Back Focus, Bad Technique Or What?

Started 5 months ago | Discussions
Paul Gowder
New MemberPosts: 20
Like?
Back Focus, Bad Technique Or What?
5 months ago

I've switched from a D700 to a D800.

I've been having some focusing issues with it. And I need your advice.

Am I doing something wrong? Bad technique, wrong focusing settings, or is there an issue with the camera?

Here are some sample images from today:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/pur0ddzdw2wal4w/L3a9sMNINR

I was shooting AF-C with single point.  I was putting the single point on their eyes as much as possible.

You can see from the samples that at times the hair is in focus and eyes are soft.  And one photo the focus is soft all the way around.

Please help!

Thanks!

Nikon D700 Nikon D800
If you believe there are incorrect tags, please send us this post using our feedback form.
Araldite
Regular MemberPosts: 215Gear list
Like?
Re: Back Focus, Bad Technique Or What?
In reply to Paul Gowder, 5 months ago

some exif data would be useful so as t o help us help you. Try focusing on a static subject as that would at least show you that all things were working OK and the lens / camera were focusing OK

 Araldite's gear list:Araldite's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LF1 Olympus E-M1 Olympus OM-D E-M10 Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 15mm F1.7 ASPH +4 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
vbuhay
Contributing MemberPosts: 582Gear list
Like?
Re: Back Focus, Bad Technique Or What?
In reply to Araldite, 5 months ago

Looks like you were using the d610 with the 24-85 lens, right? If so, it looks like the camera needs some fine adjustment with the lens. I can see a bit of back focus. Try adjusting by using a stationary subject with a good contrast. The manual has the procedure details.

 vbuhay's gear list:vbuhay's gear list
Nikon Coolpix AW100 Pentax K20D Pentax K-5 Nikon D800E Nikon D7100 +23 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Paul Gowder
New MemberPosts: 20
Like?
Re: Back Focus, Bad Technique Or What?
In reply to Araldite, 5 months ago

Here is a static shot - https://www.flickr.com/photos/96077153@N00/13500094575/in/set-72157643136230904

The photos I posted first were shot on Aperture priority, 200 ISO, f4 and shutter speeds from 1/2500 - 1/4000.

Thanks

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Paul Gowder
New MemberPosts: 20
Like?
Re: Back Focus, Bad Technique Or What?
In reply to vbuhay, 5 months ago

D800 with 70-200.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Araldite
Regular MemberPosts: 215Gear list
Like?
Re: Back Focus, Bad Technique Or What?
In reply to Paul Gowder, 5 months ago

f4 will give very shallow depth of field, try f8 or f11,, I assume the alligator was shot at the same f stop ( or was the operator a bit nervous)

 Araldite's gear list:Araldite's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LF1 Olympus E-M1 Olympus OM-D E-M10 Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 15mm F1.7 ASPH +4 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Rogerlange
Forum MemberPosts: 76Gear list
Like?
Re: Back Focus, Bad Technique Or What?
In reply to Paul Gowder, 5 months ago

i got rid of my d800 for that exact same problem . never could get it focused,  tried a lot of times. focus went in and out like a 10 dollar whore.

 Rogerlange's gear list:Rogerlange's gear list
Nikon D4s Nikon AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II Nikon AF Nikkor 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D ED VR +4 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Paul Gowder
New MemberPosts: 20
Like?
Re: Back Focus, Bad Technique Or What?
In reply to Araldite, 5 months ago

I understand shallow depth of field.  But that wouldn't cause the face to be out of focus and hair in focus if I focused on face, right?

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
T O Shooter
Senior MemberPosts: 1,867Gear list
Like?
Re: Back Focus, Bad Technique Or What?
In reply to Paul Gowder, 5 months ago

Paul Gowder wrote:

I've switched from a D700 to a D800.

I've been having some focusing issues with it. And I need your advice.

Am I doing something wrong? Bad technique, wrong focusing settings, or is there an issue with the camera?

Here are some sample images from today:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/pur0ddzdw2wal4w/L3a9sMNINR

I was shooting AF-C with single point. I was putting the single point on their eyes as much as possible.

You can see from the samples that at times the hair is in focus and eyes are soft. And one photo the focus is soft all the way around.

Please help!

Thanks!

