"Has the D7000 AF System Improved" Fri 02-Mar-12 06:21 AM by agitater
I personally needed several months to get fully comfortable with and fully accustomed to what I consider to be the more exacting technique required to get the AF performance out of my D7000 (purchased in early October 2010). Even the November 2010 DPReview review of the D7000 rated its metering and AF accuracy only good (as opposed to very good or excellent). ADDED - although the DPR review text praised AF accuracy and speed, in TTL and off the sensor in Live View mode) less impressive low light AF performance coupled with DPR's criticism of overexposure in high contrast lighting seem to have pulled down the metering & AF score.
Recently, Chris Platt has posted some shots on this forum made with his D7000 illustrating pinpoint AF accuracy.
I've worked far harder than I've had to with any other camera in order to extract accurate AF out of my D7000.
My question is, do you think that Nikon has quietly tweaked/improved the default AF and metering performance of the D7000 for more recent manufacturing runs? ADDED - I'm not quacking about the usual general improvement in technique most shooters go through with a new, higher resolution camera. Rather, I'm asking about a silent/unannounced improvement to the camera by Nikon at the factory level.
#2. "RE: Has the D7000 AF System Improved" In response to Reply # 1
St Petersburg, RU
How is that? Your manual specifically says the specs are subject to change without recourse, as with all products unless specifically stated that upgrades are included in the purchase.
I would suggest that my D7000 purchased in June of 2011 has been very good in AF accuracy, speed and repeatabilty. It took hundreds of shots to get a handle on it however.
The DPR review was highly flawed and they received a lot of flack for it. The reviewer later admitted he never used Nikon so anything that was not identical to how his Canon worked was described as defective on the D7000. Yet, the D7000 was superior in almost every way over his Canon. The real problem was likely traceable to the massive ad buy at the same time promoting the 60D. Other, more experienced and rational reviewers did not find Matrix, AF or Auto ISO problematic. I find that a little higher hand held shutter speed is needed compared to the D90 but ultimate image quality is better in all regards...exposure, focus, resolution, color, noise(particularly at low ISO where it is almost non-existent) and flexibility over the very competent D90. The AF on the D300s might be better for action however. Stan St Petersburg Russia
#3. "RE: Has the D7000 AF System Improved" In response to Reply # 2
>The DPR review was highly flawed and they received a lot of >flack for it. The reviewer later admitted he never used Nikon >so anything that was not identical to how his Canon worked was >described as defective on the D7000. Yet, the D7000 was >superior in almost every way over his Canon. The real problem >was likely traceable to the massive ad buy at the same time >promoting the 60D. >Other, more experienced and rational reviewers did not find >Matrix, AF or Auto ISO problematic. >I find that a little higher hand held shutter speed is needed >compared to the D90 but ultimate image quality is better in >all regards...exposure, focus, resolution, color, >noise(particularly at low ISO where it is almost non-existent) >and flexibility over the very competent D90. The AF on the >D300s might be better for action however.
Flawed review or not, biased reviewer or not the DPR comparison tool (except for the AF & metering rating) nonetheless shows the D7000 in a head-to-head position compared to the 7D and superior in almost every category compared to the 60D. So whatever DPR did, the perspective of 20/20 hindsight seems to show that it seems to have gotten the overall review quite right. What I'm considering with respect to the D7000 is whether or not Nikon has improved the spec/performance of the AF system over the course of successive manufacturing runs.
Let me clarify that none of my posts about the D7000 have ever criticized the camera's AF performance, so what I'm asking about has to do with possible silent improvements which made an already good system even better. It may be better to ask if anyone in D7000-land has an early model together, now, with a recent production model for comparison?
#5. "RE: Has the D7000 AF System Improved" In response to Reply # 0
I purchased by D7000 a little over a year ago: January 2011. I didn't have the same level of frustration with the focus system that others seem to have had. I spent several evenings with the manual and camera in my lap, rehearsing the operation before I attempted to use it - especially the focus system since it was substantially different from my D200. Maybe that helped. I like to "rehearse" with my cameras, so the operation becomes second nature (or at least familiar) before I go out on a shoot. Learning on a shoot is very frustrating and IMO more difficult since you are under pressure to capture the moment. In fact, the bird shots I posted here are part of my rehearsal for the spring shooting season. Our ospreys should be returning from their winter migration next weekend, so I was dusting of the big lens and my technique in preparation.
