, jsut let him be. Go read up on what field curvature is before you throw all these allegations into the mix.

            While you whine and complain, I go out and shoot with my D800 every week.

            • dencelly
              August 17, 2012 at 1:34 am

              If I put my D800 on a tripod to make a portrait and setting the left focuspoint on the eye of my model at aperture 1.4 and the result is bad than there is nothing I can lough about. I lough about people paying more than 10.000 $ for their equipment but not able to see the difference between an absolutely tack sharp and slightly unsharp image. Sorry but why they spent so much money for not perfect equipment? They can buy a Nikon P7100 – good enough for those …

              I go out and shoot every day but not with my D800 – not yet …

          • Stefan
            August 17, 2012 at 10:06 am

            I live in USA, not in Germany.
            Again – I’m saying that I’m a maniac as you are, speaking about sharpness, perfection, etc. That’s the only reason I put repaired in quotes.

            About your example for the portrait on a tripod. You would never use the very left points to focus on the eyes, because the head will be off frame. Plus when the camera is on a tripod, you may prefer to use the lcd screen – e.g. switch to contrast detection af. And there is no such problem.
            But again, let me test this weekend again in real life pictures and on the charts again, before I take my final decision.

            PS: so you’re saying that one can return the camera no matter that is after the one month from the sell?? My previous experience makes me think you’re wrong, but I would be very interested to know if I can do that?

            • dencelly
              August 17, 2012 at 2:05 pm

              Sorry for the confusion Stefan. For close-ups or extreme close-ups the outer focuspoints can not be out enough for me. Only on DX cameras the focuspoints are far enough from the center. For me the center focus points are absolutely not usefull. Paradoxically the best focuspoints are in the center and not in the golden section – a really stupid technology.
              When I take portraits in nature I use my tripod and prefer the viewer instead of the screen.
              Here in Germany the manufacturers has only two chances to repair a defective delivered product. If not, then the dealer must change the product or give the money back – and this within 2 years :)
              Wish you good luck for testing your D800 and to hear that it’s perfect!

            • St.
              August 18, 2012 at 4:00 pm

              I’m sending the camera back to Nikon.
              Not only to fine tune the AF issue, but the memory card door is scratched. I wasn’t sure the first day – looked at it briefly at incandescent light, but I’m looking it today – it’s definitely a scratch. They tried to fill it with something and then paint over it, but it is visible.
              What the ….
              With the AF issue, it seems that the slight difference is between the LiveView shot and the Viewfinder shot. It is visible with 24mm 1.4, 50mm 1.4, 70-200mm 2.8, etc. And I’m speaking comparing the center points.
              Well, now this is a bigger issue for me.
              So yeah – I sent them pictures and waiting for shipping label to send it back. You can simply wish me luck.
              Unfortunately we don’t have such return policy in USA.

  68. 68) Stefan
    August 19, 2012 at 12:00 am

    I want to share my experience with Nikon Central Service in Germany (Duesseldorf). I received my D800 back before a few days and it was the same situation as with Bob’s D800. The center focus point was really bad after repair. The outer points left and right were better. Is this a repair? NO! Also, the service staff is unbelievable. I have a written confirmation that my D800 is repaired and now within the standards. If this is the new Nikon standard I think it is better to buy consumer equipment of another brand! ;-)
    To be clear: after repair my D800 is still UNUSABLE.
    So I can say, Nikon Germany is not able to repair the issue. Therefore, I recommend to exchange affected cameras. My second unit is fine. I tested my most critical lenses 50 1.8G and 24-70 2.8G again and they seem to be good at the widest aperture. The 70-200VRII is exceptional.
    This is my experience, yours can be different. I want to share it because it seems that some units cannot be fixed.

    • 68.1) dencelly
      August 19, 2012 at 6:09 am

      The same experience with my D800 and the same Problem with a 50 mm 1.4 g that produces unsharp images only on the left side at wide open aperture – focusing with life view! Nikons comment: “It is in the tolerance”. Don’t know what they smoke at Nikon but surely not good stuff.

      This kind of comments from Nikon doesn’t wonder me since I saw how the service make their test pictures. They set the camera to JPEG in sRGB and take a shot of pebble stopping down one fstop. Ladies and gentlemen as you can see, you see nothing!

      My consequence, the 50 mm 1.4 is back to the dealer – he will change it. The D800 maybe will go back to Amazon (after 4 months of buy) they are now checking the the repair reports from Nikon and want give me further instructions what to do on tuesday. It seems that they will give me back the money. I hope no further discussions or stupid comments like from Nikon Service …

      • 68.1.1) Martin
        August 19, 2012 at 6:10 pm

        It looks like hopeless story.
        I got my D800 about month ago. It has LAF issue.
        First I wanted to send it to service. Now it’s about clear, that the only chance to get properly operating camera is to return it to the shop, where it was bought. It looks, that for some reason service is not capable to fix the camera.
        I’m almost sure it will end up in a court… I’m almost sure, that shop will try to force me to accept camera’s repair, and it will be difficult to make them to obey the law. It’s lot of money, so they will be reluctant to refund or give me another camera.

