How to tell if your D800/ D800E/ D4 has the ‘left focusing problem’

I’ve been asked this question more times in the last few days than I can remember: ‘does my D800/ D800E/ D4 have the left side focusing problem?’

Here’s how you can tell.

1. Pick the widest, fastest lens you own. A 24/1.4 is ideal.
2. Shoot it wide open, with the camera on a tripod, AF set to AFS single point.
3. Shoot a set of images at extreme left, center and extreme right, defocusing the lens manually between shots. Use viewfinder AF. Pick a subject about 2m away.
4. Without moving the camera, do the same but in live view. (This is so the camera focuses exactly on the sensor).

5a. If there is no difference in sharpness in AF and LV modes between the points across the frame, then you’re fine and don’t have a problem. (But you might of course find the edges worse than the center; that’s normal. LV and AF focused shots at each point should look exactly the same in a correctly calibrated camera.)

5b. If LV is sharper than AF for all frames, then you need to use AF fine tune and try the process again.

5c. If the LV shots look sharper for only some, but not all, of the points, (e.g. right and center points look the same for AF and LV, but your left point is much sharper in LV than AF) – then you have the asymmetric focusing problem and your camera has to go back to Nikon.

You might also find this article useful on how to use AF fine tune.

And with that, I’m off to send my camera in for the fix. Will report back later (or tomorrow, whenever it’s done)…MT


Visit our Teaching Store to up your photographic game – including Photoshop Workflow DVDs and customized Email School of Photography; or go mobile with the Photography Compendium for iPad. You can also get your gear from B&H and Amazon. Prices are the same as normal, however a small portion of your purchase value is referred back to me. Thanks!

Don’t forget to like us on Facebook and join the reader Flickr group!


Images and content copyright Ming Thein | 2012 onwards. All rights reserved