[News] Nikon D800 Has Confirmed Focus/Viewfinder Issues

[News] Nikon D800 Has Confirmed Focus/Viewfinder Issues

I didn't believe my buddy when he told me that his brand new Nikon D800 viewfinder was always out of focus. I assumed that he had the diopter out of whack. It wasn't until I used the camera myself that I realized there was a serious problem. The camera was sent back to Nikon for repair and he received the camera back last week with the same issue. After sending it back a second time, Nikon has admitted that "a run" of D800s have an issue with viewfinder alignment.

Steven's camera (serial number 3003228) seemed to have 2 separate issues; focusing, and viewfinder alignment. Sometimes autofocus worked properly, other times it was way off. When the camera did focus properly the scene still looked slightly out of focus through the viewfinder. After doing some tests with live view and then comparing his D800 to another, Steven confirmed that there was something very wrong with his copy.

Steven ordered his camera the day that it became available for preorder and was one of the first to receive it in the US. He got his camera weeks before me and I'm an NPS member. He has now spent $250 shipping the camera back to Nikon twice for repair. Nikon claims that the autofocus issue has been fixed but to repair the viewfinder will require parts that will not be available until next month. They are willing to refund his money for the camera so he can buy another (not including the $250 in shipping he has spent) but he knows it could be months before he receives another camera because he will be in the back of the line.

If you have a D800 give your viewfinder a second look. With Steven's camera you could autofocus, and then lean in toward your subject and the scene would finally drop into focus. Does anyone else have this issue? Luckily my D800 is working fine.

Update: About an hour after this post went live Steven got a call from the head of Nikon Service and Steven will be receiving a new camera directly from Nikon tomorrow. Sadly, they will not be refunding the money he spent to insure and mail the lens back to Nikon twice.

Another interesting note is that one of the commentors below claims to be having this exact same issue with his D4. We will keep you posted as we learn more.

Lee Morris's picture

Lee Morris is a professional photographer based in Charleston SC, and is the co-owner of Fstoppers.com

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Is it wise publishing a camera's serial number in public?

But I wish people would stop with the Canon vs Nikon taunts - it's not as if either of us can really take the p*ss out of each other right now.

next thing you know Steven's bank account will be empty....

Yes, I know it sounds daft, possibly a teeny weeny bit paranoid.

The problem is that if some nefarious character has stolen a camera, they could conceivably change the serial number to a “safe” one, so that if a buyer does check it
against a database (there is at least one on the 'net), it won't show up as stolen.

I did add the question mark as, to be honest, I am not sure if it is a problem, or common with cameras, and it is also possible to find serial numbers if it hasn't been stripped from an image's IPTC/EXIF data...

People should go to dpreview website and search for D800/D4 AF issue. Many cameras are affected including the latest released ones. Some cameras sent back to Nikon service and came back with the same issue. ATM, Nikon denies the problem which is totally unacceptable.

What is this!? I expect a $3000 dollar camera to be absolutely perfect! This is unacceptable! Shame on you Nikon! Blurry viewfinder AND autofocus issue, this clearly means that the camera is unusable and a $3000 dollar piece of junk! Shame on Nikon for having initial issues with a first batch of a new product! I expect perfection for my hard earned cash! 

This is why i always wait for 2nd sometimes 3rd batch before buying new gear!!!! 


I believe I will cancel my D800 order and wait.

That would be wise imo

I'm still waiting for my D800E. No word on when I will get it. Ordered on Feb, 7th.  I wonder if they are holding shipment because of these sort of issues?

Have a new D4 that wont focus at all with my 24-70F2.8 AFs (although you can hear some movement)  but works fine with my older 85 F1.8- of course I'm told the lens is the problem!! it's working just nicely on my D3 though !!
Not a good start for Nikon at all

Just another reason NOT to be one of those 'latest & greatest' types... Wait it out and let the other guys be the guinea pigs. Imagine laying out over a grand for a PRE-ORDER !! You have to have a hole in yer head.

Hurry up Sony A99......

I don't why you Canon vs. Nikon people fight so hard for these companies that don't give a rats rear end about you as long as they have your money.  I use both brands and both have issues.  IMO, these D800 issues are way more serious than the 5D3.  5D3 is a simple fix and who in the world uses AE in long dark exposures anyway?  Whereas the D800, you use the darn viewfinder all the time.  If I wanted to shoot off and LCD I would have bought a point and shoot.

count me in. i have the same issue.

and i thought i was mad.
i have send my camera back to my reseller here in germany and he told me everything works fine.

but i guess he has not even looked at it. :(
will send it directly to nikon.. thanks for the report!!!!

many thanks to all you Beta body testers.
I really do appreciate you guys and gals who buy new tech so quickly when released. It saves me tons of problems and troubles by just waiting and letting the glitches and problems be found and fixedwhile I wait to buy later on.