      • 68.1.2) Stefan
        August 20, 2012 at 12:35 pm

        I’m sending the camera back today – as I wrote above (comment 200 – the browser auto completed it with St. before I submitted the post).
        Nikon sent me a free shipping label today.
        I hope everything will be fine, and also hope they will fine tune it and not mess what already was quite good AF tune after the first repair.

        • dencelly
          August 22, 2012 at 9:08 am

          Good luck Stefan! My D800 is after the second Nikon service try back to Amazon. Tomorrow I have a next try with a D800E from a local dealer. Hope more luck from the E one. I will report.

          • Stefan
            August 22, 2012 at 9:02 pm

            I hope it will works better for you this time!

            And I hope Nikon will be able to repair/fix whatever left to be fixed. I don’t think I’ll get the E version, since I’m shooting a lot of cityscape and all the glass on the skyscrapers is just screaming “moire” :))

            • dencelly
              August 23, 2012 at 1:04 pm

              Stefan, unbelievable but true. Today I bought a new D800E from a local dealer. Before I was there I told him at the phone that I want buy only if he has a good one. He promised me everything will be good. Now I know why I hate the most salesman arghhh … The D800E is worst than my D800 which is back to Amazon yesterday! Just now I hate Nikon more than the plastic camera manufacturer.

            • Stefan
              August 23, 2012 at 6:55 pm

              Oh, man….
              I’m so sorry to hear that!
              I hope you can return it to this seller.
              That’s why I prefer to shop only from places where I can freely return.
              Unfortunately, in my case I found the problem way too late to do that. I got my D800 one of the first as I preordered it in the first 20 min after it was announced.
              So my all hope is Nikon’s hands now!
              I believe you can return this copy and get a new one from Amazon, etc.
              I can just wish you luck!
              To both of us actually!

  69. 69) Armen Grigoryan
    August 20, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    July 3d submitted pictures to Nikon after 8 days got respond send it to us. Got it back yesterday August 13. Run af test left most point was perfect center and right were extremely out of focus at f1.8 fine tune at + 20 better but not enough. At f2.8 all points sharp. Looks like they test it at f2.8. F1.8 unusable now spend about 30 min on a phone with manager, waiting for prepaid shipping label sending it back for second attempt and hope they fix it this time. personal advise don’t send it to nikon return it to store right away.
    “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”

  70. 70) dencelly
    August 24, 2012 at 8:25 am

    The unbelievable story goes on. My local dealer ordered within 3 hours a second D800E from another branch. This was better than the other from yesterday but also with the left focus issue. Now my third D800/D800E with this issue. Here are the serial numbers: D800 60047xx, D800E 60065xx, D800E 60077xx.
    Now I can’t believe that there is a perfect one out to customers. Never!

  71. 71) Mike
    August 25, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    You clearly weren’t lucky with your copy :)

    I live and work in Japan, 10 minutes walk to the Shinjuku Nikon repair and expo center. I brang them my D800 after 2 weeks of intensive testings and a completely crappy left side. (was nearly impossible to get something sharp with the 200 f/2). I came to them like “i have autofocus issues” and the Nikon guy answered quite fast “left side ?” => I see the problem is known.

    They first gave me a 2-weeks delay to send the baby back to Sendai factory for recalibrating, i ranted, got my camera in 3 days. Perfect : center / right / left. They even made it better in the center, though i was able to bring back the average AF fine-tune of my lenses from a +15 to a solid +3.

    They have the solution, i’m just not sure people out of japan get the same quality of aftermarket service (One can reasonably assume that the place the camera was born is the best one to recalibrate it) : where do they recalibrate US-defective or Europe-defective cameras would be a good question ;)

    • 71.1) dencelly
      August 26, 2012 at 7:02 am

      I am sorry but what Nikon is doing here is very annoying. They know, that the most (maybe the whole production) has the focussing error. But they are doing NOTHING to eliminate the problem that the customer can today – more than five months after first delivery – buy a defective one from the dealer. It can never be a good solution to let the people buy and than try to fix the problem.

      I was always positive with Nikon, but after this experience I am no longer. Obviously there is a pretty stupid management with also a stupid strategy. I’m sorry for this drastic statement, but I am more than annoyed.

  72. 72) dencelly
    August 29, 2012 at 10:06 am

    Today I checked two D800E and both with the same known error. Now my 5th D800/E with the left focussing issue. The serial numbers are in the range 6004xxx – 6007xxx. I wrote now en email to Nikon where it is possible to buy a D800E without the known issue. I am very excited about the response.

  73. 73) Mike
    August 30, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    Bob, I have my D800 back from Nikon repair with similar write up to yours. It seems to be fixed though I won’t know for sure until I run AF fine tune. The AF isn’t perfect but left side is much improved. Test charts here:

    Thanks for the update!


  74. 74) dencelly
    August 30, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    I tested today a fresh delivered D800E (SN 6007997) with the left focus error. Now my sixth D800E. I don’t believe that this is real, no it must be a nightmare!

