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Problems focusing with my D3200

maddieraz

Twickenham, UK
21 posts

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maddieraz Registered since 24th Jul 2012
Tue 24-Jul-12 07:28 PM

Hi I am new to the D3200 and having problems with focus. My shots are not sharp. I don't know how to use the focus points. I only bought the body, no kit lenses. I have a 35mm and the 18-200mm, both are Nikkor lenses. I am wondering if I am using the correct focus mode and how to set the AF area.

JosephK

Seattle, WA, US
5833 posts

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#1. "RE: Problems focusing with my D3200" | In response to Reply # 0

JosephK Silver Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for his excellent and frequent contributions and sharing his in-depth knowledge and experience with the community in the Nikonians spirit. Nikonian since 17th Apr 2006
Tue 24-Jul-12 08:02 PM

Unsharp pictures result from either out-of-focus or motion blur. We can start with the focus since that is what you mention.

Starting in (P)rogram mode (green P), put the camera into AF-S focus mode (single servo). (page 35 of the PDF manual.)
Set the focus area to "single" (page 38).
Using the 4-way rocker switch on the back, pick a focus point to use (for example, the center one).
Put your chosen focus point on the subject.
Half press the shutter release to activate the focus. When focus has been achieved, the camera will beep.
Gently press the shutter release all the way down to take the picture.

If you are using a VR lens (for example, your 18-200mm) you may need to wait an extra half second during the focus lock for the VR to finish its job.

---------+---------+---------+---------+
Joseph K
Seattle, WA, USA

D700, D200, D70S, 24-70mm f/2.8, VR 70-200mm f/2.8 II, 50mm f/1.4 D,
17-55mm f/2.8 DX, 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR, 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5 DX

maddieraz

Twickenham, UK
21 posts

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#2. "RE: Problems focusing with my D3200" | In response to Reply # 1

maddieraz Registered since 24th Jul 2012
Tue 24-Jul-12 08:27 PM

Hi Joseph, thank you I will give this a go. I tend to work in Aperture priority or manual mode. Would this make a difference?

Covey22

US
11167 posts

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#3. "RE: Problems focusing with my D3200" | In response to Reply # 2

Covey22 Moderator Expert in various fields including aviation photography Awarded for his contributions to the Resources and The Nikonian eZine Charter Member
Tue 24-Jul-12 08:58 PM

Since you're in Aperture Priority sometimes, be cautious of your shutter speeds. If you're at or near the danger-zone for handholding (1/30 or lower), your shots will be unsteady because of the inherent handshake in even the steadiest of us.

"Toodle-loo from Covey22!"

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My Plan:

Get out of the car.
Get closer to the subject.
Pick the right mid-tone this time.

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maddieraz

Twickenham, UK
21 posts

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#4. "RE: Problems focusing with my D3200" | In response to Reply # 3

maddieraz Registered since 24th Jul 2012
Tue 24-Jul-12 09:34 PM

Thanks Covey22. I learned about shutter speeds the hard way so very aware how slow I can go hand-held. I am pretty sure it has more to do with getting used to the different points. Before this evening I didn't know how to move around them with the four way switch. Very useful tip.

Leonard62

Hatboro, Pa, US
3871 posts

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#5. "RE: Problems focusing with my D3200" | In response to Reply # 2

Leonard62 Gold Member Awarded for excellent contributions and sharing his in-depth knowledge and experience with the community, especially of Nikkor Lenses Writer Ribbon awarded for his contributions to the Nikonians Resources articles library Nikonian since 15th Mar 2009
Tue 24-Jul-12 09:35 PM

Joseph's setup is what I would do. I always use AF-S single point focus and set to the center point. One issue with the D3200 (and D5100) is there is no way to lock the focus point to any one point. So if the point wanders off center just press the OK button to re-center it. Using that see if your in focus percentage increases. Your AFS 18-200mm lens would be fine for this test. Just make sure that while attaining focus you allow enough time for the VR to settle down before pressing the shutter button all the way.

Len

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maddieraz

Twickenham, UK
21 posts

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#6. "RE: Problems focusing with my D3200" | In response to Reply # 5

maddieraz Registered since 24th Jul 2012
Tue 24-Jul-12 09:45 PM

Hi Len, thank you. I have already learned so much, still a way to go though.

