Has anyone ever experienced lens break-in?

Started Apr 5, 2012 | Discussions thread
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fauxtog
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Has anyone ever experienced lens break-in?
Apr 5, 2012

I have a D4, and I picked up a brand new 50mm f/1.4G for it. Right away, I noticed it was front-focusing. I was able to reel it in with a "-6" setting using the D4's autofocus fine tuning. The downside was that though the tuning was effective for distances up to approximately 15 feet, the lens just didn't seem as sharp as it could at distances longer than that.

To understand what the lens/camera could do, I did Live View (contrast-detect autofocus) comparisons to viewfinder shots. While it's not surprising that the LV shots might be sharper, the disparity was greater than I think anyone would consider reasonable.

Today I was using the 50mm a lot--hundreds of shots. Later I noticed I wasn't getting the sharpness with my "-6" setting that I had been getting. I noticed it was back-focusing a bit. So I pushed it up. -5, -4...no, still a bit more to go. -3, -2...getting there. -1. Nope. Zero (0). There. What?!

I left it at zero, and proceeded to do more shots at f/1.4. Sharp up-close. Sharp at distance. What?!

I compared it to Live View shots (same shots), and now it was where I'd expect it to be.

I tried the "-6" setting again, just out of curiosity. Back-focus.

So, after all that, here's my question: Can lens mechanisms break-in? Has anyone else here ever experienced a lens just falling into place after using it for a while, after first performing sub-par? I've never had this happen before this one. And only time will tell if the lens will keep performing like it is now (and I certainly hope it does).

I want to make clear that I do have experience shooting f/1.4 and f/1.8. I just wanted to put that out there before someone suggests that perhaps maybe it's me getting better with technique over time, not the lens/camera. Trust me, it wasn't me.

My AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED has been spot-on with the D4; as has my AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED. Strangely, however, I also picked up a 24mm f/1.4G ED at the same time as the 50mm f/1.4G (but via a different dealer), and it had severe front-focusing with the D4. "-20" wouldn't pull that one back enough. I returned the 24mm f/1.4G, and decided to just stick with the 24-70mm for now, when I want 24mm.

 fauxtog's gear list:fauxtog's gear list
Canon PowerShot G5 Canon PowerShot S90 Fujifilm X10 Fujifilm X100S Sony RX100 II +17 more
Nikon D4
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