It seems that I’m going to have to redo all of my focus tracking and lens evaluation tests: my AF sensor module is misaligned. I’ve come to this conclusion after a) trying out a number of wide angle lenses, all of which exhibit a soft left side when the AF system or focus confirmation dot reports achieving focus; and b) sending it in to Nikon locally to diagnose. Curiously, the problem is only exhibited with wide angle lenses (telephotos are mostly fine), and live view confirms it’s an AF sensor issue not an imaging sensor issue.
The bad is that it’s serious enough to require a new camera because the calibration is a very high precision adjustment that takes time (and unclear if it can be done locally); the good news is that NPS Malaysia made the situation right: a couple of hours after reporting the problem, I met with a representative who informed me a new D800 will arrive next Wednesday, and I’ve been loaned a D3x until the replacement arrives – at which point it will just be swapped out. Kudos to NPS for handling the problem well though – that’s how professional service should work (though a new camera on the same day would be even better…)
Still, a bit of a shame, because I planned to use the D800 for its first commercial shoot this weekend – looks like I’ll only be using it for the stop-down telephoto shots. MT
Coda: It’s interesting just how sluggish the D3x feels when shooting in 14-bit raw mode – just 1.8fps, with what feels like a good 200ms or more of lag between hitting the button and the shutter firing. It’s very noticeable if you put the camera back into 12 bit mode, after which it feels responsive and snappy like it should. Even the menus feel a little laggy, like the camera’s processor is working very hard. The D800, by comparison, runs happily along at 5fps in 14-bit mode – 3x the frame rate with files that are 50% larger, for a total of 450% more data. You don’t feel any lag, and zoomed in images – even 14 bit raw – are very fast to navigate around. Faster than the D700, even. I don’t know how many other people have noticed this, but it’s pretty darn impressive, in my opinion.
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