    • September 2, 2012 at 9:31 am

      Bruce Willis starred in “The Sixth Sense.” You may now (unfortunately) lay claim to the photography version of a similar nightmare, “The Sixth D800.” You probably – and rightfully so – likely feel like you are living in your own horror movie. Unbelievable…
      MH2C (my humble two cents) would be to escalate it up the chain to the Nikon Customer Experience Manager, and get his/her commitment to ship you a new unit and personally verify that it has been tested. By all accounts, you have spent far too much time and energy on this issue. I felt that way after 1 bad camera and 1 bad repair. I can’t even begin to imagine doing this 6 times…

      • 74.1.1) dencelly
        September 2, 2012 at 1:40 pm

        Bob, “The Sixth Sense” was a very exciting and entertaining film for me. But I saw it only three times not six – not yet ;)

        It was not my intention from the outset to test 6 cameras. My first camera was bought in April, this was already two times in service, but without success. Then I returned this to Amazon. One day later I bought a D800E (the second!) because it also had the same error, the same dealer has kindly provided two another to test in the store (third and fourth!). The same day, just an hour later I was able to test the next one in another store (the fifth!). One day later I have got a call from another store, they said that they have get a fresh one from Nikon and this was my sixth and last one within a short time. I have neither planned nor expected what happened. I have spoken of a nightmare therefore, because I would have never expected something like that.

        In the meantime, I had of course already contacted Nikon and waited for an answer. On friday the 31st august I got a call from a Nikon support staff and he wanted the test shots of the affected cameras. I have sent all the test shots and I am now waiting for the next steps from Nikon. Of course I would be very lucky to get a good one but I I will definitely avoid further service operations. I prefer to test further devices in stores. It’s more entertaining than sending the cameras to the service ;)

        In order to avoid any possible misunderstanding, the Nikon service and support was always very friendly and eager!

      • 74.1.2) dencelly
        September 2, 2012 at 2:07 pm

        And what’s more: I am in contact with another “masochist”, a very nice guy! He had tested eight D800/D800Es. Now he could not wait anymore and bought a D800 and sent this to the service (his nineth!). And he told me that the last store sorted out three from fifth D800 before they let him test the better ones. If we include the three screened, he already had 12! In comparison, my story is rather harmless ;)

  75. 75) Steve
    September 3, 2012 at 10:08 am

    There is another D800 issue that does not seem to be well known and I wonder how many here have heard about it. That being Long Exposure Noise, basically on any D800 if you expose an image for 60 seconds or more, especially 2 mins or more your image will be covered in thousands of white dots when viewed at 100%.

    Sure, if you use LENR in camera this will effectively solve the problem, but any landscape photographer who shoots Long Exposure kThnows having to double your exposure time to wait for NR means missing valuable light and perhaps ‘the’ image. For the cutting edge landscape specialist camera I am to say the least very disappointed.

    I have contacted Nikon support and whilst they were very responsive and understanding, they say that there is no fix for this.

    • 75.1) HarveyG
      September 5, 2012 at 5:42 pm

      If this is indeed so, and I have no reason to doubt you, with all the other focus issues and support run arounds and repairs at Nikon that turned out not to be fixed, imo the D800 is a lemon. I’ll hang on for a new DX Pro top range i.e. a D400 or get a trusted D3-D3x-D3s or a D4 if it is up to scratch a year or so down the road (when the test results are in)…

      Thom Hogan has been punting modular cameras (like PC components) for a long time. If the problem of the D800 is hardware related would it not make sense to pop out the faulty bit and replace it rather than do a firmware workaround or mechanical tweak that thus far seems more miss than hit?

  76. 76) unlucky nikon user
    September 7, 2012 at 3:24 am

    In my case, service recalibrated my camera, and failed. Huge numbers of af fine tune values are reduced, but left bank of af sensors still doesn’t work correctly.
    They claimed, that there’s nothing more to be done…

  77. 77) Harry
    September 17, 2012 at 11:37 am

    Hi, any other experiences on repairs, esp. in California? I got a D800/E relatively early (serial 3002xxx, if that means anything) and verified that I had the left focus point issue a long time ago. I’ve been waiting for clear indication that Nikon had a fix, and was elated when Ming Thein reported there was such a fix. But since then, there continued to be reports of failed repairs. Not long ago there was news on Nikon Rumors that Nikon might issue an advisory for this, but I have seen any followups to the news. Anyway, I wonder what the state of affairs is regarding this problem.

    If the fix Ming Thein reported was not widely reproduced, it begs the question why. Either they made a monumental effort in that particular case which was not economically feasible to repeat on each D800, or the equipment required was not available at every repair center, or technicians are not (yet) trained on this and don’t know what they are doing. Speculations aside, I wouldn’t want to send my copy in if they don’t have a stable, repeatable procedure.

  78. 78) Geoff_K
    September 24, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    wellllllllllll, I thought I had a winner but … it looks like strike #3 on the D800E

    Here is a link to a test I just ran. I thought I was OK and stopped test shooting right after I got it, but noticed in some of my sports shots a problem, so tested again.

    I taped newspaper to my garage door – set my lens to F3 – ISO 100 – Shutter was 1/4000th – shutter lockup used on a tripod (though at 1/4000th and f50 I dont think it mattered)- I took 3 shots at each of teh 3 focus points – reracking focus between shots and kept the best looking of the three.

    The left and right focus points are (in my opinion) terrible. left seems worse

    I think I may be done with the D800 line of camera for the rest of the year and possibly forever. Strike 3 usually means you are out.

    I would be happy to hear what I did wrong and how that wrongness made the images look so bad. PLEASE tell me I messed up as I would rather keep the camera because the photos are spectacular compared to my D90. ;- )

    The file sizes are large due to side by side comparisons of the 3 points. Goto original size to make a judgement on my complaint please.