#6. "RE: Has the D7000 AF System Improved" In response to Reply # 5
I have posted this comment before, but I think I royally messed up the AF system on my Jan 2011, thought what i was reading was true until I asked my specialist shop if they knew of any D7000 problems. The took the camera and in front of me changed a few things and its now razor sharp.
I keep that backup ready in case it (I) happens again
#7. "RE: Has the D7000 AF System Improved" In response to Reply # 0
You raise an interesting question Howard. I acquired my D7000 in November 2010. And although I was plagued with the dreaded right side debris collection, I felt I was not experiencing the AF issues others had.
In my “If not Lubricant…then what?” thread someone asked me if I felt that the AF worked better after the repair, even though I felt I didn’t have an issue with focus before hand. I stated at that time that I was not sure. And while my repair was for the mirror operation, I imaging the tear down and re-assembly of the mirror mechanism required a re-calibration of the AF system.
But now after having used it a bit more since getting it back, I can’t help but question if the AF system is performing better. I acknowledged in that prior response in my other thread that I never liked the performance of the kit 18-105, but felt I got acceptable results from my 17-55 and 70-300VR.
After the repair I tested the 18-105, and while in general I feel I get better results, I decided that the 18-105 is really soft at the long end. But more interestingly, I seem to be getting better results with my other lenses, even though I thought they performed well before the repair.
I provided an example in my “If not Lubricant…then what?” showing a shot that was sort of also threading the needle where the AF nailed it. I provided the full capture and a 100% crop to show the result. I now provide this recent shot (full capture to give you a good indication what the AF was dealing with) that also is threading the AF needle. While not as great a shot as Chris’s, it does show how the AF system was able to look past the branches in front of the cardinal to pretty much nail the focus on the bird, not the branches. And that is with using my recently acquired Bigma at the long end with the AF system having to deal with f/6.3. And both shots were taken post-repair.
Taken using a Sigma 50-500 OS on a Mono-pod, VR on, single point AF-S, f/8, 1/200th, ISO 400 at 500mm.
Point I’m trying to make is that now with severe crops, at times I’m pretty much getting results that are almost usable straight from the camera. I don’t recall being able to get such great results with regularity prior to the repair. Yeah I could crop pre-repair, but the results were generally much softer (if I recall correctly) needing more tweaking of the sharpening in post to get usable results.
I am now revisiting pre-repair shots (as time permits) trying to see if there is a significant difference, but the jury is still out. I have a sense though that the AF system is working better post-repair, but have no proof positive that it is.
#8. "RE: Has the D7000 AF System Improved" In response to Reply # 7
And that is a very sharp, detailed image of the cardinal and that pic is an even better example of the "needle threading." Whether or not there are other adjustment/calibration issues with the system, it's ability to do this makes it a pleasure to use.
#11. "RE: Has the D7000 AF System Improved" In response to Reply # 0
It's an interesting question Howard. Yes I think something like that is certainly possible in the manufacture, assembly, or calibration of complex equipment like a camera AF system (or a car for that matter). And I think any manufacturer would want to fix a defect if they could improve future models and avoid customer complaints.
Given my own experience with a Nov 2010 body, my anecdote is I am able to achieve sharp bird photos from this camera and IIRC after an initial shake down period always was. And more recently my D7000 beat my D300 hands down on some Owls, so I know the D7000 can be great. I have had some difficulty in low light Theatre though, with achieving accurate AF, and instead the camera focusing on the background.
AF is a tough topic. But I think if Nikon had found something in the hardware they would do the right thing and recall and fix existing bodies too. Mind you I apply any and all firmware updates just in case
Maybe a good next step is side-by-side testing with another D7000 and/or a trip to Nikon with as detailed examples of the problem as you can, with print outs as guidance for the service techs.
#12. "RE: Has the D7000 AF System Improved" In response to Reply # 11
>AF is a tough topic. But I think if Nikon had found something >in the hardware they would do the right thing and recall and >fix existing bodies too.
Not necessarily. Nikon and all other makers state quite clearly in the warranty statement and specification statements that the companies reserve the right to change specs at any time. A recall kicks in only when something is clearly broken. D7000 AF is certainly not broken in any way.
I recently picked up a third D7000. The Mode dial is much tighter than the Mode dial on my first October 2010) D7000. That dial on the first D7000 was an aggravation - the thing seemed to change position if I even so much as glanced at it. A silent fix in later production runs I think.
>Maybe a good next step is side-by-side testing with another >D7000 and/or a trip to Nikon with as detailed examples of the >problem as you can, with print outs as guidance for the >service techs.
Now that is a fine idea. It also sounds an awful lot like work. Blech! Still a fine idea though.