Leonard62

Hatboro, Pa, US
3871 posts

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#7. "RE: Problems focusing with my D3200" | In response to Reply # 6

Leonard62 Gold Member Awarded for excellent contributions and sharing his in-depth knowledge and experience with the community, especially of Nikkor Lenses Writer Ribbon awarded for his contributions to the Nikonians Resources articles library Nikonian since 15th Mar 2009
Tue 24-Jul-12 10:40 PM

Hi Madeleine, you'll be fine. Just don't try and do everything at once. Even though the D3200 is being sold as a beginning camera, it has tremendous capabilities. I find I'm using it more than my D3X because of it's image quality.

KIll Bill ! Wow ! I like version one the best.


Len

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drmanubmengi

Chandigarh, IN
492 posts

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#8. "RE: Problems focusing with my D3200" | In response to Reply # 0

drmanubmengi Silver Member Nikonian since 14th May 2012
Wed 01-Aug-12 09:16 AM

Hi Madeleine,

Even i'm having some issues with sharpness of the photos but it is with 70-300mm VR. I got 18-105mm VR as my kit lens which is working fine & i'm quite happy with it but 70-300mm VR, thats another story.
In fact i have posted this very question in this forum some time ago. I think that there is some problem with D3200 which we have not been able to find out.

I hope that all the suggestions have made your photos sharper. Waiting for the response.

Dr. Manu Mengi
Loves Photography & Nikon

briantilley

Paignton, UK
29912 posts

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#9. "RE: Problems focusing with my D3200" | In response to Reply # 8

briantilley Moderator Deep knowledge of bodies and lens; high level photography skills Donor Ribbon awarded for his support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Nikonian since 26th Jan 2003
Wed 01-Aug-12 09:24 AM


>In fact i have posted this very question in this forum some
>time ago. I think that there is some problem with D3200 which
>we have not been able to find out.

Its extremely unlikely that there is a general D3200 problem at play here (or in your case). The camera should be able to focus accurately with any compatible lens - when set up appropriately as has been discussed above.

Brian
Welsh Nikonian

Leonard62

Hatboro, Pa, US
3871 posts

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#10. "RE: Problems focusing with my D3200" | In response to Reply # 9

Leonard62 Gold Member Awarded for excellent contributions and sharing his in-depth knowledge and experience with the community, especially of Nikkor Lenses Writer Ribbon awarded for his contributions to the Nikonians Resources articles library Nikonian since 15th Mar 2009
Wed 01-Aug-12 03:25 PM

>
>>In fact i have posted this very question in this forum
>some
>>time ago. I think that there is some problem with D3200
>which
>>we have not been able to find out.
>
>Its extremely unlikely that there is a general D3200 problem
>at play here (or in your case). The camera should be able to
>focus accurately with any compatible lens - when set up
>appropriately as has been discussed above.
>

Brian is quite correct. I use my D3200 with many lenses and have never had a focus issue. I always make sure my focus point is on my target. I also always use a fast enough shutter speed to prevent blur even with VR on.

Here are two photos taken with the D3200 and the AFS 70-300mm VR. The first photo is a crop where the tree is about 400 feet away. Shot at ISO 800 1/1000s with +1.3 EV exposure compensation to account for the bright sky. Lens at 300mm f5.6.

Click on image to view larger version


The second photo was an experiment. It is very hard to get any detail from this flower because of the bright white against the dark background. So it is a crop taken about 10 feet away using exposure compensation of -1.3 EV to bring out the detail. The AFS 70-300mm was set to 135mm f4.8.

Click on image to view larger version


Neither photo has a focus issue.

Len



Attachment #1, (jpg file)
Attachment #2, (jpg file)

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Leonard62

Hatboro, Pa, US
3871 posts

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#11. "RE: Problems focusing with my D3200" | In response to Reply # 10

Leonard62 Gold Member Awarded for excellent contributions and sharing his in-depth knowledge and experience with the community, especially of Nikkor Lenses Writer Ribbon awarded for his contributions to the Nikonians Resources articles library Nikonian since 15th Mar 2009
Wed 01-Aug-12 06:27 PM

Here's another photo I just took with the D3200. This time I was about 10 feet away and used the AFS 300mm f4. ISO 800, 1/2500 sec, f5.6. I used single, center point auto focus.

