I've used my new 7100 for a few months now and just can't seem to get the results I expected. The percentage of soft images I get is much higher than with my old D80 especially with longer lenses. My frustration level has soared since I got an AF 80-400 D ED the other day.Expecting the sharp images I've seen from a D300 with this lens I was sorely disappointed. Even shooting at 200mm or less with faster shutter speeds ,tripod mounted I cant get a decent shot. I've tried various aperatures, different metering, auto focus single and continuous. I've been conscious of the slow auto focusing and have made sure the focus dot was there before tripping the shutter as well as trying manual focus. I went to the auto focus lens forum and got some ideas there but still no luck.Several people from that forum suggested that maybe the higher pixal density is an issue. Others say that they get good results with the 7100 and this lens but it took them some time to get it dialed. I'm not clear about what that may mean but hoping they will clarify it for me. If anyone has had this experience and can help me through this I will be forever grateful! I am shooting wildlife but have also tried inanimate subjects. Thanks Jess
Without seeing actual images, it's hard to say much that you haven't already heard. For one thing, "sharp" is a relative term. How soft are your images? Examples would help a lot.
There are three possible sources of softness:
1) The lens is not focused on the subject. 2) Motion blur. (Camera shake, for a static subject.) 3) The lens is optically inferior or flawed.
It's not clear to me whether you have fully eliminated the first two. You say you tried manual focus. Were you able to achieve a sharp shot reliably with that? If so, the optics must be OK. If not, did you focus the lens manually using Live View? And what shutter speed did you use for that test?
It's also true that if you look at 24-MP images at 100%, you are more "zoomed in" to the image on your screen than viewing one of those smaller images at 100%, so whatever softness the shot might have will be magnified. One thing you can do to level the playing field for analysis is to resize your images to 12 MP when comparing them to what you see from one of the older cameras (D80, D300). Whether this plays into the issue is hard to say since you haven't posted images to show how soft they actually are.
My D7100 gives very sharp shots with long lenses. However, my experience is with using AF-S lenses. That may make some difference, but you should at least be able to achieve a sharp shot in a static tripod-mounted test. If you can't, there is something wrong with the lens optically and it's pointless to worry about autofocus issues.
I would try outside on a good light with tripod and live view. If live view gives sharp images and auto focusing with viewfinder and central focus point does not, then AF micro adjustment might help. If live view does not give you sharp images then there could be something wrong with the lens.
Thanks for your suggestions.They will give me something to try today. One thing I failed to mention which may be a part of the issue is that the lens does not have a tripod collar. I thought they all came with one but not in this case. I did, however try hand holding as well, but my skill at that obviously needs improvement I have also never tried live view not realizing it may make a difference. So thanks again Jon for your thoughts. Much appreciated. Will post some results after todays efforts. Jess
One final thing that I didn't see specifically mentioned. At the longer focal lengths a sturdy tripod and mount is essential for sharp images. I used to think that any tripod would do, but once you start putting 8lbs or more on a tripod that wasn't designed to hold it firmly, it becomes obvious in your images. Just using your finger to push the shutter release can blur a distant subject.
Getting a decent tripod made a big difference in my long distance and night shots.
"Red is gray and yellow white, but we decide which is right ....and which is an illusion"
Are you shooting jpeg or raw? As has already been mentioned, the D7100 is recording far more pixels for a given scene than your D80 resulting in larger images on the screen - which can give the impression of being softer than your D80.
If you're shooting jpegs, try setting your D7100 to a small image size and compare it to the medium image size from your D80. Those settings are very close in pixel count. If you D7100 images now appear as good as your D80 images, then it is just a matter of learning how to use all those extra pixels the D7100 makes available.
