I shot my first ever senior pictures set yesterday for a co-worker's son. I took 322 shots, only to get home and quickly realize that almost ALL of them are soft...very soft. There are a few in the set that are razor sharp, but for the most part they are mostly all very soft. I immediately began going back over in my mind exactly what/how I was working while taking the shots. Everything was handheld and most shots were taken with my Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8. Shutter speeds were mostly at 1/250, aperture varied, but typically at/near f/4. I was also using my SB700 in an umbrella for fill flash. Even shots taken WITHOUT the fill flash were soft...and some of those shutter speeds were 1/640. As I was going through the shots, and I did find a couple that were razor sharp, it finally dawned on me. The shots that were razor sharp, I used the center focus point for focusing...MOST of my shots, I used the outer focus points on the camera. My focus mode was AF-C...I started in 9pt, but then I switched to single point after seeing that the focuse was NOT locking where I was telling it to. On one of the shots, I focused on the left eye, but on playback, the focus point was on the right ear...at that point I switched to single point focus. I also used my Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 for some of the shots and found that when using that lens with the outer focus points, the images were very soft...but razor sharp using the center focus point.
ANYWAY...my camera is out of warranty, so I'm going to call APS on Monday...
#1. "RE: D7000 Outer Focus Points Soft...." In response to Reply # 0
A couple of thoughts...
Firstly, Continuous AF (AF-C) is intended for moviong subjects - when your subject is static AF-S is a better choice. Secondly, check your Custom Settings a1 and a2 - depending on what values you have chosen it can be possible to take a shot without focus having been achieved. Thirdly, the outer AF points detect detail in only one direction, so you do need to be more careful about selecting a suitable focus target.
#2. "RE: D7000 Outer Focus Points Soft...." In response to Reply # 1 Sun 18-Nov-12 08:38 PM by hawaii502160
>A couple of thoughts... > >Firstly, Continuous AF (AF-C) is intended for moviong subjects >- when your subject is static AF-S is a better choice. >Secondly, check your Custom Settings a1 and a2 - depending on >what values you have chosen it can be possible to take a shot >without focus having been achieved. Thirdly, the outer AF >points detect detail in only one direction, so you do need to >be more careful about selecting a suitable focus target.
I figured AF-C would be best as it would allow for slight movements of myself and the subject...even though the subject is at rest there are still movements from breathing, wind, etc...however slight. Also, I have the shutter set to focus release, and the camera indicated focus lock before each shot was taken.
24-70mm @40mm, AF-C, Dynamic 9pt, f/5, 1/250, Manual Exp, Matrix Metering, ISO 100, SB700 in Umbrella triggered by pop-up flash, -1.0EV on SB700
24-70mm @48mm, AF-C, Dynamic 9pt, f/3.5, 1/400, Manual Exp, Spot Metering, ISO 125, NO FLASH
24-70mm @45mm, AF-C, Dynamic 9pt, f/4, 1/250, Manual Exp, Spot Metering, ISO 400, SB700 in umbrella triggered by pop-up flash
Yet NO sharpness problems with these:
24-70mm @70mm, AF-C, Dynamic 9pt, f/4.5, 1/250, Manual Exp, Spot Metering, ISO 400, SB700 in umbrella triggered by pop-up flash
24-70mm @70mm, AF-C, Single pt, f/8, 1/250, Manual Exp, Matrix Metering, ISO 400, SB700 in umbrella set to -.3EV
It seems like MOST of my shots with the 24-70 are plenty sharp at 70mm, but really soft from 50mm down to 24mm. I don't know if the problem is the lens, or the focus points on the camera. On all shots, the focus point was squarely over the left eye. These are all straight out of the camera...conversion to JPEG only. Camera is set to "standard" picture control with the sharpness on 3 for all shots.
#4. "RE: D7000 Outer Focus Points Soft...." In response to Reply # 3
As Brian suggested, use AF-S, then select your focus point. Do that ether with the multi selector in the back, disengage the shutter release button from focus, select the center focus point, lock it with the lock at the multi-selector, focus with the back button (AE-L/AF-L set to focus), recompose and shoot.
Those out points are not as sensitive as the center ones.
Also, your scenes are so different, head shots vs 3./4 or full length. If you are hand-holding, slight camera movement could be impacting your results.
Also, what picture control are you using? Portrait is not as sharp out of the box as Standard.
This bears more investigation, but you should look to do a good, controlled test to see if something is wrong with the camera or the lens.
