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Is my 17-55 front focusing?

rocha

US
67 posts

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rocha Basic Member
Sun 31-Dec-06 06:04 AM

It all started when I bought a 17-55 f2.8 about a year ago. The lens always bugged me, I always thought it was kinda soft and I had to manual focus everytime I was shooting on the wide end, as it would never focus on infinity. Last week I decided to send it to Nikon to fix the infinity problem. I received the lens back today, the invoice says it went through a B2 repair. Nikon kindly attached a copy of the lens manual (which I still have and read) highlighting the section with "Notes on using wide or super-wide angle AF Nikkor lenses".

First picture I took and I decided it was a lot worse than before at all focal lengths, now I couldn't even focus at 55mm. So I decided to do something I never done before, a real test under controlled conditions and looking at 100% crops. Here is how my test was set up:

I put the camera on a tripod and set the shutter speed to 1/250 and the aperture to f4.5. The room was lit by artificial light and relatively dark, so I added the SB800 to my D2x. I taped a high contrast target (paper with text) to the wall, I decided to test it like this because I heard (mainly from Leonard's posts) that the 45 degree angle test is not very good and I wanted to make sure that the camera was focusing where I wanted (the printed paper). I used the center focus area in AF-S (single servo), fucused using the AF-on button and took the photo in AF mode. After that I turned the lens (in the case of AFS lenses) to manual mode and focused in manual as best as I could (I think I have good eyes).

For comparison I repeated the exact same test without moving the camera, tripod or target (also didn't change camera settings) with my other lenses: an old 24-50 f3.3-4.5D left over from the film days and two primes, the 60mm and the 105mm Micro Nikkors. Again, the conditions for all lenses was the exact same (f4.5, 1/250, SB800, tripod, etc.).

Sorry, I don't know how to post images here (for some reason, linking my photos doesn't work), so I built a simple webpage with the test, please take a look:

http://www.luizrocha.com/1755/

Could you please tell me if this can possibly be user error, and if it is, is there something else I could do to eliminate it? BTW, all photos were taken with the camera on a tripod about 1 meter from the target and at 55mm (it is a lot worse at 17mm, but I decided to do the test at 55 because you always say that AF doesn't work well in wide lenses).

Thanks!

Luiz

Luiz Rocha
http://www.luizrocha.com/
http://wetpixel.com/

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