D7000 autofocus variance

Started Apr 26, 2012 | Discussions thread
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boviscopophobic
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D7000 autofocus variance
Apr 26, 2012

Hi, sorry to make the 9999'th thread on D7000 autofocus, but I'm at wit's end and would appreciate some input from the more experienced members on this forum. I got a D7000 in March as an upgrade from an enthusiast compact camera and it's been a bit of a rough learning experience. While much of my low "keeper" rate can be attributed to inadequate technique, I do find that I have some focus misses that I can't understand.

So to make the discussion more concrete, here are some sample images:

Focus point was well within the tree, but this image appears significantly backfocused. This particular tree appears to have been problematic as I have another shot of it (not included here) which is also backfocused. I should add that images are not usually this severely backfocused (else I would know for sure I had a problem). This was shot with the 18-105 kit lens.

Focus point on the tulip, again appears significantly backfocused. This was with my 35mm f/1.8G.

OK, so I figured I'd do some controlled focus testing with a tripod and remote mirror-up, AF-S single point, focus priority, etc. I found that there was significant variation in autofocus depending whether I first manually defocused the lens to infinity or to minimum focus distance. Fine tune was off for the following shots. I edited the shots to mask out my card which was visible on the tripod bag, but the EXIF info should be intact. First the live view shot:

Next, I manually defocused to 0 and used phase detect AF. A little off compared to the live view, but not horrible:

Then I defocused to infinity first. This one is actually kind of shocking when viewed at 100%, but I did it twice and both were the same:

The infinity-defocus miss is fairly repeatable and happens with both the kit lens and the 35mm.

After this, I used these focus tests and the moire focus test to dial in an AF fine tune of -8. I then went out and shot some stop signs and brick walls (not shown here). As fate would have it, all the shots with fine tune on were front-focused, but they were bang on with a fine tune of 0...

So, what do you think? Are there issues with my settings or additional tests I should do? I am rather inclined to call Nikon service, but I would really welcome some outside opinions.

Nikon D7000
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