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D7000 Backfocus: am I missing something?

RLDubbya

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RLDubbya Silver Member Nikonian since 24th Dec 2011
Wed 09-Jan-13 11:29 AM | edited Thu 10-Jan-13 10:34 PM by RLDubbya

So, I've had my D7000 bodies for about 13 months now.

Using old, cheap kit lenses a 18-55 and a 55-200, great results.

Purchased a Sigma 24-70/2.8 EX, pretty bad backfocus. Lots of testing, ended dialing in -18 on both bodies, and now it's tack sharp through the range. Did a lot of testing to reach this conclusion, and got a lot of feedback on the forum while doing it.

Then got the Nikon 70-200/2.8 VRII. Just spectacular, no issues, awesome spot-on focus through the range.

I recently splurged for the Nikon 14-24/2.8. Started playing with it, couldn't get anything approaching a sharp photo...yes, severe backfocus. Dialed to -20 compensation on both bodies, and now it's sharp. I haven't completed testing, so don't know if -20 is the final number, or if it will be a bit less (or if I need a bit more).

I'm going to exchange this lens for another, if nothing else I'll get another data point.


I can't help but notice that two FX wider zooms have the problem, and other lenses don't.

Is is possible that there's something in the D7000 bodies that needs calibrated? Or do I just have bad luck on wide angle, FX zooms?

EDIT: corrected a typo on lens information pointed out by Pete later in the thread.

elec164

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#1. "RE: D7000 Backfocus: am I missing something?" | In response to Reply # 0

elec164 Silver Member Nikonian since 15th Jan 2009
Wed 09-Jan-13 02:28 PM | edited Wed 09-Jan-13 02:31 PM by elec164

Dubbya, I have read and followed your posts on this subject and realize how diligent you are in researching and testing this so I can forgo the usual warnings and links to the Lens Rental articles.

But honestly, I think this is more serendipitous and you can't necessarily draw any conclusive conclusion from it.

In my experience with testing, I found that short focal lengths tended to have more AF variation than longer focal lengths.

And out of the six lenses in my profile (3 FX and 3 DX) I am satisfied with all but two; the Nikkor 18-105 and Sigma 50-150 (both DX lenses). With those two I feel that in most circumstances I achieve better AF accuracy with AF Fine Tuning.

Pete

Pete

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RLDubbya

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#2. "RE: D7000 Backfocus: am I missing something?" | In response to Reply # 1

RLDubbya Silver Member Nikonian since 24th Dec 2011
Wed 09-Jan-13 05:13 PM

"If it wasn't for my bad serendipity, I'd have
No serendipity at all."


thormx538

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#3. "RE: D7000 Backfocus: am I missing something?" | In response to Reply # 2

thormx538 Registered since 05th Jul 2012
Wed 09-Jan-13 06:43 PM

The whole D7000 backfocusing issue is a hot topic on most forums, so I'll try and keep this objective. I was experiencing similar issues with my D7000, and the trend was that wider lenses had more of an issue than midrange and telephotos. I sent mine in for repair because I could not fine tune the body enough to get in-focus pictures with my 20-35mm f2.8. I sent it to Authorized Camera Service since I have a grey-market body, and the AF is perfect now (controlled testing with FoCal software/45deg charts, and actual photography).

I would recommend sending it in for repair/calibration. I'm very glad I did with mine.

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RLDubbya

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#4. "RE: D7000 Backfocus: am I missing something?" | In response to Reply # 3

RLDubbya Silver Member Nikonian since 24th Dec 2011
Wed 09-Jan-13 10:02 PM

>The whole D7000 backfocusing issue is a hot topic on most
>forums, so I'll try and keep this objective. I was
>experiencing similar issues with my D7000, and the trend was
>that wider lenses had more of an issue than midrange and
>telephotos. I sent mine in for repair because I could not fine
>tune the body enough to get in-focus pictures with my 20-35mm
>f2.8. I sent it to Authorized Camera Service since I have a
>grey-market body, and the AF is perfect now (controlled
>testing with FoCal software/45deg charts, and actual
>photography).
>
>I would recommend sending it in for repair/calibration. I'm
>very glad I did with mine.


Thanks for chiming in, Bill.

Did you have any problems with your body and other lenses?

I'm still going to do the exchange through Amazon, just to rule out the possibility that it is the lens. If I get similar results, I suppose I'll have to send my bodies off for calibration.