    I am so very disappointed. I am not likely to want to go into the repair swamp and HOPE they get it right. Some I have seen lost crispness in the center to make the sides look better and that is NOT acceptable.

    • September 26, 2012 at 8:32 pm

      Sorry to hear the news. The left does indeed appear to be a bit soft. Which lens did you use?

      • 78.1.1) Geoff_K
        September 27, 2012 at 5:23 am

        Thanks Bob Vishneski,

        I used the Sigma 50mm macro lens.
        On a side note it was not f50 it was 50mm. my mind went crazy when i typed that f50. apologies

        I returned the camera yesterday. I also called the Nikon Store and spoke with a rep inre another D800E.

        This time I asked her, what SN are you up to and what is the word on the focus issue being solved. While she could have been updating her Facebook account (i doubt it) she claimed to have scanned some tech notes saying the issue had been resolved in the latest batch.

        My first one was SN 3004xxx … second one 3005xxx … this one is supposed to be in the 3007xxx range. Since it had a considerable higher SN than my last, I decided to try ON-MORE-TIME ;- )

        I feel sorry for my wife. She has to see my elation turn to (nearly) depression as I rebox and return the camera. I told her this was my 4th and last try until 2013. If this one has a problem I am done looking at them until January and maybe longer.

        • Profile photo of Bob Vishneski Bob Vishneski
          September 27, 2012 at 6:48 am

          I understand both your and your wife’s feelings on this one. The higher the expectations, the more disappointed one becomes when they are dashed. I hope the next D800E works out for you.

          • Geoff_K
            October 14, 2012 at 12:14 pm

            I just sent back my 4th D800E to the Nikon Store. 2 were bought at Bestbuy and 2 from the nikon Store. Each was ordered almost 2 weeks apart.

            The one they sent me that was allegidly a 3007xxx number was a 3004xxx numbers. I talked with a supervisor about this and he told me he had no idea HOW she knew what numbers were shipping.

            I am thinking you LOOK AT THE LAST NUMBER YOU SENT OUT and use that, so maybe the supervisor did not think about that option.

            I told him I mentioned to her my problems and that she knew I would not have orderd a 3004xxx camera.

            I have now paid For shipping twice at ~$100 a pop. I did get to use the camera at a HS football game, so I guess I can chalk that up to a rental.

            I do not plan to even look at the D800E until mid November and even than am likely to pass since my HS football season is over.

            I may just wait to see if they come out with a D300S replacement since I like the reach from my lenses.

            0-4 on D800E here and yes I tested them extensively and read comments on what I should have done instead of what I did and even tried those suggestions on several of the cameras.

            I guess I saved myself $3300.00 this year since Nikon cannot get a correctly functioning D800E in my hands on 4 tries.

            I am happy there are many that received a fully working D800E. I would like to join those ranks, but am not in a hurry this late in the year. Heck, it may be cheaper next year. ;- )

  79. 79) Lhowhang
    October 2, 2012 at 12:06 am

    I may be the one who has the best D800 Fix Saga. I found out that my D800 had the left focus problem. Keep in mind that the center and right focus are spot on. Nikon asked me to send it to Melville Service Center. It was fixed with Category B1 repair. When my unit came back, they did fixed the left focus, unfortunately it migrated to the center focus. I was asked to send it back for the second time. THis time it was a category B2 repair. When my unit came back just this week it still has the center focus problem and to make matters worst it now has a shutter issue on live view. The tech support could distinctly hear the shutter anomaly over the phone. So now they are asking me to send it back for the third time for the center and shutter abnormality. Btw, the first time I complained after the second fix they told my it might be the lens and I might need to send it back. I told them that how come I have a problem with lens now since this is working fine with my D700 and prior to the first fix of my D800. Nikon is really screwing this up.

  80. 80) Lhowhang
    October 2, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    My patience are all exhausted . It’s not even the sending back for repair thingy,,, it’s the new problems that unravels after each repair. On the first repair the focus problem migrated to the center focus. On the second repair the center focus problem still exists, and on top of that a significant difference of sharpness between liveview and viewfinder shots and an abnormal shutter sound when used in liveview. No fix with a bonus problem.

  81. 81) Lhowhang
    October 2, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    By the way since yesterday they were telling me that they will send me a Shipping Label so I can send the unit free via UPS to Melville. I have been making “SEVERAL” calls to them just to follow-up this label. It’s already 8pm and still haven’t received it on my email. I was one of the few people who were able to get hold of this camera on it’s early release last April. I was able to use this for only “3 Months”. This has been with Melville Service Center for almost “2 months”. The sad part is I am surely gonna be missing the oppurtunity to shoot this Fall Season. I hope they will be able to fix this before my WARRANTY runs out.

  82. 82) Lhowhang
    October 2, 2012 at 7:02 pm

    I already did ask them about that Bob, and they won’t. I asked them how many times should I send it for repair before they replace the unit , response was ” We will keep fix it!” Amen.