Here here.
No sense being on the bleeding edge!  I cancelled my D800 pre-order (from 2/7 release date).  My D700 and D300 are working flawlessly - since I took them both out of the box - so why torture myself with a $3000 paperweight?  I think I will give my self a D800 as a Christmas gift -- assuming A:) Problems are fixed, firmware updated, and B:) they are available and in stock.

Since Sony is taking such a long time with their full frame pro camera, I hope they will be problem free.  An opportunity for you to shine Sony.  Come on and give us a silence full frame and SSM Zeiss lenses. :)

For those having the issues I recommend finding a local camera shop that is Nikon approved. NYC has one in union square and they repaired my d7000 focus issue in 3 days with no shipping. Just check Nikon's site to see what they have listed. They sent the repair bill to Nikon. 

I would guarantee that there are no local service centers that have the necessary software to deal with this problems this early in the game.  In fact, I am not so sure even if Nikon USA repair centers themselves do, seeing most camera being returned with the same issue, or worse...

What special software, that isn't out, does it take to test view finder alignment? 

I wasn't really referring to a mechanical alignment for a viewfinder per se..., and perhaps I should have been more specific in my post. I was actually referring to autofocus calibration software for correcting each viewfinder sensor. I have a very reputable Nikon authorized service center in the Chicago area that I use. When I took in my D7000 for AF error even five months after owning it, they did not have the software to correct it and sent it in to Melville for me. As I understand it, the software is specific to the body, and able to project each sensor to a bigger screen and can adjust each sensor to manufacture's original specs. I went to my authorized center with my D800 issue and they weren't even close to getting this software, and they couldn't even speculate when they would even receive it. So my camera is at Melville getting a look at the moment.

I dealt with problems on my D7000 which I had to send in twice before they fixed it.  I paid shipping and insurance both times though the body was brand new.

I shoot both brands and I find that Nikon repair at the NY facility likes to waste my money and tell me there isn't a problem.  this has happened multiple times.  

Yep, I have to agree, that was my exact experience with trying to get my D7000 AF fixed my Melville. 

Nag! Nag! Nag! In 2012 Americana you actually expected to get what you paid for? Really? Pass the bottle and lets all imagine such things together.

As a Canon shooter, I'm interested in these comments,  It seems so many pro photogs are Nikon shooters, and all of them have this incredible angst against Canon.  Dude, Ford or Chevy, Android or iPhone.  You should be happy that there are competing companies, because without one, the other would suck.  Competition in markets are a GOOD THING. Batman and the Joker, Yin and Yang, the duality of the market creates an existence that is good for all. Respect each other as consumers and hope that each new camera out does the other.  We are better off for it.  So stop talking crap to one another and hope that your next Nikon or Canon Camera rocks it.  :D  P.S.  I sound like a total bush hippy in this post.

 " It seems so many pro photogs are Nikon shooters, and all of them have this incredible angst against Canon".

And there's always people like you writing comments feeding this anger which generalizes too much.  I'm a Nikon user but sometimes i wish I had Canon which i also respect.  Both are great companies with their plus and minuses.

lol, i'd rather have a minor light leak in the top LCD problem now. Funny how so many people bashed that issue for canon, but this was overlooked for a long while... and now most people arnt even that angry with this. atleast canon recognized their issue and offered to fix them all, vs nikon? sounds like they arnt even recognizing a *very* important mistake. Cant focus? really? come on.

Has anyone else had problems with the Live View exposures and the actual exposure. I find what I see it not what I get - always over exposed compared to Live View. I own Canon T2i too and it is dead on - what I see IS what I get. Is this a Nikon issues...

My D800 seems to be ok so far on the view finder. I bought it off BB 3/22 with serial 3002630 so it's manufactured earlier than the troubled body. Wonder if this applies to a batch or sporadically.

I just got my D800 yesterday. After taking a shot I would zoom in 100% on the monitor and it seemed as if it was out of focus. I then realized that it was in focus, just behind or in front of the spot it was supposed to be in focus. So i made a little grid of thin lines and places two small squares in the middle. I put the camera on a tripod, angled it about 45˚, set for manual exposure with single point focus, and focussed on the square in the front. Sure enough, my 50mm 1.4 was way out of focus, so much so that the "AF fine-tune" could not bring it back in focus. I tried my 24-70 2.8, it wasn't as bad, but still not correct (see attached images).