>Are you shooting jpeg or raw? As has already been mentioned, >the D7100 is recording far more pixels for a given scene than >your D80 resulting in larger images on the screen - which can >give the impression of being softer than your D80. > >If you're shooting jpegs, try setting your D7100 to a small >image size and compare it to the medium image size from your >D80. Those settings are very close in pixel count. If you >D7100 images now appear as good as your D80 images, then it is >just a matter of learning how to use all those extra pixels >the D7100 makes available. >
Amen I thought there was something seriously wrong when i zoomed 100% and it all looked terrible and horrible. I think it's called "Pixel peeping"
I agree with Chris on his point about more pixels. I've had a very similar experience to Jess' going from a D80 to a D7100. 10mp to 24mp is a bigger jump than I realized and I'm definitely feeling the steep side of the learning curve. Also, the D7100 isn't just a better camera, it's a bigger camera and I find I can barely handhold it. Better stabilization is certainly part of my strategy for getting the best out of this powerful camera.
The viewfinder adjustment dial (when mis-set) has caused me to get soft images when I manually focus. I set this dial for when I'm wearing my glasses and I re-set it for when I'm not wearing my glasses…just a thought.
"Great things are not done by impulse but by a series of small things brought together." Vincent Van Gogh
Today I received my copy of "Mastering the Nikon D7100" by darrell Young and ordered a tripod collar. I did some testing on my lens and camera body that has been suggested and find that ...yeah, you guessed it, it must just be me and my lack of knowledge of the D7100 and some needed practice and experience. Thanks everyone for your time,suggestions and encouragement. Jess
When you're done with all of that and still not getting good results. Send it back to Nikon for focus calibration.
I had all kinds of focus trouble with the D7000 and I had piles of people here telling me that it was "me". Sent it in and without modifying my process instant good results.
Same with the D7100. Sharp images were few and far between. Sent it in and instant excellent images.
It's unfortunate that this has to be done. The expectation is that it comes from the factory correctly aligned. However that is not reality.
From a consumer standpoint it is just the cost of being a Nikon customer.
>Today I received my copy of "Mastering the Nikon >D7100" by darrell Young and ordered a tripod collar. >I did some testing on my lens and camera body that has been >suggested and find that ...yeah, you guessed it, it must just >be me and my lack of knowledge of the D7100 and some needed >practice and experience. >Thanks everyone for your time,suggestions and encouragement. >Jess >
While I accept that the number of cameras with actual faults may be low, I find the attitude of people here and on other sites hard to accept. People seem to assume that if their camera is fine they must all be. I struggled for months with my D7000 because every one kept telling me it was my fault. After sending it back twice I now am more than happy with the quality of my pictures. The talk of problems may be mainly rumour, but some cameras definitely have problems.
The thing is, most of the time, it's not the camera that's at fault. Those of us who have been on these forums for years can cite any number of times when a thread ended up with the OP finding that the problem was in their technique or their unrealistic expectations. So responses tend to start with the assumption that the problem is probably not in the camera. Some times it is, of course. These are complex instruments that can fail in myriad ways. But the rate of failure isn't nearly as high as some would lead you to believe.
>People seem to assume that if their >camera is fine they must all be.
I don't think that's true.
The majority of members here understand that a few examples of any model of camera will be faulty in some way - but we also appreciate through experience that a lot of the problems that get reported turn out to be something else. In general, we try to counteract the (very common) assumption that "my images are blurry; it must be the camera".
Sat 11-Jan-14 05:47 PM | edited Sat 11-Jan-14 05:49 PM by txstone12
>”Sharp images were few and far between. Sent it in and instant excellent images. It's unfortunate that this has to be done. The expectation is that it comes from the factory correctly aligned. However that is not reality.”
I don't share this view of the reality of camera and lens calibration. My understanding is that cameras and lenses are manufactured within a given tolerance for each. Actual results for specific samples (my camera or lens) may not match up well on occasion. Then I would try to determine whether the issue, focus softness in this case, is due to the camera or the lens.
This is what Jess did, comparing his new AF 80-400 D on both his new D7100 and on a D300. Jesse summarized this comparison and the outcome in another topic
>”Yesterday we tested my lens by placing a newspaper on a wall and taking shots with my lens on a D300 body and my 7100. We shot wide open using manual focus and auto with each body at 400mm, 200mm, 105mm and 80mm. Mounted on a sturdy tripod but unfortunately still without a collar. We then compared each at different sizes as well as 100% and 200%. Neither of us could see a significant difference between the two and the print was pretty sharp right out of the camera.”
