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D7000... in need of advice

vladman

London, UK
27 posts

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vladman Registered since 25th Jun 2009
Thu 02-Dec-10 10:35 AM

Hi, I'm new here. Apologies for the very long first post.

I'm hoping I can get some constructive advice and/or opinions from those more experienced (and at this moment in time, more clear-headed) than myself.

First a little history about me and my photographic background. I'm 37 and have loved photography ever since I was a boy. I used my bathroom as a make-shift dark room, and developed my own film and photographs when I was a teenager. I progressed from film cameras (never used an SLR though) into the digital age. I had several digital cameras and took many pictures with all of them, always trying to learn and develop further.

My first DSLR was a D90 and I LOVED it! I used it a lot. I took about 9000 pictures in about 16 months on it (mainly on holidays). Initially, I was a bit worried (coming from a Panasonic superzoom) I will find it too cumbersome, or would resort to automatic modes too much, but I very soon figured out I preferred the manual mode the most, and that's where the camera's dial has stayed for probably 95% of the pictures I've taken. I never had any issues with it, and was very pleased with the pictures I was taking. When I saw the D7000 announced, I was very excited. I like taking pictures in low light, and thought the expanded ISO range would be awesome. I also never made use of the D90's video mode, which, frankly, wasn't that great, and thought the D7000 would be far better for this (even though video was never a priority for me). Add the sealed body, faster burst frame rate, and I was sold.

I was VERY excited when I picked up my D7000 a couple of weeks ago. I was patient, and copied most of the D90's settings into my D7000 whilst learning what all the new ones did (I LIKE reading manuals! ), before I took my first picture.

Because I picked up my D7000 at the airport, I took it with me on a brief holiday. I took about 300 pictures, and was only able to review them on the D7000's screen. Now we come to it... I started developing a suspicion that a lot of pictures looked a bit soft.

Now, an important note before I go any further. At this point, I was TOTALLY UNAWARE of all the back-focusing issues being discussed in relation to this camera on the Internet.

I then looked at the pictures I'd taken on the computer screen, and my suspicions only grew. Nearly every image I had taken was a bit soft or out of focus, and they were different images, taken with varying shutter speeds and apertures. Also, the majority of the first 300 images I took were taken with my 35mm f1.8 Nikon prime, the rest with the kit 18-105mm lens. I did some brief and crude experiments, which increased my suspicion that pretty much all images taken with the 35mm were soft. I then experimented with the AF Fine Tune, and found that images taken at -15 seemed sharper. However, I stress again, these were crude tests (handheld, with fast-ish shutter speeds), and I knew I couldn't really rely on any results I got, more take them as clues. I never had any problems (or perhaps didn't notice them?? but I doubt that) with this lens on the D90.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, over the last couple of weeks, I never really had a chance to test the camera properly. I downloaded and printed a focus chart, and looked at a couple of websites which explained the procedure.

But... I'm actually not sure I want to go down this route. I don't want to get obsessed with numbers, and charts, and the minutiae of all that. I just want to shoot nice pictures and have fun doing it (I know how simplistic that sounds, but basically, that's what I (and I think most of the rest of us) want to do). But (another but)... I'm now suspicious of my D7000. I'm by NO MEANS convinced it's the camera's fault. I'm perfectly ready to accept it's me. In the last couple of weeks, I've read MANY forums posts from people complaining about this issue, and all sorts of explanations given, that's it's a higher pixel-count camera, less tolerant of user mistakes, etc. etc. I WANT my camera to be ok, and not to have to send it back, or exchange it. But I'm struggling with being able to reach a definite conclusion, and decide if my camera REALLY has a focusing problem, or it's me (or the lens(es))?

I never had any of these issues with my D90. I was very happy with the images I got from it from day one (or to be more precise with that statement, I was happy with the focusing of the D90 - I simply never had reason to question it), but of course, I continued to learn and improve my photography as I went along.

So. I have another two weeks or so to exchange or return the camera. I also don't want to end up (like some people) getting a second camera which also has issues, and then having to go onto a third one, etc, etc.

You're probably wondering what I'm hoping to achieve with this post. I suppose, I'm hoping for some level-headed advice on what my best course of action should be. I suppose I really need to do some more precise and accurate testing (as much as I dislike doing that). Can someone recommend a relatively quick and simple, but still fairly accurate testing method? Also, a question. Is it possible a lens which worked fine with one camera (D90) might have a problem working with another? I ask because I'm seeing most issues with my 35mm lens. The 18-105mm seems to exhibit less focusing issues, leading me to believe that it's perhaps not the camera body's fault, but perhaps the lens'.

Bottom line is, I'm unsure if my camera has a problem, and if I need to return or exchange it, or if perhaps my lens has an issue, or if the issue is me.

Any advice or opinion gratefully received, and again, sorry for such an outrageously long post.

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