I am a firm believer that the D800 has inconsistent focus. I had one of the early D800s in Toronto and have since replaced it with an 800e.  Even with the latest firmware, which helped. I think Nikon is soon going to fix this, but unfortunately the "fix" is called D800S   My thoughts are that if you can focus with a D700 you can focus with a D800.

-- hide signature --

Photography - It's a passion No other reason required.

 T O Shooter's gear list:T O Shooter's gear list
Canon PowerShot G5
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Rogerlange
Forum MemberPosts: 76Gear list
Like?
Re: Back Focus, Bad Technique Or What?
In reply to Paul Gowder, 5 months ago

yes, your dealing with the same problem i had,  i used a program called focal from the uk

you print a target take pictures of it and it automatically calculates the best adjustment for the lens you are using.  mine would focus, them seem to go out of focus again.

 Rogerlange's gear list:Rogerlange's gear list
Nikon D4s Nikon AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II Nikon AF Nikkor 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D ED VR +4 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
T O Shooter
Senior MemberPosts: 1,867Gear list
Like?
Re: Back Focus, Bad Technique Or What?
In reply to Rogerlange, 5 months ago

Rogerlange wrote:

i got rid of my d800 for that exact same problem focus went in and out like a 10 dollar whore.

You have a way with words!   Maybe no one is explaining it in these terms to Nikon.

-- hide signature --

Photography - It's a passion No other reason required.

 T O Shooter's gear list:T O Shooter's gear list
Canon PowerShot G5
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Rogerlange
Forum MemberPosts: 76Gear list
Like?
Re: Back Focus, Bad Technique Or What?
In reply to T O Shooter, 5 months ago

i had one of the first d800's as well. doesn't sound like they came from a good batch

 Rogerlange's gear list:Rogerlange's gear list
Nikon D4s Nikon AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II Nikon AF Nikkor 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D ED VR +4 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
T O Shooter
Senior MemberPosts: 1,867Gear list
Like?
Re: Back Focus, Bad Technique Or What?
In reply to Rogerlange, 5 months ago

Rogerlange wrote:

yes, your dealing with the same problem i had, i used a program called focal from the uk

Did the program fix it????

you print a target take pictures of it and it automatically calculates the best adjustment for the lens you are using.

Did it work???

mine would focus, them seem to go out of focus again.

Do you mean prior to using the program?? or did it lose focus again after using the program?? You're not very clear to say the least.

-- hide signature --

Photography - It's a passion No other reason required.

 T O Shooter's gear list:T O Shooter's gear list
Canon PowerShot G5
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Rogerlange
Forum MemberPosts: 76Gear list
Like?
Re: Back Focus, Bad Technique Or What?
In reply to T O Shooter, 5 months ago

the focal program would fix it for a little while, then out of the blue, it went back to crap.

my buddy has one of the newer d800's and his focuses fine.

i firmly believe nikon is totally aware of the problem but is down playing it , to avoid another d600 fiasco.

 Rogerlange's gear list:Rogerlange's gear list
Nikon D4s Nikon AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II Nikon AF Nikkor 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D ED VR +4 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
j_photo
Senior MemberPosts: 1,163Gear list
Like?
Re: Back Focus, Bad Technique Or What?
In reply to Paul Gowder, 5 months ago

Maybe it's the camera and lens, but maybe it's not. Anecdotal stories from other users about their cameras are not going to help you figure out what's going on with yours.

If I were you, I think the first thing I would do is go somewhere with good light and shoot AF-S, center point, with a fast shutter speed at a stationary target with lots of contrast. Can you get a reasonably sharp image? If yes, then the gear is probably fine. If no, then test further:

To really figure out if something is off with the camera and lens, you need to use a good test chart and a good repeatable testing procedure, to compare images focused with live view to those focused using phase detect (shutter or AF-ON back button). That can tell you with pretty good certainty if your camera is focusing accurately or not. But you really have to the test carefully to get reliable results.

If the gear itself checks out, then you can take a closer look at settings and technique.

 j_photo's gear list:j_photo's gear list
Nikon D800 Nikon Df
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
A Owens
Senior MemberPosts: 2,169
Like?
Re: Back Focus, Bad Technique Or What?
In reply to Paul Gowder, 5 months ago

Paul Gowder wrote:

I've switched from a D700 to a D800.

I've been having some focusing issues with it. And I need your advice.

Am I doing something wrong? Bad technique, wrong focusing settings, or is there an issue with the camera?

