So i purchased a 70-200 II for my d800 a few weeks ago. It appears that in some situations,the lens back focuses tremendously. The weird thing is it's not all the time. Sometimes it focuses dead on, but in the situations that is does back focus, it back focuses every time. I've attached some 100% captures showing the focus points and you can see the problem. It most definitely seems to only be in the longer focal lengths. Should i just return to B&H and exchange for another copy? i still have a few more days to RMA it. I also don't find the autofocus to be all that much quicker to attain (wrong or not) than the 70-300 4.5-5.6. Granted I know these pictures aren't great. They were shot at 2.8 rather than stopping down some, but still focus shouldn't be off that much. I have several more shots of this goose and they shouldn't all be this bad.
Misfocus at 190-200mm
Much Much better focus at 70mm
D800, D300, 70-200mm VRII, 85mm 1.8, 50mm 1.8, 70-300mm VR, 18-135mm, Tokina 11-16mm 2.8, SB900, MB-D12
If focused manually, with focus indicator showing in-focus, does it do the same thing?
Are you simply pushing the release or do you push halfway and allow the lens to focus, then release fully?
Single point focus?
S or C AF?
Does the lens do this on all bodies?
I'd guess it's better at 70mm caused by larger DoF.
Single Point Focus
I half press shutter several times to lock in with each shot i take to try to achieve best focus and ensure VR is fully engaged.
I have not tested the manual with focus indicator.
JJ_SO: It's the only 70-200 i've tried. So it seems to sound fine. Maybe a little louder than I expected. I tend to agree that 70mm would improve based on DOF, but it doesn't seem to be front or back at all in this case, where the 200 is clearly back. The more i look through the 190 to 200mm shots, the more i'm seeing the same problem.
Depending on contrast, lighting,... the focus sensor might miss.
Also note that the area of the AF sensor might not match what's indicated exactly.
In the first image it looks like the camera focused on the background. (probably due to a lack of texture on the duck's neck)
That being said it does look like some backfocus to me.
I have the 70-200 as well and it's tac sharp; even at f2.8.
Do note however that a very shallow DoF often means that you can very well have only a centimeter of less DoF (at f2.8, 200mm, target close by). So, any movement of the subject and/or the photographer will put the subject out of focus.
I would suggest that you give the lens another try on a static target with high contrast and lots of detail while the camera is mounted on a tripod.
That would remove photographer and subject movement from the equation.
Then repeat the same experiment using live view focus.
I'm still tempted to exchange for another sample to rule out the lens since it's still within return timeframe. if the second has same problems.. I'll calibrate based on that. If it were simply always backfocusing, i'd just fine tune, but i don't want to kick the 70 out which appears pretty good in order to fix 200.
The replacement I have focuses fast and quiet. It did need a little focus adjustment but most lenses do on my D800. Before I corrected mine it did look better at 70mm but that was because the depth of focus was so much higher. It was back focusing but the pictures looked ok.
I'd use the focus adjustment in the camera. If you have to go out of the range in the camera either send it back or ask Nikon. Personally I'd rather take it in to Nikon service than risk getting another "bad" copy.
The 70-200 f2.8 that I use is extremely sharp so you might have a lens with a defect of some kind.
Fred_B. I'm not sure if there are any nikon service centers anywhere close to Pgh, PA. Likely not as we have 1, yes 1, retail camera store in Pgh. it's sad. I will try dialing in an adjustment tonight to see what i get, but to me this seems pretty far off, not just slightly like my 85mm was. The funny thing is the cheapest lens we own, 50mm 1.8, doesn't need any adjustment, and the most expensive needs the most adjustment.
After 9 months of owership I finally bit the bullet and sent my D800 in for an assessment along with a new Nikkor 85mm f/1.4G lens which was backfocusing on it. OMG, what a tremendous difference that made. Both are now sharp as needles. My D800 now along with my 70-200mm VR2 and 85mm seems to need no AF-fine tuning although I'm till testing it more or less. The overall IQ has improved because I can easily see what I focused on and the transition to bokeh much better than before.
Definately consider changing that lens but also if you can live without you D800 for a few weeks consider having an official Nikon service done on it before warranty is up. Both of my services were No charge.
*I live in Florida and had to ship them to Melville, NY.
HUGE DIFFERENCE IMO!!