I bought it from my local Nikon dealer and they totally agreed with me (I brought my laptop to show them to be sure) and they said I had two options. Be put first on the list for a new one, or, have them send it in. Anyone have any insight on which I should do? Wait till they have another one, but it might have the same issue, or send it to get fixed and always have a lingering feeling that something else might be wrong with it.


My experience sending it in was a terrible one. Admittedly, I have gotten a new camera out of it in the end, but it took me over a month, constant complaining and moving up the ladder to contact the next person when the former didn't help me, and over $200 in shipping/insurance costs to get it back to Nikon twice since they didn't fix it the first time they claimed to. It wasn't until I spoke with the head of service AND the head of customer relations in NY that they finally admitted it was their problem and not mine. I was initially told I'd have to wait until they got the parts in, which would be another month or so, or that they would refund my original purchase price, thus putting me at the back of the line of ordering a new one from a dealer. After making enough arguments and complaints to enough people, and Lee posting this story, they decided to send me the new one.....I'm still not sure if this new one is problem free however. They claimed to have had service inspect it to make sure there were no issues before sending it to me.

I thought you may like to have this info in mind if considering sending it in to Nikon. 

 And what would your recommendation be?  I just received my d800E and has the same problem... Needles to say I'm not happy

If you are willing to fight for it then you can send it to Nikon. They told me they'd have the parts hopefully by late May, so they may only be willing to repair it, I can't say for sure. Otherwise, if you'd rather save the headache and wait then you can return it to where you got it and they should put you atop their list for a replacement since you received a bad one.

I sent mine to Melville a week and a half ago.  If they don't have the part to fix it yet, I am wondering what they'll do in the mean time. I hope at least they'll be honest about it and offer to take it back paid shipping by Nikon when they have the fix rather than to send it back to me claiming it's "fixed".  Based on my past experience with Nikon service the latter is what I am expecting unfortunately.  Did you receive your new camera yet?

It took quite a bit of pressure on my part to get the results I did, but yes I have received my new camera and all seems to be well with this one. Unfortunately they did send it back to me once and claim it was fixed when it wasn't. At that point I moved on up the line and spoke to people higher up.

I just got my new D4 yesterday and testing it out today, when looking through the viewfinder, I too see the nearly impossible to focus viewing area. I've used the diopter adjustment with marginal results. When comparing to my D3s the difference is very clear: something is very whacky with the viewfinder. After trying to make my eyes adjust i was left with slight double-vision for an afternoon. No fun. Back to the store tomorrow to sort out the next steps.

i got my D800 before 10 days but when i take some  test shoot with it surprisingly my popup flesh was not
working after some exercise  i talked to nikon person, they advice me to send a camera to service center
for REPAIR, LOL brand new camera for repair!!!!!!!!
i return camera to store and they are giving another copy of   D800  within 15 days
sharad surani

I have been shooting with the D800 for a week. AF is flawless, viewfinder is perfect. The only issue I had was all the people stopping me and asking me if that was a D800 I was using and then proceeded to drool, or if they were canon guys proceeded to try to convinced me I could not shoot a fast basketball game which made me pull my gripped D700 and fired 8fps at their faces...they left running and crying for mommy :)

Gaffer tape over the proud yellow D800 strap fixed it.

Damn! Are you proud of yourself?