Rassie

Milton, CA
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#5. "RE: D7000 Backfocus: am I missing something?" | In response to Reply # 0

Rassie Gold Member Nikonian since 08th Jan 2006
Wed 09-Jan-13 10:54 PM

I have two lenses: Nikkor 18-200 mm VR11 and Sigma 150-500 mm OS. Both these lenses worked fine on both my D70S and then on my D90. I got my D7000 in September 2012 and immediately noticed softly focused pictures. I then tested with a focus chart and found the body to back-focus. Autofocus fine tuning of -20 was not sufficient to fix the issue. Some people believe the higher resolution of the D7K shows up the weaknesses of cheaper lenses more clearly. Maybe so.....

I sent the body and the Nikkor lens to Nikon and they adjusted the autofocus. After that I still had to play with fine tuning the AF. Having set the AF for the Sigma lens to -15 and the Nikkor to -17 now produces nice sharply focused pictures with both lenses. According to the Nikon repair facility, if one can achieve sharp autofocus within the -20 to +20 settings of the AF fine-tuning, the camera is within specification.

If I were in your shoes I would send the cameras and all lenses to Nikon for calibration. You'll probably find that they can improve the situation.

Regards

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RLDubbya

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#6. "RE: D7000 Backfocus: am I missing something?" | In response to Reply # 5

RLDubbya Silver Member Nikonian since 24th Dec 2011
Thu 10-Jan-13 12:04 AM

>Some people
>believe the higher resolution of the D7K shows up the
>weaknesses of cheaper lenses more clearly. Maybe so.....
>

Rassie - thanks.

The above is certainly not the case with mine - my cheap lenses are just as good/bad/indifferent on the D7000 as on other bodies.

What knocks me for a loop is how the 70-200/2.8 produces such breathtakingly beautiful images, with no AF adjustment needed.

And after figuring out the issue with the Sigma 24-70/2.8, I've shot thousands of images that are just fine.

I guess since I'm using -18, Nikon would tell me I'm "in spec" with that lens.

I'll certainly find time to test further, and determine what number I really need with the new lens, and post some samples.

km6xz

St Petersburg, RU
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#7. "RE: D7000 Backfocus: am I missing something?" | In response to Reply # 6

km6xz Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, including Portraits and Urban Photography Nikonian since 22nd Jan 2009
Thu 10-Jan-13 07:13 AM

It is entirely possible to have a calibration problem if all wide lenses are doing it.
There are mechanical as well as data adjustments in lookup tables that are adjusted in a calibration so it is expected that eventually most cameras will require at least mechanical adjustment.
After about 40,000 frames with my D7000, in the middle of an 8 hour event shoot all my wide angle lenses were suddenly off. Those about 45-60mm or longer were fine so I finished the session with the 85 1.4 and 70-200 2.8. The lenses I tried which were off were the 10-20 Sigma, 24 1.4 Nikon, 35 1.8 and 17-55 2.8.
I was going to the US soon so I took the D7000 to the authorized repair shop in Sacramento, Precision Services and they adjusted it under warranty and it was spot on again on all lenses I have. I was told that if mechanical alignment drifts off, it is noticed in the wide angles first.
I have no fine-tune compensation set for any of my lenses with the D7000. Like yours, my 70-200 is always spot on.
Stan
St Petersburg Russia

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thormx538

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#8. "RE: D7000 Backfocus: am I missing something?" | In response to Reply # 4

thormx538 Registered since 05th Jul 2012
Thu 10-Jan-13 12:30 PM


>
>Thanks for chiming in, Bill.
>
>Did you have any problems with your body and other lenses?
>
>I'm still going to do the exchange through Amazon, just to
>rule out the possibility that it is the lens. If I get
>similar results, I suppose I'll have to send my bodies off for
>calibration.


Every one of my lenses needed a -14 to -19 adjustment, with the 20-35 being the only one that was out of range (at this time I had the 20-35 2.8, 80-200 2.8, 35-70 2.8, 50 1.8, 70-300G). The zoom lenses would require different fine tune values at each end also, so I needed to make a compromise when setting the value.

Since repair, I have changed my lens kit around a bunch -- selling a lot of stuff off and acquiring a 24 2.8, 300 f4, 18-70DX, and 12-24DX, and none of my lenses require any AF fine tune (zooms are fine throughout the range too).

I wish I knew exactly what they adjusted on my D7000 (its the engineer in me), but the receipt just had the typical "AF ADJ/RPR" buzzwords on it.

