More D7000 back focus. I thought this issue was dead!?

Started Mar 6, 2013 | Discussions
chuhsi
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More D7000 back focus. I thought this issue was dead!?
Mar 6, 2013

I've had my D7000 for 3.5 months and thought a lot of my wide open pictures were slightly blurry because of user error. I finally decided to do some lens fine tuning last night to see if backfocus was my issue.

For my 35mm, 50mm, and 24-70, fine-tuning them to -20 made a world of a difference. The camera actually focuses now on my single focus point like it's supposed to.

I thought this backfocus issue was resolved, but I guess not. Nikon said to send in my camera under warranty so I'm going to ship it in next week with a lens to see what they can do.

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Kerry Pierce
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Re: More D7000 back focus ----- Stuff Happens.......
In reply to chuhsi, Mar 6, 2013

Well sir, you're not the only person that has had this issue, within recent times. But, that's one of the reasons that this forum is valuable.  You can read about your particular camera and any issues that might be involved.

Your notion that the d7k AF issues are no more, is simply the product of internet "truth".  The d7k has a poor reputation for AF in many circles, not without good reason, IMO.  Nikon's QC on the d7k is less than sterling, too sloppy, apparently.

I recently reported my experiences with d7k AF repairs, in this thread.  I got quite a bit of feedback from other users, stating similar experiences with the d7k AF on recent bodies.

But, the problem with the d7k AF issues is that it isn't "normal".  Most d7k's apparently focus just fine.  But, that doesn't help the user who owns a d7k that doesn't AF properly. The user has to seek help, if he doesn't know how to determine whether or not the camera is operating properly.  There are a number of users here and on other Nikon sites, that can and do help users figure out what they need to do to determine the cause of their problems.

It isn't that Nikon doesn't know how to make d7k's that focus properly. The issue apparently is that their QC isn't up to the very high standard that it used to be and more defective d7k's get out the door than should.

Kerry

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stuntmonkey
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Re: More D7000 back focus ----- Stuff Happens.......
In reply to Kerry Pierce, Mar 6, 2013

Kerry Pierce wrote:

But, the problem with the d7k AF issues is that it isn't "normal". Most d7k's apparently focus just fine. But, that doesn't help the user who owns a d7k that doesn't AF properly. The user has to seek help, if he doesn't know how to determine whether or not the camera is operating properly. There are a number of users here and on other Nikon sites, that can and do help users figure out what they need to do to determine the cause of their problems

The problem is that ideal focusing should be an operation that requires high skill on the part of the user, and low variability on the part of the machine. Sort of like chess.

The problem with some samples of the D7000 is that it's sort of like poker; even if you have high skill, there is high(er) variability in the machine, so pinning down what's going on can be a challenge.

If you think you have a problem, just like poker, you have to pay attention to what's going on with you yourself, to isolate one variable, and then you have to play for a period of time to reduce the chance of random variation influencing your perception of the matter.

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Mako2011
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In reply to chuhsi, Mar 6, 2013

chuhsi wrote:

I've had my D7000 for 3.5 months and thought a lot of my wide open pictures were slightly blurry because of user error. I finally decided to do some lens fine tuning last night to see if backfocus was my issue.

I'm always surprised how slow folks are to test their equipment. I test each new lens and body within the first day. It only takes a few minutes to confirm focus or determine if the lens or camera is out of spec. Glad you finally decided to check. Here is a good tutorial...hope your didn't check in dim light that can be problematic regardless of lens or body make/model.  Good Luck

DotTune video

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tarakanchik
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Re: Good Luck
In reply to Mako2011, Mar 6, 2013

Mako2011 wrote:

I'm always surprised how slow folks are to test their equipment. I test each new lens and body within the first day. It only takes a few minutes to confirm focus or determine if the lens or camera is out of spec. Glad you finally decided to check. Here is a good tutorial...hope your didn't check in dim light that can be problematic regardless of lens or body make/model. Good Luck

DotTune video

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Mako, this is a pretty good tutorial but there's (at least) one thing I don't understand about the process:  you can do this for multiple lenses, correct?  So, what if your first lens needs +10 and then your second lens is at -6, wouldn't that screw up your first lens?  Or is the tuning done "in the lens" so to speak?

Thanks!