Click on image to view larger version


This is about a 50% crop. This Dragonfly was very skittish. I waited about 5 minutes for him to land on this twig.

Len



Attachment #1, (jpg file)

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maddieraz

Twickenham, UK
21 posts

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#12. "RE: Problems focusing with my D3200" | In response to Reply # 11

maddieraz Registered since 24th Jul 2012
Wed 01-Aug-12 06:52 PM

I was using my 18-200mm lens and have been having a few problems with manual focus, it seems slow to respond but I think it's just me trying to get used to the lens and camera. I have posted some shots in the gallery.

maddieraz

Twickenham, UK
21 posts

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#13. "RE: Problems focusing with my D3200" | In response to Reply # 12

maddieraz Registered since 24th Jul 2012
Wed 01-Aug-12 06:55 PM

Great shots Leonard62, something for me to aspire to. I am more of a candid/street photography kinda gal so I should practice more with my 35mm lens, still it is early days yet and between shoots I have to work

John Bertotti

Garretson, US
773 posts

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#14. "RE: Problems focusing with my D3200" | In response to Reply # 1

John Bertotti Gold Member Nikonian since 01st Jul 2012
Thu 02-Aug-12 01:37 AM

Wow! I didn't know the VR took a bit extra to settle in, it would explain a few fuzzy shots of my own! Thanks!

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maddieraz

Twickenham, UK
21 posts

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#15. "RE: Problems focusing with my D3200" | In response to Reply # 14

maddieraz Registered since 24th Jul 2012
Thu 02-Aug-12 06:24 AM

Hi John, what do you mean by settle in please?

John Bertotti

Garretson, US
773 posts

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#16. "RE: Problems focusing with my D3200" | In response to Reply # 15

John Bertotti Gold Member Nikonian since 01st Jul 2012
Thu 02-Aug-12 10:03 AM

Oh sorry, just slang for finish adjusting. It was mentioned above to wait a half second after pushing the shutter release in to give VR a chance to finish, or in my reference settle in. A phrase I remember being used growing up, for instance, a new family moving into a house might take months to settle in, unpacking, moving furniture around getting things jut as they want them and comfortable, or a piece of equipment with new parts installed would sometimes take a bit of settleing in to get worn in or broken in to work optimally. Always surprises me the terms I find common place are not that common place out of my region.

In the region of Iowa I grew up every would say Where you goin to? Instead of where are you going. Or instead of How have you been they would say How've you been doing? Gotta love it! Looks like I digress again sorry! Later Bertotti

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Bass rock

Scotland, UK
968 posts

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#17. "RE: Problems focusing with my D3200" | In response to Reply # 0

Bass rock Registered since 21st Dec 2007
Wed 08-Aug-12 04:44 PM

One thing to note is that the D3200 has permanent focus priority, meaning that the camera will not take a picture unless it thinks it is in focus. However, what it thinks should be in focus may not be what you want it to focus on. A problem can sometimes arise if you use the traditional AF focus method of using the central focus point and recompose the picture without keeping the shutter button half-pressed. If you do this and the central point now falls on something a different distance away than the subject, the camera will refocus. Your picture may then look out of focus but, in fact, the camera has just refocussed on something else, often in the background.

Worse still, even if you do keep the button half-pressed, the camera may not take a picture at all if it thinks the focus is not correct after you recompose. This happens to me with my D3100 quite often if, for example, I want a subject close to me to be situated far to one side of the frame beyound the focus points. Because no focus point is on the subject after I recompose, the camera isn't happy to take the picture the way I want it to because of the focus priority feature. Very often the camera will not take a picture if there is nothing to focus on under the central focus point - like a traditional British grey sky with no contrast it it

Bill
North Berwick, Scotland

My Website - My Nikonians Gallery

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maddieraz

Twickenham, UK
21 posts

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#18. "RE: Problems focusing with my D3200" | In response to Reply # 17

maddieraz Registered since 24th Jul 2012
Wed 08-Aug-12 05:15 PM

Guess I ought to get used to using manual focus, need to get around the manual over-ride on the lens.

bacil

Excelsior, US
420 posts

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#19. "RE: Problems focusing with my D3200" | In response to Reply # 0

bacil Basic Member
Sun 12-Aug-12 12:45 PM

I just got my D3200 and it's wonderful. Try using a tripod and focus on a static object. If it's well focused (not blurry), then nothing is wrong with your camera. If I am not mistaken D3200 has the highest density among nikon cameras, higher than even the D800. So it requires better techniques.

drmanubmengi

Chandigarh, IN
492 posts

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#20. "RE: Problems focusing with my D3200" | In response to Reply # 19

drmanubmengi Silver Member Nikonian since 14th May 2012
Mon 13-Aug-12 09:34 AM

Hi,

Could you please explain what is meant by "highest density"?

Dr. Manu Mengi
Loves Photography & Nikon

jpFoto

US
1114 posts

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#21. "RE: Problems focusing with my D3200" | In response to Reply # 20

jpFoto Registered since 25th Jun 2010
Mon 13-Aug-12 12:46 PM | edited Mon 13-Aug-12 01:09 PM by jpFoto

He is referring to the number of pixels on the sensor taking into account the size of the sensor. The D800 has 36mp on an FX sensor, and since the DX sensor in the D3200 is roughly 43% of the size of the FX sensor that would equate to 56 mp if it were the size of an FX sensor. Or simply put, more than twice the number of pixels per square inch.

jP

John Bertotti

Garretson, US
773 posts

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#22. "RE: Problems focusing with my D3200" | In response to Reply # 21

John Bertotti Gold Member Nikonian since 01st Jul 2012
Mon 13-Aug-12 07:17 PM

Yes true a higher number of pixels per square inch, but I read it is second best in resolution in the Nikon line. I don't understand that. Why wouldn't the camera with the best ppi have the best resolution. Seems like the more pixels to work with is a good thing or is the difference in the processing power of the camera?

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maddieraz

Twickenham, UK
21 posts

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#23. "RE: Problems focusing with my D3200" | In response to Reply # 20

maddieraz Registered since 24th Jul 2012
Mon 13-Aug-12 07:25 PM

Yes i wondered about the highest density and what different techniques are needed when using the D3200?

maddieraz

Twickenham, UK
21 posts

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#24. "RE: Problems focusing with my D3200" | In response to Reply # 21

maddieraz Registered since 24th Jul 2012
Mon 13-Aug-12 07:34 PM

So does that mean that better techniques are required?

John Bertotti

Garretson, US
773 posts

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#25. "RE: Problems focusing with my D3200" | In response to Reply # 24

John Bertotti Gold Member Nikonian since 01st Jul 2012
Mon 13-Aug-12 07:56 PM

Great question? I have been getting better pictures and I don't know that my technique is anything special but that little pause tip about VR above did make a difference for me. I suppose that is a change in technique. Kind of makes you wonder what other little tricks there are?

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JosephK

Seattle, WA, US
5833 posts

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#26. "RE: Problems focusing with my D3200" | In response to Reply # 23

JosephK Silver Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for his excellent and frequent contributions and sharing his in-depth knowledge and experience with the community in the Nikonians spirit. Nikonian since 17th Apr 2006
Mon 13-Aug-12 08:58 PM

The biggest technique needed is stable holding positions to prevent motion blur from camera movement. For example, an older camera might show you 2 pixels of blur due to any bad holding techniques while a newer camera with a denser sensor might show you 5 pixels of blur with the same bad technique used.

---------+---------+---------+---------+
Joseph K
Seattle, WA, USA

D700, D200, D70S, 24-70mm f/2.8, VR 70-200mm f/2.8 II, 50mm f/1.4 D,
17-55mm f/2.8 DX, 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR, 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5 DX

fgwapo

PH
1 posts

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#27. "RE: Problems focusing with my D3200" | In response to Reply # 26

fgwapo Registered since 06th Sep 2012
Thu 06-Sep-12 12:40 AM

I was excited with this camera when it was launched on nikon website. I have waited a couple of months to arrive here in the Philippines. I bought one last month but sadly i have to returned it. I could not get a sharp image. There is really something wrong with the camera.

I suggest you read these articles.

http://mansurovs.com/nikon-dslr-autofocus-problems#more-32832
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1034&message=41755999&changemode=1

Nikon should address these problems seriously.

