Update on the Nikon D800 left focusing issue

Nikon D800 MultiCAM 3500FX AF module

Nikon D800 MultiCAM 3500FX AF module

Falk Lume met with Nikon representatives at Photiokina and discussed the D800 left focusing issue. Portion of his recap is included, read the rest here:

  • Nikon has acknowledged, found and understood the root cause of the issue. It has been eliminated in the current production (however, I guess we'll never know when and from which serial numbers on).
  • The root cause is a misalignment of the AF module when mounted, outside of Nikon's own production tolerances. But be asserted we are still talking micro meters here ...
  • The issue for affected D800 can be solved in selected Nikon service centers; such as Düsseldorf, Germany.
  • The procedure is currently rolled out to more Nikon service centers.
  • The fixing procedure for Nikon is a tedious one. It includes writing individual calibration values into the firmware. For larger deviations, the AF module will first mechanically be re-aligned. This may actually include the AF auxiliary mirror in some cases.
  • This method is believed to deliver an autofocus precision which is at least as good as of cameras from a fresh batch. I could not clarify if there is a chance for both methods being non-equivalent in some way. However, Nikon Germany does not think so. They rather wholeheartedly believe that the in-service calibration procedure resolves the issue as good as current production does, if not better.
  • Nikon does actually not know how many D800 of the early batches have been affected. Despite all oddities, the so-called service-rate of the D800 is unremarkable and only "sligthly increased" (compared to other camera models).

If you have contacted Nikon support for this issue, please share your experiences in the comments section below (mention also your country).

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  • Mike

    I have sent my 880e to Nikon for the focus problem. They have confirmed that the camera indeed has the focusing issue, is out of warranty and they will repair it for $256.31US.
    I purchased from Amazon with USA Warranty, not gray market.
    Is this the way to treat a loyal customer?

  • Desert Rat

    Ok, I did some test shots on a friends D800 and it appears to have the left focus issue. Took to Nikon service in Los Angeles and they say it has the issue but since it is out of warranty it will cost $224 to fix instead of being no charge.

  • bummed

    Mine too is brutal, I have had nothing but frustration with this camera. I gave nikon 3000 dollars and they gave me a ticket to the unemployment line on the way to the asylum.

  • Dragan Mikki

    I bought one of the very first D800’s in UK, and was not aware at all
    about this issue, of left hand side of the pictures being out of focus, until
    three years later, which is now. Meanwhile, in 2013 I had camera checked by Nikon, and they made me have “service” on two of the zooms I use most, 24-70 f2.8 and 70-200 f2.8, for which they charged me, as they were out of warranty. For the first time in my life, after 33 years of being professional photographer, I heard the new salesman’s spill, that cameras and lenses need to be serviced every year, as “after all you do service a car every year”. I only photograph events which always involve people, and didn’t pay sufficient attention to the lack of sharpness and pattern in it, but when recently I looked at the images of architectural nature, I could clearly see that left hand side of the pictures, was not as sharp as the right one. I than checked the first images taken with brand new camera, as well as the images taken recently and during the whole three years. They all showed exactly the same problem through all this time .
    Still not having known about the existence of the issue widely
    publicised on Internet, I took the camera to Nikon UK where they quickly
    established that the fault is with the warped bayonet on the camera which would cost £465 to change. But for the past five or so years, I always made sure that the lens is never attached to the camera, and I didn’t notice any play between the lens and the camera, so I was puzzled by the explanation and I questioned the existence of the problem, and at that stage Nikon’s NPS manager let it be known about this Internet knowledge, which prompted me to look up all the articles on Internet, which without exception all described precisely the issue I have been encountering for the past three years.
    At that stage I couldn’t believe that Nikon allowed me to take over
    100.000 of technically inferior customers photographs, while they were
    aware of the inherent problem with the camera. That shows callous disregard for me and for my clients. Not to mention unpleasant and wholly unacceptable attitude of the manager of NPS scheme. Never mind about lecturing on something, as not being the photographer, he is unlikely to understand, but he believes that because I managed to sell technically sub standard photographs, it proves that they were sufficiently sharp, and that I have nothing to complain about. I was astonished at the attitude, and was speechless.
    Nikon is not worried about the long term impact that having 100.000 images could have, which they could have prevented, but they are apparently prepared to charge me for unnecessary repair, which in turn would allow them to correct the manufacturing error, and make some monies in the process too.
    If that is Nikon’s business model, than we need to be very concerned
    about continuing to use Nikon.
    I wonder why is it acceptable not to recall the faulty cameras, in
    our industry, while it is a decent and normal practise in virtually any other industry I know of.
    Currently, I am still waiting for the response to my Official
    Compliant, but Nikon’s Customer Service department doesn’t seem to be in a hurry. You would have thought that having known of the problem, they would feel responsible and embarrassed, but you would be wrong. You will do well if you are not verbally assaulted and humiliated by Nikon representative in the process. Thanks Nikon!
    I would also add that I don’t normally vent my anger on Internet, but on this occasion I think Nikon’s attitude stinks, and it should be known.
    Meanwhile, I am waiting for advice from Solicitor on provisions of Consumer Act in relation to selling goods not fit for purpose.

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