    • October 2, 2012 at 7:21 pm

      Don’t ask – tell. Companies don’t have an unlimited amount of times to repair something. To go to an extreme to make the point – suppose they do this for the next three years – is that ok by you? 3 trips back to Nikon is more than enough. Demand a new camera. If the person you are talking to does not agree, escalate to the next person. Keep going until you get a satisfactory response. It is beyond ridiculous for your brand new camera to spend more time the repair shop than your hands.

  83. 83) Lhowhang
    October 2, 2012 at 8:41 pm

    I just need a phone or contact info past the techsupport and I will demand it. Maybe something that’s direct to Nikon.

  84. 84) Lhowhang
    October 3, 2012 at 7:20 am

    Long shot but I hope there will be a class action lawsuit if possible. Reminds me of the class action lawsuit against Honda with their faulty 2008 Accord brake system.

  85. 85) Ramon
    October 14, 2012 at 11:20 am

    I ordered my D800 on the day it was announced. I received it after 4 weeks. Last weekend I tested it for the left focus problem. I did not have any problems making pictures, but was wondering. And indeed, I did have the problem.

    Last wednesday I brought it to the Nikon Service point in the Netherlands. They told me they knew of the problem but dat only few were affected. They told me this was obvious because a lot were sold and only a few made it to the service point.

    Last thursday I got a mail it was fixed. Friday it was delivered. Today I tested it and it is perfect.

    So I have to say I have no complaints and I am happy with the service of Nikon. Quick, friendly and they solved the problem.

  86. 86) Lhowhang
    October 15, 2012 at 7:34 am

    That great Ramon. Enjoy your camera.

  87. 87) Max Ramuschi
    October 22, 2012 at 4:13 am

    I own a D4, a D800 (sold now) and a D600. I ran this test on every camera with 35mm lens and 24mm lens and every camera shows the issue on such a test target. Only the left points seem to fall into errors.

    If I use the AF left point on a big real life target the issue won’t appear.
    From 70mm and above the issue won’t appear.

    (these are the reasons why some peole don’t notice the problem)

    I think this is a common issue of Nikon AF systems (Multicam3500 and others) and there isn’t any kind of misalignment problems. Now with 16, 24 and 36 Mpix we can notice it.


  88. 88) Geoff_K
    October 22, 2012 at 5:31 am

    I am keeping tabs on this thread. I GREATLY appreciate the information many of you are putting out.
    I have gone through 4 D800E’s so far. All had the left focus issue (disclaimer: 1 of the D800E’s that BestBuy sent me had ~10k shutter actuations, so I did not spend much time testing it. Initial test showed great center and iffy left.

    Since I ordered NEW and it was not I really did not want to keep it, so it did not get the level of testing (2 or 3 days worth hoping I made a mistake and would see my error) the others did. That camera went back to BestBuy the very next day.

    I LOVE the images from the center point however demand the outer points be 95% as sharp as the center. I understand they are unlikely to be identical to the center, but they need to be darn close.

    I have a vacation scheduled for Vegas at the end of November and plan to buy another about a week before my trip. I am SOOOO hoping the batch I order from is problem free.

    If I see more people getting a proper repair I MIGHT send it in for tweaking instead of returning it, but do not want to get caught up in repair hell.

    Please keep us posted on how the repairs are going for those still trying to get a fix.

  89. 89) Phil
    October 26, 2012 at 1:02 am

    I am just sick inside, I waited until late September to purchase a D800, I had spent countless hours researching, reading reviews, and of course had tremendous concern about the Left AF issue, but I figured after several month’s of complaints and bad reviews, surely Nikon would have moved Heaven and Earth to correct this issue, no way would they continue to ship defective units!
    So feeling pretty confident, I purchased a new D800 from, I also purchased a Nikon 16-35mm f/4G.
    I immediately went to work shooting several different test targets under very controlled conditions, of course the 16-35mm being an f/4 did a great job of masking the Left AF issue that my new camera had. The resulting images were just slightly less sharp than what I felt they should be, and only from the very left AF points..
    So I rented $2700 worth of glass, a Nikon 24mm f/1.4G and a Nikon 50mm f/1.4g.
    The results were consistently horrendous on my left AF Points! Of course my Live View contrast detect reference photos were flawless! But every test target I put up was consistently out of focus using the left most AF line sensors in Phase detect!!!
    So I called, and let them talk me into another camera overnight-ed.
    Hell, I wish I had not done that because here I am doing this post on the evening of 10/25/2012 after again renting the same lenses and again having the same result with my 2nd Nikon D800! SN: 30478XX
    I am so pissed with Nikon, I just can’t stand it! $100 in lens rentals, $75 for a LensAlign MkII, hours and hours of shooting paper on the wall, $2000 in FX glass, filters, and flash cards, and now I have to return this second camera to
    I ran my 5 year old D300 through all of the lenses, all of the targets and it didn’t even break a sweat!
    So let me be crystal clear, this D800 left AF issue is alive and well, it is not a simple software calibration issue or a miss aligned mirror, it is a design flaw in the phase detect auto focus system that is present in most if not all of the units, and those of you who are getting units that do not manifest this issue probably have miss calibrated software or miss aligned mirrors that are compensating for it!!!

    Of course I am just being sarcastic???

    • 89.1) Geoff_K
      October 26, 2012 at 9:41 am

      Phil, here I am thinking if I wait until mid November the problem will be resolved. I had hoped by 3047xxx the problem would have been resolved.

