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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  • Rob

    No problems with mine! Did ever test I could think of to see if i was infected and was not.

    P.S. its the best camera I’ve ever owned!

    • RussB

      +1000 My D800 performs beautifully and flawlessly.

      However the words in this piece here I think could be taken with a huge pinch of salt all the same…

      • Banned

        AND…. One more reason not to be first to buy!!!

        • Oldsaying

          The old saying goes something like this.

          The early bird gets the wor… bug

          • Fishnose


          • Dr Motmot

            The late mouse gets the cheese!

          • underxposed59

            ” the early bird catches the worm”
            ” the second mouse gets the cheese”

        • Not true.

          I ordered mine at the day of the announcement and mine is perfect.

        • Rob

          I prefer the other philosophy that the early cameras are better built use better parts and greater care is taken exactly because it is an early model. Who wants to buy camera that will be obsolete soon?

        • Calibrator

          > I prefer the other philosophy that the early cameras are better built use better parts and greater care is taken exactly because it is an early model.

          Yeah, and other people believe in voodoo dolls, magnetic therapy and the flying spaghetti monster from outer space.
          Doesn’t make it any more true.

          > Who wants to buy camera that will be obsolete soon?

          So buying a body six months after launch will make it obsolete soon?
          Like the D700 that got obsolete six months after launch? (Irony alert! Irony alert!)

        • Fred

          The early bird get’s bird ‘flu.
          The rich pigs get swine ‘flu.

        • Sr

          @Calibrator: shut up atheist jerk. No one likes you.

          • Tomas

            I like @Calibrator, I myself is ordained priest in The Church of the Flying Spagetti Monster. Combat global warming and dress up as a pirate today! And I love my D800 bur I still use my D3s and D300 more. /Tomas

        • Pablo Ricasso

          If you don’t recant your disrespect of the Pastafarians I’m going to have to torch your embassy.

      • No AF problem on mine, too. I buyed it in a shop on April.
        I think maybe AF issue occurs between changes on production country, Thailand to Japan. Or maybe by one big earthquake. Who knows, Fukushima’s radiation?

        Oh, and it’s AWESOME.

        • Dr. Error.

          User Error for sure.

        • lorenzo

          Aren’t the D800/E and D4 made and assembled in Japan like most of the prime pro lenses?

    • Bacterium Nikonos


      You better take some Anti-biotics.

      • St.

        Better than antibiotics:

        • Pablo Ricasso

          But only if I can do it with the lens bare…
          NO PROTECTION!!!

        • just when I thought I’ve seen it all… lol

        • jorg

          where is ashton???

    • Emil Tillona

      I have a different problem; but some what similar. My images (landscape) are not really sharp anywhere in the frame. It seems uniform from image to image regardless of lenses or F-Stops.

      At first I thought that I was expecting such and increase in quality from my D700 that I was over reacting.

      I dropped Nikon a note a week after getting the camera and they requested unaltered images be sent to them. I tried in vain, but the images were too large and failed at every attempt.

      I recently went on a workshop out west to Arizona, and was convinced that all images are sub-standard.

      I called Nikon service again, and they requested copies. When I explained that I was having trouble trying to send RAW files. They instructed me to send JPEG, so much for unaltered images.

      I got a reply to send the camera in for repair. Its been in Melville now since last Thursday and I am awaiting patiently and hoping that I will get the results I expect.

      Has any one else have the same complaint??

      As soon as I hear anything, I will post.

      • Richard P

        If the setting of your d800 is set to jpeg recording then the image WON’T be ‘altered’ simply recorded in another way. You do understand how to export images for a set size right? Surely it’s not difficult for someone with a professional camera, and as i would hope, at least some background knowledge of the products they use. Also, it could be the lens. What lens are you using?

        • Emil Tillona

          Richard P: I only shoot RAW. Therefore, I assued that they wanted to see the images I already took for which my complaint was about. I thought that reszing them and altering to a jpeg NX 2 would destroy the inforation they might have wanted. Not being a “Professional” I was confused. There are some of us that are just amatuers with money.

          The Lenses I am having trouble with are: 14-24 F2.8, 24-70- F2.8, 70–200 F2.8, 300 mm F2.8 and the 500mm F4.0.

          If you think the lenses could be the issure; what would you suggest I try?

          I tested the camera for the Left Focus problem being discussed on this forum and concluded that it was not a focusing issure.

          I posted it here to see if anyone else had the problem.

          • David

            You could send them the images via a file sharing service such as dropbox. That should allwo you to send raw images.

            • Emil Tillona

              Thanks David, I did not think about that. Good suggestion. After my second call, they told me that I could resize and change to jpegs. I did that with View NX 2. When they looked at them, the told me that they thought these is an issue, and return the camera. So I am just waiting now. I was frustrated waithing from Feb 7 for my original order, now I guess I can wait a week or two more.

            • Poor

              Ah, you’ve always got your money to keep you company until your d800 comes back.

          • iamlucky13

            As long as you don’t have the picture controls turned up high (especially sharpening and contrast), they should have no trouble examining JPEG’s to a useful degree to determine whether or not your camera itself should be examined.

