Do my D300S have an focus problem?

Started 11 months ago | Questions thread
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masplin
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Do my D300S have an focus problem?
11 months ago

My wife and I recently went on a fantastic trip to Madagascar to see the lemurs and have come back with unusually disappointing photos. Naturally she blames me so I'm trying to get to the bottom of it. We were both using D300S, one brand new, and one a few years old (bought off ebay). We were both using Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 which I rented as we knew it was going to be dark.  Conditions were extremly gloomy in the forest such that even af f2.8 at 200mm you were struggling to keep the shutter speed up to great than the focal length e.f. 1/200th for 200mm.  Fighting your way through the jungle meant the cameras came in for some rough treatment.  My questions are:

In very poor light does the auto focus naturally start to struggle and you would expect to get a large number of poor focus shots?  I understand that the shorter the depth of field the worse this problem can be. I'm just wondering if we have too high an expectation for the conditions.

I have been running some auto focus tests on the 2 cameras which also both have 18-200mm lens to see if there was some obvious issue with the camera.  My eyesight isn't brilliant so even at 1:1 on my computer screen I struggle to tell what is sharp. The method I am using is comparing focusing in Live View against auto focus as I understand LV uses a different more accurate focusing method. Unfortunately some of my LV shots look quite out of focus.  I'm using a trip and f5.6 at 200mm 1/30th (is pretty dark here in UK even with extra lights)  . Should LV focus images always be pin sharp and if they arent have I've messed up or does this indicate a problem with the body?

We are off to Tanzania in the summer and wantot be sure i'm not going with dodgy equipment.

Thanks for any advice

Mike

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Nikon D300S
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