      I hear that Pearl from PCNAtion has SN 3008xxx D800E’s and I was tempted to give one a try hoping the focus issue had been reolved. Since it is a higher SN I may opt to give one a try (once I look at their return policy).

      As much as I want a D800E, I am unwilling to take a flawed camera. I sometimes use the edge focus points and for sports I cannot exactly focus and recompose. ;- )

  90. 90) Sammy
    October 27, 2012 at 6:56 am

    Try getting anything camera related repaired in Australia. What a nightmare! Not quite enough to make me give up photography, but enough to make me think about selling all my Nikon, and Tamron gear. Trouble is I hear other brands are just as bad.

    Good on you for returning the camera. That was the right thing to do.

  91. 91) Lhowhang
    October 27, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    I got my D800 from PCnation thru Pearl. All I can say is 5 stars from Pre and post aftersales. I have been dealing with Stubborn Nikon for Almost 3 months now and they have not fixed or replaced it. The third fix was still a unsuccessful from the left to the center and now it has migrated to the right focus. Pearl from PC nation is trying her best to help me resolve this issue. She was only made aware of the problem after a received an email a month ago how was I doing with my D800 and I told her about what happened. She told me to keep her updated. After I updated her about the third fix she was on constant communication with me thru email and phone calls. Superb aftersales.

  92. 92) William
    October 27, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    I had had two D800s earlier in the year and both had the AF issue. I returned the first to the dealer. After my second I phoned Nikon UK who denied any issue at all but assured me that they could fix any AF problem the camera had. I didn’t want the hassle so I returned the second one to the dealer as well and thought I’d wait a bit.

    I assumed all would be well by now so I bought my 3rd D800 a couple of weeks ago. Well it was the same old story but I thought given the assurance from Nikon UK that they woud sort iy, I gave them the chance. They sent it back with the Left AF points better but the rest faulty! I called them and the guy I spoke to brusquely said “Well, its the resolution, isn’t it?” I ask him to explain and he told me that the AF on any camera would be the same if it had such a high – res sensor. When I asked why some points seemed better than others the declined to comment, saying he couldn’t say without looking again.

    Anyway, second attempt, the completely messed up the AF so I sent it back to Amazon. I was really disgusted with Nikon’s denial, dismissive attitude with no sign of apology, and shoddy “repair” of my camera.

    This problem seems to me a symptom of something very wrong in Nikon.

    As it is I don’t care any more. I need to upgrade my D700s sometime in the next 6 months or so and unless things improve radically it won’t be with D800s. It is looking very much like a move to a Canon 5Dmk3 for me. Even with the sub-par sensor at least you can focus the thing!

  93. 93) Jay Gosdin
    December 18, 2012 at 11:57 am

    All we all clear now with the D800 focusing problem? With the $200 reduction in price for Christmas, I am hoping to buy one that is clean and with no problems. However I have found that BH Photo has a 200 exposure click maximum on their return policy. Bob did you know this? I don’t believe that you can check out a camera of this complexity with just 200 clicks.

    • 93.1) William
      December 18, 2012 at 2:48 pm

      Why bother ? This camera is a washout. Every one I’ve tried had the issue and I’ve just recently been talking to a pro tog in S Africa who tested several over a period of months and most had the issue.

      As someone once told me “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”

      • Profile photo of Bob Vishneski 93.1.1) Bob Vishneski
        December 20, 2012 at 10:51 pm

        Some have actually gotten working models without this issue after either a return or a repair. Mine was replaced with a model that worked correctly. Unfortunately, Nikon never did proactively explain the situation. Whether they fixed the issue remains a question. The brouhaha has subsided so I have to wonder if Nikon did address it. I wouldn’t put up with a defective unit, no matter how appealing the other aspects of the camera might be.

        • William
          December 23, 2012 at 3:10 pm

          Bob I can’t see in your article where you mention the second D800 working correctly. Am I missing it?

          In any case, my own experience 3/3 with the same problem coupled with Nikon UK’s absolutely disgraceful attitude was enough for me. IMHO this camera really isn’t worth taking a risk. I’m now seriously considering Canon.

          • Profile photo of Bob Vishneski Bob Vishneski
            December 23, 2012 at 3:19 pm

            Yes – my second D800 is working correctly. If it wasn’t, I was going to skip buying another until i had some assurance that this issue was resolved. Unfortunately, Nikon left people in the lurch regarding this issue. I don’t hear as much chatter about it, but I also never heard anything definitive from Nikon clarifying what happened, why, and what, if anything, was done to resolve it.

    • December 20, 2012 at 10:48 pm

      I wasn’t aware of that policy. Indeed if you simply take some shots of the test patterns, you may be able to slide under the 200 actuation limit, but I agree – it is a rather tight limit.

  94. 94) Karl
    February 28, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    To Whom It May Concern,

    Just wondering if someone could help me. My newly purchased Nikon D800 recently suffered a 2 feet drop to concrete. Why is a longer story and I am usually very careful with items such as these. I picked up the camera, after suffering that overwhelming panic feeling, and the only apparent damage is some scratches on opposing ends of the base plate AND a small chip in one corner of the same baseplate. Chip is still in place but causes a slight rough edge. I would just paint the scratches but the chip warrants me to buy a new base plate and restore the camera to it’s former pristine condition. I am not sure if you have had experience with removing and replacing the base plates but I could use any help I can get.

