18 of 34 people found the following review helpful
HUGE AF problems (now resolved)
, September 4, 2012
This review is from: Nikon D800 36.3 MP CMOS FX-Format Digital SLR Camera (Body Only) (OLD MODEL) (Electronics)
I have been shooting professionally for 6 years and have owned the Nikon D80, D90, D300, and multiple D700 bodies. I've been shooting with the D700 for years so I was ecstatic when the D800 was released. I ordered my D800 in April 2012 and just received it in August 2012. Right after receiving it I had a wedding and was excited to see how it would perform. Throughout the day I didn't seem to have any problems and was feeling pretty good about how the wedding images were going to turn out. After reviewing the images, I was horrified to find that most the images were out of focus. Not just the low light or action pictures, even most of the pictures with the bride and groom stationary outside in great light.
YES, the camera and lenses were set to AF and not manual. I had the camera set to the low volume beep to indicate it was focused and it was beeping the whole time so I know it was trying to work. Throughout the day I was switching lenses between one of my D700 bodies and my new D800. The D700 had zero problems with focus using the same lenses. Thanks God I had my D700 shooting throughout the day or I'd be totally screwed. The D800 didn't achieve 1 focused picture of the bride walking down the aisle and didn't get a clear image of the kiss, and very few clear images during the ceremony. My D700 saved the day where the D800 failed.
I don't know if it was a defective body or if this is a common problem with the D800 but I'm attempting to return it right now. If this is a widespread problem, hopefully Nikon fixes it quick or I'm jumping ship to Canon. I'm not about to wait another 5 years for a new body.
P.S. All the images do have the green tint problem, my D700 has a perfect balance between magenta and green. The D800 often produces images that give a subject's skin a dull orange tone where my D700 gives a perfect warm glow. I shoot 100% manual exposure and manual white balance so I'm definitely able to compare the 2 cameras apples to apples.
I think a $3,000 camera should be able to focus on a subject, so my 1 star rating is perfectly justified. If you bought a car that couldn't stay on the road and kept driving into ditches that car would be worthless. Same thing with my D800.
So I sent my original D800 back, then I purchased another D800 in 2013 in hopes that the focusing issues had been fixed. They weren't. My new D800 had the same focusing problems as the original. The images were very soft, as if the camera focused 95% of the way, but was still off. They looked focused until you zoom in to 100% and you could clearly see that they weren't sharp. I decided to send it in and see if Nikon could fix the problem and to my surprise it came back working wonderfully. It now focuses more accurately than my D700 bodies. I have NO IDEA why their quality control was so terrible that over a span of 2 years, with 2 different camera bodies. It makes me wonder how many people have the same issue with their D800 bodies but don't even notice the clear lack of sharpness of their images. Maybe they assume it's normal, or that it's "good enough" or something. But I'm happy to say that the issue seems to be resolved with my particular body, though I had to pay a ton of money in shipping and insurance to fix a problem that never should have existed.
At this point, my only issues with the D800 would be the lack of sharpness (due to motion blurring) at lower shutter speeds. It's a known issue with large image sensors, not unique to Nikon. For some reason it's more difficult to achieve sharp images with high megapixel sensors and I'm not geeky enough to understand it, but I rarely go below 125 of a second (handheld) with my D800 because the images will begin to blur, even with light movement of the subject or the operator's hands. I just bump up the ISO a little bit to make sure I have a fast enough shutter speed. Not ideal but it gets the job done so I'm not too worried about it.
My final issue with the D800 is the lack of ability to use manual white balance (degrees Kelvin) in funky lighting situations. If I get in a dark room with incandescent, florescent or other weird lighting I would manually set my white balance and could get pretty good results most of the time. The issue with the D800 seems to be that you can get the yellow/blue spectrum good with degrees kelvin, but the magenta/green spectrum is funky sometimes. It seemed with my D700 that the green/magenta would automatically set itself pretty close so you only had to worry about the yellow/blue (warm/cool) aspect. I could be wrong, but it looks like you have to go into a menu in the back of your camera to manually set the green/magenta which obviously isn't practical if you're shooting a wedding or event. And I don't like auto white balance because it's just not accurate all the time. I've since purchased an ExpoDisc 2.0 so I can get an accurate white balance reading every time, but again this isn't the fastest way to set your white balance. On my D700 I would set my WB as quickly as I would set my shutter speed or aperture...could almost do it in my sleep. There may be a trick to get the same results with the D800 but as of now I'm still dealing with that pesky green/magenta spectrum which just takes too much time.
Overall I'm pretty happy with my D800 now that the focusing issue is fixed...I can deal with the other things I don't like but I can't deal with pictures that aren't sharp. I'm changing my rating from a 1 to a 4 star since my big issues are resolved. In most areas my D800 is definitely better than my D700 so I'm happy. I'm a huge fan of the dual card slots, so I automatically have a backup of every picture I take. It gives a lot of peace of mind.
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