Nikon d5100 auto focus nightmare..

Started Nov 23, 2011 | Discussions thread
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Cruch Forum Member • Posts: 62
Nikon d5100 auto focus nightmare..

I've been into dSLR's for about 7 years and consider myself a medium user.

I currently have a Rebel XT and Canon t3i. I often shoot in low light and these cameras suck for low light and have slow, hunting auto-focuses.

The Nikon's lesser ISO noise and promise of FAST, RELIABLE focus lured me into Nikon. I was so convinced I decided to go 'all in' and totally convert over to Nikon starting with the d5100 until the d800 comes out.

I saw some reviews from users that concerned me:

"I bought D5100 and had to send it back because of the "softness" issues"

"A professional photographer quick-review: I tried different lenses on the D5100 camera ... none of the Nikon lenses I tested came even close to matching the ultra high resolution I got from the Canon Rebel T3i with the included kit lens ... I don't know why this camera is softer than the Canon but I am not the only one experiencing this issue"

I just chalked it down to user error as let's face it, many new SLR owners don't know how to work their camera and a lot of these cameras have short comings. But taking 'soft' pictures surely is something that 'can't be in 2011'.

I got the d5100 and the first thing I noticed was the HUGE difference in focus speed and reliability. It just 'locked in on first try'. Never hunted around. Very fast and awesome in low light.

I kind of noticed the pics may have looked a bit.. well.. 'soft'.. but just thought it was a different LCD screen and didn't bother to look too much into it.

My wife and I went to a wedding. She had the Nikon d5100 and I had the t3i.

Looking over her pictures, I noticed that the focus was off on most of them. Keep in mind that most 'mainstream' users may not notice many of these pictures.

I kept saying.. 'wait a minute.. that table in the background is in focus.. not the subject'. And it was a theme throughout most of the pictures.

I then thought it was the fact that i put it to single point focus and didn't show my wife how to use it. So then I got curious and and my brother walked by and I focused on his eye and got this:


This site won't accept png's so I'll have to upload them tomorrow.. It's late now.

Anyhow, the lens and camera has a mind of their own.

I tested the t3i with my lenses and thank goodness they work more or less. These are even Sigma lenses. I tried my old Rebel XT with the kit lens and sure enough it focused actually better than all of them.

So amazed at this new found problem, I actually went and BOUGHT ANOTHER NEW IDENTICAL 35mm LENS.

Unbelievably, the EXACT same issue. It really likes to focus on those ears.

I DO have a Nikon 55-200mm VR AF-S f/4-5.6G ED that I need to test to ensure it's not a camera issue seing as TWO lenses of different lots (judging by serial number) from different stores are doing the EXACT same things.

Anyhow I never knew how 'broken' a camera really is until you don't have working focus.

There's also a LOT of people who simply don't understand the problem and even notice it or think it's a big deal. They are just fanboys plain and simple and biased towards the product they purchased.

I have a Nikon d5100, a t3i, and a Rebel XT and the old Rebel XT seems to have the most 'spot on' auto focus with the kit lens.

I just can't beleive this is happening.

If anyone is getting scared that this might be happening to their Nikon. Very simple. Focus on someones eye at ISO 100 and 1/200 shutter with the pop up flash in P mode and make sure you have single point AF on. Take a picture of someones eye. Zoom up and see if the face is sharp and in focus. You'll be able to tell by the eyebrows and such. You'll just 'know' if it's in focus. It will be crazy sharp. If it's not, then look at the ears or even further behind. Keep the f low. f3.2 will produce this result on a 1.8 lens.

This is unbelievable.. most D5100 owners I guess are too 'noob' or maybe don't understand what to look for. Coming from Canon I can certainly notice instantly the 'softness' in the Nikon. Now I have an explination. And now I finally know why people say 'I find my Canon's are sharper and that's why I stick with Canon'.

But damn people should at least be able to correctly IDENTIFY the problem with the AF system, lense, camera.. I don't know. It seems that very few people know actually what the problem is.

Someone please help.. I'm off to bed and will upload the pics tommorow.

Canon EOS 600D (EOS Rebel T3i / EOS Kiss X5) Nikon D5100 Nikon D800
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MOD Mako2011
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