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Disappointment with D5100: focus and sharpness

Gemini744

US
1 posts

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Gemini744 Registered since 25th Aug 2012
Sun 23-Sep-12 01:42 AM

I purchased my D5100 in July, 2012, and, so far, I have been disappointed with the results I have been getting.

I originally purchased just the body, since I couldn’t afford the whole kit (with the 18-55 mm and 55-200 mm lenses) at the time. Also, many of the reviews I read were lukewarm about the kit lenses’ sharpness and quality, so I wanted to wait until I could buy a better lens..  In addition, I had an old Nikon AF Nikkor 28-85mm f 3.5 – 4.5 lens I was told could be used (although I couldn’t use Auto Focus, of course).

Since my main interest is to take close-up pictures—mainly of flowers and insects—after a lot of research, I decided to purchase the AF-S Micro Nikkor 60mm f 2.8 G ED lens.  During the interim, I took a lot of pictures with the old AF Nikkor 28-85mm lens. The focus and sharpness on these pictures was not very good, even when I used a tripod, but I attributed this lack of sharpness to my inability to focus the lens properly in the manual mode.  I anticipated a much better result when I received my new AF-S lens.

Unfortunately, I have been disappointed with my results using the new lens, too.  Even when using a tripod and a remote shutter release, and even when shooting at f11 and higher, and even when using the LCD screen and manual focus rather than auto focus and the viewfinder, nearly all of my pictures have a “soft” focus—not sharp at all.

 I have read a number of similar descriptions (Kuripakk’s June 30, 2012 post “D5100 + Nikon AF-S 35/1.8G autofocus problems,” for example) about other Nikon lenses from others’ posts. There have been suggestions to “tweak” the picture controls and “sharpness” or to use flash, and I have attempted to utilize these suggestions, but nothing seems to help. I don’t know whether there is a problem with the camera, the lens, or both.  I know there can be many variables to taking “sharp” pictures, but I sure could use some insight or opinion as to whether I have a problem with the camera or lens, or both.

Leonard62

Pa, US
4419 posts

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#1. "RE: Disappointment with D5100: focus and sharpness" | In response to Reply # 0

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
Sun 23-Sep-12 10:36 AM

It's too bad you didn't buy the D5100 with at least the 18-55mm VR lens. In a kit I think it only adds about $100. It is a very capable lens and I'm sure your experience would be much different than what you describe. Even though I own a few different macro lenses, I found the 18-55mm lens could focus close enough for some very nice flower photos.

I have the AFS 35mm f1.8 lens and find no focus problems at all on my D5100 or any of my DX bodies.

The only way I think we can help you is to post a link to a couple photos, including full EXIF data, we can evaluate. Of course it's possible your camera has a problem but just about every comment that I recall has been very positive on the D5100. I know my D5100 has been a joy to use and the photos extremely sharp regardless of which lens I use. But without getting into Pro lenses I especially like the results I get with the 18-55mm VR lens.

Len

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MEMcD

US
31324 posts

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#2. "RE: Disappointment with D5100: focus and sharpness" | In response to Reply # 0

MEMcD Moderator In depth knowledge in various areas Nikonian since 24th Dec 2007
Sun 23-Sep-12 11:19 AM

Hi Larry,

Welcome to Nikonians!
Sorry to hear of your problem.
While the 18-55mm is not as sharp as the Pro zooms or the primes it is a very sharp lens and the difference is less than most think.

Please add a few sample images to your gallery with the Exif data intact so we can see the problem.

Could the "soft focus" be a Depth of Field (DOF) issue?
When shooting at macro distances the DOF can be paper thin even when shooting at f/22.
Good Luck and Enjoy your Nikons!

Best Regards,
Marty

Leonard62

Pa, US
4419 posts

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#3. "RE: Disappointment with D5100: focus and sharpness" | In response to Reply # 1

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
Sun 23-Sep-12 11:27 AM | edited Sun 23-Sep-12 11:30 AM by Leonard62

I wanted to show how close you could focus with the AFS 18-55mm VR lens. I couldn't find any flower photos so I took these of a silk flower. The flower is about 4" across.

First using the AFS 35mm f1.8, handheld with built-in flash.

Click on image to view larger version


And here is the AFS 18-55mm at 55mm handheld with built-in flash.

Click on image to view larger version


These are the full frame. No cropping. Both photos were shot at f11.

Len



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

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blw

Richmond, US
28580 posts

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#4. "RE: Disappointment with D5100: focus and sharpness" | In response to Reply # 0

blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004
Sun 23-Sep-12 08:19 PM

It is VERY unusual that anyone complains about the sharpness of the 60/f2.8 AFS Micro. In fact, I think this is a first. The 60 is a VERY sharp lens.

My guess is that either your expectations are off, or that you're not suitably processing the files. Let's see a sample - it is way, way too hard to diagnose this from a mere textual description.

_____
Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member

My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!

jesse101

Great Falls, US
688 posts

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#5. "RE: Disappointment with D5100: focus and sharpness" | In response to Reply # 4

jesse101 Silver Member Nikonian since 28th Dec 2011
Mon 24-Sep-12 01:24 AM

The 5100 is an upgrade from what i have now..i never really had issues with sharpness using my 3100. Im kinda curious what are your settings as others requested, i might be over looking something.

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http://jessemartinez.zenfolio.com

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Lolrogge

Ayden, US
325 posts

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#6. "RE: Disappointment with D5100: focus and sharpness" | In response to Reply # 0

Lolrogge Silver Member Nikonian since 12th Apr 2012
Mon 24-Sep-12 02:02 AM

I have never had a sharpness problem with my D5100 or 18-55VR. I have occasionally had an of focus image, but usually, it is my fault. Being left eye dominant, my face touching the back of the camera will occasionally shift the focus point. The point being, there are many things that effect IQ. It would help to see the images.

Laverne

arunava001

IN
2 posts

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#7. "RE: Disappointment with D5100: focus and sharpness" | In response to Reply # 0

arunava001 Registered since 31st Jul 2012
Wed 26-Sep-12 07:08 AM

I also use D 5100 with 18-55 mm lens, 55-200 mm lens and Nikon AF-S 35/1.8G prime lens. There are issues in focus and sharpness of D 5100 with 18-55 mm lens but not with other lenses

DavidN4

Johns Creek, US
272 posts

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#8. "RE: Disappointment with D5100: focus and sharpness" | In response to Reply # 0

DavidN4 Silver Member Nikonian since 09th Nov 2011
Wed 26-Sep-12 10:15 AM

I suggest that you put the camera on a tripod, and then either use a magnifier on the LCD, or use a laptop with ControlMyNikon software. This way you can actually see how it is focusing, and then adjust it if needed.

DavidN4

Johns Creek, US
272 posts

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#9. "RE: Disappointment with D5100: focus and sharpness" | In response to Reply # 0

DavidN4 Silver Member Nikonian since 09th Nov 2011
Wed 26-Sep-12 10:15 AM

I suggest that you put the camera on a tripod, and then either use a magnifier on the LCD, or use a laptop with ControlMyNikon software. This way you can actually see how it is focusing, and then adjust it if needed.

G