#5. "RE: D7000 Outer Focus Points Soft...." In response to Reply # 4 Mon 19-Nov-12 02:19 AM by dm1dave
>As Brian suggested, use AF-S, then select your focus point. >Do that ether with the multi selector in the back, disengage >the shutter release button from focus, select the center focus >point, lock it with the lock at the multi-selector, focus with >the back button (AE-L/AF-L set to focus), recompose and >shoot. > >Those out points are not as sensitive as the center ones. > >Also, your scenes are so different, head shots vs 3./4 or full >length. If you are hand-holding, slight camera movement could >be impacting your results. > >Also, what picture control are you using? Portrait is not as >sharp out of the box as Standard. > >This bears more investigation, but you should look to do a >good, controlled test to see if something is wrong with the >camera or the lens. > >Mick >http://www.mickklassphoto.com >or >Visit my nikonians gallery
As stated above, "standard" picture control with sharpening set to 3. This isn't a sharpening issue though, it's a focus issue. One of the shots posted above is 1/640 shutter speed. I would have had to have been in a hurricane for the problem to have been camera shake.....besides, the pic isn't blurred or smeared as motion would suggest, it's out of focus. AF-C vs AF-S shouldn't be the issue, the camera is indicating focus lock. If it can lock focus in AF-S, it has to be able to lock on a stationary subject using AF-C, doesn't it?
I have 322 shots and almost ALL of them are soft...not blurred, soft.
I've seen softness complaints from people using AF-S, and they are told to use AF-C....?
#7. "RE: D7000 Outer Focus Points Soft...." In response to Reply # 6 Mon 19-Nov-12 01:22 AM by hawaii502160
I apologize if I came off a little harsh...I'm just frustrated. I've tried the Lens-Align-Pro...all that did was waste about 6 hours of my life. The settings were all over the place. Outside/sunlight showed all lenses to be off in one direction, and indoors/mixed lighting showed them all to be off in the other direction. I just ended up leaving everything at 0. I've felt that the 24-70 is off on the wide end since I got it. My shots from yesterday at 70mm are sharp...everything that I shot at 50mm or less (most of the shots) are soft. The only other common factor with those shots was the use of the outside focus point. I have no idea if the problem is with the lens, or the body.
I shot portraits for two of my nieces withing the last couple months. I had quite a few soft shots with them, but also quite a few that were good and sharp. I wrote off the soft ones as me trying to chase them around the room...subject/camera shake.
One of my shots posted above is at 1/640...shooting at a stationary subject...I can't believe it is due to camera shake.
Here are some 100% crops of the above images...
I took numerous shots of each pose...each one was soft...I shot everything in single shutter release mode since I was using the flash...not CH/CL.
#8. "RE: D7000 Outer Focus Points Soft...." In response to Reply # 7
Please bear with me guys...I've had this camera for over a year now and have quite a few shutter actuations on it. When it nails focus, it nails it...I'm just trying to figure out what is going on here. With the number of shots I took, it's incredulous how many of them are soft.
#9. "RE: D7000 Outer Focus Points Soft...." In response to Reply # 7
Let me suggest that you try the lens at less than 70mm, AF-S, use the center focus point to acquire focus, recompose and shoot. The should eliminate any back-focus front-fncus intrinsic to the lens and point to a focus point problem when using other than the center focus point.
#10. "RE: D7000 Outer Focus Points Soft...." In response to Reply # 9 Mon 19-Nov-12 01:37 AM by hawaii502160
I would like to say that my Nikon 70-200 VRII nails it every time, but I used it for some of the shots yesterday as well. The shots that I took using the outer focus points are just as soft as the 24-70, whereas when I used the center point, they are right on.
The reason I pretty much only use AF-C was due to some softness when using AF-S. I had read reports that AF-C was the better mode to use due to the fact that we never hold COMPLETELY still when taking photographs, and if you used AF-C, the focus would track until the shutter was released.
I know of all of the hysteria surrounding this camera with the focus problems. I'm not trying to add to it, just figure out my next step. I figured I'm due to send the camera in for a clean/check anyway, just wondering if I should send the 24-70mm with it or not. I've heard a lot of horror stories about the Melville facility. Since my D7000 body is well out of warranty, I'm thinking APS may be the way to go.
#11. "RE: D7000 Outer Focus Points Soft...." In response to Reply # 10
St Petersburg, RU
I ran into a sudden problem with my D7000 during an event. About 500 shots into it, suddenly my lenses at less than about 45mm were out of focus and every focal length longer was fine. I did not have time to investigate until the next day so I finished up with my 85 1.4 and 70-200. Checking it out, my 24 1.4, 17-55 2.8 and 35 1.8 all performed badly. I was going to California in a few days so took it to Precision Service in Sacramento and they adjusted the AF to be as good as new. No parts were required. It occurred at about the 20,000 shot count. That was last spring and it has been flawless since. I mention this only because of the shorter fl selective misalignment. The degree of missed focus was a lot more than any of the posted images show, in fact, I don't see anything sharp so missed focus probably not the problem. Sharpening "3" is very low on a D7000 so JPGs would be pretty soft regardless. Are you seeing anything that is in perfect sharpness in the images? Stan St Petersburg Russia
#14. "RE: D7000 Outer Focus Points Soft...." In response to Reply # 10 Wed 21-Nov-12 12:01 PM by Chris Platt
"I had read reports that AF-C was the better mode to use due to the fact that we never hold COMPLETELY still when taking photographs, and if you used AF-C, the focus would track until the shutter was released."