    Questions are:

    1) Is the baseplate removal and replacement a simple procedure? It looks stright forward from the pictures of the baseplate that I have seen online.
    2) What sized hardened steel philips scredriver should I use?

    Thanks In Advance,

    • February 28, 2013 at 8:57 pm

      I wish I could help you with that one, but you might be best off sending it back to Nikon for repair, even if it costs you a few bucks.

  95. April 3, 2013 at 2:27 am

    Any problem I have had with Nikon has being sorted no problem,I hate sending cameras off to repair as the courier or post service treat the parcels like a football so any repair what was done at the Nikon service wouldn’t matter….shocks,bumps,bangs and drops are death to any digital camera.a good knock or bang, may as well bin it!
    Never the shame after that

  96. 96) wooster
    July 7, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    Here’s the thing. I have had 4 D800 bodies and all had the left AF issue. I sent one of them back to Nikon UK and they messed me about. Twice they made it worse and became quite unfriendly when I complained. They said they’d never heard of such an issue and when I said the internet was full of it, they said they didn’t look at the internet !!

    Anyway I don’t trust Nikon any more. I wanted to like the D800 but even if someday I could get a Nikon that worked I would be afraid of it needing repair at sometime and I just wasn’t prepared to take that chance with a company which had demonstrated it would not support it’s products.

    I switched to Canon and I love my 5D3. It’s AF is a dream. The camera works as advertised and is actually a better fit for me for weddings anyway.

    I know you can’t trust any company 100% but when I shot Canon years ago they were easy to deal with and on the twice I needed them to sort something out they did it correctly first time. Certainly Nikon will never see another penny from me.

  97. 97) carl
    September 26, 2013 at 10:50 am

    i think the main reasons Nikon doesn’t want to make a grand statement on the focus issue are twofold
    1 – They don’t really know which and how many cameras are out of spec
    2 – They don’t want to deal with all the owners who would send in perfectly fine cameras in response to such a statement.
    In reality, the amazing thing is that any of these D800e’s can auto focus at all, much less the levels required to produce aliasing stars on a test chart. i mean wide open the 50 1.4 will alias the sensor in the middle and be out on the left and right side. That is at 50 inches for a 36×24 chart and the dof is 0.2 inches for 2 micron coc. which is needed to alias the sensor.
    In the real world 10 microns is good enough for 16×20 and even the focus error so widley shown cannot be replicated except on a camera mount at a stionary taget, a case where live view would probably be used, along with mirror up, effectivly rendering af focus points accoracy a moot issue.
    I have to wonder how much the cost of the D800e and it’s successor have to be increased to cover all of the useless repair and exchange expenses of all the owners who either don’t know what they are testing, or for whom the actual adjustments are irrelevant in actual use of the system.
    I suggest you don’t test for the issue unless it actually can be seen in prints of real world photographic subjects, and avoid shooting images of test charts with zoom lenses at super close focusing distances, unless that is your subject of choice. There are better ways to photograph test charts than using a camera anyway.

  98. 98) Wooster
    June 21, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    Well I ditched Nikon after three poor D800s and an awful lot of crap from Nikon UK. I went back to Canon. Very happy I did. I also shoot Fuji and here’s a hint to Nikon on how to deal with an issue

    Nuff said

    • June 21, 2014 at 9:10 pm

      No doubt that the D800 fiasco, soon followed by the D600 oil issue didn’t do much to help Nikon over the last few years. You would think they might be able to employ a seasoned marketing communications exec that would have helped them with both PR and creating a rapid fire response.
      Nikon burned through quite a bit of customer good will with both scenarios. It simply shouldn’t have taken so long for them to do the right thing. And the denials, botched repairs, and blaming the customers just made it worse.
      I hope they have learned their lesson, but that remains to be seen.
      The market will see quite a shake-out in the next few years as mirrorless cameras and smartphones move upstream. Nikon can’t afford any more D800-like situations.

      • 98.1.1) wooster
        June 22, 2014 at 2:02 am

        Hi Bob, I completely agree about that mirror less cameras. I’m likely to start using the Fuji X cameras for weddings next year once I feel 100% confident with my knowledge of using them. I know quite a few pros here in the UK are doing the same. I won’t be ditching my Canon gear but in most situations the advantages of the little X series machines are hard to ignore.

  99. June 22, 2014 at 5:32 am

    I am not sold on mirrorless as of yet. DSLRs still offer more bang for the buck, and despite the hype, are closer in size/weight than most care to admit. I compared the XT-1 and 18-135mm lens compared to the Nikon D7100 and 18-140mm lens. ~7 ounces difference between the two. And the lenses have virtually the same dimensions and weight. And the latter saves you $600 ($2,200 vs. $1,600) and provides more features and a better sensor. And if you have large hands, the D7100 will feel much more comfortable to you.
    That said, if diminutive size is critical, shallower depth of field is not an issue, and you don’t find yourself shooting in low light, the OMD-EM1 or Fuju XT-1 are nice systems – assuming you are willing to pay the hefty premium for saving a few ounces here and there! ;)

  100. 100) wooster
    June 22, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    Hi Bob, My take is different. I don’t use zooms and as I said in my first post I don’t intend to shoot Nikon again.