As for beginners it will be a hard time figuring out what went wrong to have a sharp image.


fgwapo






John Bertotti

Garretson, US
773 posts

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#28. "RE: Problems focusing with my D3200" | In response to Reply # 27

John Bertotti Gold Member Nikonian since 01st Jul 2012
Thu 06-Sep-12 04:07 AM

I haven't had any of those problems, let me rephrase that, I haven't had any of those focusing problems that a bit of practice holding things steady didn't fix. And the kit lens is great, mine has the 18-55 and it is my go to lens. Actually all three of the inexpensive lenses I have perform far beyond the price they cost! Sorry if some are having problems but I can't help but wonder how many people ink their camera has a bug but in reality the bug is the operator, like me.

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drmanubmengi

Chandigarh, IN
492 posts

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#29. "RE: Problems focusing with my D3200" | In response to Reply # 28

drmanubmengi Silver Member Nikonian since 14th May 2012
Thu 06-Sep-12 04:19 AM

Dear John,

Operator dependent error is ok & we do understand it.

But the thing is that i have had D70 for 6 years & never had focussing problems with it which i started having with D3200 which have been mentioned in some of my previous posts & the operator has been the same i.e myself.

I'm not outrightly blaming nikon gear for it but i do need answers for my problems.

I'm looking forward to some comments from Nikon Inc.

Dr. Manu Mengi
Loves Photography & Nikon

John Bertotti

Garretson, US
773 posts

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#30. "RE: Problems focusing with my D3200" | In response to Reply # 29

John Bertotti Gold Member Nikonian since 01st Jul 2012
Thu 06-Sep-12 08:29 AM

I gotcha. I don't doubt some are having problems. I sympathize with ou all, I do. I just think if the camera has a problem a person would be better served by sending it in to get checked. In my case some of my focus problems were caused by two things. 1 was not waiting for the Br to do its thing and 2 was my own unsteady hand. Actually there was a third and that was inadvertently bumping the focus point to a different spot and not paying attention to it in the view finder.

I would love to see some of the bad pictures you all have had with the D3200. Have any of you actually sent the camera in for evaluation? I have to wonder if perhaps these and the D800 may have shared a production line? Anyway I just wanted to encourage people to make sure all the bases were covered before blaming the camera or Nikon. I'm a happy user of the D3200 and wouldn't give up on OT even if I did find mine had a problem. Let's us know what you guys find the problem to be! I hope it is sorted out quickly so you can go back to taking lots of great pictures!

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grnzbra

Springfield, US
390 posts

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#31. "RE: Problems focusing with my D3200" | In response to Reply # 27

grnzbra Silver Member Nikonian since 28th Sep 2011
Tue 11-Sep-12 10:10 PM | edited Wed 12-Sep-12 09:23 PM by grnzbra

I felt the same way about the D5100 and flamed it in a review on the Best Buy site. However, eventually I got the hang of it. I had been comparing it to the pix I got with my Canon 610 Powershot point and shoot. But thanks to the suggestions from some very patient people here on Nikonians, I am gradually getting the hang of it. I still believe that it should be mounted on a 5 ton granite slab for the best pictures, but if you don't have one in you hip pocket, a tripod that is built like one will do. And the 3200 has an even higher pixel density than the 5100 so keeping it steady is even more critical. And, as anyone who has shot bullesye pistol knows, you CAN'T hold anything absolutely steady.

I found the the kit lens, which I also thought was a waste, considering that there was an 18 to 200 available, was really what I needed for shots of flowers, rather than the 18-200. And for pix of birds, the 200 wasn't enough. It seems that I was trying to use the wrong lens for what I was doing.

Also, one of the things that was pointed out to me when discussed a comparison of pix of my dog taken with the 5100 and the canon, if something isn't done to limit how far the Nikon can move the ISO on its own, when a flash is used, it will go straight to 3200 ISO. The Canon was shooting at 50 ISO. The noise introduced by that produced pix of the dog that looked "soft" compared to the Canon. Once I limited that, the dog pix were fine.

So, don't give up on the 3200. With practice, it will come. If you look at my galary, you will be able to see the improvement over time as I got the feel of the camera.

Some of the things mentioned in the the posts here (focus priority in particular) would be a deal breaker for me. But as far as picture quality, it takes practice and attention to detail. (And a 5 ton granite slab )

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G