Nikon sucks, started quality problems years ago, I remember I bought my Nikon D5000 when was just out in the market back to 2008 and as soon as I went home and unpack my bright new camera and aim it to a subject to focus I notice that this camera was a "hurry product" they take it out to the market just to show they have something equal to Canon D500. The camera could not focus sharply and the so amazing Live V. auto-focus was useless. In fact I bought that camera because Nikon in their commercials they prized so much their brake through Live V. technology a totally useless function on Nikon D5000. Next day I rush to their representative technician in Cyprus who admitted that the Live V. Auto-focus wasn't as good as we where expected from a Nikon brand Camera of 800 USD ( the price in 2008 ) but he said to me is still a brake through technology. How a so successful brand product's company like Nikon can name a useless function a brake through technology. I have asked the technician to check my camera because I was insisting that the camera couldn't take sharp focus pictures even in TTL normal focusing position and he was insisting that the camera for it's price was very good. A month later the call me from Nikon to bring my camera for an update as they call it. The truth was that that model has more serious technical issues that could render the camera useless if they do not fixed it with a bypass chip. Since then my camera was even worse the video was of very high quality before I bring it in but after the repair the video has too much noise. Nikon refuse to give me the chance to buy another model even I agree to buy a more expensive model. I still have this camera even though I hate it is capable of taking beautiful  pictures in manual focus and even more beautiful pictures in all manual modes. But my heart is broken because I use Nikon since I was child and now I feel I have been cheated from the so beloved Nikon Brand. I will not buy Nikon again except if Nikon officials come out and say a big Sorry for the so many disappointed Nikon Fanatic Fans. I have use Canon cameras of other people ( friends ) I was always wonder why their product always render more beautiful pictures than the so famous Nikon and Nikkor Lenses. I have never admitted that Canon where better than our Nikon Fanatic Fans camera's even though inside my self I was admiring their results and I was often disappointed from our results. At the end I came to the conclusion that Nikon always give their best efforts towards their TOP models, they do not give much care towards amateurs models so If you are like me blind to Nikon then go for the TOP models never settle for high end amateurs models because you will be disappointed. If somebody wonder about my ability to take photos I can assure you that I'm not only takes photos since I was 12 years old I have also graduated from the Famous Beijing Academy of Cinematography, that's mean that I have studied photography and cinematography in more depth than a lot of other photographers. In this Academy we also learn about the structure of high quality lens that we use in Cinematography. And closing of course I have some prized photos that I have send to some competition so what I want Nikon to do is a big apologize to it's Nikon Fanatic Fans and take care not do the same mistakes again. YOU CAN NOT NAMED A USELESS FUNCTION A BRAKE TROUGH TECHNOLOGY YOU HAVE TO BE RESPONSIBLE FOR WHAT YOU ADVERTISE AND ALSO YOU CAN NOT EXPECT YOUR FANS TO PAY FOR YOUR FAULTS ALL THE FAULTY CAMERAS THEY SHOULD BE REPLACE WITHOUT A QUESTION. IF NIKON CONTINUES LIKE THIS THEN WILL SOON SEE THE MAJORITY OF THEIR FANS TO SHIFT TO CANON SOON.


Of course we all know that it's the camera that takes the picture... 

 When I was in the Academy, our teacher use to repeat this " is the eye behind the camera and not the camera" but we have to admit that " no matter how sharp and artistic is the eye of the photographer if the camera can not take the subject as sharp as the photographer wants it " and of course you can take beautiful out of focus shapes but when to come to take some portraits or wedding ceremony then you really need a fast responsive sharp auto focus system.

Well i guess i'll wait for the D800s or D4s :-)  My D700 and D3s are still quite capable, so no rush!

Paranoia.  That's what most of this is.  You tell people their cameras could have a problem and they start seeing it whether it's actually there or not.  Add to this the Nikon Haters.  They post comments telling us how they have been Nikon shooters for years and just bought the camera in question only to find it's defective.  This just fans the flames.  Why do people who bought into another brand feel so threatened by Nikon?  10 years ago I switched to Nikon.  I was amazed at the hatred so many people spew at just the mention of a ground-breaking feature on a new Nikon camera.  Nikon has been around for generations and their cameras just keep getting better.  You people better learn to deal with it or it's just going to fester inside you.

Interesting read all the comments.  Just sent my D800 back to Nikon as it seemed to suffer all of the issues outlined, focus, depth of field and exposure issues.  My awesome dealer in Adelaide has agreed to send it back and I stumped up for a D4.  Brilliant camera and it works !  Now very happy to be holding a D4 and D700 as my backup.  Based on my experience I would suggest saving up giving the D800 a miss.  The D4 has produced some beautiful images from the first 100 exposures !

Nikon D-5000 Autofocus Problem

I was experiencing the same problem and for me it actually turned out to be a VERY simple fix.

Look for a little "slider" button right beside your view finder. It will move up and down.

This controls the focus for the view finder. On mine, it was the reason things always seemed out of focus and as soon as I moved it down, everything worked perfectly.

Hopefully that helps.

More Detail : http://webcamerawebcamera.com/nikon-problem.php

I waited months for my D800...promptly had an "accident" that damaged the camera and had to send it to Nikon. Out of the box it was perfect, after the service I now have to autofocus fine tune to +15 globally and my viewfinder is inaccurate, i.e., if I move closer to the subject, the viewfinder comes into focus, and the image taken goes out of focus.  I'll have to send it in again, but it's a bummer since it took 2 months to fix it the first time.  I'm having a bit of early adopter remorse seeing all these other issues.

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