The trouble with using AFC on a stationary target is that you don't know where the camera is focusing (if you're using anything other than AFC S]. You may know the focus point you selected to start with, but once the camera starts focusing, it is free to pick any other focus point it wants and it won't let you know which focus point is being used. You won't discover the point that was used until you post process the image. If you're using AFC with a single point selected, you're movement may cause the camera to adjust focus slightly when you didn't intend it to.
It is extremely unlikely IMO that wind or subject movement in a posed shot will result in an out of focus shot if you're using AFS. Any slight variation in movement should be well within the DOF. It is more likely that wind or subject movement will throw focus off if you're using AFC. Somebody moves an arm or a slight turn of the head, or a net moves in the background (less likely) and the camera grabs another focus point or focuses on another part of your subject - and you won't know it did it until it's too late. Something is going to be in focus, just not the point you had hoped for.
#15. "RE: D7000 Outer Focus Points Soft...." In response to Reply # 13
This could be taken with a grain of salt. but have you checked to see if the AF-C is set to fire on focus or NO focus in the menu? secondly i would use the auto or single focus modes for this type shooting, i use AF-C when im shooting cars flying past me, people dancing things like that where the subject is movign around a fair bit
something else to note i noticed you mentioned that you think this is a autofocus error but i thought id still post this anyway if you are usign the any other software (like photoshop, lightroom)other than the one from nikon (view Nx, capture NX) then the Raw converter is only guesssing the algorithms for the nikon raw file and hence its only a guestimate, any sharpening, picture modes etc used IN CAMERA will not be applied in photoshop etc. i found that View NX is giving me better pics than photoshop
#16. "RE: D7000 Outer Focus Points Soft...." In response to Reply # 0
I use AF-C but with back button focus. I then put the center focus point on my focus area, hit the back button to focus, then let go of the back button, recompose, and shoot. Sounds like a lot but after you get used to it, it is automatic and works out well.
If you use back button focus and just touch and release the back button, AF-C is like AF-S.
I can't remember where I read it, but I've read multiple articles saying that the center focus point is considerably better than any other focus point. You can do some tests to check that out, but it sounds like your results already bear that out.
#17. "RE: D7000 Outer Focus Points Soft...." In response to Reply # 16
I'm currently exchanging emails with Nikon support...I have to send them some of my files so that they can take a look at them. In the meantime, Amazon has offered to allow me to return the lens. I've already sent the lens back to Amazon, they should have it tomorrow. I'm going to get my D7000 sent out for a good clean/calibration as soon as I can line up another body (my daughter's first varsity basketball game is tomorrow night)! My camera body is 2 years old, and I have a touch under 29K shutter actuations, so I'm sure I'm due for a clean/check.
I'm going to send the sample photos off to Nikon tech anyway, and see what they think.
#18. "RE: D7000 Outer Focus Points Soft...." In response to Reply # 0
St Petersburg, RU
I do not see a focusing problem, I see a resolution problem on the subject you are zooming into see in detail. With the crops you supplied, there are very few pixels descripting the details of the faces. Fill the screen with those faces in full resolution and they would have incredible detail. You are getting the same resolution with those crops as an early phone camera or webcam equivelant pixel count across the face. Can you post full sized images in your gallery or raw files somewhere so we can see what the source data looked like? I just downloaded one of the crops and found it the face was only 140 pixels across so no judgement about resolution, focus or sharpness can be made. Stan St Petersburg Russia
#19. "RE: D7000 Outer Focus Points Soft...." In response to Reply # 14
Chris, AFC single point only uses one focus point, the one you select and does not "pick" another focus point at its choosing.
The camera will pick another focus point if the Area Mode is set to Dynamic (9pt. 21pt. 39pt.) or 3d tracking. Using AFC with single point AF you know exactly what point the camera is using. Your movement will cause the camera to adjust focus which is fine as long as you continue to keep that single selected point on the area you want in focus. You are confusing the autofocus mode (AFS, AFC, AFA) with the Autofocus AREA Mode (Single pt, dynamic pt, 3d tracking).
Marc There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer.-Ansel Adams