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Is D800 Focus Tuning Necessary???

walk43

Pennsylvania, US
719 posts

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walk43 Registered since 07th Feb 2012
Tue 24-Apr-12 11:57 AM

There was an earlier thread where folks were talking about AF tuning. I must admit that I have never done that and what I have read about it sounds like a lot of work. But for those of you who have done it before, and now own a D800, are you finding that you have to/want to do it for your D800/lenses? I do not see any issues with any of my lenses but maybe I am missing something that I should do. How do I know if it needs done? Is it worth it really??

Dan
(Nikon D800,V2,Sony HX400V,Lumix ZS40)
"I don't read, I just look at pictures" - Andy Warhol

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ericbowles

Atlanta, US
10633 posts

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#1. "RE: Is D800 Focus Tuning Necessary???" | In response to Reply # 0

ericbowles Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge and high level skills in various areas, especially Landscape and Wildlife Photoghraphy Writer Ribbon awarded for for his article contributions to the community Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Nikonian since 25th Nov 2005
Tue 24-Apr-12 10:35 AM

The D800 has greater resolution, so in theory it will show a little more impact of lens errors. It stands to reason that AF errors would also show up more on the D800 than other cameras. The AF error can be attributed to defects within tolerance on both the camera body and your lenses. There is also a bit of random error that occurs with modern AF systems.

I would not view the difference as being so significant that you need to go out and do a lot of testing. If you have prime lenses that have been sharp in the past, they should be sharp on the D800 just as they were on other cameras. If you notice softness in controlled testing, you could consider AF fine tuning.

AF fine tuning can be applied to both zooms and primes, but with zooms you have to pick a single focal length for your testing. In practice, getting more accurate results at one focal length can reduce AF accuracy at other focal lengths. Also remember that you are trying to adjust AF accuracy, not create the sharpest images. Soft images could be indicative of diffraction or lenses that need to be stopped down for best performance. Wide lenses tend to have enough depth of field that AF fine tuning is not particularly useful. Longer primes tend to have the highest value from testing. The Lens Align site has a lot of details on testing methodology.

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Ferguson

Cape Coral, US
5751 posts

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#2. "RE: Is D800 Focus Tuning Necessary???" | In response to Reply # 0

Ferguson Silver Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for the generous sharing of his high level expertise in the spirit of Nikonians Nikonian since 19th Aug 2004
Tue 24-Apr-12 10:35 AM


Yes. As an example my 14-24 needed about +16, though my 24-70 was dead on. To be fair I bought the 14-24 to use with the D800 so I never tested it on the D300. I don't remember all the others, but most needed a bit of touchup, but it was small enough to not matter a lot, however the 14-24 was way off, very visibly soft if not tuned.

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mrpenguin

Windsor, CA
306 posts

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#3. "RE: Is D800 Focus Tuning Necessary???" | In response to Reply # 2

mrpenguin Silver Member Nikonian since 09th Feb 2012
Tue 24-Apr-12 12:46 PM

I did AF tuning using a LensAlign kit with my D7000 and my D800 and my D7000 needed a lot more fine tuning on all of my lenses than the D800.
For instance I didnt have to do any fine tuning on my D800 with my 70-200mm VR attached to it.

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dsouleles

Great Falls, US
162 posts

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#4. "RE: Is D800 Focus Tuning Necessary???" | In response to Reply # 0

dsouleles Silver Member Nikonian since 06th Mar 2009
Tue 24-Apr-12 03:27 PM

Hi -

Before you spend any time messing around with fine tuning auto-focus I highly recommend you read Thom Hogan's tutorial on diagnosing auto focus problems - http://www.bythom.com/autofocus.htm

The most common auto-focus issues are either technique related or have to do with the photographer not fully understanding how the auto-focus system works - in other words "pilot error".

I have a dozen lenses from high-end pro lenses like the 200-400 VR1 down to inexpensive lenses like the 50 1.8 DX and have used them on 4 different Nikon pro and consumer bodies and never had to fine tune auto focus, ever. I shoot fasion, wedding and events, fast moving sports, nature and wildlife, as well as commercial studio work. I regularly sell fine art prints up to 20x30. I have never experienced a focus problem that wasn't me.

Auto-focus problems do occur - that's why Nikon provides the setting, but they are much less common that one reading these threads would lead one to believe. Like most things photographic - it is usually not the camera's fault.

Since you are not experiencing any problem I see no beneift to fine tuning auto-focus.

Regards,

Dean Souleles
www.dsoulphoto.com

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aay

CA
172 posts

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#5. "RE: Is D800 Focus Tuning Necessary???" | In response to Reply # 0

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