            Those are all quality lenses, so I’d be shocked if the lenses were the issues. As a start, when viewed at the same screen size as your D700 images, do the D800 images look worse?

            • Emil Tillona

              Yes, the images on the D800 are sub-standard as compared to the D700. I loved the D700 and never han any complaints what-so-ever.

              I was anxious to get the D800, and was very disappointed immediately; but keep second guessing myself.

              Well Nikon USA said based on what I sent them to return it to the Service Station in Melville, L.I., NY which I did. I persnoally drove it there last week. Its about a 2 1/2 hour drive (each way) from here, and I did not to trust anyother means. I am also going to pick it up when its ready.

              I am hoping to get this straight and mad at myself for not doing it sooner back in May.

          • Jan

            The problem will be back focusing. I have 2 D800s, one was back by 25 the other by 12.

            I’m not sure why but all problems I’ve read are BF and not FF, so there must be a common issue.

            • Emil Tillona


              I photgraphed a homemade target with typing on it. I put the target 45 degress to the film plane. When I took photo the lines behind and in front were out of focus. So with my crude test I belived that the camera is focusing correctly.
              When I look at images it appeears that there is a clear film over the sensor as to blurr the whole image. So nothing in the forgrouind or background is sharp.

  • IrisChrome

    Kudos to Nikon for owning up to the problem!

    • Andrew

      I have learned a lot from this post. In particular about the calibration tolerance of practically all cameras and the scope of deviation that is acceptable. It also appears that the problem caught Nikon by surprise and as a result, they might take steps in the future to further refine their calibration process. In addition, it will be interesting if in the future they will establish a backup plan in equipping their service centers with the necessary calibration equipment just in case a similar problem like this reoccurs. So overall, it seems like a great learning experience for both Nikon and photographers everywhere.

      • Jabs

        @Andrew – It probably was a Production glitch from new Equipment after the disaster in Japan and now Nikon will have to equip its major Service Centers in each area with new equipment to service cameras. That in the long term will probably be good for us all. Maybe the 36 megapixel sensors need closer tolerances as compared to the previous 12 megapixel bodies?

        • @jabs: let’s say you’re right, that it was a new equipment issue. Problem with that is that this would mean that Nikon is not using what is known as “closed loop QA,” which should be the norm for a state-of-the-art manufacturer.

          Almost any way you cut it, Nikon took a shortcut and got caught by it. The real question is whether they’ll continue to take such shortcuts or whether they’ve learned their lesson and will change things in both current and future manufacturing.

    • Sahaja

      A few Nikon employees have acknowledged the problem in interviews, but Nikon haven’t exactly owned up to the problem yet. There is still no official statement or acknowledgement about it from the company that I’ve seen published on any of their websites.

  • Randy Moe

    I tested mine in every way and never noticed a problem. Of course I am just an average shooter.

    • Dr. Error.

      You’re just not looking hard enough. You need to pixel peep at 600% to see the error. Unless it’s user error of course.

  • St.

    I had to send it to Nikon twice, but after the second time it’s working perfectly!
    Love my D800!

    • Eva

      I had to send it to Nikon twice, and both times they did nothing and claimed it was fine.
      This they did with AF Tune at -20.

    • D800E B&H customer

      Have you seen this on the D800E review at B&H? It is the only negative one out of 42, but note that the guy posted it in mid September, so there are still some (or many?) “infected” cameras outside.

      Poor left side auto focus

      By Frustrated Nikon Buyer from San Francisco

      By now many people have reported on the internet problems with Nikon D800 and D800E autofocus. It is frequently reported that autofocus points on the left side do not work well. On four cameras (two D800s and two D800Es), I can confirm the problem!

      I have extensively tested four of these cameras (see testing notes below) and all four did not focus well when using the left most center focus point. Because those problems were so pronounced, I decided to return the cameras and did not test the other left side focus points. Internet reports discuss problems with those as well.

      It has been reported that the D800Es perform better than the D800s. That is somewhat consistent with my experience. The left autofocus points were worse on the D800s; however, I had one D800E with poor autofocus overall. That same D800E also had a broken electronic release connector when I received it. The other D800E performed better overall than the three other samples, but still not good enough. All four have been returned.

      What happens? Using standard autofocus, the camera will not focus well on the left most (center) autofocus point. In Live View mode you can get good focus (either manually focusing at maximum magnification or by using Live View autofocus). In side by side comparisons, Live View produces better results than standard autofocus. In many cases the differences were substantial with standard autofocus not producing results that were acceptable.

      Internet reports suggest many of the left side focus points have problems, not just the left center one. While that may be true, as I mentioned above, I did not test those on my four cameras because the left/center focus point off was enough to justify returning the cameras.

      For some people, not having the left autofocus working well won’t matter.

      For me, I regularly shoot vertical landscapes and other vertical compositions where the left side selective focus points are very useful. I’ve been using the selective focus points on my D300 for years and find them quite valuable. Taking advantage of them has become very quick a simple for me and it is a feature that makes me more productive. So, I want them to work on the D800/E!

