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Multi-CAM 3500FX AF Gear & Apps

Nikon Acknowledges D800 Left Focusing Problem – Fix Is Available

By Leo Hoang on September 25th 2012

Multi-CAM 3500FX AF
Whenever you make a purchase, whether it be from clothing to technology, it’s always possible to end up with a product which contains defects. At times it can just be isolated to a few units out of their production line, but at other times it can spread further to the one or two units.

Since the release of the Nikon D800, there have been a number of reports that the left focussing point was inaccurate. I read that the problem occurs when shooting wide open on a wide angle lens (50mm or below). Although this was what I read, I personally have never found any issue with my D800’s focusing accuracy.

However, that may be because when I purchased my camera, I was made aware of this issue early on and insisted that Nikon take a look at it under warranty before I had to shoot my next Wedding.

Regardless, Nikon have acknowledged this as a common problem amongst the D800’s, and although they have not fully confirmed whether it’s a bad run of D800’s, they have found and understand the problem, and therefore now have a proper fix for this issue.

Currently only selected Nikon service centres can remedy the issue, so if you do find that you are having this issue with your D800, contact your local service centre and see if they can help.

Visit Falk Lumo’s Blog to find out more.

• 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 had this issue with your D800 and have had it fixed, how easily was it for you to get it sorted by Nikon?


Leo Hoang is a professional photographer based in London who shoots Weddings, Events and Real-Estate.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Mark

    I confirmed my d800 had the left af issue went back to nikon service Macedonia 2 times and when it came back it was extremly worse they told me they hooked it up to a AF calibration machine of some sort and calibrated it to perfection but if that is perfection we need a new word for crap :D

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  2. Mike

    Yes, 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:

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  3. Svein Arild Kristiansen

    Yes, I have the problems on my D800. It have been at service for 4weeks now. Status is “waiting for parts”, so I hope that is good news. I borrowed an D800 from the store, but it had the same problem, then they gave me an D3s, Im happy :D

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