I expect Jess will continue to see how he feels about how the 80-400D performs on his D7100, but my impression is the 7100 passed the first hurdle. Onward…
I’m certainly not a self-designated Nikon defender, but I especially don’t like seeing the D7000 or the D7100 get caught up in a generalization.
>I’m certainly not a self-designated Nikon defender, but I >especially don’t like seeing the D7000 or the D7100 get caught >up in a generalization.
Yes. Too often one sees trolling on forums where people who can't possibly even have a given camera in hand will start out a thread with the "DXYZ side focus vibration issue". This then leads to a string of other posts made by those who seem to prefer being amateur camera testers as opposed to being successful photographers. That's the 'net, but it gets a bit over the top, because it takes away from the art of capturing the image, which would seem to be the point of the whole site to begin with.
Imperfect cameras are made, but no manufacturer or vendor can afford to release or carry systematically sloppy goods.
I myself have been the purchaser of day one released D7000 and D7100's. Both performed fully up to spec and expectation, and both are tremendous examples of accessible value that would have been impossible not all that long ago.
I ran into similar results but then I purchased the SpyderLENSCAL focus tester. I tested and adjusted two lenses in particular that gave me some problems. About five minutes with each and my focus was adjusted right on. Now the camera remembers the settings for each lens and automatically makes the proper alignments when I install the lens. There are other ways to do it but this plastic assembly takes all the guess work out of it.
Since then I have tested all my lenses and only the first two really needed adjustment; one was my old 50mmf:1.4 and the other a brand new 85mmf:1.8G which is the reason I bought the LENSCAL to start with. BTW my camera is the D7100 and it allows for user adjustments.
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one. Einstein ------------------------------------------------------> Nikon F, F2, F3, F4, F5 & F100 Nikon D300 D7100
This sounds like a handy tool. Just knowing that the combos of lens to body are calibrated as accurately as possible would bring some peace of mind. Who knows, even if your satisfied with the performance you might squeeze out a little more success. After all the bucks already spent to optimize our abilities what's another $65 for possible improvement and some education! Then again, as I write this I'm about to step out to try all the valuable tips and info everyone has sent. When I return with perfectly crisp images tonight I'll put that $65 toward a new tripod or....? Right?
I read and reread Darrell youngs book and absorbed what my ancient brain could, set the camera up better, followed the many tips everyone offered and ...well the results were greatly improved, with a much higher percentage of workable images. I even got one shot of a turtle, camera handheld against a tree, at infinity, 400MM, wide open at 800 asa and was amazed it was so clear and resonably sharp. With a little PP it was a decent shot. So it looks like all is well with camera and lens and with continued education and practice I have a chance of getting some good stuff. I still may buy the lenscal to satisfy my curiousity and gain a little more understanding of these things. Thanks again to all who spent their time helping to educate me. Jess
I had to work hard to get my D7000 to focus sharply with all my lenses. Sharpness is a top priority for me. I had to program the AF Fine Tune for each lens at different focal lengths. Then I got consistently sharp photos. I even took it in to Nikon Service but they said it was properly adjusted and nothing they could do to improve sharpness except restore it to factory settings.
With my D7100, however, it was sharp right out of the box with all my lenses which was a great relief. So I'm happy with the D7100. Neill Proud to be a Montreal Nikonian http://picasaweb.google.com/NeillDGraham
Well I got the lens collar so will try some shots with the tripod again this week. But a question first. I have been told by some not to use the VR when tripod mounted, others say to use it. Any thoughts would be appreciated.Jess
Some (expensive) lenses have a tripod-mode option on their VR but most do not. If you lock the lens down tightly on the tripod, you should turn off the VR as it may ADD blur to the picture. If you have the lens loose on the tripod because you are following birds in flight, leave the VR on.
---------+---------+---------+---------+---------+ Joseph K Seattle, WA, USA