      There may be another serious impact of this problem even if you don’t have that same needs as I do. Internet reports suggest that the 3D focusing function of the camera will also be degraded by left focus points not working correctly.

      For those interested this is how I tested the cameras, here’s the process:
      – Put three focus targets on a wall corresponding to the center focus point, the left most center point, and the right most center point
      – Take shots where the selective focus points are on the center target, the left target, and the right target. Take four shots each with autofocus and four shots each with Live View (in other words, 8 shots per target, 24 shots per sequence. Another way of thinking of it is 4 comparison sets per target and 12 comparison sets per sequence)
      – Repeat sequence at different focus length and camera distance
      – Repeat all of the above with a different lens
      – Compare results in Adobe Lightroom side by side with the library view X/Y comparison tool
      – On my first two cameras I used manual focus for Live View and on the second two cameras I used Live View’s autofocus (by the way, the latter is very good!)
      – I also experimented with using autofocus fine tune on individual lenses. On the second two cameras (i.e. the replacements), I did all of the above and then repeated after setting the appropriate AF Fine Tune per lens. AF Fine Tune, in some cases, seemed to reduce the problem. However, I did not reduce it enough to make either camera’s performance acceptable
      – So, this is literally hundreds of side by side comparisons across four cameras.

      Given the number of reports on this problem on the internet, I suggest anyone wanting one of these cameras consider waiting until internet reports show purchasers regularly getting good cameras.

      Alternatively, if Nikon acknowledges the problem and guarantees new cameras don’t have it or guarantees that they can fix it if one camera does have it, then I will try again and purchase another. In the mean time, I’m waiting. On the point of Nikon repairing the cameras, most of the online posts I have read indicate that Nikon service centers are not able to fix the problem at this time.

      For me personally, I was really looking forward to the upgrade from a D300. I really do want the D800/E to work! Instead, I’ve been really disappointed!

      Finally, a note on customer service…I purchased the D800Es through B&H. B&H facilitated the camera returns and replacements. They were supportive and helpful and did everything a purchaser could want when dealing with such a bad situation.

      Nikon seems to have been silent on this left autofocus issue, and that has NOT been to their credit. The good customer service provided by B&H, in dealing with Nikon’s problem, does B&H credit!

      No, I would not recommend this to a friend

  • KH

    My D800E suffered the left AF issue and was fixed by Nikon Malaysia in less than a week. The calibration is called ”PC ADJUSTMENT” as stated on the service invoice. Now, all 51 AF points are spot on and only require minor AF fine tune adjustment for my set of lenses. Have to say, couldn’t be happier, it almost felt like the calibration actually make the farthest left AF point to be as accurate as the centre AF on my D700. LOL

  • Thomas

    I had Nikon UK service my D800 3 (three!!!) times, before they exchanged it for a new body, which oddly now suffers from a unsharp center focus point 🙂

    And so I keep on sending my D800 around the UK 🙂

    Nikon UK is a disgrace when it comes to dealing with those complaints! They do not acknowledge the issue and the also told me they had tested the replacement body.

    Why Nikon, why?


    • 36MP makes you work

      User error I guess.

      • CanonUser


        User error!

        • Thomas

          Must be user error! +1


          • Thomas

            Hey wait? not a user error! I am a f…. pro!

            • Nikon Shooter

              If you were a real pro you’d be shooting with Canon.


            • Jabs

              @What’s its name – lol

              A cannon or a Canon?

      • AChange?

        Thought the magic word was:

        D R I N K !

        What happened to it now?

        • User Error

          Liver poisoning.

    • PeterJ

      I had to return mine twice and the problem was never resolved by the Service Centre in the UK, they just said everything was within tolerance. After kicking up an almighty fuss, I had an exchange unit from a dealer.

  • Daf

    My contact as of end July below.

    Not sent it to them yet as I had a couple of weddings to do – but will do shortly.
    Had been waiting for them to officially acknowledge it 1st rather than sending my camera in and getting it back un-fixed. Sounds like it may pay to wait a little longer for the fix to be distributed throughout service centres.

    I would like to confirm that Nikon UK doesn’t recognize the left focus issue in the D800 as a common fault. I can’t comment also the opinions from the internet forums, because these opinions are very individual and we don’t have chance to check them, in which situations the faults could happened. All cases, which are reported to us, by our customers regarding incorrect functioning of any Nikon product, we take a note of and service centre investigate that to check if the issue happens in one particular situation, or could be recognized as a known fault.

    If you have an issues with your camera, than please send us a sample pictures, the best are NEF files so we can test them and compare with the results from our test camera and advise correctly.

  • Reilly Diefenbach

    Mine’s perfect, the best I’ve ever owned.

  • Damien Stenson

    I had serious issues with my left focusing when I bought it initially7. Purchased it in Dublin, brought it home and it was so bad that I returned it the next working day. Nikon had it for two weeks and it came back fine.

  • Fur

    I am the first to report to Nikon Singapore on this issue (confirmed with their manager). I bought the camera on the first week after it was released in Singapore (end of March). Service center denied the problem in the first place. They refused to exchange for a new unit. I spent a lot of effort to convince them on the AF issue. A week later, they acknowledged this issue; but asked me to wait for the fix, as the head quarter refuses to make any exchange for this issue. I waited for 3 months until the fix come out. After they had the fix, attempted to fix it 2 times, all failed. On the 3rd time, I wanted to file a complaint, but the coordinator/tech refused to give me contact information to do so. After another struggle, I finally able to talk to someone and they replaced it with a new unit (S/N:801xxxx). However, it also has the problem. The tech kept saying that both original and new units are within factory spec. Attempted to fix it the 4th time before the F1 race last week: it failed again. Both units showed very similar problem on my 24 f1.4, 14-24, and 17-35 after every attempts. I don’t think Nikon Singapore is able to fix the issue, at least, their solution is NOT able to fix every defective unit. I also asked Nikon Hong Kong to check the new unit for me, which is equally ridiculous, they denied the problem on the new unit and said it is within the spec. If that is the case, why the Singapore side needs to fix it so many time?!

    • Stop blaming tools

      Sounds like user error.

      • Fur

        They cannot fix it, so they said that it is within factory spec.

        • Fabian

          Fur, I’m with you. I don’t think Nikon has a handle on this issue. My D800 doesn’t focus properly on the left side either with a fast wide angle. I have tried three D800 bodies, and all show the same problem.

          I seriously doubt this is a calibration issue as all my other lenses focus perfectly.

          • User Error

            You tried 3.

            Yep user error.

          • Thomas

            has to be user error! No D800 is affected, or so I have been told by Nikon, i.e. user error!

            • Man I be mad

              The dude tried 3 and found the same “problem” in all of them. Sounds like he’s the problem here.

              The d800 will show up your mistakes and if people are so arrogant to assume they never make mistakes. Then you get this idiocy (trying 3 bodies and blaming the camera for it being out of focus).

              It’s user errrror!

            • Perhaps you skipped over reading the actual story before posting: Nikon has acknowledged that there was a problem. They won’t say how many, they are vague about the problem itself, but at least now we have them on record that there was a problem. Off the record, I’ve now gotten statements from quite a few Nikon folk about the problem and the details. It’s real, it affects more cameras than Nikon wants to admit, and they don’t always manage to fix it on first try.

              So stop trying to shoot the messengers. Even Nikon isn’t trying to do that ;~).

    • KH

      Try asking the rep in Nikon Singapore to speak to Nikon Malaysia, as I’m sure Nikon Malaysia tech has the fix for the AF issue.

  • D800 and D800e owner

    Both mine are perfect. Early batch too.

    This issue is mainly a bunch of intranet baloney.

    • gsum

      Mine is perfect – s/n 601..

      There’s certainly a lot of Internet baloney about this but I also think that some people are expecting too much of their lenses. e.g. the 28mm f2.8 is appalling, the 24-85mm f2.8 – 4.0 isn’t great and even the mighty 17-35mm f2.8 struggles a bit. I’ve taken to using Voightlander and ancient non-AI primes to get the best out of the camera.

      It seems that Nikon are missing a trick in failing to update their f2.8 wide angle primes – the f1.4 versions of these lenses are too expensive for me.

    • I won the lottery. I don’t know why everyone else is whining about not winning the lottery. Must be a bunch of Internet baloney.

      Folks: when you post something that uses fallacious logic, those of us who actually understand logic see right through you. All you do is make yourself look foolish and totally fan boy. I happen to like Nikon gear and have for years. But I’m also smart enough to recognize when there is a real issue and when there’s just Internet baloney. Your post is Internet baloney ;~). Homer Simpson: Ummm, baloney.

      No doubt there is plenty of user error involved in testing D800’s. As I’ve reported, I’ve looked at hundreds of user test images and only about 20% of them were done properly and show the hardware error I reported many, many months ago. Which means that 80% of them weren’t done properly or show some other error, which may be user error.

      So sure, there are user errors. Sure, you may have gotten a camera without the problem. But those two things together can not be used to say there wasn’t a problem. Please take a logic class next semester. It’ll help you in the real world.

  • Mine was fixed at the official service company after several mails to Nikon Finland. They had changed two rubber grips as well, I don’t know if it had something to do with any physical adjustment.

    Love the camera, it’s amazing and laser sharp with old lenses and handheld as well.

  • Mine is pretty far off. I sent an email to Nikon USA to see where to send this, but have a big shoot on Sunday, so it will head off on Monday. I will let you know how it goes.

  • Nikon Canada tried fix my first D800E in April. After four tries I gave up and asked for a replacement. With the replacement, on some lenses, all AF point work, but the left side is a minor problem for my 24-70 and a major problem with my 14-24. This is very useful information. Particularly in the face of those who think customers with problems are idiots.

  • Geoff_K

    While it would be lovely to have a camera that works properly, I am unwilling to send this one in and will return my 3rd D800E.

    I know I am contributing to the refurbish pile, but am unwilling to pay to ship it for a POSSIBLE repair.

    I may keep trying until vendors wont sell to me, or maybe just forget it for the rest of this year and hope for better luck in 2013.

  • Randall

    I’m an amateur with a D800 and still trying to sort it out. My D800 will randomly refuse to focus. It just searches and of course the shutter won’t trip. The first couple of times it did this, I found by accident that replacing the CF card restored function. But the last time it did it, even that didn’t work. It started working just fine about 10 minutes later.

    The CF cards are Sandisk Ultra. It has happened with a Nikon 24-70 f2.8 and 50mm f1.4.

    This has got me baffled and before I send it in to Nikon, I was just wondering if anyone had a suggestion?

    • Markus Hug

      Hi Randall!

      What is your AF set too? If you’ve dialed in AF-C this would be a “normal” behavior.

      • Randall


        Thank you for the reply. It has happened in both AF-C and in AF-S.

    • Emil Tillona

      Your camera could be set only to fire when in focus. Press the shutter release button half way down. When the round green focus light appears, push it the resst of the way down and it will fire.

      I hope that this helps.

      • Randall


        Thank you for the reply. The odd thing is that it will just refuse to focus and I can hear the lens searching (focusing in and out). The first time it happened was after I had already taken about 140 shots at a football game. The focusing bracket will blink red and then everything stops.

        I’m thinking that if you all have not heard of this, then it must be something I’m doing wrong. But it still seems odd that it will be working fine for a series of shots and then quit. Same subject; same lighting.

        • Emil Tillona

          Well you can turn off the focus priority in the settings and see if that helps somewhat.

          There might be a lighting problem. If the lens is not fast enough like F2.8 and its dark enough that can cause a focusing issue and prevent you shutter to fire.

          • Emil Tillona

            I red square is the focus point that the camera is focusing on. The round green circle in the left bottom portion of the screen is what you should look for. If it is not visisible, it means the camera cannot focus on the pioint you selected as your focus point. When it is trying to focus and you hear the motor going you will see chevrons point left and right to where the green circle is located. This means the camera is not focused and its searching.

            Its been my expericnce when that happens that I did not have enough light.

            I have been accused of being an Amature here on this forum and its true. I do not earn any money with photography. Its just a passion I have had most of my years.

            So you must take my advance with a grain of salt because there are many pros on this forum.


    • MB

      You are probably using live view (contrast AF) and the subject is to dark, has not enough contrast or is just too close.

  • Lubos

    I had problem with left and central focus points, so I contacted Nikon service center in Czech republic, send them camera and had it back fixed within a week (NPS member). I don’t have focusing issues after this fix.

  • Pablo Ricasso

    Mommy, I want a FURBIE for Christmas…

  • Plug

    Half the stuff he reads must drive him to do so.

    • Pablo Ricasso

      ERRONEOUS!!! (I tell you…)
      It’s only Ric that causes this.

  • Jay

    My ‘early’ D800E (SN +6001200) from the 3rd week of April 2012 is simply perfect, awesome camera, incredibly fast AF (even faster than D3s!) and so accurate with my 70-200 VRII that using life for focussing that lens doesn’t bring any improvement at all, whether I use the centre, top, right or left focus points. Maybe only the earliest batch (my D800E was from the second batch) was affected? In the few weeks between release of the D800 and D800E Ming Thein discovered the problem and Nikon apparently improved something in the production process. Too late for the first batch of D800E’s but just in time for mine I guess. Or maybe I was just lucky? Well, double lucky I guess, by receiving the camera in April already. 😉
    O, that face recognition is simply stunning, so fast, so accurate and extremely useful – even in a crowd it manages to pick out all the faces and focus on the closest one. Don’t ask me how they do it, – works like a charm and feels like magic!

    • Jay

      oops, what a typo! LOL – using live view, not a life of course 😉

    • dj

      Jay–Your serial number I found interesting, particularly since I got my D800E from amazon the end of June, having been ordered in March. My serial number is 30*****! So maybe this whole situation is more complicated than we know. Regardless, the camera has functioned beyond my expectations and any errors in focusing are clearly mine, a reminder to improve my game.

      • The first two digits of the serial number indicate the region the product was shipped to sell in. The US is 30. You can’t compare serial numbers across regions.

  • SR

    I purchased three separate D800 bodies and had to return them all due to the left focus issue. I am very happy to hear that it is fixed in new production as I LOVE the camera. I will wait a few months until current stock clears and then try again. Thanks for the update.

    • User Error

      3 bodies, all having a problem = user error.

      You’re probably a Canon troll.

      • Probability that you understand statistics: 0.

        Probability that someone would get three defective D800’s in a row: between 0.8% and 6.4% depending upon what number we plug in for how many cameras were actually affected.

        I actually think the percentage likelihood can be even higher than those numbers, because I’m seeing a regional variation that appears to be statistically significant. If you live in SE Asia or the US, those stated percentages would likely be higher. If you live in Japan or Europe, lower.

      • Geoff_K

        I am 0-2 with the D800E and focus issues. The 3rd one was NOT new, so only took 1 shot (it did not look fantastic) and returned it.

        Since the problem is likely in a batch, it is likely one would get bad cameras from that batch, until they were sold (and probably returned).

  • Mark Astle

    Shoot centre weighted, focus and reframe. That’s the way a learned to shoot years ago and it’s still the way I shoot. Either that or tripod mounted and stopped down so everything’s as sharp as it can be.

    So no issues for me.

    • Geoff_K

      I paid for 51 focus points, by golly I plan to use them. I am also not a fan of compose and reframe.

  • Kame

    Rather than being affected by the left autofocus issue mine required a -20 of AF fine tuning on all my lenses.
    I cannot even say if my left autofocus points were out just because AF was completely out.

    After a short trip to service center now it is spot on.
    I am facing a strange problem though.
    Fine tuning my 105mm VR with TC-20E3 will cause the camera to not focus with the lens combination.
    This is a stupid issue but prior to the service fix with a -20 it worked like a charm.

    I am considering, anyway, to return the camera to service later this year, just to have it checked again.

  • Nathan

    I laugh at those early adopters who insisted that nothing ever went wrong with their cameras when it was first launched. I said I would never buy the first batch and would rather wait until they came out with the firmware to fix whatever they found. Sure enough the D800 sounds like it had some flaws and those early adopters were crying. So glad I’m waiting and i thank those people for finding the flaws, that way I’ll get a perfect camera.

  • Deepc

    Mine came today and it is fixed in second trip to nikon. Nikon said they have replaced major parts. I think same mirrror and focus module.

  • Marc

    Eventually, mine was repaired perfectly fine:

    An overview of the repair procedure can be found here:

  • Hourglass

    My D800 focuses beautifully, and I have no left-focus issue. But it occasionally has a problem where it display a black screen with a hourglass for a long time after a shot. Does anybody has this problem?

    • Aldo

      You have the problem in quiet mode, live-view, and probably in mirror-up mode. In these modes D800/E empty it’s bufer before allowing another shoot. Nikon service says it’s a feature !!
      S and C mode are Ok, so use them or buy faster cards.

      • Hourglass

        Actually I have it in Single mode, not live-view, and not MUP. Most of the shots are ok. But like I said, it only happens occasionally. Most of the time the preview shows up instantly, but sometimes, it take a long time. I’m using 400x SDHC and 300x CF card.

  • I bought two D800 bodies shortly after they hit the market. Both had the left focus issue, and both were fixed by Nikon in Düsseldorf, Germany. It took them two days for one body and three for the other, including shipment back to me. Excellent service, and yes, the cameras have been working perfectly fine since they were adjusted.

  • >>But it occasionally has a problem where it display a black screen with a hourglass for a long time after a shot. Does anybody has this problem?

    Yes, same here.

    • Hourglass

      Did you find out the cause and a solution?

  • My D800 was the first in California. I do mostly landscapes and had relied on Live View focusing, so not experienced much trouble. I recently tested the camera and found that my sample was clearly affected. Keeble & Shuchat in Palo Alto, where I bought the camera, sent it in for repair last on Monday 10-Sep. I received my camera back on Fri 21-Sep. Checked it out over the weekend, it is 100% fixed. I am a happy camper.

    • Scott M.

      What is the serial number of that first D800 in CA?
      Mine is 300084x. Just curious as I have had some issues with 70-200vr2 backfocus.

  • Aldo

    My D800E was highly affected by the AF mis-alignment (back-focus excusively). Only an handfull AF points were acurate in the lower right quarter. The lower right one of the 15 cross-sensors was good, so I did more than 3000 shoots with only one AF point. On this point, focus was very precise with 14-24/2.8 35-70/2.8 105/2.8 70-200/2.8 without fine tunning, mis-alignment is mostly present with wide lens.
    At the end of august the camera get serviced by Nikon France (after theire holyday and mine). About 40 AF points are quite good now, and the central is perfect. But now I have some with front-focus errors, so sometime I get front focus errors depending on the AF point selection in auto-area. Results are also more consistents with AFS than AFD.
    Thank’s admin to stay tuned on the D800 AF test bench distribution in service centers, and congratulations for all your work.

  • David G

    Mine has the issue. Center Focus is out by 12 – Left focus is out by 18 – Right is perfect. This is with Viewfinder focus. Fine tuning focus for the center still leaves the left point out of whack, and screws up the right. Live-View is perfect focus every time – for any focus point.

    I am packaging mine up after the wedding I’ll be shooting this weekend. In Canada. I’ll let you know how that goes, and what comes back.

  • Joe

    So if custom firmware calibration is required, does that mean the camera can no longer be upgraded via firmware?

  • Bruce

    So, other than Nikon acknowledging that they are aware of the problem, and alleging that they have a fix for it, nothing else has changed. Only one Nikon service center world-wide, as far as the article relays, knows the appropriate fix for the issue, and even then, there is question as to whether this is a true 100% universal fix, or if it only works part of the time.

    Nikon also claims that this problem has been fixed on the assembly line, however people are still reporting, as of last week, the receipt of new and faulty cameras. This tells me that it has not been fixed on the assembly line. Also, the fact that their “fix” is not 100% universal tells me that whatever they changed on the assembly line based on this non-universal fix means that the new cameras being produced are not 100% AF fault free.

    It’s great that Nikon publicly acknowledged the problem, in an interview, but very concerning that they still do not have a 100% universal fix, and that only one of their service centers world-wide knows how to fix this problem.

    • Benji2505

      Took a bunch of German engineers to figure it out, LOL.

      But they are rolling out the solution now, what else could you wish for?

  • riccardo

    Does anyone have a link where I can see some pics with the asymmetric focusing issue? I did some tests with my D800E and everything looks fine.
    But I am just an average shooter.

  • 800 and 800e here. Both as spot on as a very spot on thing. Although on both ALL my lenses need at least some back focus adjustment. The 14 20 needs -18 and -20 respectively. The rest vary from zero to -14. To be expected with 36mp images though. Once dialed in extremely sharp everywhere and the same on every focus point.

  • PVS

    There’s been NO acknowledging yet from Nikon, once they give us the official statement from Japan THAT is going to sound like acknowledging and owning up for the bug.

  • My D800 had this problem which I confirmed through some testing. I sent it in to Nikon Canada, came back better but not 100%. I’m going to try and fine tune once I get Focal software up and running. More info can be seen here: http://photokaz.com/2012/07/nikon-d800-contrast-and-phase-detect-autofocus-testing/

  • yarrus

    it is may be interesting to find affected serial numbers use this forum. i do not beleave then Nikon dont know number from they change the production.

    • BRYANL

      If everyone that has this problem with either of the 2,,(d800,d800e,) could start listing partial part of their serial numbers..maybe we as consumers could get some kind of an idea…maybe even have a survey through Nikon rumors if Admin. would consider it.???? It might even help Nikon!!

      • Thom Hogan already did a survey with serial numbers.

        • Gary

          Mike had a quick look at Thom’s site – I found the “D800 Autofocus Issues” link, but I couldn’t find any survey results with serial #’s.

          I guess it’s just me, so could you help please and post a link?


          • He didn’t post serial numbers, just used them in his analysis.


            • Because my survey is open to anyone and thus can be gamed, I’m not going to report specific numbers from it. They wouldn’t be statistically predictable to a population by themselves. There is a statistical method by where, if you can get three independent data sources, you can use them to predict to a population. Since I can’t reveal the other two data sources I’m using, you’ll just have to take my word for the math. As you might note from a response above, I’m now able to give you a range for likelihood with 95% confidence.

              I’ll also point out that there is a definite skew to the serial numbers reporting the problem, which was surprising.

      • Gary


        Admin, please can you setup a page dedicated to this.

        Then along with the partial serial #, date and place of purchase, and a sample photo with the EXIF available, we might have a better understanding of which are the good and bad batches.

        BTW – my D800 does not have this problem

        • I don’t think it will be a good idea to post full serial number online. I don’t have to setup a special page, you can do this on the NR forum.

  • Ken Flipwell

    While I think there was an early on problem…NOT as many as those ones that jumped on the bandwagon…I purchased mine last month…and no problems. It runs smoothly. No green screen, no left focus issue…IT is the best camera I have owned…Runs great.

  • Sergio Marcheselli

    I have the same problems described above by Emil Tillona. I send D800 to Nikon Official Sevice (for Italy is Nital from Turin) and I’m waiting it back. At this point I’m not sure they will solve my problems. But I’m very disappointed about this, because money does not grow on trees…

    • Emilio Tillona

      Dear Sergio..

      Let me know what happens and I will let you know how my problem turns out.



  • ric

    don’t mind if I do.

    Thank you.

  • Geoff_K

    I have been testing this D800E (my 3rd one) pretty hard since I noticed some softness.

    I am seeing that even using the center point there is a softness on the left side of my images. The left focus point is softer than the right, but not by much.

    What concerns me is using the center does not give me side to side sharpness.

    I can scroll from the far right to the left and letters get less sharp the closer to the left I get.

    Any others notice this ?

    • JT

      Google field curvature & asymmetric lens curvature and you got your answer. #facepalm! Your problem is totally unrelated to the left AF issue.

    • Pablo Ricasso

      If it bothers you you might try sticking with macro lenses, telephotos, and wide angle primes.

      • Geoff_K

        It was with my Nikon 70-200 I noticed the change from right side sharp to left less sharp.

        I also have Vaseline on my lens when I shoot with the left focus point, or so it seems. Also, the right is no where near as sharp as center, though better than the left.

        • KnightPhoto

          @ Geoff_K

          The guys are correct when they say you don’t have the “left AF problem”.

          It sounds to me like you are using the original version of the 70-200? I.e. the 70-200 VR 1 which has reduced corner sharpness at full zoom and wide open.

          If you are speaking about the 70-200 VR II then your lens needs servicing as it shouldn’t look like vaseline in the corners.

  • These are good news.
    I didn’t want to bother with sending my body to El Segundo, since I use center point most of the time anyways. Hearing mixed after-repair reviews, where people were complaining that left points were fixed, but every other ones got screwed up in the process wasn’t giving much confidence either. But now it will make more sense to send it, even though my left point is off only by a little, because “Was the camera fixed by Nikon?” will be the first question, if I ever wanted to sell it.

  • AdamS

    Mine has been sent in twice and the problem is still not resolved. A little over a week ago Nikon service told me to not send the camera in again as they don’t have a fix for the problem yet. One thing to note is that the issue really only shows up with wide fast glass such as the 24/1.4 and 14-24 . With my 85/1.8 I really don’t notice a problem.

    • That’s why I’m a bit hesitant to send mine in.
      I shoot portraits, with either 24-70 or 70-200. almost never @ 24mm, and almost always using center point (although I could be using center point and re-frame technique, because of the left focus not being reliable).
      So sending it in, not having it for few weeks, just to receive the camera with problem not resolved (or worse yet – having center focus screwed up) is not something I want deal with right now.
      Unless Nikon will say they got it under control and know how to fix it at first try.

    • Dr. Error.

      Nonsense. You just have user error and are too proud to admit it.

  • jackarm

    My D800 pre-ordered early on first day of release. No screen tint issues or left focus problems. Just did a wildlife shoot framing subjects using left-most focus point and focus right where it should be. The D800 even seems to make my 300mm f4 sharper than with my D700 or D7000. No VR but handheld at 1/500 sec. looks astounding at 100% screen view.

  • Waited a LONG time to get a D800 but finally I was able to get one in June. I immediately noticed left focus issue in early test shots. I had to work around the problem on a shoot in Arizona and then after some back and forth with support, sent it to Nikon in NY to fix the issue. Camera came back from Nikon with a cleaned sensor (black lubrication spots – another story), but Nikon did not fix the left focus issue. In fact, it doesn’t look like anything changed. Going back and forth with support AGAIN.

    Been a Nikon customer for over 25 years and always had good results with service. Not this time. This has been a bad experience for me all around.

    • Dr. Error.

      Nonsense. You just have user error.

  • Thank you for letting us know about such things!
    This one happens not to bother me, but it’s nice to know about just in case.

    [I did test my D800: I tested the far left center point, the far right center point and the center center point using my 70-200 F/2.8. I shot some bricks at a distance using two different apertures: at F/7.1 I didn’t see a difference; I did see a difference at F/2.8 but since I’ve never used that focus point, I don’t see it affecting me.]

  • My D800 has the issue. I tested it by focusing on a 48″ ruler mounted on a light stand and focusing with the center, far left and far right focus points with my Nikor 16-35 F4 lens. The left focus image was clearly blurry, the other two were tack sharp. I just returned my camera to my dealer and they have sent it on to Nikon to be fixed

    • Dr. Error.

      Nope, user error.

      • Geoff_K

        Dr. Error you know he made a mistake because you were there when he tested it, right ?

        With taxes I paid $3500 for a defective camera (twice).

  • anon743

    I don’t have D800 but can still feel the frustration. Why is it that this second-tier pro body (but no other bodies, even lower tier bodies) has to suffer from such issue?

    No offence, but would rather see the D600 suffer from this issue instead, should this ever happen…

    • Nau

      shit happened s get over it

      • abc


    • Casey

      This is just a guess, but I assume it’s because the d800 is a 36 MP camera and these flaws wouldn’t show up on the D4 (not sure about the d600, but then I recall raves about the camera when it came out and very few mentions of focus issues).

      • anon743

        It’s easy to shift the blame to QC mishap due to environmental factors (earthquakes and aftermath etc.), but the D800 is pro-grade hardware (also MIJ) and should thus deserve top-tier QC treatment.

        Not that QC problems should be condoned, but if that must happen, it should’ve likely occured on a medium-tier model eg. D600 in limited quantities.

        • Richard

          I suggest reading Thom Hogan’s “D800: Where Do We Stand?” article. There is a lot more to this than just a simple slip up. It also involves Nikon’s inability to deal with a genuine concern of its customers in an honest manner.

          The only good change is that Nikon now appears to take the customer’s word for it if they say there is a problem rather than place an onerous burden on them to document the problem for Nikon before accepting the camera for servicing.

          Someone at Nikon should have some heavy duty apologizing to do to the customer base.

          • Richard

            P.S. For those who don’t read Hogan’s article, if you are buying a D800, he suggests very carefully examining the packaging to see if it has been opened previously. (Which would suggest it might be a (used) return.) The definitive test however, is likely to be whether the camera asks you to set the date. If it already has the date set, it is almost certainly a used/return.

      • Greg in PL

        It’s there on my D4. Particularly visible on 24 @1.4. I’m still waiting for the official fix 🙁

    • Nikon Nut


      There’s a really an AF problem with the D800 then?

    • Calibrator

      > No offence, but would rather see the D600 suffer from this issue instead, should this ever happen…

      So that more bodies are potentially affected?
      Or because the “dumber” people using a D600 wouldnt’t notice it?

      No offence, but I’d rather see arrogant “pros” shut up and think about consequences for a moment.

      • Big J

        Well technically glad the D600 didn’t have it because thanks to the D800 that kind of problem is far less likely to happen in the future. The D800 did surprisingly well in worldwide sales. But for the D600 that was aimed more towards “enthusiasts” or people “upgrading to FX” (I use that term loosely because DX is also really good) it would have been catastrophic for Nikon since more D600 were produced in comparison to the D800. Would have been curtains for Nikon in their funding for their future lines.

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