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In reply to tarakanchik, Mar 6, 2013

tarakanchik wrote:

Mako2011 wrote:

I'm always surprised how slow folks are to test their equipment. I test each new lens and body within the first day. It only takes a few minutes to confirm focus or determine if the lens or camera is out of spec. Glad you finally decided to check. Here is a good tutorial...hope your didn't check in dim light that can be problematic regardless of lens or body make/model. Good Luck

DotTune video

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Mako, this is a pretty good tutorial but there's (at least) one thing I don't understand about the process: you can do this for multiple lenses, correct? So, what if your first lens needs +10 and then your second lens is at -6, wouldn't that screw up your first lens? Or is the tuning done "in the lens" so to speak?e.

The lenses are identified by the built in lens identifiers so the body will apply a different setting to each (assuming you set one and have AF fine tune turned on). In the D7000 you can have 12 unique lens settings stored in camera and one global setting that will be applied to all non-cpu lenses. The camera knows what lens is on it.

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Kerry Pierce
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In reply to Mako2011, Mar 6, 2013

Mako2011 wrote:

chuhsi wrote:

I've had my D7000 for 3.5 months and thought a lot of my wide open pictures were slightly blurry because of user error. I finally decided to do some lens fine tuning last night to see if backfocus was my issue.

I'm always surprised how slow folks are to test their equipment.

Guilty. Guilty.. Guilty... I've used a Nikon dslr since 2004, 10 in total.  I never worried about rigorously testing any Nikon body.  I was a so-called "beta tester" pre-ordering the d70's, d200's, d300's and d700, when they were announced. They worked right out of the box, the way they were supposed to work.  PDAF is not a new feature and Nikon certainly has (had?) the expertise and experience to make a reliable dslr with PDAF.

My "testing" procedure of a new body has always been a brief run through of all the various components, usually taking less far less than an hour, ending with snapping a bunch of different shots in the house, ensuring that both screwdriver and AF-S lenses work.

All that changed after my purchase of the d7k, which was within a couple days of my purchase of a used d3s. Both cameras passed my initial indoor "snapshot" tests. It wasn't until a couple of months or so later that I got both outdoors and had my initial indications that the d7k AF wasn't working as it should.

I test each new lens and body within the first day. It only takes a few minutes to confirm focus or determine if the lens or camera is out of spec. Glad you finally decided to check. Here is a good tutorial...hope your didn't check in dim light that can be problematic regardless of lens or body make/model.

Well, I performed that kind of test, if I understand your method, and it didn't indicate an issue with my d7k. My d7k has issues with some of my 3rd party lenses, because Nikon has changed something in the newer models. Otherwise, it had inconsistent AF issues, primarily at medium to long distances, so it didn't always produce failure, regardless as to the maker of the lens.

I'd suggest that your testing method won't always find possible issues, unless you are also doing a number of consistency shots, at the full variety of distances from MFD to infinity, as well. Inconsistent focus issues aren't so easily found and resolved.

As soon as my d800 arrived, I spent several hours, over a period of several days, performing a very rigorous set of tests on the AF alone. It was the first Nikon that I ever felt the need to do that, but it won't likely be the last.  I find that rather sad.

Kerry

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Mako2011
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In reply to Kerry Pierce, Mar 7, 2013

Kerry Pierce wrote:

Mako2011 wrote:

chuhsi wrote:

I've had my D7000 for 3.5 months and thought a lot of my wide open pictures were slightly blurry because of user error. I finally decided to do some lens fine tuning last night to see if backfocus was my issue.

I'm always surprised how slow folks are to test their equipment.

Guilty. Guilty.. Guilty... I've used a Nikon dslr since 2004, 10 in total. I never worried about rigorously testing any Nikon body. I was a so-called "beta tester" pre-ordering the d70's, d200's, d300's and d700, when they were announced. They worked right out of the box, the way they were supposed to work. PDAF is not a new feature and Nikon certainly has (had?) the expertise and experience to make a reliable dslr with PDAF.

True...first time though using these Pixel densities and the very first time a AF module like the 4800DX was tested first in a consumer body. Folks should have noted AF-Fine tune was included and taken note.

My "testing" procedure of a new body has always been a brief run through of all the various components, usually taking less far less than an hour, ending with snapping a bunch of different shots in the house, ensuring that both screwdriver and AF-S lenses work.

And it may have caught you this time. As noted, many firsts with the D7K...it only takes a second to see if AF-Fine tune can improve your pics. Well, 5min anyways.

All that changed after my purchase of the d7k, which was within a couple days of my purchase of a used d3s. Both cameras passed my initial indoor "snapshot" tests. It wasn't until a couple of months or so later that I got both outdoors and had my initial indications that the d7k AF wasn't working as it should.

