Nikon D800 Left-Focus Issue: Taking Lessons From Canon?
I was planning to publish some thoughts on Photoshop CS6 and how you may grow to like (or love) it. But there is that nagging, apparently growing issue surrounding the Nikon D800′s left-focus issue that takes center stage today. Unfortunately.
I am a Nikon shooter. Most of my best photography friends are, also. The men and women I have met and shot with and admire most are Nikon shooters (with just a small number of exceptions). But if Nikon follows Canon’s recent history of ignoring issues with quality control (especially on their high-end cameras), then admiration quickly will give way to frustration and disappointment. I’m not at that stage, but it clearly has been reached by others out there in Real Camera World.
If you haven’t read Thom Hogan’s comments on D800 focus issues and the Nikon response (he would write, “non-response”) yet, you definitely should. And that is true especially if you own a D800, contemplate owning a D800, are considering other Nikon products, or just are interested in how the major companies are responding to issues raised by shooters out here in the shooting world. So begin by clicking here to visit bythom.com and scroll down to his recent comments about the D800. Thom has physically inspected enough of the new cameras and talked to enough owners to become convinced that there is a problem with the left-side focus of the D800 – not all D800s, but some of them. And therein lies the rub … which ones? Manufactured when? His argument is that Nikon should be able to tell (since the issue apparently stems from defective calibration on a machine or machines in the factory). Thom figures Nikon now knows this and has corrected the problem (see my earlier posts regarding this explaining how one owner has had his D800 repaired by Nikon and the explanation he received). So is there a problem now?
If there is no current problem, Thom reasons that Nikon should simply figure out the serial numbers of affected cameras and let owners know. That way they could send in their cameras for a (free) fix and everyone else could relax and not worry. Mistakes happen; no huge deal here. What does matter is how you handle the issue and if any lasting damage is done to your reputation. I have argued recently that Canon appears to have some major quality control problems almost across the board. And that they have ignored problems, tried to sweep them under the rug, and then dragged their feet on repairs. Yesterday Canon had a big announcement about their entry into the mirrorless field. Well, based on the company’s recent series of miscues I wouldn’t be in the market for ANY new product from Canon. And that is what a poor response to a perceived problem can do to you.
Thom Hogan argues that Nikon is headed down Canon’s recent trail, going so far as to lower his rating on the D800 (in a lengthy review on his site) from Recommended to Not Recommended. Wow! And in a conversation with my wife tonight (who also is a photographer and who has been talking excitedly about the D800 for a while now) we both became a touch less-excited. Is there a big problem? My friends, great shooters and very experienced shooters, have D800s and are reporting no problems that they can see. I have seen a bunch of their images and I have yet to spot a left-side problem. So, Nikon – issue a statement concerning this issue: is there a problem at all or not? If so, explain it in language we can understand. And list what you are going to do about it. Then quickly do it. THERE IS NO SHAME IN FIXING A MISTAKE!
If there is no problem, say so. Challenge Thom Hogan and other experienced shooters who are complaining about an issue. Get your side of the story out here for all of us to read and consider. Devise and announce a plan or system for checking for this reported issue for all current D800 owners. Assure everyone else that all newly-produced cameras have been thoroughly checked and no such problem will be found. The D800 is a marvel of a machine, one that has taken the photo world by storm. Don’t sully this great start and pride-of-ownership by not simply and straightforwardly addressing the question. I have been pretty rough on Canon lately, using Nikon as the example of how things are done correctly. Please … don’t let me and all the other Nikon shooters out here down.
Okay, advice time. If I owned a D800 I would run the tests Thom Hogan suggests on my camera. Otherwise I would always have this nagging worry that I had just paid $3,000 for a camera that is in some way defective. It will be a pain, I know. But peace of mind and confidence in your equipment are extremely important to dedicated shooters. And that means you, my friend. If I was in the market for a D800 I would hold off for the moment and see how all this shakes out. There is a problem with some cameras or there isn’t. I would put time on my side and let the dust settle. And if I ever in the future considered a USED D800 I would make darned sure I had definitive answers to all the questions now swirling around before I spent a bunch of hard-earned dollars on an item that may no longer be under warranty.
But, no matter what, I sure wouldn’t consider buying a Canon right now. D800 problem for Nikon or not.