    Here’s the figures for Canon. My Canon gear is full frame but lets just keep it cropped for the sake of argument

    The breakdown is as follows

    Weight and Cost

    Canon 7D weighs 820g and costs £890 here in the UK
    A canon 35mm f1.4 lens weighs 580g and costs £1140
    Total cost = £2030
    Total Weight = 1400g

    Fuji XT-1 weighs 440g and costs £995
    Fuji 35mm f1.4 lens weighs 187g and costs £409

    Total cost = £1414
    Total weight = 627g

    So 2/3 of the price of the Canon and less than half the weight.

    If you wanted to use a Nikon D7100 weighs 765g and costs £839
    The nikon 35mm f1.4 weighs 600g and costs £1299
    So the Nikon would cost you a whopping £2138
    It would weigh 1365g still well over twice the weight of the Fuji combination.

    As far as sensor quality is concerned, I would also disagree. I find the image quality from the Fuji to be at least as good as a cropped DSLR and even straight from the camera the jpegs are superb.

    Depth of Field

    Just a random example of Depth of Field comparison ( using DOF master ) shows the following information
    for the Canon set up above at f2.8 the total DoF = 2.9 ft
    For the Fuji set up at f2.8 the total DoF = 2.8ft


    Worth bearing in mind that the Fuji lensed including the 35mm can be used wide open giving great results. The Canon is mush at f1.4 ( I know I have that lens on my 5D mk3 ) I don’t know about Nikon but I’d be surprised if it was any better.

    I don’t usually go into details like this but I’m sort of glad I did because it reaffirms what a great choice the Fuji is for me. In fact it was even better because I got the X-Pro 1 and 3 great lenses all useable wide open for shallow DoF whenever I want for the total price of £1265 as part of a UK offer here in January.

    I’m not alone in seeing the advantages of this system over a cropped DSLR. Not for everyone and in every situation but certainly in mine.

    • June 23, 2014 at 7:06 am

      I suppose for certain DSLR/lens combos, a mirrorless config may be cheaper and have some noticeable weight savings. For others, as in my Nikon and Fuji comparison, there is not as much difference as the mirrorless ads would have us believe. And there are also practical alternatives if weight is such a concern, such as ditching f/1.4 primes for their f/1.8 siblings, and the same for the f/2.8 series for the f/4 equivalents.
      Don’t get me wrong, after a long day of hiking in the Canadian Rockies, I have fantasized about a mythical camera configuration that would weigh less than my Nikon D800 and lens assortment. But simply going to a DX configuration would save me quite a bit of weight. Once I make that decision, I have plenty of lighter lens options to keep the weight down while still providing a good focal and aperture range.
      For some, the size/weight of a mirrorless configuration may be ideal. I just urge people to carefully consider the costs, weight, and other aspects of the specific camera and set of lenses before determining that mirrorless is right for them. Obviously, you have done so.

  101. 101) Mary
    January 17, 2015 at 11:28 am

    This D800 thing is killing me! I got mine in Jan 2014 and had been having focus issues off and on for months. Afraid to send it to Nikon for fear of it getting sucked into their abyss for a few months, I convinced myself maybe my lens needed calibration. Problem solved, but then problem back. Problem solved again a month ago, but then when at an NPS event, after they cleaned my camera and sensor, I tried out a friend’s lens. He was trying to convince me it should be my next purchase and wanted to demonstrate the sharpness. I put it on my D800 and snapped a photo of my friend. His face was in very soft focus, but his sweater was sharp as a tack. Problem back. The NPS rep tried and confirmed it is a camera focus issue and I need to send it. He would expedite my NPS membership and it shouldn’t take long. I sent it in and on the day of arrival, I received an estimate saying they would fix my focus issues free of charge under my warranty. Great. The next day I get an email they’re returning it – “No repairs done. Heavy impact damage beyond economical repair”. What?!? I’ve never dropped my camera! They sent pictures of the internal rear casing cracked in half as well as 2 tiny external scuff marks about 1/8″ each as proof that I abused my camera and voided my warranty! The scuff marks were so small I didn’t even know they were there until they sent a picture (WERE they there?). I was devastated and confused. No way could this have possibly happened. But I need a replacement. I went on eBay to see what I could get for it for parts. I searched “Nikon D800 parts only” and the very first hit was an identical camera, also in pristine condition with no visible external damage, but listed as “cracked internal casing”. It included pictures of the camera as well as the photos Nikon sent the user of the damage. When I questioned Nikon, I was told “these are finely engineered and damage happens, but this is different”, implying this was something totally unusual… But look at the picture below (I hope I can attach): the photo on the left is the eBay camera; the photo on the right is mine. A million possible places a camera can break, but the very first hit I find on the Internet for a damage D800 and it’s also in excellent condition, no external damage, but cracked internally in the exact same spot?! Something’s up. Either this is their way of purging their faulty design from the market or this is a defective poorly engineered casing. I’m not liking this one bit. And finding your article reinforces my concerns.
    Trying to attach photo.. Any suggestions?

Comment Policy: Although our team at Photography Life encourages all readers to actively participate in discussions, we reserve the right to delete / modify any content that does not comply with our Code of Conduct, or do not meet the high editorial standards of the published material.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *