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Thread: Nikon D800 test

  1. #21
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    Re: Nikon D800 test

    Mine hasn't arrived yet

    But this is all interesting and instructive

    http://mansurovs.com/nikon-d800-review http://mansurovs.com/nikon-d800-review
    Clive Sometimes I feel like screaming

  2. #22
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    Re: Nikon D800 test

    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisNewman View Post
    I would like your report to cover two issues which I think will be of general interest, and one which may be of more limited appeal, but is very important to me.

    Focusing:

    I have read that the high resolution of the D800 means that phase detection AF may not give fully sharp images. Do you agree with that? If so, do you think the problem is that:

    the resolution of the D800 runs up against the limits of what’s currently possible from phase detection AF? or;

    Nikon took their eye off the ball, and used a mediocre AF system in a camera with class-leading resolution? (I read that the Canon EOS-1D X has some AF elements that are active with F2.8-and-faster lenses - is this something that would have improved the D800, and will probably appear in its successor), or;

    is it just that human intelligence is better than a mechanical system (for instance, if the contours around a subject’s eye and socket are relevant to DOF, and fall within the same AF element, it might not know whether to concentrate on the eyebrow or pupil).
    01 May 2012, Tuesday

    D800 Focus

    If you're not getting sharp snaps in the AF-C (continuous AF) setting, it's because Nikon's firmware is deviously defective.

    You need to reset Custom Setting A1 to any setting other than the default of RELEASE. (MENU > CUSTOM (pencil) > a Autofocus > a1 AF-C priority selection > FOCUS or RELEASE + FOCUS.)

    As shipped, the RELEASE setting means the D800 shoots anytime you press the shutter, regardless of if it's in focus or not. Nikon does this to help the camera sell well during demos since it runs very fast, but also means most of the photos of anything moving in AF-C mode will be out of focus.

    Resetting this ensures the D800 only fires when it's actually in focus. It won't run as fast, but that's OK, since it saves us from having to delete all the fuzzy ones later.
    http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/00-new-today.htm
    Does the picture turn out differently than what you see in the viewfinder?

  3. #23
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    Re: Nikon D800 test

    Quote Originally Posted by hech54 View Post
    01 May 2012, Tuesday

    D800 Focus

    If you're not getting sharp snaps in the AF-C (continuous AF) setting, it's because Nikon's firmware is deviously defective.

    You need to reset Custom Setting A1 to any setting other than the default of RELEASE. (MENU > CUSTOM (pencil) > a Autofocus > a1 AF-C priority selection > FOCUS or RELEASE + FOCUS.)

    As shipped, the RELEASE setting means the D800 shoots anytime you press the shutter, regardless of if it's in focus or not. Nikon does this to help the camera sell well during demos since it runs very fast, but also means most of the photos of anything moving in AF-C mode will be out of focus.

    Resetting this ensures the D800 only fires when it's actually in focus. It won't run as fast, but that's OK, since it saves us from having to delete all the fuzzy ones later.
    http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/00-new-today.htm
    Thanks for the tip, but for me the D800 is still an aspiration. I use a D90, and I don’t think it’s possible to force it to wait for sharp focus before shooting in AF-C mode.

    I find the D800 very tempting, as it should take superb photos if I bought a 24-70 lens, and excellent ones with the other DX lenses I already have. (Replacing these with FX equivalents would make my outfit too heavy to want to carry, aside from the cost.) But I noticed a number of comments on fora that the phase detection AF of the D800 may not be accurate enough to give fully sharp images at its high resolution. Even the Nikon Technical Guide (http://www.nikonusa.com/en_US/o/Y6wr...alGuide_En.pdf) says “Live view can be used to improve focus”. I found that worrying, as I lost confidence in focusing manually through the viewfinder when I replaced my manual focus Pentax Super A, with its split screen and microprism focusing aids, with the D90 which has no focusing aids, and I don’t get on well focusing my D90 in live view. That’s why I asked Tim Coleman to comment in his test for AP. But he praised the phase-detection autofocus of the D800, which I find reassuring.

  4. #24
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    Re: Nikon D800 test

    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisNewman View Post
    Thanks for the tip, but for me the D800 is still an aspiration. I use a D90, and I don’t think it’s possible to force it to wait for sharp focus before shooting in AF-C mode.

    I find the D800 very tempting, as it should take superb photos if I bought a 24-70 lens, and excellent ones with the other DX lenses I already have. (Replacing these with FX equivalents would make my outfit too heavy to want to carry, aside from the cost.) But I noticed a number of comments on fora that the phase detection AF of the D800 may not be accurate enough to give fully sharp images at its high resolution. Even the Nikon Technical Guide (http://www.nikonusa.com/en_US/o/Y6wr...alGuide_En.pdf) says “Live view can be used to improve focus”. I found that worrying, as I lost confidence in focusing manually through the viewfinder when I replaced my manual focus Pentax Super A, with its split screen and microprism focusing aids, with the D90 which has no focusing aids, and I don’t get on well focusing my D90 in live view. That’s why I asked Tim Coleman to comment in his test for AP. But he praised the phase-detection autofocus of the D800, which I find reassuring.
    You've missed the point entirely. The D800 "can be" and "actually is" every bit as good at focusing as previous Nikons....it is basically something wrong with the default settings that keeps it from performing 100%. A menu setting change is all it takes to fix the problem.
    Does the picture turn out differently than what you see in the viewfinder?

  5. #25
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    Re: Nikon D800 test

    Apparently, some D800's do have a viewfinder problem http://fstoppers.com/news-nikon-d800-has-confirmed-focusview-finder-issues.

  6. #26
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    Re: Nikon D800 test

    Quote Originally Posted by Alex1994 View Post
    Apparently, some D800's do have a viewfinder problem http://fstoppers.com/news-nikon-d800-has-confirmed-focusview-finder-issues.
    Reads like a mirror problem. That would affect both focus and OVF.

    I wonder with both Canon and Nikon have production issues with top line cameras.

    Has the Japan disaster affected QC at the companies?

    I would say a OVF/AF issue is quite bad for a high end dSLR.

    As it can fool the shooter into thinking everything is ok unless they use the backscreen and zoom on their shots.

    I think it is very poor of Nikon not to refund all costs in connection with the fault. From what I have read when legal action has been taken for similar product issues (not always cameras) all costs are refunded.

    Afterall the costs would not exist if the camera was performing as the specs indicate.

    In the UK it would not wash at all with the OFT.

  7. #27
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    Re: Nikon D800 test

    Quote Originally Posted by Alex1994 View Post
    Apparently, some D800's do have a viewfinder problem http://fstoppers.com/news-nikon-d800-has-confirmed-focusview-finder-issues.
    I read the "article" with a grain of salt after seeing this amateurish error:
    He has now spent $250 shipping the camera back to Nikon twice for repair. - Sadly, they will not be refunding the money he spent to insure and mail the lens back to Nikon twice.
    Does the picture turn out differently than what you see in the viewfinder?

  8. #28
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    Re: Nikon D800 test

    Careless, but not as careless as slashgear.com, who appear not to know the difference between the viewfinder and the LCD:-

    'That’s not the only problem that the D800 seems to suffer from. Fstoppers shed light on an issue with the LCD, saying that it was constantly out of focus. Even after sending the camera in for repair, the problem was still present, and Nikon has admitted that “a run of D800s have an issue with viewfinder alignment.”'

  9. #29
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    Re: Nikon D800 test

    Quote Originally Posted by hech54 View Post
    You've missed the point entirely. The D800 "can be" and "actually is" every bit as good at focusing as previous Nikons....it is basically something wrong with the default settings that keeps it from performing 100%. A menu setting change is all it takes to fix the problem.
    I think it is you that missed the point of my request to Tim Coleman in your original response! When the Nikon Technical Guide says “Live view can be used to improve focus”, I don’t think they intended it to be an alternative to selecting a correct menu setting. I believe that the gist of the early forum posts I saw advising the use of live view rather than phase-detection autofocus with the D800 was that, although phase-detection autofocus might be as good on the D800 as on other Nikons, the greater resolution of the D800 means that it can show a smaller depth of field, and phase-detection autofocus could leave critical details unsharp in a very high resolution photo. At least one of the posts also referred to the Canon EOS-1D X having some AF elements that are active with F2.8-and-faster lenses, offering a wider rangefinder baseline with the potential for more accurate phase-detection autofocus. The Nikon Technical Guide, and the forum posts I had in mind, relate to static shooting where I assume AF-S rather than AF-C would be the choice for phase-detection autofocus. Perhaps my example of a subject’s eye socket was misleading - I’m no portrait photographer; would you use AF-C for that?

    With regard to the D800’s menu, if its default AF-C setting is in some way worse than the way AF-C works on my D90, I have indeed misunderstood either your and Ken Rockwell’s point or the settings available on my D90.

  10. #30
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    Re: Nikon D800 test

    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisNewman View Post
    I think it is you that missed the point of my request to Tim Coleman in your original response! When the Nikon Technical Guide says “Live view can be used to improve focus”, I don’t think they intended it to be an alternative to selecting a correct menu setting.
    ".....it's because Nikon's firmware is deviously defective."

    No matter how you slice it....the D800 autofocus is not defective...the (default) settings controlling it are set incorrectly.
    And no matter how much it pains many people here....Ken Rockwell found a temporary work-around until Nikon puts out a firmware update.
    Does the picture turn out differently than what you see in the viewfinder?

  11. #31
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    Re: Nikon D800 test

    The D800 Technical Guide gives the following reasons for using Live View:

    to prevent blur through mirror slap as the mirror is raised in LW
    you can position the focus point anywhere in the frame
    you can magnify the view by up to 23x

    I would expect these to be more useful in low light, indoors, using a tripod etc, and not necessary for general outdoor photography.

    But as I don't currently have a D800/E, what do I know?

  12. #32
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    Re: Nikon D800 test

    Quote Originally Posted by hech54 View Post
    ".....it's because Nikon's firmware is deviously defective."

    No matter how you slice it....the D800 autofocus is not defective...the (default) settings controlling it are set incorrectly.
    And no matter how much it pains many people here....Ken Rockwell found a temporary work-around until Nikon puts out a firmware update.
    Rather than claiming that the D800 autofocus is defective, I have been seeking reassurance that its phase-detection is accurate enough to complement the camera’s unusually high resolution, having read claims that it is not. This concerns me far more for AF-S, the mode I generally use for shots where I should be able to exploit a camera’s potential for detail in full, than for AF-C, which I use mostly in circumstances where capturing detail is more challenging, such as hand-held macro or with moving subjects.

    To me, Ken Rockwell seems to be referring only to AF-C. I understand him to mean that the D800’s default setting for AF-C is that if you fully depress the shutter-release button, it will take a picture without waiting to focus. But a menu setting can be changed to prevent the shutter from opening until the subject is in focus.

    I have just double-checked how AF-C is implemented on my D90. I manually set my 55-200 lens at 200 mm and its closest focus position. I returned it to autofocus, pointed it at the shed at the bottom of our garden, and firmly pressed the shutter-release button. The shutter fired immediately, and all I got was a vague blur. To get a sharp photo in AF-C, I need to partially depress the shutter-release button for long enough for the camera to acquire focus. This is what I expected, because the D90 manual states for AF-C “Photographs can be taken even when in-focus is not displayed.” So my D90 seems to implement AF-C in the same way as the default setting of the D800. But one of the D800’s many advantages is that it has an alternative setting to delay the shutter until it has acquired focus.

    From your post earlier this year chronicling a mirror jam and its repair, you also have a D90. If I can change the AF-C settings on mine, I would be very grateful it you would explain how to do it.

    If you believe there is more to Ken Rockwell’s comments than suggesting it would be better if the D800’s default AF-C setting was to delay the shutter until the camera has acquired focus, please can you explain how you think its AF-C settings are inferior to the D90’s, or whether there is any issue with its default settings that would affect its performance in AF-S?

  13. #33
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    Re: Nikon D800 test

    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisNewman View Post
    Rather than claiming that the D800 autofocus is defective, I have been seeking reassurance that its phase-detection is accurate enough to complement the camera’s unusually high resolution, having read claims that it is not. This concerns me far more for AF-S, the mode I generally use for shots where I should be able to exploit a camera’s potential for detail in full, than for AF-C, which I use mostly in circumstances where capturing detail is more challenging, such as hand-held macro or with moving subjects.

    To me, Ken Rockwell seems to be referring only to AF-C. I understand him to mean that the D800’s default setting for AF-C is that if you fully depress the shutter-release button, it will take a picture without waiting to focus. But a menu setting can be changed to prevent the shutter from opening until the subject is in focus.

    I have just double-checked how AF-C is implemented on my D90. I manually set my 55-200 lens at 200 mm and its closest focus position. I returned it to autofocus, pointed it at the shed at the bottom of our garden, and firmly pressed the shutter-release button. The shutter fired immediately, and all I got was a vague blur. To get a sharp photo in AF-C, I need to partially depress the shutter-release button for long enough for the camera to acquire focus. This is what I expected, because the D90 manual states for AF-C “Photographs can be taken even when in-focus is not displayed.” So my D90 seems to implement AF-C in the same way as the default setting of the D800. But one of the D800’s many advantages is that it has an alternative setting to delay the shutter until it has acquired focus.

    From your post earlier this year chronicling a mirror jam and its repair, you also have a D90. If I can change the AF-C settings on mine, I would be very grateful it you would explain how to do it.

    If you believe there is more to Ken Rockwell’s comments than suggesting it would be better if the D800’s default AF-C setting was to delay the shutter until the camera has acquired focus, please can you explain how you think its AF-C settings are inferior to the D90’s, or whether there is any issue with its default settings that would affect its performance in AF-S?
    I understand where you are coming from....my main reason in posting Rockwell's suggestion was to squash the rumors already flying around that the D800's focus system is defective.....when it is not.

    As far as I know....the "release" options on the D800 are an "upgrade" to cameras like our D90. I wish I had that option on the D90....it would be fun to play/experiment with it. Like any camera...."you gotta wait" until it focuses on the subject, either that or NEVER let go of that half-way pressed button....and then you are at the mercy of the lens' focus speed, available light, background objects being more prominent than what you are trying to focus on and inevitably your own ability to hold a camera steadily enough to keep that focus point on the subject.
    Outdoors in good light....my old Pocket Rocket 70-210 AF-D lens is faster focusing than my 35mm 1.8 AF-S lens. That should not be....but it is. My 18-70 AF-S is quick though....VERY quick.....quicker than my 35mm. I've heard people say that their 35mm 1.8 is their fastest focusing lens. That's why I don't read too much into focusing speeds on cameras or lenses....there are too many variables involved.
    Does the picture turn out differently than what you see in the viewfinder?

  14. #34
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    Re: Nikon D800 test

    Quote Originally Posted by P_Stoddart View Post
    I wonder with both Canon and Nikon have production issues with top line cameras.
    I get the impression that cameras come out slightly less 'finished' than they used to be. Maybe the ease of issuing firmware upgrades is seducing makers into taking a tad less care on the physical construction side. Might also be attributed to time pressures, the need to keep generating revenues and the overall complexity of a modern camera.

    On the focus front may I remind posters here of AlecM's thread of last year, longing for a D700 equivalent of the Canon 5DMkII. He discovered the fine tuning advice he needed in the Darrell Young&James Johnson book 'Mastering the D700'.

    Hopefully, a D800 version of the book will follow soon ...

  15. #35
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    Re: Nikon D800 test

    Quote Originally Posted by hech54 View Post
    Like any camera...."you gotta wait" until it focuses on the subject, either that or NEVER let go of that half-way pressed button....and then you are at the mercy of the lens' focus speed, available light, background objects being more prominent than what you are trying to focus on and inevitably your own ability to hold a camera steadily enough to keep that focus point on the subject.
    Outdoors in good light....my old Pocket Rocket 70-210 AF-D lens is faster focusing than my 35mm 1.8 AF-S lens. That should not be....but it is. My 18-70 AF-S is quick though....VERY quick.....quicker than my 35mm. I've heard people say that their 35mm 1.8 is their fastest focusing lens. That's why I don't read too much into focusing speeds on cameras or lenses....there are too many variables involved.
    Yes, I chose the 55-200 lens to check AF-C behaviour because I think it is fairly slow to focus, and of course lack of focus would be very obvious at 200 mm. But I didn’t notice the system even start to focus before the shutter fired.

    Quote Originally Posted by hech54 View Post
    As far as I know....the "release" options on the D800 are an "upgrade" to cameras like our D90. I wish I had that option on the D90....it would be fun to play/experiment with it.
    I was caught out when I was new to my D90, and I used AF-C with my macro lens to try to get an identification photo of an unusual butterfly I saw on the ground. I pressed the shutter-release button right down (as I usually do with AF-S), and finished up with a couple of hopelessly blurred photos before it flew away. Fortunately, an expert was able to confirm it was the species I thought from the blur.

  16. #36
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    Re: Nikon D800 test

    Having read through this thread, the thought comes to mind "Why on Earth are these cameras so complicated?"
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    Re: Nikon D800 test

    Quote Originally Posted by Roy5051 View Post
    Having read through this thread, the thought comes to mind "Why on Earth are these cameras so complicated?"
    1. Because they can make them that way.
    2. To give you an excuse for making rotten images.
    3. To give themselves an excuse for selling you "how to use..." books.
    4. In the hope that you will buy the next model when they release it: if you feel you're getting what you need from the current model, there's no incentive for you to to replace it.

    I'm on record as having stated, many times, that there is no reason whatsoever why a DSLR should be any more complicated than an Olympus OM-1.
    If you're not living on the edge, you're wasting space

  18. #38
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    Re: Nikon D800 test

    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisNewman View Post
    I was caught out when I was new to my D90, and I used AF-C with my macro lens to try to get an identification photo of an unusual butterfly I saw on the ground. I pressed the shutter-release button right down (as I usually do with AF-S), and finished up with a couple of hopelessly blurred photos before it flew away. Fortunately, an expert was able to confirm it was the species I thought from the blur.
    I'm not sure what the D90 default preset is but...you may want to make sure your "focusing light" option is ON. I turned mine off at one point - don't remember why exactly - but found myself struggling to get good focus on shots. Someone here reminded me how important that feature is and have had much better luck....especially in lower light situations. You look like a "dork with a portable" when that thing lights up....but you do what you gotta do....especially with lower priced lenses.
    Does the picture turn out differently than what you see in the viewfinder?

  19. #39
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    Re: Nikon D800 test

    Quote Originally Posted by hech54 View Post
    I'm not sure what the D90 default preset is but...you may want to make sure your "focusing light" option is ON.
    I’ve never changed my “Built-in AF-assist Illuminator” from the default “On” setting. I found it handy one day exploring a short mine tunnel! But the light was pretty good when I tried to snap the grayling butterfly, and I don’t think it came on. My problem then was that I was unfamiliar with the camera, and with autofocus in general, so I didn't think to press the shutter-release button half way and wait for it to focus. But I could still make the same mistake from habit, as I use AF-S much more than AF-C, and expect the camera to focus before it releases the shutter. I think I would appreciate an option to force it to wait to acquire focusin AF-C, as it seems the D800 has.

  20. #40
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    Re: Nikon D800 test

    Quote Originally Posted by hech54 View Post
    I'm not sure what the D90 default preset is but...you may want to make sure your "focusing light" option is ON. I turned mine off at one point - don't remember why exactly - but found myself struggling to get good focus on shots. Someone here reminded me how important that feature is and have had much better luck....especially in lower light situations. You look like a "dork with a portable" when that thing lights up....but you do what you gotta do....especially with lower priced lenses.
    I switched mine off as soon as I got both my D300 and D3. When I shot a lot of comedy gigs the light was a nuisance. I've never bothered switching it back on, and thinking about it, I haven't the foggiest how to do it either!
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