Here are some sample images from today:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/pur0ddzdw2wal4w/L3a9sMNINR

I was shooting AF-C with single point. I was putting the single point on their eyes as much as possible.

You can see from the samples that at times the hair is in focus and eyes are soft. And one photo the focus is soft all the way around.

Please help!

Thanks!

Firstly, I do not subscribe to the view that the D800 AF is in any way sub-standard when it is performing to spec. To the contrary, I find it to be exceptionally good. I accept that some owners may have individual sample problems but these need to be taken up with Nikon. I accept the need to do so is an indictment on Nikon's QA processes.

The image below and the close crop is of a fast moving bird in flight with a 600mm lens. DOF is razor thin. I consistently get results like this 60-70% of the time in these challenging situations. Much higher in less challenging situations. Fine tune is 0 with this lens.

So please believe that when working properly the D800/e can focus as well as anything.

First you need to AF tune your lenses, then you need to read the manual thoroughly and make sure you have the AF set up correctly for the given conditions. There are not that many parameters but they can make a huge difference and you need to get familiar with the differences each setting delivers. A3, amongst others, is a critical setting. For another example, AF Single would be a better setting for that crocodile shot.

If after all that you cannot get a sharp shot then you will need to send the camera and lens to Nikon and get them to sort it out.

Good luck!

-- hide signature --
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Janoch
Contributing MemberPosts: 843Gear list
Like?
Re: Back Focus, Bad Technique Or What?
In reply to A Owens, 5 months ago

And check AF-Area mode setting as well...

 Janoch's gear list:Janoch's gear list
Nikon D800 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8D ED-IF Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/4G ED VR +1 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Carsten Pauer 2
Veteran MemberPosts: 3,158
Like?
Re: Back Focus, Bad Technique Or What?
In reply to Araldite, 5 months ago

some exif data would be useful so as t o help us help you.

You should Download the Photo and use a good EXIF-Viewer.
The EXIF-Data is still in the Photo.

Looks like you were using the d610 with the 24-85 lens, right?

Take a look in the EXIF-Data with a good EXIF-Viewer.
The Lens-Type is in the EXIF-Data, for a Example, the Photo _DSC1259.jpg means:

AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Paul Gowder
New MemberPosts: 20
Like?
Re: Back Focus, Bad Technique Or What?
In reply to A Owens, 5 months ago

A Owens wrote:

Paul Gowder wrote:

I've switched from a D700 to a D800.

I've been having some focusing issues with it. And I need your advice.

Am I doing something wrong? Bad technique, wrong focusing settings, or is there an issue with the camera?

Here are some sample images from today:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/pur0ddzdw2wal4w/L3a9sMNINR

I was shooting AF-C with single point. I was putting the single point on their eyes as much as possible.

You can see from the samples that at times the hair is in focus and eyes are soft. And one photo the focus is soft all the way around.

Please help!

Thanks!


So please believe that when working properly the D800/e can focus as well as anything.

First you need to AF tune your lenses, then you need to read the manual thoroughly and make sure you have the AF set up correctly for the given conditions. There are not that many parameters but they can make a huge difference and you need to get familiar with the differences each setting delivers. A3, amongst others, is a critical setting. For another example, AF Single would be a better setting for that crocodile shot.

If after all that you cannot get a sharp shot then you will need to send the camera and lens to Nikon and get them to sort it out.

Good luck!

-- hide signature --

What is your AF set up for these types of shots?

I've read up on the A3 setting.  What do you usually set it for?

From what I was reading last night, most advise to leave it on default.  I'm not sure how that would have affected these shots.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Paul Gowder
New MemberPosts: 20
Like?
Re: Back Focus, Bad Technique Or What?
In reply to Paul Gowder, 5 months ago

I'm doing lots of reading to try and understand if it is me or another issue.

I saw this:

http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/d800/users-guide/menus-custom-af.htm#afc

At default, this lets you take fuzzy action pictures.

At the default "Release" setting, the D800 and D800E will fire anytime you press the shutter in AF-C mode, regardless of if it's in focus. Nikon's cameras usually can't run at their advertised frame rates and stay in focus at the same time.

I have not changed that settings.  That could be the issue.  I'm seeing this with just the action shots on AF-C.

I'll try changing this tonight!

Also thanks to everyone for the info so far.  Please keep sending in your suggestions and advice.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads