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Poor focus on my (new to me) D700

TZ750F

Brisbane, AU
51 posts

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TZ750F Registered since 06th Nov 2012
Sun 25-Nov-12 10:42 PM | edited Sun 25-Nov-12 11:50 PM by TZ750F

I finally got a D700 on Friday after the post office lost my first one.
I was getting to know it over the weekend and noticed that it does not seem to have as sharp a focus as my old Pentax k-x.
I only have the one lens (50mm f1.8D), so I cannot try another.
To take away any variables such as my hand holding technique etc, I mounted the camera on my tripod set it to aperture priority and took a series of identical images at different apertures.
To me, none are really sharp, but the best sharpness appears to be somewhere just behind the actual point of focus.
Is this adjustable, or do I have a faulty camera/lens?
I have ordered Darrel Youngs D700 book, but it hasn't arrived yet.

Tony.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/tz750f/8219343590/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/tz750f/8219355946/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/tz750f/8219350002/

ajdooley

Waterloo, US
3377 posts

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#1. "RE: Poor focus on my (new to me) D700" | In response to Reply # 0

ajdooley Gold Member Nikonian since 25th May 2006
Sun 25-Nov-12 10:58 PM | edited Mon 26-Nov-12 07:57 AM by ajdooley

Tony -- Yes, it adjustable for each lens. While you can get the instructions out of the Nikon D700 manual (paper version or downloadable PDF, which you can in turn search) you'll Find Young and Johnson's book infinitely easier to follow and more informative. You also may wish to look at Dave Busch's D700 book.

Alan
Waterloo, IL, USA
www.proimagingmidamerica.com

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Drbee

Naperville, US
5927 posts

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#2. "RE: Poor focus on my (new to me) D700" | In response to Reply # 0

Drbee Silver Member Nikonian since 05th Aug 2004
Sun 25-Nov-12 11:40 PM

I'm having difficulty seeing anything wrong with the images you posted. Perhaps I don't understand your intended point of focus.

Isn't the Pentax an APS-C sensor? If it is, that sensor produces an inherently greater DOF over a FX sensor at a given focal length and lens to subject distance. Could it be that you are used to the look of the deeper DOF?

I think you would have a better shot at a critical evaluation of the focus system (e.g. chosen point of focus and actual point of focus) using a flatter target. First test is can it produce an accurately focused image on a flat target. If not then investigate the actual depth. Do all this before you try any adjustment. It's quite a trick evaluation.

Roger
It's still, ISO, aperture and shutter-speed, right?

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TZ750F

Brisbane, AU
51 posts

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#3. "RE: Poor focus on my (new to me) D700" | In response to Reply # 2

TZ750F Registered since 06th Nov 2012
Mon 26-Nov-12 07:15 AM

>I'm having difficulty seeing anything wrong with the images
>you posted. Perhaps I don't understand your intended point of
>focus.
>
>Isn't the Pentax an APS-C sensor? If it is, that sensor
>produces an inherently greater DOF over a FX sensor at a given
>focal length and lens to subject distance. Could it be that
>you are used to the look of the deeper DOF?
>
>I think you would have a better shot at a critical evaluation
>of the focus system (e.g. chosen point of focus and actual
>point of focus) using a flatter target. First test is can it
>produce an accurately focused image on a flat target. If not
>then investigate the actual depth. Do all this before you try
>any adjustment. It's quite a trick evaluation.

Thanks for the advice, I'll re-shoot on something flat and see what that looks like.

briantilley

Paignton, UK
30235 posts

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#4. "RE: Poor focus on my (new to me) D700" | In response to Reply # 0

briantilley Gold Member 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
Mon 26-Nov-12 07:34 AM

Before you start experimenting with the AF Fine Tune feature, it would be worth eliminating some of the other variables.

As Roger says, the depth of field of FX cameras is inherently shallower than that of cropped-sensor models (when viewed under the same conditions), so you may need to mentally adjust for that.

Secondly, it's not really possible to be sure exactly which part of the flower the camera has chosen to focus on. With a relatively "deep" target at such a close distance, the AF system may choose one "petal" one time and a different one next time. Roger's suggestion of checking with a flatter target is a good one.

Lastly, you haven't said which AF settings you are using. The D700 has a comprehensive set of AF controls, and it usually takes some time to understand which combination works best for each type of subject.

Brian
Welsh Nikonian

hillsidekim

Hillside, US
549 posts

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#5. "RE: Poor focus on my (new to me) D700" | In response to Reply # 1

hillsidekim Silver Member Nikonian since 31st Jan 2008
Mon 26-Nov-12 06:42 PM

You also may want to check where your in camera sharpening is set.
Kim
Western burbs of Chicago

olivierrychner

Boudry, CH
5260 posts

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#6. "RE: Poor focus on my (new to me) D700" | In response to Reply # 4

olivierrychner Gold Member  Awarded for his long standing high level of commitment to the Nikonians community and demonstrated excellence in the art and science of photography. Nikonian since 03rd Jan 2005
Thu 29-Nov-12 12:30 PM

Hi!

I'm with Roger and Brian on this: actually, looking at your first image, there is a significant in-focus zone there - but at f/2, it's bound to be really more shallow than what you would get at the same aperture and field of view on a DX sensor such as the one in the Pentax cameras.

Looking at the f/8 and f/11 versions, I can't find anything wrong with them at all, they seem quite in-line with what one should/could expect from a D700&50/1.8 combo... A combo I have the joy to have and use, actually!

So I'd stongly suggest you review your settings for AF and in-camera sharpening, or if you shoot raw (.nef), the amount of sharpening you apply: you may have been a tad conservative in that respect, although even at 2048 pixels I can't really say it's lacking!

Hope this helps

Olivier Rychner
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