D800/E and Carl Zeiss lenses

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by james_symington|1, Jul 12, 2012.

  1. Just as an addendum to my earlier post of some days ago Nikon UK have taken in my D800E for the third time because of an issue I have with all of my manual focus lenses (CZ and Voigtlander)- they all focus beyond infinity. They did not do this on my D700 and D3 (now sold).
    One might reasonably say that CZ sample variation means that one of these lenses might do that but all of them certainly not - particularly since they were spot on the hard stop on the D700.
    NPS maintain that it is all within spec but the fact that nobody else seems to be reporting this problem and that Lloyd Chambers of diglloyd.com came back to me saying he had never seen a problem as severe as this (and he's tested plenty of CZs on lots of Nikons and Canons) leaves me perplexed.
    Could I appeal to D800/E and ZF owners to quickly check that when focusing at infinity using the hard stop with the aperture wide open you get sharp focus. I think NPS are tired enough of my lamentations that they will give me a new D800E but I am just concerned that it will be the same.
    Attached is a shot I put on the earlier thread showing where all my lenses end up focusing sharply at infinity. Curious to know if anyone else can replicate it - this issue is driving me potty.
    Many thanks,
  2. SCL


    Try this test...with a tripod and cable release go out and photograph the moon - where it appears to be in focus and at the hard stop if that is beyond the infinity focus point you have visually determined. Some manufacturers provide for beyond infinity focus to encompass expansion and avoid distortion to the lenses, but it looks more like your focus ring just needs a tweak. I've had to make this adjustment on a lot of used lenses I've purchased. I do understand your point of several of your lenses having this problem, and perhaps indeed the focus screen on your body needs shimming (or unshimming, as the case may be).
  3. Hi Stephen,
    Those are exactly the tests I have done repeatedly believe me! ZFs are supposed to hit infinity exactly on the hard stop. Also the focusing was done using Live View zoomed all the way in so I think it is a lens mount to sensor distance issue but Nikon are adamant that it is fine.
    That's why I am curious to know if other ZF users have this issue - I would expect not.
  4. Out of curiosity... Are the images plenty sharp when focused at infinity? I wonder about somekind of reflective thing with some non Nikon lenses (on the AA "cancelling" filter), or so...
    Have you experienced the same with AFS lenses? If not, the flange should be right.
    And with MF Nikkors?
  5. Hi Jose,
    When Live View focused at infinity the images are as sharp as you could possibly want them so no problem there.
    I don't own any MF Nikkors anymore so can't test that - although Shun tried it the other day and said it was fine on his camera. The only Nikon lens I now own is the 50mm f1.4G and when you autofocus that on a distant object the focus scale still doesn't quite get to infinity either - but you get a sharp picture.
  6. I have to check my 50AFS. Sadly, I only can do this on a D700.
    What you say; the first I think is on a flange lenght issue. It could be always "within spec" if it is slightly shorter...
    Just a thought: Have you tested it the other way around? You`ll need a second camera; test one lens in both cameras at the minimum focus distance. If the difference is high enough to know that the other camera can focus closer, you`ll get the confirmation of where the problem is.
  7. Hi James, Sorry to hear about this bit of camera weirdness. Might I ask how you like the Zeiss 25mm f2 lens which you have? Hope it all works out for the best for you.
  8. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    The D800 I was using since late March was a test sample from Nikon that would eventually go back to them. Therefore, I had little personal concerns about defects on that camera, although I found none after using it for 3 months. The D800E I got in mid June is my personal camera and by then, all of those D800 AF problems, especially left AF point issues, were all over web forums. Natually I was concerned and therefore tested it very carefully, although I was already very familiar with the D800 (and D800E) by then.
    When James started his first thread, I still had both the D800 and D800E with me and I checked my 35mm/f1.4 AI-S as well as my 105mm/f2.8 AF, pre-D that has a hard infinity stop, on both bodies. Of course I have no problems with the Nikon bodies I try as usual, but that means little to those who have problems, such as James: D800E - poor quality control and then poor NPS service
    Given that people such as Bjorn Rorslett and Thom Hogan are discussing AF issues on the D800, I think it is not merely from a few people who have no idea how to use their new D800.
    Unfortunately, the Zeiss lenses I have are not ZF so that I can't check them out on the D800E.
  9. I emailed CZ about this and got the following answer which I attach for your interest - I am 99.9% sure that the tolerance that is really out is my camera body and not every single lens I own so I will stand firm with Nikon.
    "Dear James,

    Thank you for your inquiry to Carl Zeiss.

    This problem is all about tolerances.We use the standard flange focal distance for Nikon which is 46,50mm. But there can allways be some slight deviations due to production tolerances. But the same can happen with camera bodies.
    If you really need a reliable infinity stop we can adjust all of your lenses to your individual Nikon D 800 body ( some applications require such a solution : ariel photography).
    But you allways have to think about that this adjustment couldn`t fit to a second body or the next Nikon camera in the future.
    In my opinion this focus beyond infinity could be a chance for alternate focusing if you need to cover characteristics of field curvature which is a phenomenom of almoust every wide-angle lens.

    This flange focal distance issue can be adjusted in our service department. All we would need are the lenses and your Nikon D 800 E for a precise matching. If warranty is still valid this service would be for free.

    Hoping to be of service to you we kindly ask you to contact us again should you need further assistance.

    Andreas Bogenschuetz"
  10. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    James, can you possibly find another one or two D800/D800E from friends (or camera store) to test your lenses with? If it is your D800E that is off, I wouldn't adjust the lenses to accomodate that particular camera body; otherwise, by the time you get another camera, those lenses will all be off again. I understand that your lenses are all fine on your D700, right?
    Additionally, I would imagine that you can locate more Nikon lenses to check your D800E against.
    It always pays to fix things properly. Any work around will likely come back and bite you in the future.
  11. I will see what I can do - I have already asked Nikon if I can test out some other bodies but they are curiously silent on the subject so far. I also asked them to report back the actual flange distance on my body.
    I am almost certain that the error is in the body so certainly won't make any mods to the lenses unless Nikon can make a very strong case that the body is fine. I agree that messing with the lenses will only complicate my life when the D900 comes along!
    Although I don't have my D700 any longer the shot on the splash page of my website right now was taken with it and the 100mm ZF. It was shot wide open or maybe at f2.8 at the dead of night using the hard stop alone - no focusing performed of any kind. If I had done that with the D800E I would have had to toss the shot entirely as it would have been unusably OOF.
  12. Many cameras use shims or distancing washers under the mount to pack out the flange to the correct distance. If this hasn't been done, or done badly, then it should be a fairly easy fix to correct it. It would be a different matter if the flange distance was too long! Given that Nikon must be churning out D800s as fast as they can, it wouldn't surprise me if QC wasn't as stringent as it should be.
    Incidentally James, do the viewfinder image and focus-confirmation match up with the Liveview focus? If there's a discrepency there, then that would tend to indicate a sensor displacement, rather than a lens flange issue.
    FWIW, my D700 doesn't give correct focus in "Handheld" Liveview mode, even though the magnified LCD image appears sharply focused. In "Tripod" mode it's perfect. Needless to say I now never use Liveview in Handheld mode.
  13. Hi I was interested in this as I have the same thing with my D800 - first post here..
    The left right focussing is fine but with Nikon 24mm G I have to correct to -20 and 35mm G -12. In other words they are both focusing too far away and have to be brought back to be sharp.
    My Zeiss ZF2 100 Makro also focuses past infinity - I thought that this was just the way the lens worked.
    I have to hit the infinity stop and then bring it back slightly to get a sharp image. I have tried experimenting with different O rings / rubber bands on the lens barrel which limit the rotation at the infinity stop and I have one that is close enough -
    The D800 is going back to Nikon next week for a check as -20 on the 24mm f1.4 is not acceptable.
    Using this lens without the -20 fine tune at 1.4 and up to 3.2 gives a very soft image at all focus lengths.
    I am hoping that this will bring the Zeiss into line too...
    Cheers Mark

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