>I was only able to get more or less acceptable focus in the >central focus point by fine-tuning the 50mm f/1.4 to +15. > >Fine tuning is a cool feature and is required in some cases, >but my D700 was making tack sharp images without ANY fine >tuning with all lenses that I have (24, 50, 105, 700-200).
I just don't understand that sentiment that is very often expressed. Fine tune is to allow one to adjust something that is mechanical, and by its nature has some error in the manufacturing process. Look at all complex devices, they all have adjustments, from the throttle on your car to a piano to a telescope tracking guide. If the adjustment makes it right, and is within the range available -- why is that bad?
It's a darn nuisance, I get it. If Nikon would allow computer driven AF fine tune adjustments it would be very easy -- mount the camera, attach computer, press enter -- 15 minutes later you are done. One thing I'm jealous of Canon, they allow that.
But I would personally never suggest sending back a camera just because the fine tune wasn't near zero -- might end up a lot worse!
I devoted most of a day (yes, that's a long time) to tuning each lens with my new D4. A huge investment in time -- but it's a huge investment in camera and lenses, and deserves it. And it DID make a very perceptible difference in real world shots.
Could Nikon do better at consistency. Sure. I'm not trying to be an apologist for Nikon. But it's like people who have a dirty sensor out of the box and want to send off a new camera to repair. Shame on Nikon, but the practical solution is clean it. And fine tune it. Mutter a few curses toward Japan as you do it; they deserve it. But don't let some inexperienced intern in Melville get his hands on your camera just over a need to fine tune.