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need help understanding focus issues


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jonburge Registered since 08th Nov 2013
Fri 08-Nov-13 01:16 PM

I've got a D80 about 7 years old. It went to Nikon last year for a repair to the built-in flash. At that time I also sent my 55-200 AF-S DX ED lenses for repairs to the autofocus which had stopped working entirely.
I got the camera back and the 55-200 works well, but then my 18-55 DX 3.5-5.6G ED started taking badly out of focus pictures. The focus indicator light in the camera said it was in focus, after viewing the pics on the computer, they clearly are not.
I've wanted to upgrade lenses anyway, so I just purchased a refurbished 17-55 DX f2.8G ED from B&H and am playing with it to make sure it all works well before the 90 day warranty period.
I'm excited about the wide aperature to help me take photos of my kids where we are frequently inside in lower light conditions. I've taken a few shots at f2.8 so far and am not impressed at all. Maybe I just have higher expectations for a $1000 lens or a poor underatnding of depth of field / focus distance.
#1 I took some pics this morning in daylight at f2.8 / shutter speed 1000 / focal length about 28 mm with the camera to object distance about 10 feet. The camera tells me it is in focus but after viewing it certainly is not. Nothing in the pic is even remotely in focus.
#2 At 17mm / f2.8 the camera won't even focus sometimes. Does the subject have to be within 10 feet for the camera to even recognize it at those settings.
I could go on and on with my misunderstandings and concerns at this point but I'll stop here to see if I get any response. I'm a visual person, so links to to images and/or diagrams to help me get my head around the wide angle/wide aperature end of this would be very helpful. Thanks.

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