Nikon D800 Focus Trap.

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by pauldmurphy, Jan 28, 2013.

  1. I recently received my Nikon D800 and just for to pomp and circumstance I was quick to check it for the left focus issue, which was fine. Considering I bought a reconditioned unit I'd hoped it would be. The one issue I ran into that surprised me was the focus trap issue where when the cameras a1 and a2 settings were set to focus priority and the a4 setting was set to AF-On Only, fully pressing the shutter release button allowed the shutter to release without the camera being in focus and or indicating focus via the "Meat Ball" in the lower left of the view finder.
    I searched the web and this site, found the AF Rant ( http://www.photo.net/nikon-camera-forum/00bE7v ) And Thom Hogans note about the change ( Next up we have a doozy: you can take out of focus pictures when you've got the camera set to take only in-focus pictures! A setting of "Focus" doesn't actually mean what it used to. In fact, not only does it not mean what it used to, but it also removes a very useful capability that virtually all higher end Nikon models have had for 30 years: trap focus via the AF-On button. This change is so egregious that I made my complaint directly to Nikon: at least give us the option to restore the old functionality via a Custom Setting.) And a few other notes including a video on Youtube.

    Well, I contacted Nikon and after a bit of wrangling received this message.... ( Response Terrell S. via Email 01/28/2013 04:28 PM
    Dear Mr. Murphy Thank you for contacting Nikon. Sorry for the long delay in answering. Due to a server problem we had a large number of email responses that were not routed properly. We have solved the problem and are working to reduce the backlog. We hope to be back to normal 24 hour turn around soon. I have asked a technician to take a look at this incident and you will get a response with 48 hours. Sincerely, Terrell Nikon Customer Service ) For those of you that are stout of heart here is the last communication I sent Nikon: ( Hey Terrell, I have to say one thing, you're PDQ (Pretty Damn Quick). Okay, I see what you are saying about the a4 setting. Yes, if it is set to Shutter/AF-ON, the camera does focus using the selected focus mode ( Single / Continuous ) on the select focus point (s). Your statement here: "When custom setting A-4 is set to AF_ON Only,the shutter will release though your priority selection is set to focus and the camera is not in focus." goes totally contrary the what the user manual states and on camera help states. It is also totally different than the way the D700 and D7000 work when set: a1 Focus, a2 Focus and a4 AF Only are selected. Again which state, " Photos can only be taken when the in focus (O) indicator is displayed. So, this is where I see the problem lay. First, this is a change or as many are discussing it, a Bug. I'm not the only one talking about this, I'm just a little late to the discussion because I've only just received my D800. Examples: http://www.photo.net/nikon-camera-forum/00bE7v This is an segment of Thom Hogans review of the D800 where he expressly points this out as a change: "Next up we have a doozy: you can take out of focus pictures when you've got the camera set to take only in-focus pictures! A setting of "Focus" doesn't actually mean what it used to. In fact, not only does it not mean what it used to, but it also removes a very useful capability that virtually all higher end Nikon models have had for 30 years: trap focus via the AF-On button. This change is so egregious that I made my complaint directly to Nikon: at least give us the option to restore the old functionality via a Custom Setting." (Thom Hogan) Full link to Review here: http://www.bythom.com/nikond800review.htm And another Thread: http://www.photo.net/nikon-camera-forum/00aZ5a And there's even a very good youtube video that demonstrates the issue as compared to a D300. http://youtu.be/lRDEu038S4c The D300s manual has the information about Release and focus on pages 263 and 264. The one thing in every one of these conversations and reviews has missed is that Nikon has not changes the wording in the Users Manual or the Help Menu on the camera but the function has changed. Again, I can go back to my D200 (I still own) which also has that setting and works as I describe it and the youtube video describe it. Page 148 in the D200 Users manual. For some this may not be a big deal. Me, I've used this setting all the time as do many of my photographer friends. All the way back to my D200. This ability to limit random out of focus shots seems fundamental to me and many others. AS an example I lay the D800 on the passenger seat next to me when I was out shooting with it. The camera rolled over onto the Shutter Release Button. The Camera was set in Continuous Low Release Mode. With the lens facing the seat back it proceeded to take a series of non focused shots. I'm also having a hard time believing that someone at Nikon hasn't brought this up. So, I guess what I'm saying Terrell is I hope you understand the issue now and see that there is an issue here. While the literature and help manuals remain the same, something has changed and not in a good way. From the first message I stated I hope there is an update coming for this issue or Nikon will correct the way the manual and help messages are worded. I'd prefer correcting the issue. What I am looking for here is a bit of information as to whether this will be addressed. Because I need to make a decision whether to return this camera or keep it, hoping Nikon will correct this issue down the road. I would welcome the opportunity to discuss this with someone in the tech department.
     