Was it actually outside fine tune settings?

I test each new lens and body within the first day. It only takes a few minutes to confirm focus or determine if the lens or camera is out of spec. Glad you finally decided to check. Here is a good tutorial...hope your didn't check in dim light that can be problematic regardless of lens or body make/model.

Well, I performed that kind of test, if I understand your method, and it didn't indicate an issue with my d7k.

If the test was done correctly and indicated no fine tune required...then it was good to go. That test, done as indicated is as accurate as Nikons own test setup. It is easy to modify it to test different distances and light conditions.

My d7k has issues with some of my 3rd party lenses, because Nikon has changed something in the newer models.

3rd party lens issues I see as a totally different horse as I simply see no reason for Nikon to conform to their standard vs Nikon's own.

Otherwise, it had inconsistent AF issues, primarily at medium to long distances, so it didn't always produce failure, regardless as to the maker of the lens.

Then did you or did you not actually test for focus calibration? It really is ether on or foo...identifying when it is off (quickly) and Having Nikon fix that is key and the point of the two methods I advocate for checking.

I'd suggest that your testing method won't always find possible issues, unless you are also doing a number of consistency shots, at the full variety of distances from MFD to infinity, as well. Inconsistent focus issues aren't so easily found and resolved.

As soon as I see an issue, I test for it. If you had suspect pics and did not...then you wasted time. I have indeed checked my lens across the spectrum. I recommend anyone getting soft pics do the same...in a timely way. It really is a simply thing and fast when done as outlined.

As soon as my d800 arrived, I spent several hours, over a period of several days, performing a very rigorous set of tests on the AF alone. It was the first Nikon that I ever felt the need to do that, but it won't likely be the last. I find that rather sad.

Yep, the tech has reached a point.....still, when adjusted for inflation we get far more capability at cheaper prices than ever before!!!

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Kerry Pierce
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In reply to Mako2011, Mar 7, 2013

As soon as I determined the extent and breadth of the camera's issues, the d7k went to Nikon service. Parts were replaced and the AF and defocus control were adjusted. That means, no matter what you think of my methods, that there was a significant problem with the camera, ie the AF system was defective and miscalibrated from the factory. That is the salient issue.

Whether or not any given lens needs AF fine tune, is a distinctly separate issue from the issue of defective AF, regardless as to the severity and type of defect.

The d7k isn't the first camera with AF fine tune, so we'll have to agree to disagree that the user should have seen that as a sign that rigorous testing would be required.

I don't understand your point about Nikon and 3rd party lenses. 3rd party lenses are a fact of life, whether or not Nikon likes them.  I said nothing about Nikon supporting them. I simply stated that they changed something with the d7k that rendered some of my 3rd party lenses unusable, which is certainly a point that any 3rd party lens user should know and consider, when doing any AF testing.

The bottom line is that I agree with you, that all new Nikons should be tested, rather rigorously and correctly, as soon as is reasonable and practical for the owners. My experience with my d7k suggests that cursory testing, as I'd been doing for years, is no longer an adequate measure. There are good resources here that new owners should utilize to their long term benefit.

thanks

Kerry

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tarakanchik
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Re: One more
In reply to Mako2011, Mar 7, 2013

Mako2011 wrote:

tarakanchik wrote:

Mako2011 wrote:

I'm always surprised how slow folks are to test their equipment. I test each new lens and body within the first day. It only takes a few minutes to confirm focus or determine if the lens or camera is out of spec. Glad you finally decided to check. Here is a good tutorial...hope your didn't check in dim light that can be problematic regardless of lens or body make/model. Good Luck

DotTune video

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Mako, this is a pretty good tutorial but there's (at least) one thing I don't understand about the process: you can do this for multiple lenses, correct? So, what if your first lens needs +10 and then your second lens is at -6, wouldn't that screw up your first lens? Or is the tuning done "in the lens" so to speak?e.

The lenses are identified by the built in lens identifiers so the body will apply a different setting to each (assuming you set one and have AF fine tune turned on). In the D7000 you can have 12 unique lens settings stored in camera and one global setting that will be applied to all non-cpu lenses. The camera knows what lens is on it.

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That's excellent, thank you!  I wonder though, is this a suitable approach to calibrate such extreme lenses as Nikon 10-24 ans Sigma 50-500?