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RLDubbya

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#9. "RE: D7000 Backfocus: am I missing something?" | In response to Reply # 7

RLDubbya Silver Member Nikonian since 24th Dec 2011
Thu 10-Jan-13 12:57 PM

Thanks Stan. I do remember you relating that this happened, but didn't recall it only impacted wide-angles.

I'm confused that a wide angle, cheap DX lens focuses just fine with no adjustment while a premium FX wide angle doesn't. But, that's probably one of those mysteries that in the long run doesn't matter.





elec164

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#10. "RE: D7000 Backfocus: am I missing something?" | In response to Reply # 9

elec164 Silver Member Nikonian since 15th Jan 2009
Thu 10-Jan-13 02:14 PM | edited Thu 10-Jan-13 02:14 PM by elec164

>Thanks Stan. I do remember you relating that this happened,
>
>
>I'm confused that a wide angle, cheap DX lens focuses just
>fine with no adjustment while a premium FX wide angle doesn't.

I forgot about Stan's experience, but don't necessarily think it applies to your situation Dubbya. In Stan's case his lenses worked fine and suddenly started missing focus. In your case the lenses that worked fine still work fine, it's only your new acquisitions that seem troublesome. In that case it appears the Lens Rental articles might apply.

Pete

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mudman2

Jamison, US
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#11. "RE: D7000 Backfocus: am I missing something?" | In response to Reply # 7

mudman2 Silver Member Nikonian since 14th May 2009
Thu 10-Jan-13 03:04 PM

Thanks for that Stan, like you my 70-200 is razor sharp and right now so in my Tokina 11-16, my 2 favorites. I will watch the Wides for any hint.

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RLDubbya

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#12. "RE: D7000 Backfocus: am I missing something?" | In response to Reply # 10

RLDubbya Silver Member Nikonian since 24th Dec 2011
Thu 10-Jan-13 05:49 PM

>>Thanks Stan. I do remember you relating that this
>happened,
>>
>>
>>I'm confused that a wide angle, cheap DX lens focuses
>just
>>fine with no adjustment while a premium FX wide angle
>doesn't.
>
>I forgot about Stan's experience, but don't necessarily think
>it applies to your situation Dubbya. In Stan's case his lenses
>worked fine and suddenly started missing focus. In your case
>the lenses that worked fine still work fine, it's only your
>new acquisitions that seem troublesome. In that case it
>appears the Lens Rental articles might apply.
>
>Pete

Well, not quite - the 70-200/2.8 was a new acquisition, and it was and remains stellar, with no tuning required.

Not trying to be argumentative - just want to be clear on the facts.

Davidpeter1

Cardiff, UK
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#13. "RE: D7000 Backfocus: am I missing something?" | In response to Reply # 3

Davidpeter1 Silver Member Nikonian since 07th Mar 2004
Thu 10-Jan-13 07:10 PM | edited Thu 10-Jan-13 07:13 PM by Davidpeter1

>The whole D7000 backfocusing issue is a hot topic on most
>forums,.....I sent mine in for repair because I could not fine
>tune the body enough to get in-focus pictures ..... I sent it to Authorized Camera Service since I have a
>grey-market body, and the AF is perfect now ...
>
>I would recommend sending it in for repair/calibration. I'm
>very glad I did with mine.

Ditto - my camera varied between less than satisfactory to totally frustrating, from new until I sent it away after trying everything and with all sorts of lenses. Parts had to be replaced and it took ages, but the repair has made all the difference - it is now as accurate as my D200! So at last it's a good camera. No focus fine tuning required so far for any lens (10-300mm), DX or FX size.

I would encourage any reasonably careful experienced photographer who is not getting reliable obviously sharp shots from the D7000 to stop testing and soul searching, and immediately send it in for repair while still in warranty.

David.

Cardiff,Britain.

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elec164

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#14. "RE: D7000 Backfocus: am I missing something?" | In response to Reply # 12

elec164 Silver Member Nikonian since 15th Jan 2009
Thu 10-Jan-13 07:27 PM

>Not trying to be argumentative - just want to be clear on the
>facts.

Well in that case, I assumed your OP was supposed to be the 18-55 for I only know of one 17-55 and that is the f/2.8 Nikkor which I would hardly call cheap or define as a kit lens.

But still, the 18-55 that's listed in your profile slower variable aperture and seems to be working fine at wide angle, and the newer faster lenses would by design have a narrower DOF when shooting wide open aren't; perhaps there is a slight variation there. But again I know you are diligent in your testing and I'm sure you took that into account.