  2. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Paul, clearly you are aware of the previous threads on this topic:
    I am not sure what another thread on the same topic will accomplish, after merely a couple of weeks.
    As I posted earlier this month, this seems to be a deliberate change on Nikon's part. Whether that is a "good" change or not is clearly debateable. I seriously doubt that Nikon would suddenly change it back, thus creating even more confusion. If the D800 is not for you because of this change or another other reason, I suggest you return it.
    Since I don't use the AF-ON button, perhaps it is easy for me to say this: IMO, it seems more like a tempest in a tea cup.
     
  3. Good luck with that ...
    Nikon Canada told me (politely) to F Off, it was not a bug, it was a feature
     
  4. Shun & Lorne,
    Thanks for the feedback and if I posted the initial response from Nikon it was similar to Lornes. I posted this up to, maybe not so simply illustrate first, Nikon's own literature illustrates how the system is listed as working, which no one else's posts or reviews noted and second, at least I'm suppose to get to the level of talking to a technician about it.
    Now, maybe I'm naive and this will go no where but maybe it's a positive step in an issue that apparently has some concerned. Enough so that there are many threads here and other places and even a youtube video.
    And as far as keeping the D800 Shun, I'm planning on keeping it. It fits into and is a wonderful addition to my photographic tool kit. But in my day to day work, I'm held account for what I put out and when it is not correct I'm expected to fix it, one way or another.
     
  5. Actually, I have repeatedly pointed out that the D800 manual doesn't mention the change in behaviour, and still describes the D700 behaviour.

    For reference (for anyone following the other threads) I'm now back in the UK, and will be trying my F5 out tonight to see what it does.
     
  6. Cliff notes?
     
  7. Dan, LOL!
     
  8. The error in the manual illustrates that Nikon is run by human beings that can and do make errors.
    Enjoy the camera as is or return it.
    Do you like the camera otherwise?
     
  9. Elliot: I agree with your statement, except that I'd substitute the word "camera" for "manual". I'm standing by my theory that this was a firmware change that happened by accident, and they're claiming it's deliberate so they won't have to go through a testing cycle to release a fix for a case that's only relevant to a minority of users; I can see the business case for blowing us off. Call me a cynic. I'm not buying that enough people gain by the change that someone decided to do this deliberately, though I'd still like Ilkka to have another go at explaining his justification for it (just to make me feel better, not because I expect a fix). On the plus side, if Nikon are producing firmware updates for the D4, maybe there could be a fix after all, though it would involve a bit of a loss of face...
     
  10. I am not sure what another thread on the same topic will accomplish, after merely a couple of weeks.​
    Shun:
    One can hope that the fequent repetition of threads on this subject may increase the likelihood of Nikon offering a solution to the problem. However I'm not holding my breath.
    I have no interest in nor do I ever use the movie function. However if a significant glitch were discovered in this function, I would certainly give my support to those petitioning Nikon to repair the glitch.
     
  11. Andrew, sorry I missed that in the threads and keep us informed.
     
  12. Is it a problem? Can you use some other combination of options to ensure proper focus? I must admit that I have never
    tried this set of options. It never occurred to me to do so. The settings that I use are working fine.
     
  13. Elliot, I love the camera. I have looked at medium format cameras after using a friends but the expense grows with leaps and bounds once you enter that realm. The D800 looks to help me do some of the things I would like to try/work on.
    I appreciate that humans make errors. That is the way of the world. I think Lorne's experience and my initial experience for that matter illustrate a poor approach to dealing with it though.
    So, how can I be so critical? Well, I'm the guy on the other end of the phone most of the time. My stock and trade is that of a Master Yamaha, Mercury and Mercuiser Technician that works on Grady-White Boats. Trust me, I've dealt with issues similar to this and those way beyond it. I would love to sell you and Andrew a boat because I don't see rolling with " this isn't correct or this is just wrong... " with the majority of people we sell to.
    For most, they just want an answer, one way or another. I'm given little quarter in that area. Why should I expect different?
     
  14. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I'll say this one more time: as far as I know, this is a deliberate feature change on Nikon's part, not some kind of glitch. That was precisely why Lorne Sunley got this response:
    Good luck with that ...
    Nikon Canada told me (politely) to F Off, it was not a bug, it was a feature​
    Therefore, IMO, starting more threads on this topic will merely lead to the same debate over and over. Of course, there is not exactly something new to photo.net.
     
  15. I'll say this one more time: as far as I know, this is a deliberate feature change on Nikon's part, not some kind of glitch.​
    I (and I imagine others frustrated by this "feature change") would be much less inclined to posting repeated complaints if only Nikon, or someone else, could tell me what is the perceived benefit of this deliberate change. What functionality is gained that was not available with the previous implementation? I'm not holding my breath in anticipation of that either.
     
  16. Dan wrote:
    Is it a problem?​
    Yes (for a particular use case).
    Can you use some other combination of options to ensure proper focus?​
    No (for this particular use case).

    I don't object to the change being made as public as possible to potential purchasers. There are clearly still people being surprised by this. The more vocal people are, the greater the chance that Nikon will fix it, but I'm still not really expecting it to happen. Like Mike, I'd be happier if there was a better justification for the change than "not important enough to fix, too embarrassing to admit we got it wrong", which is how it feels at the moment. Think how long it took for Nikon to admit to the D800 AF point issue (if they have, yet) - I suspect the company culture isn't amenable to owning up to a minor glitch here when they can claim they meant to do it. It doesn't help me, and it's annoying, but it didn't stop me buying a D800 (especially since Canon also removed trap focus) so I've only got myself to blame. Worse, it's a reason to hold on to my D700, so I'm not even doing Nikon out of sales by flooding the used market. It's all a cunning ploy, I tell you...
     
  17. For anyone waiting with 'bated breath, since I mentioned in this thread that I'd give it a go, my F5 (with FN1 = 1, FN4 = 1 and AF-C) does trap focus in the same manner as the D700. Now we know. (Though I've yet to see whether, unlike the D700, it can trap focus with a manual focus lens... another experiment to try.)
     
  18. I'm sure the internet will be fascinated to know that I've just checked my F5 with a manual focus (non-chipped, non-"P") lens - a 135 f/2.8 AI-S - and trap focus behaves the same as the D700: that is, it doesn't work - the camera ignores the shutter priority setting and allows the image to be taken when the image is out of focus. Which is, as ever, a shame, because I can't see a good reason why it couldn't work. Oh well; add another snippet to my understanding of trap focus through the generations.
     
  19. Like many here, I'd be more than happy to see this feature return. I see little reason for removing it, except perhaps for the purpose of preventing what I would expect to be a very modest number of support calls a year.
    That said, I'd be curious to hear from users of recent Nikon pro and semi-pro bodies if focus trap works with chipped manual lenses (such as the Zeiss ZF.2 series).
    TIA,
    Ron
     
  20. Ron,
    I have tried trap focus with my Zeiss ZF.2 100mm, f/2. No joy. It behaves the same as all my MF AIS lenses.
     
  21. Thanks for your reply, Mike. Shame that it doesn't work - would be very handy for underwater macro work. What body did you try this on?
     
  22. Ron,
    Tried it on a D700.
     
  23. Iā€™m trying to use the technique focus and recompose technique because it could be useful for me.
    Set my D800 accordingly the suggested set-up:
    AF-S Priority Selection: FOCUS
    AF Activation set to OF-ON button ONLY.
    AF Area mode set to SINGLE POINT.
    The camera works exactly as reported in your description.
    But when you use this technique for focus and recompose, what about the exposure meter? I mean, if I focus on the face of my subject then also the exposure must be taken from his face. But with AF-ON button to hold the exposure I must press also the shutter button.
    Do you have any suggestion to hold focus and take the correct exposure?
    I noticed also some interesting behaviour:
    - When I press and keep AF-ON pressed, also the exposure seems to be locked. I wrote seems because the exposure reading value has a strange reading. Try to acquire focus with AF-ON, keep AF-ON pressed, and then move completely the camera to a different light source and intensity. The exposure meter reads a certain value. Now release the AF-ON button. The exposure meter reads a totally different value.
    I believe that the AF-ON must lock only the autofocus and not the exposure.
    Thanks for your comments.
     

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