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Mako2011
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Re: One more
In reply to tarakanchik, Mar 7, 2013

tarakanchik wrote:

Mako2011 wrote:

tarakanchik wrote:

Mako2011 wrote:

I'm always surprised how slow folks are to test their equipment. I test each new lens and body within the first day. It only takes a few minutes to confirm focus or determine if the lens or camera is out of spec. Glad you finally decided to check. Here is a good tutorial...hope your didn't check in dim light that can be problematic regardless of lens or body make/model. Good Luck

DotTune video

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My opinions are my own and not those of DPR or its administration. They carry no 'special' value (except to me and Lacie of course)

Mako, this is a pretty good tutorial but there's (at least) one thing I don't understand about the process: you can do this for multiple lenses, correct? So, what if your first lens needs +10 and then your second lens is at -6, wouldn't that screw up your first lens? Or is the tuning done "in the lens" so to speak?e.

The lenses are identified by the built in lens identifiers so the body will apply a different setting to each (assuming you set one and have AF fine tune turned on). In the D7000 you can have 12 unique lens settings stored in camera and one global setting that will be applied to all non-cpu lenses. The camera knows what lens is on it.

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That's excellent, thank you! I wonder though, is this a suitable approach to calibrate such extreme lenses as Nikon 10-24 ans Sigma 50-500?

Really depends. Always way better than mounting the lens on a body that can't fine tune. Lens can be off as well as bodies.

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Mako2011
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In reply to Kerry Pierce, Mar 7, 2013

Kerry Pierce wrote:

As soon as I determined the extent and breadth of the camera's issues, the d7k went to Nikon service. Parts were replaced and the AF and defocus control were adjusted. That means, no matter what you think of my methods, that there was a significant problem with the camera, ie the AF system was defective and miscalibrated from the factory. That is the salient issue.

Never said it wasn't a hardware problem with your camera. Only saying you can determine that much earlier in the process...it only takes an hour at most and would have saved much time and pictures. The process is just as accurate as Nikon's and will speed up the process of getting the camera fixed. Folks will be well served by learning how the AF-Fine tune process works and how to use it effectively.

Whether or not any given lens needs AF fine tune, is a distinctly separate issue from the issue of defective AF, regardless as to the severity and type of defect.

Of course. That's kind of obvious. There is also the body vs lens tolerance issues that can come into play with neither being really out of factory spec but still unacceptable.

This lens is soft

The d7k isn't the first camera with AF fine tune, so we'll have to agree to disagree that the user should have seen that as a sign that rigorous testing would be required.

Very first consumer level camera with it. The D7K does in fact focus more accurately and have more focus capability than the D40,50,90,70,90,5100,3200,...etc.

I don't understand your point about Nikon and 3rd party lenses. 3rd party lenses are a fact of life, whether or not Nikon likes them. I said nothing about Nikon supporting them. I simply stated that they changed something with the d7k that rendered some of my 3rd party lenses unusable, which is certainly a point that any 3rd party lens user should know and consider, when doing any AF testing.

Agreed, just suggesting that the issue is not a point against Nikon but a consideration when using 3rd party lens.

The bottom line is that I agree with you, that all new Nikons should be tested, rather rigorously and correctly, as soon as is reasonable and practical for the owners.

Yes, that really is the point I'm trying to hammer home to folks here. It applies, IMO,  to all bodies and lens by any manufacture. Tech is changing rapidly.

My experience with my d7k suggests that cursory testing, as I'd been doing for years, is no longer an adequate measure. There are good resources here that new owners should utilize to their long term benefit.

Exactly.  Well said!!

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thomo
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Re: Good Luck
In reply to Mako2011, Mar 7, 2013

Mako2011 wrote:

chuhsi wrote:

I've had my D7000 for 3.5 months and thought a lot of my wide open pictures were slightly blurry because of user error. I finally decided to do some lens fine tuning last night to see if backfocus was my issue.

I'm always surprised how slow folks are to test their equipment. I test each new lens and body within the first day. It only takes a few minutes to confirm focus or determine if the lens or camera is out of spec. Glad you finally decided to check. Here is a good tutorial...hope your didn't check in dim light that can be problematic regardless of lens or body make/model. Good Luck

I agree Mako - I either test them in the shop before I pay for it or get agreement with the store that I can return it within a few days if I find something wrong. In Australia we don't have the generous return policies that others enjoy in the USA.

