Struggling with D7100

Started Feb 9, 2014 | Questions thread
nfpotter Veteran Member • Posts: 4,080
Re: internet discussions is like paralympic

chary zp wrote:

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Westmill wrote:

nfpotter wrote:

Westmill wrote:

JK5700 wrote:

I recently bought a D7100 as a backup to my D3s. I have been using the D7100 with my 500VR and AF-S 80-400VR. I am however not getting enough sharp photos with the combinations. I was doing much better with the D300s and of course the D3s.

I understand that the extra megapixels makes long lens technique more critical, but not to the extent that I am experiencing. Are there any tricks to using the D7100 that I am missing?

Yes... you need to fine adjust the lens to the camera. Ive had the same problem with 3 out of 4 lenses. You are in effect dealing with 58 million pixel density. That is what it is if you were to carry it across to FF. its a pain in the butt You need top glass to see any of it. My Sigma 50-150 I bought... eeek ... keeper rate was perhaps 1 in 20 lol. Now it is superb and never misses. Check it out in the Nikon SLR lens talk on here where I have given it a bit of a review. Before I fine tuned it, it was simply awful

No evidence that the OP needs to fine tune. A VERY, VERY over-used "feature", and quite dangerous.

Eh ? what nonsense. Certainly not even going to start going down that road with you.

as for evidence... his pictures are not sharp from lenses that are sharp on all others. That is more than enough evidence to me lol.

I know you need a little knowledge to fine tune well, but its hardly rocket science. Not to mention it can be turned off or reset and altered at any time. I have to be honest and say that is one of the strangest things I have ever read. I would have three lenses that were hardly usable without tuning. Sorry but I am just a bit gobsmacked by that comment lol

Let's help you out a bit here:

First, whether you're tuning a prime or zoom lens, results can vary MASSIVELY depending on what target and distance you're using. Second, if you're tuning a zoom lens, you WILL get different results (if tested correctly) at different zoom lengths. Third, you may get very different results under different lighting conditions, and/or with different focus targets.

These things that most people don't take into account, and then they wonder why they're still struggling.

I own 3 Nikon bodies (2 of which have fine tune), and about 14 lenses (mostly Nikon but some 3rd party). They all work great with ZERO fine tune adjustments (even my "infamous" D7000).

As well, MANY, MANY people use bodies with no fine tune option, and produce brilliant, sharp photos.

Fine-tune is a VERY, VERY over-rated and misused "feature". Period.

Out of sheer curiosity I did finetune when I got my D7100. The results?

Nik 85/1,8G -8

Nik 35/2D -15

Nik 50/1,8D -11

Nik 18-105vr -9 (weighed average)

Nik 18-70 -6 (weighed average)

Sig 10-20/4-5,6 +20 (weighed average, stress on widest)

Tam 200-500 +8 (across the span)

Tam 70-200/2,8 -8 (across the span)

I daresay that fine tune helped me A LOT to get the best possible from my lenses.

Like MOST people that "report" this, you are only stating what you THINK you know. There is absolutely NO evidence that your results are "correct", especially with no before and after shots, no description or pics of your test method. You have to understand that MANY, MANY people have done the same as you - no proof.

Strap all of those lenses on, say a D5100, or any body that doesn't have fine tune.

I would bet a fairly large sum of money that you never needed any of it.

Having shot a series of photos with different settings and having picked the sharpest ones is enough proof for me. What proof would you like, and why? In my language there is a saying which goes something like "you do not need to persuade your friends and your enemies cannot be persuaded". Your offensive method of argumentation discourages me from any over-the-limit effort.

I had my D90 + 18-105 combo fine tuned in Nikon service (backfocus) in the old days and now I can do it myself. Advantage: fine tune.

If if in-camera fine-tune was so useless, why would they have put it in there in the first place? Why are there so many issues of front focus / back focus and why do I buy lenses with a laptop and check them in the shop to see which of them is the sharpest and best centered? Or do you really think that front focus and back focus are virtual, non-existent issues? You made my day, sir

You are welcome to your opinion. I have mine. I should also mention that I DID, at one point, have to send my D7000 to Nikon service (I had a BAD case of lubricant on the sensor, early D7000 production run). At the same time, I had them look at focus with the 18-105 VR, because I could not get sharp shots with it on that body (although it worked fine on my other bodies). I didn't even send the lens, but when I got the camera back, it worked great with the 18-105. None of my 12-13 other lenses needed help. Go figure.