But again I don't feel this has anything to do with DX versus FX designs, and is more due to calibration tolerances and luck of the draw.

Pete

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RLDubbya

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#15. "RE: D7000 Backfocus: am I missing something?" | In response to Reply # 14

RLDubbya Silver Member Nikonian since 24th Dec 2011
Thu 10-Jan-13 09:24 PM

>>Not trying to be argumentative - just want to be clear on
>the
>>facts.
>
>Well in that case, I assumed your OP was supposed to be the
>18-55 for I only know of one 17-55 and that is the f/2.8
>Nikkor which I would hardly call cheap or define as a kit
>lens.
>
Sorry, I sometimes type (and speak) wrong numbers. Like when I told my wife on her 40th birthday that I was going to trade her in for a pair of 20 year olds. Definitely misspoke there.

The 18-55 is indeed a cheap kit lens. Sorry for the confusion.


>But still, the 18-55 that's listed in your profile slower
>variable aperture and seems to be working fine at wide angle,
>and the newer faster lenses would by design have a narrower
>DOF when shooting wide open aren't; perhaps there is a slight
>variation there. But again I know you are diligent in your
>testing and I'm sure you took that into account.
>

Yes, not even close. I have a nice contrasty target, and even using AF-S with a Speedlight assist, getting focus locked, and then checking in Capture NX to make sure that focus was at that point - not even close. Shot about 50 "real world" shots, both with flash and without, and not one even close to being in focus. I even thought about the DOF, and did some shooting at f11, and focus was the same abysmal miss.

At this stage of the ballgame, I pretty much always assume operator error is the issue, mainly because I know the operator.

I just started testing, shot 3 shots with af-tune -20, 0, +20. -20 is clearly approaching (if not in) focus.

That's as far as I've taken it. I'm sure I could do some real world shooting and get at least acceptable results at -20, but I want to test some more.


>But again I don't feel this has anything to do with DX versus
>FX designs, and is more due to calibration tolerances and luck
>of the draw.
>
>Pete
>

Fair enough; I tend to agree, and I do appreciate your thoughts on this.

Thanks,

Bob

N4TVC

Burke, US
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#16. "RE: D7000 Backfocus: am I missing something?" | In response to Reply # 15

N4TVC Registered since 15th Jul 2006
Thu 10-Jan-13 10:11 PM

...to which she said...you're not wired for 2-20. yuk yuk yuk..

Charles

RLDubbya

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#17. "RE: D7000 Backfocus: am I missing something?" | In response to Reply # 0

RLDubbya Silver Member Nikonian since 24th Dec 2011
Sat 12-Jan-13 01:13 AM

Played with some testing this evening, which produced one strange result: clearly at "0" adjustment, focus is extremely far off. Changing to a setting of -5 results in a huge correction; changing to a -20 is quite an incremental, but noticeable, change in comparison. I can easily see the focal plane shift from -5 to -10, -15, -20.

First round indicates I should be between a -10 and -15. I didn't attempt to get any more granular (ie, no -12, -13, etc) on this round.

I'm planning on just enjoying taking some pics tomorrow with -15 dialed in. I'm pretty darned sure that I'll get keeper images; there might be some room for improvement, but I'm not in a rush.

RLDubbya

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#18. "RE: D7000 Backfocus: am I missing something?" | In response to Reply # 13

RLDubbya Silver Member Nikonian since 24th Dec 2011
Sat 12-Jan-13 01:15 AM

David, thanks for chiming in - and I'm glad you got your camera sorted. See my update on testing results.

Oh, and worth stressing: with no AF fine tune, I can't get a single sharp image from the combo - not even close.

RLDubbya

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#19. "RE: D7000 Backfocus: am I missing something?" | In response to Reply # 0

RLDubbya Silver Member Nikonian since 24th Dec 2011
Sun 20-Jan-13 11:22 PM

Quick update: I've shot quite a bit with the fine tune set from -17 to -20, and I'm getting sharp results at all focal lengths and apertures. Since this is considered by Nikon to be within spec, I probably won't fuss with it - interesting that I have the same result with the Sigma 24-70/2.8 EX.

Sample after AF Fine tune:

Click on image to view larger version


Focus point was the right of the dog's throat, just under the jaw, where the fur is going from white to black, verified in CaptureNX2, taken with AF at -20.


Sample before AF Fine tune:

Click on image to view larger version


In this sample, focus point was the right side of the dog's muzzle, from the nose to just under the eye, verified in CaptureNX2, AF at 0.

