Back Focus, Bad Technique Or What?

Started Apr 10, 2014 | Discussions thread
A Owens Veteran Member • Posts: 3,144
Re: Back Focus, Bad Technique Or What?

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:

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!


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!

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