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How should you test DSLR focus?

ericbowles

Atlanta, US
10530 posts

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ericbowles Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge and high level skills in various areas, especially Landscape and Wildlife Photoghraphy Writer Ribbon awarded for for his article contributions to the community Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Nikonian since 25th Nov 2005
Sat 09-Jun-12 10:59 AM

I’d like to start a discussion on best practices in evaluating focus in a DSLR. There are a number of different aspects to focus – the accuracy of focus sensors, the accuracy of the AF in the camera, lens calibration, and related issues of lens centering. You might even test AF tracking or focus accuracy on moving subjects. Different types of tests are used to measure different problems.

Could we gather feedback on different types of tests? I’ll compile the input into a post locked at the top of this forum.

For each test or issue, be as specific as possible. For example, testing a lens for calibration is different than a test of how well AF works in the field. And with 61 sensor points, is there a quick and dirty approach to picking a few sensors for testing rather or do you test every sensor. And do we need to test more automated methods such as Dynamic AF or groups of sensors to understand how that approach works with specific subjects? Do we each need to have “reference lenses” that are known to perform accurately and can help confirm that a camera body is in spec. And how many times does a test need to be run to be valid - and with what variation?

AF issues seem to create lots of discussion for every camera model. The most recent models with lots of discussion were the D7000 and the D800. It’s probably a safe bet that it will come up with every new camera and there are some legitimate issues. It is also a question for anyone buying used gear.

Eric Bowles
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