There is, as another example, another case, that I should bring up. It is quite widely known that the D7000, paired with the AFS 35mm f/1.8, has some major problems with correct focus under incandescent light. It's all over the place, and I have it. At one point, I "fine-tuned" that lens as best I could (-20 wasn't even quite enough, but was close), but as soon as I'd get it ANY other light temperature, then my focus was off. A zero fine tune, it still works fantastically in all but pure incandescent light.

Point in case: take AF Fine Tune with a VERY large grain of salt.

It seems you're missing my point. Here's what happens:
A "newbie" buys a camera, then reads about AF Fine Tune, and whether the camera REALLY needs adjustment or not, said "newbie" decides to play with it, almost always using improper analysis technique. This is massively exaggerated by that "newbie" reading sites like dpreview and others, and reading about "focus issues" with this or that body, and any number of other supposed "issues".

You should know that I'm correct, if you've spent more than a few minutes on the internet.

I'm not saying that AF Fine Tune is a bad feature, or doesn't serve a purpose. I'm stating, with some fair amount of real-world knowledge, that a VERY, VERY large percentage of people that THINK they need fine tune simply do not. Maybe you did, but a company as big as Nikon is NOT NOT NOT going to ship a large percentage of any give model with calibration issues. Period. It is FAR too competitive a marketplace for them to do that.

The OP has a problem with a lens. He doesn't have the same problem with other bodies. Only with this D7100.

Now, please, explain this.

I have a lens, in this case Sigma 10-20/4-5,6 at 10mm F4 focussed some 35 cm from the chip.

I have three bodies, D200, D90 and D7100.

With the first two bodies the lens works quite nicely, though I must say that D90 gives sharper images even resampled to D200 file size.

Now, I took the same picture with those three bodies, resample to the size of the smallest (10mpx D200) and D7100's finetune set to 0. Well well. Isn't it interesting that I am getting surprisingly simillar results as the OP? After finetune (here -12) suddenly the image is the sharpest of the bunch. Please explain why finetune is overrated in this case with proof given. Thank you.

from left to right D200, D90, D7100@0, D7100@12, all of them 1:1 crops

So your "proof" is a single test session, with what COULD be very different light, a noisy D90 shot, and no idea if your focus points were grabbing the exact same point of contrast?

Not to mention that that is only from one distance, and one focal length.

You've missed my point, again. It's okay, quite common on these sites full of so called "experts".

I expected this so I made another one. This time 18-105 @ 70 mm F5,3 wide open, focussed on a flat yet detailed surface. All three cameras focussed on the centre of the feather. Again D200 - D90 - D7100@0 - D7100@-10.

Actually I start to see a pattern in my D200's behaviour - it is slightly off. D90 catches quite nicely (yeah, it's been finetuned to this particular lens by Nikon themselves) and finetuned D7100 as well. I could go on but it is 1AM here and I have to get up at some time tomorrow

But a second test and the same behaviour? Isn't it strange?

Actually, my second proof "says nothing" while you are right with no proof in your hands so far whatsoever. Curiouser and curiouser.

My "proof" is having been around the block more than a few times. Dig around, you'll see.

AND, once again, you've missed my point. I'll spell it out:

Like I said, YOU may have had a legit "issue". That DOES NOT MEAN that the larger percentage of Nikon bodies come from the factory with bad calibration.

Have a good night (morning)....

OK, I'll rephrase it. If I MAY have an issue with my D7100 which can be easily solved by finetune... and the OP is kinda having a very similar issue (what he says, a lens being sharp on two other bodies while unsharp on a D7100), would not fine tune seem a solution for him as well? Would not the fine tune seem to be in the camera for the very *few* unlucky ones like me or the OP (or the whole bunch of lads who claim have improved the sharpness by using fine tune) for JUST this type of issues? Why would you be so mean and discourage the OP from even trying to use fine tune when it could easily be a nice solution to his problems as it is an apparent OVERRATED solution to my OF COURSE NONEXISTENT problem?

Please, enough. You're STILL are missing my point, and I'm quite sure you're not going to get it. We'll leave it to each their own.

You may win, but you'll still be a cripple.

Your point is that there is no need for OP to fine tune his D7100 when he gets good results from two other bodies while his D7100 is unsharp.

I have seen some of his photos on his blog and to me it seems that he kinda knows what he is doing. Therefore I'd expect that he'd be comparing things that can be compared. I haven't seen the problematic photos, neither have you. But you have straightforward ruled the fine tune out without giving it even a chance. Even though he might have the same issue as I do. You just keep saying that fine tune is overrated because YOU don't need it.

You win

You're right, if it WAS a contest, I DID win, because you clearly can't read, or haven't put the time in to, based upon ALL of your replies. I'd call THAT being a "cripple".

If the OP "knows what he's doing", he'd not be asking. And, for the last time, what I'm ACTUALLY saying, since you can't seem to wrap your head around it, is that fine tune needs to be both done with VERY, VERY precise analysis technique over MANY different scenarios, and then compared substantially in real-world use, to be ANYWHERE close to useful or appropriate.

A few "test shots" like you've posted are NOT conclusive, but you can't seem to understand that.

Do as you wish, but try to give better advice.

Obviously you don't understand. I have seen his photos. Animals, planes, long distances, short shutter to catch the action or quite long shutter (for the FL) but sharp images, apparently good holding technique and a bit of luck with stationary animals. Therefore I do not think that he has problems with... I don't know what's the proper English term, in my language we call it something like "jerking". The shutter is not short enough and the hands are shaky. But somehow I think that this may not be his problem.

On the other hand, there have been a number of issues like mine, with actually un-fine tuned lenses. There are people who report their lenses fine tuned. If the lenses had been pin sharp un-tuned, then fine tuning would have to make them more unsharp, wouldn't it? But they seem to be happier with fine tuned. Yes, I know, I know, you have gazzilion of lenses and bodies and none need fine tune. And you have dozens of friends who don't need it likewise. Yet, fine tune is there for some reason and it may actually help. It may vary in outcome, but I have presented two examples with approximately two out of two success rate where fine tune helped. I have never really been great at mathematics, so two out of two give approximately... I don't know, I'll shoot... a hundred per cent?

Of course if the lens really needs fine tune, the values may vary according to focal length (zooms) and focus distance. BUT if it really needs fine tune, what better solution is there than fine tune? Or do you think that faster shutter speed or VR-on will miraculously heal the possibly un-fine tuned lens?

Um, yeah. 2 examples, each comparing at the same exact focal length and distance.

ONCE AGAIN, you've missed one of several of my points.

Go run around in the real world, take a lot of pics, and there's a VERY, VERY strong chance that your "one thing fixes all" solution may not look so pretty. As well, try it at many different focal lengths, distances, and lighting conditions.

Isn't it past your bedtime?

Since when are you worried about other people's bedtimes? Just FYI I have been preparing for my work tomorrow which starts at 3 PM. Not everybody works six to three.

Then, since when are Sigma 10-20 @ 10mm at say 35 cm and Nikkor 18-105 @ 70mm at say 80 cm the same exact focal lengths and distances? You made my day again sir

I made your day because you can't read, or don't know the language. I did NOT suggest that both examples were made with the same focal length and distance. I suggested that EACH of the 2 were, as they WERE. In other words, each of your 2 examples use the same focal length and distance when comparing the 4 examples.

But maybe there is just a language issue. Can you define "the same exact focal length" and "the same exact distance" and use the numbers above?

I just did.

Just to make it clear, by

" Um, yeah. 2 examples, each comparing at the same exact focal length and distance."

you mean that the exact focal lenght and distance of the scenario was wrong or good way to find out if D7100's untuned PDAF was ok or not, compared to the other bodies?

This "um yeah" makes me feel you think it was wrong.

And how would you solve the wrong fine tune of the lenses differently than by fine tune?

I would use a lot more scientific approach to testing and evaluating than you are, and I'd VERY, VERY likely find that no fine tune was needed.

You mean in that those two examples where

D7100 fine tuned to 0 gave visibly poor results of PDAF compared to other bodies and fine-tuned D7100

was in your opinion actually right


the fine tuned sharper one

was actually wrong?

Because you'd come to conclusion that in fact "no fine tune was needed"? Really?

Then, if no fine tune was needed, how come that untuned D7100 was so poor and so much better after being fine tuned?

How many times would you like me to explain that RESULTS MAY VARY DEPENDING ON 3 THINGS: FOCAL LENGTH IN USE, DISTANCE TO SUBJECT, AND LIGHT TEMPERATURE?  That said AND that every lens will be different.

I am not giving you (or the OP) advice based upon no experience, or what I've read.  I'm giving it BECAUSE I HAVE ALREADY TRIED IT.

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