I can still remember the amazement of the staff  when I went in to a store in Hong Kong (back in the '80's) to pick up a couple of RZ67 outfits. I had built an electronic shutter speed tester and took it in and tested every single lens to check the accuracy of the in-built shutters. (I dug it out and attached a photo of it below)

A year or so ago I bought a second D7000 and a few primes from the same store in Hong Kong  that I'd dealt with for over 30 years. I went through 3 bodies (all had dust spots on the sensor) and 3 different 20mm/f2.8D lenses over a couple of days. For some strange reason all 3 of the 20mm lenses back focused. I eventually took the body with the least dust spots and the 20mm with the focusing error and then calibrated it when I got back to Australia - it took about -11 from memory. Interestingly the 20mm lens had no back focus problem on my original D7000. I had never had any previous focus issues with any other DSLR which included 2xD80's, 2xD90's, 2xD700's and 1xD7000 with any of the 25 other AF lenses.

I think one of the key factors in overcoming these QC issues is finding a good reliable store (or stores) that you can trust to resolve any problems. We're pretty lucky on the west coast to have one of the biggest (and best) pro photography stores in the country and they seem to have a bit more 'clout' with the manufacturers and distribitors.



Shutter Speed tester - ranges included seconds, milli-seconds & micro-seconds

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robjons
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Re: Well said!!
In reply to Mako2011, Mar 7, 2013

The DotTune video was interesting, thanks for the link.

But I'm still unclear about fine tuning a zoom. Do you fine tune for just one FL and if so, which FL?

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Kerry Pierce
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In reply to robjons, Mar 7, 2013

robjons wrote:

The DotTune video was interesting, thanks for the link.

But I'm still unclear about fine tuning a zoom. Do you fine tune for just one FL and if so, which FL?

I'm probably the wrong person to answer this, since I've yet to even attempt to FT a zoom. From what I've read, most folks that are using FT on zooms, do it on the focal length that they most use. But, that depends greatly on which zoom and what you're trying to do, I think. I know of one person that has a book of settings for each lens, at different focal lengths, under different lighting conditions. So, he's at one extreme while I'm at the other.  But, most of the zooms that I use, are already as accurate as I need, so maybe that's not a fair comparison.

Nikon doesn't have a good FT system for zooms.  Canon allows for 2 distinct settings, per lens, on some of their cameras, which is much better for a zoom.  It's probably a safe assumption that Nikon will follow their lead in future cameras.

Kerry

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In reply to Kerry Pierce, Mar 7, 2013

Kerry Pierce wrote:

robjons wrote:

The DotTune video was interesting, thanks for the link.

But I'm still unclear about fine tuning a zoom. Do you fine tune for just one FL and if so, which FL?

I'm probably the wrong person to answer this, since I've yet to even attempt to FT a zoom. From what I've read, most folks that are using FT on zooms, do it on the focal length that they most use. But, that depends greatly on which zoom and what you're trying to do, I think. I know of one person that has a book of settings for each lens, at different focal lengths, under different lighting conditions. So, he's at one extreme while I'm at the other. But, most of the zooms that I use, are already as accurate as I need, so maybe that's not a fair comparison.

Nikon doesn't have a good FT system for zooms. Canon allows for 2 distinct settings, per lens, on some of their cameras, which is much better for a zoom. It's probably a safe assumption that Nikon will follow their lead in future cameras.

Kerry

Agreed with what Kerry said.  I would add that with a Nikon single setting fine tune you have to make choices and look at your particular scenario. I look at a zoom wide end and far end then 3 points in the middle.  For my 70-200 that would be 70, 100, 135, 165 and 200 (approximations).  That will give me 5 settings.  Now I try to balance that and keep most of the lens close to center. So if I get -5, 0, -10, -6, +5.....the center of that range is between -10 and +5 so I set -3.  I then do a Live view PDAF comparison at the worst spot 135 and 200 and see if -3 is acceptable and perhaps shift a little if I need to. That's an extreme case and you shouldn't see taht big a range except with the cheaper consumer super zooms.

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RPulley
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Re: Well said!!
In reply to Mako2011, Mar 8, 2013

Mako2011 wrote:


The d7k isn't the first camera with AF fine tune, so we'll have to agree to disagree that the user should have seen that as a sign that rigorous testing would be required.

Very first consumer level camera with it. The D7K does in fact focus more accurately and have more focus capability than the D40,50,90,70,90,5100,3200,...etc.


Mako,

Maybe you meant the very first Nikon consumer level camera with AF fine tune?

I am not sure about when or if Canon or other brands had AF fine tune, but the Pentax K20 had AF fine tune over 2 years before the D7000 was released.

Ray

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