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AF fails to focus at far objects. Reasons? Solutions?

Started Aug 23, 2014 | Questions thread
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AdSR
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AF fails to focus at far objects. Reasons? Solutions?
Aug 23, 2014

I'm having occasional trouble with correct focusing at very distant objects, e.g. in landscapes. Focus is sometimes somewhere in the foreground. My current camera focuses very accurately at smaller distances (certainly from centimeters to 20-30 meters). I also had this with two previous cameras (DSLR and compact) so I don't think it's a simple front-focus case.

What could be the reason and how can I overcome it? Is it bad technique? Poor contrast within the AF area? Thermal turbulence (we're talking about a kilometer of air here)? All of those?

I have an entry-level DSLR and cannot see this in the viewfinder. It can be clearly visible in the final images at f/8. I wouldn't want to chimp the detail in every photo if I'm just on a walk in the countryside.

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