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Manual lenses having focus issues on my D700

Fogtripper

US
131 posts

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Fogtripper Silver Member Nikonian since 27th Jul 2004
Tue 06-Nov-12 12:37 AM

OK, I am going bonkers here.I have a handful of manual lenses. I love them. Small list: 28mm 1:2.8, 50mm 1:1.8, and my absolute favorite the 85mm 1.4. All are AiS Nikkor. They mount correctly, meter correctly, and have little if any wiggle whatsoever.

I have been frustrated of late trying to figure out why I cannot get sharp focus. This evening I was treated to 2 young mule deer bucks, rattling antlers for dominance. I had only time to mount the 85mm, and from about 50 yards away I began snapping. As it was dusk I had the ISO at 400 and the aperture at f4. Had plenty of speed, and it was bright enough that I could easily manual focus. I did not worry all that much about DoF due to the distance.

So I did an image dump into my RAW folder afterward, and began to look them all over. All 80+ of them. The same issue that plagued me a few days ago reared it's head once again: The point that I focused on was out of focus, yet objects in the distance were clear. It was not even CLOSE to the distance I visually thought was in focus.

The 28mm gave me the same issue a few days ago, when shooting at a rifle a mere 3 feet away. Body was firmly mounted in the ballhead/tripod. Was using timed release and shutter delay. Same thing as today: the rifle was noticeably out of focus when I opened up the RAWs, yet it was visually in focus when taking the photos.

Is this a known issue with some D700 bodies? I am going to do a search for local Nikon reps, but I am kind of far out from SLC.

Will have to clamp this sucker down and run some test shots utilizing the distance scale and focus indicators, which I rarely ever do when actively shooting.



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Drbee

Naperville, US
5927 posts

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#1. "RE: Manual lenses having focus issues on my D700" | In response to Reply # 0

Drbee Silver Member Nikonian since 05th Aug 2004
Tue 06-Nov-12 12:14 AM

Will you please post a sample image?

I don't know of any known D700 problems. I use the following AIS lenses on my D700 with pretty good success, 24mm f/2.8, 28mm f/2, 35mm f/2, 50mm f/1.2, 70-150mm f/3.5. The faster lenses work out the best for on-screen focusing, the 28mm f/2 is my favorite. I also use the green-dot, but I do have to be very careful as the green-dot in-focus indicators can give some puzzling results. I struggled over the word "puzzling" in the previous sentence, the results are not "false" or "false-positive" or "incorrect" it's just the the dot-indicator can be difficult to get a "lock". I think that's a measure of just how much jiggle we add to the situation when moving the focus ring.

I've had batches of images where I would swear that they were in-focus at capture time, but later review show a consistent error. In all cases where I've taken the time to deconvolute the results, it's pretty clear that it's my error - typically picking the wrong or confusing (to the camera) focusing target.

I always use the center AF spot for manual focus. I also run my shutter speed up a bit because I find that I hold the camera more rigidly when I don't have to have one hand more or less free to turn the focus ring. If I'm using the screen over the green-dot, then I pick a clear area between the AF brackets to attain focus.

I can't close focus my 50mm f/1.2 at f/1.2 on real world targets without using Live-View.

Over the years, I've found many ways to do it wrong and it always seems to show up on targets where I really want the results. I wonder some times if adrenaline play a factor - causing me to hurry, shake, use faulty judgment, etc.

Maybe we could tell more from a sample image.

Best Regards,

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

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Fogtripper

US
131 posts

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#2. "RE: Manual lenses having focus issues on my D700" | In response to Reply # 1

Fogtripper Silver Member Nikonian since 26th Jul 2004
Tue 06-Nov-12 01:03 AM | edited Tue 06-Nov-12 01:04 AM by Fogtripper

Here's a quick sample. It was shot in RAW, horizontal orientation, cropped in photoshop to show the various distances. I was focusing on the buck. This is pixel/pixel and not downsized (unless photobucket does so)


85mm at F4
Granted, I could have done a lot better on a tripod (these were all handheld, but braced up against a wall), but still, the focus plane looks way off.


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Drbee

Naperville, US
5927 posts

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#3. "RE: Manual lenses having focus issues on my D700" | In response to Reply # 2

Drbee Silver Member Nikonian since 05th Aug 2004
Tue 06-Nov-12 01:33 AM

Thanks for posting the image. It's nice to have a clear view of the circumstance. The image I have access to is very small, about 75Kb, and it is difficult with that size to see the focus plane.

I imagine this was not an easy image to focus. The contrast levels are uniformly low, perhaps the best target is the buck's white tail. I tried applying some aggressive sharpening in PS but still couldn't get a handle on the focus plane. It looks like the focus is beyond the buck but the doe between the buck and the white fence doesn't look crisp either, perhaps it's the ears that are throwing me off. Just not enough detail in the posted image.

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

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Fogtripper

US
131 posts

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#4. "RE: Manual lenses having focus issues on my D700" | In response to Reply # 3

Fogtripper Silver Member Nikonian since 26th Jul 2004
Tue 06-Nov-12 12:50 PM

The thing is, it has got to widely off from the buck, considering how out of focus the berm at the bottom is, compared to the treeline and hillside in the distance. Now granted, f4 on the 85mm gives a narrow DoF, but it appears that the distant objects are more in focus than where I was visually seeing the viewable DoF of the lens while shooting. It's as if to a certain distance, the DoF at f4 was working, and then suddenly the "other side" of the DoF simply ceased to follow the laws of physics. That is of course on top of the fact that the viewable focus plane ended up being nowhere near where the camera translated it into.

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G