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Nikon D800 and Canon 5D Mark III Red Glow with AF Point Illumination

David G writes:

On the Nikon d800e (or 800) have you noticed a red glow throughout the viewfinder when you depress the shutter button halfway?

On my D3x and D4 regardless of what mode I'm in or what metering, the red focusing rectangle in the middle will highlight or the dots will highlight for metering, but I've noticed an overall red glow that is fanning throughout the viewfinder that I've never seen before…its quite distracting. Have you noticed this on the new model or is this a camera specific thing. Just got it today.

DIGLLOYD: There is no issue with AF point illumination = Off.

a5 Autofocus => AF point illumination = Off or On or Auto

On the rental Nikon D4, the AF point illuminates and I can faintly see the other 51 points with brightness of Normal or higher, but there is absolutely no red glow over the ground-glass or any sign of illumination at right. In short, the D4 performs as I would want it to.

When illuminated (On or Auto), my D800 shows a bright red glow at the right of the viewfinder (clearly the source of the illumination) and the entire ground-glass surface glows red, in addition to what’s supposed to be red (the AF point).

The Canon 5D Mark III shows a similar behavior, so call it a usability defect.

Mattias H writes:

The red glow is due to the principle of a focusing screen whith an lcd overlay and therefore all camera models of this type are affected by the phenomenon, among them Canon's 7D, 5D Mark III, 1Dx and Nikon's D7000, D300/s, D700.

In models where the focus areas are etched into the matte screen distant led illuminants are sharply reflected from the etched focus point outlines, whereas with the new lcd layered matte screens the layer must be sidelit *in the same plane* to induce a red reflection on anything that is opaque on the lcd layer. As a side effect we see an inevitable red glow due to diffraction off the matte screen on the side close to the red source led.

I don't care for the glow but it seems that it is the price for the convenience of the lcd-layered matte screens...

DIGLLOYD: I maintain that it is a defect— call it a usability defect if nothing else. It is quite distracting under some situations (D800 and Canon 5D Mark III)

But why not on the Nikon D4? Perhaps the illumination is done in a different way.

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