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Autofocus AF-C Accuracy: Nikon 85/1.4G, 85/1.8G (Mosaic)

As this was written in early April, there were reports on the web of serious problems with D800 autofocus accuracy using off-center focus points. As this was written, I have no confirmation of that assertion; this test does not address it.

The results shown here were one test, corroborated with a few field shots. Further research is needed, but this test proves that autofocus is a hit-and-miss game even on this no-brainer subject matter, which has no ambiguities for the camera AF system to deal with.

Test protocol

The camera was on a tripod.

The camera was set to AF-C mode with AF-C priority = Focus, and 11 focus points. I selected the focus point, manually defocused the lens for each frame, then pressed the AF-ON button until the green in-focus confirmation light lit up. Since the camera and subject were fixed, this ought to be an easy task for the camera (as opposed to a moving subject).

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Since 2006, Diglloyd Advanced Photography is the authoritative review and reference for DSLRs and their lenses: Canon and Nikon primarily, but also Pentax and some medium format. Reviews of key DSLRs are included, but the primary focus is on lens performance. Also included is a wealth of technique and workflow approaches.

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Rough visual of the Nikon D800 autofocus point layout as used for the test
Nikon 85mm f/1.8G
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