I'll probably do more boring test stuff with rulers and such, I have a hunch based on a few from today that -20 is too much, and I should be around -18.

Anyhow, I'm liking the lens a lot, see a lot of potential, and now just have to learn how to use it.

EAPhoto

Asheboro, US
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#20. "RE: D7000 Backfocus: am I missing something?" | In response to Reply # 19

EAPhoto Registered since 16th Jan 2013
Fri 25-Jan-13 06:34 PM | edited Fri 25-Jan-13 06:34 PM by EAPhoto

RLW

I joined Nikonians because I am going through what you and others are going through with my D7000. I bought it in August of 2011 assuming it would replace my D300 as main body. Love my D300, it is a bulldog of a camera and the memories with it are priceless. So with excitement I started shooting usual subjects with my D7000. Nature, birds, snakes turtles and freelance news paper gigs. Right away, I was producing out of focus subjects. Well, as a seasoned, passionate photographer, I was not happy with the results I was getting. I put the camera down and went back to my trustworthy D300. As a result my warranty has run out. I just thought it was me and I was not used to it yet. I took the easy way out and did not deal with the problem at the time.

Making a longer story short, I picked it up again, LEARNED the modes of a bit more advanced auto focus system and when it gets recalibrated, I can't wait to mess around with assuming it is not back focusing anymore.

I feel for anyone getting a D7000 with these issues and if you are having those problems, you are not alone.

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SteveVal

UK
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#21. "RE: D7000 Backfocus: am I missing something?" | In response to Reply # 20

SteveVal Registered since 01st May 2013
Thu 09-May-13 12:58 PM

I purchased a new D7000 in Feb 2013, I then waited for some good weather to take photos , this was about April. Oh Dear ! it was disappointing , out of focus using single point / single focus at anywhere approaching Full Aperture and speeds above 150th Sec. My 3 main Nikon lenses were all the same but were perfect on my other Nikon bodies (D70,D90 & my wife's D3100).
I read lots of comments on this site saving "it is the user" and how wonderful the D7000 is.
I found that depth of field could be discounted as pictures were still out of focus on a vertical target, all lenses showed back focus.
I sent the body to Nikon Service UK , received it back within a week and now the focus is absolutely spot on with all my lenses.
During the testing prior to sending to Nikon I found that AF Tuning of around -15 to -20 was required for it to correct the focus issues.
What I think this shows is that there are still D7000 's being sold with this issue after a couple of years of manufacture, mine was purchased from a relatively high stock turn-over camera specialist shop so I believe it is fairly recent manufacture.
If a camera doesn't focus as it should and you have tested it using a sensible method, send it back, after all they are not cheap items and should be able to take a photo in focus just a easily as a D70, D90 etc. Anyway, mine is OK now and I can go and take photographs now and use the camera for the purpose it was bought. Not just trying to see if it functions correctly .

We may not be as experienced as some of the experts here but also we are not silly, if you think your D7000 focus is faulty it probably is.

Kjdnikon

Batavia, US
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#22. "RE: D7000 Backfocus: am I missing something?" | In response to Reply # 21

Kjdnikon Gold Member Nikonian since 03rd Mar 2013
Thu 09-May-13 01:34 PM

I purchased s D7000 in Jan 2013 refurbished. My 70 - 200 2.8 had to be dialed in at -18. My 28 - 70 2.8 was -20 and needed more.... I returned the camera and purchased another from a different retailer also refurbished in February 2013.... Exact same backfocus results on 2 different cameras from 2 different stores.

Retuned the 2nd one as well. I then in March purchased a D7100. Both lenses focused spot on within -1 and -2.

I do not care what anyone says about backfocus issues not existing on the D7000. It is there, and still exists as of just a couple of months ago...

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doppler_fto

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#23. "RE: D7000 Backfocus: am I missing something?" | In response to Reply # 22

doppler_fto Registered since 23rd Mar 2013
Fri 10-May-13 01:54 AM

Note that if the mirror stops aren't tuned correctly, that could cause this to happen. The center of the mirror is half-silvered in the center, and the half-silvered section has a _secondary_ mirror which reflects light down to be split between the metering sensor and the AF sensor. If that mirror is positioned incorrectly, it could change the length of the light path for the AF sensor and cause AF inaccuracies.

Unfortunately, the AF fine tune adjustments don't have any units, so it's unclear how much the mirror would have to be off to require a correction of -20.

Not having used a D7000, I have no idea how likely or unlikely this is; just a theory.

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