D7100 AF Fine Tune VS. Sigma 18-35 USB Dock Problem

Started Mar 4, 2014 | Discussions
chary zp Senior Member • Posts: 1,489
D7100 AF Fine Tune VS. Sigma 18-35 USB Dock Problem

Now, my D7100 is not the best friend with my lenses if I turn AF Fine Tune (FT) off. My eight lenses currently vary from -10 to +8 and only one works fine with FT:0. But after FT they perform great. So fine then.

Now Sigma 18-35/1,8.

I did some measurement at given focusing distances, as the dock programme can set custom values from -20 to +20 at 0,28 m 0,35 m 0,5ish m and infinity.

First, -10 in D7100's FT does not correspond to -10 in the dock software. But I tried hard and tuned the lens to the best possible outcome for focusing at 3-8 meters, as I knew I was going to need the lens to focus at those distances. Quite a lot of fiddling and it performed quite well, if it had something to catch the focus on. It was a concert-like event with changeable lighting and not good one at that, but I did choose some nice and sharp images in the end. I'll show some of them in a comprehensive D7100 + 18-35/1,8 + 85/1,8g + 50/1,8d "review".

Now I tried the lens again, trying to focus at about 15 meters, 4 meters and infinity-ish (about 500-700 meters) and the AF was absolutely off. On saturday it was OK, today it was a vat of $%^&.

Liike, on Friday I set it to work at FT-0 and now I need something from -2 to -20 and various values in the matrix, these are FT values to be set in camera:

18mm: -4 -6 -8 -2

24mm: -12 -9 -12 -8

28mm: -6 -6 -7 -2

35mm: -6 -4 -20! -16

The infinity values are actually tuned for focusing at about three meters. When I tried focusing at about 15 meters, I needed 18mm: -14 24-35mm: -12

Yesterday when I tried some really long distances, like two kilometers with good light and quite clean air I needed 18mm: -16 and 24-35mm: -14 for infinity focus.

MF via zoomed works LV great and the lens is so sharp I had to get some plasters while trying it out. But AF makes it impossible to shoot action or brings a ton of waste.

Any ideas why the AF got so un-tuned after two days? The other lenses still perform great, so I'd rule any voodoo in the camera out. It almost seems as if I needed to FT every single time I took the camera out of the bag and differently for different focal lengths and focusing distances.

Is the AF in the lens really so horrible or am I cursed?

 chary zp's gear list:chary zp's gear list
Nikon D90 Nikon D200 Nikon D7100 Nikon D500 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-105mm F3.5-5.6G ED VR +11 more
Nikon D7100
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Chuvarsky
Chuvarsky Veteran Member • Posts: 3,130
Re: D7100 AF Fine Tune VS. Sigma 18-35 USB Dock Problem

I have the D7100 and the 18-35 also.  I did AF fine tune (-4) right after I received the lens, last November.  No problems, sharp as can be, since then.  I do not have the USB dock.

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Dick

 Chuvarsky's gear list:Chuvarsky's gear list
Tamron SP 150-600mm F5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 Nikon D500 Nikon D850 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 800mm f/5.6E FL ED VR +8 more
bryanA9
bryanA9 Senior Member • Posts: 1,203
Re: D7100 AF Fine Tune VS. Sigma 18-35 USB Dock Problem
2

Frankly, with 7 of 8 lenses being off I'd send the d7100 to Nikon to get checked out.

 bryanA9's gear list:bryanA9's gear list
Sony a9 Tamron 150-500mm F5-6.7 Di III VC VXD
BillD7000 Senior Member • Posts: 1,058
I have the camera, lens and dock...
1

First off, with the D7100, DO NOT change any AF Adjustment values for the Sigma 18-35mm.  Do that ONLY with the dock, and make sure you're saving those values in the lens' firmware via the Sigma software included with the dock.

With my D7100, I had to do an in-camera adjustment for the Nikon 60mm 2.8 Macro, I did two minor adjustments on the Sigma 18-35mm via the dock, and things have been rock solid stable since.

Using the USB dock makes in-camera AF adjustment redundant.  Either do it via USB dock, or in-camera, but NOT BOTH.  The Sigma USB adjustment capability is way more sophisticated than the on-camera AF adjustment.

Obviously, make sure your testing regimen is reliable.

Hope this helps.

 BillD7000's gear list:BillD7000's gear list
Nikon D500 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8G ED-IF Sigma 8-16mm F4.5-5.6 DC HSM Nikon 85mm F1.8G Nikkor AF-S 300mm f/4E PF ED VR +1 more
(unknown member) Forum Member • Posts: 91
Re: I have the camera, lens and dock...

It seems that I am experiencing the same issue as you. First copy of the lens had inconsistent focus and I finally got to exchnage it two days ago. Luckily the second copy has more consistent focus however at 3 meters and beyond it is quite inaccurate. I've also got Sigma dock, and tried to correct this.

For now I only tested it at 18mm and 35mm and found out the following: up to 2 meters AF is mostly accurate, maybe it would benefit from small corrections, but I don't have adequate tools to fine-tune this at the moment. It is ok, so it can wait. The fun starts between 2 and 3 meters where the picture gets notably out of focus. Finally I've set +7 for 18mm and -5 for 35mm. This gives me acceptable focus at 10 meters however beyond this it is - for example at 30 meters it gets quite bad.

Is this really a characteristic of this lens or am I (and OP as well) in the possession of another dud? If this is normal then I guess the option is to opt for shorter distances - for 18mm up to 15 meters and for 35mm up to 5 meters - and then calculate average AF correction values. I've read about dot-tune method which seems quite logical to me. And for longer distances (more of a landscape shoots) to use LV and its contrast detection AF.

Finally as the OP wrote, Sigma's dock and Nikons AF Fine-Tune values are not equal. I couldn't find the weighted value which could help with calculation between Sigma and Nikon values. It seems that the progression between two consequent AF tune values ia not linear..

Thank you Nikon and Sigma, I didn't know what to do with my time before I got involved with your products...

Leonard Shepherd
Leonard Shepherd Forum Pro • Posts: 23,315
Re: How good is your test set up?

How good is your test set up?

As you get similar but significant camera finetune indications with all lenses, provided you are testing with detail suitable for accurate AF at your relatively long test distances, the issue (if there is an equipment fault) is likely to be a significant body problem.

As your results are "all over the place" with the second test method the implication ,if your test detail is good, is the exact opposite to the Nikon result with an indication of a range of defective lenses.

You have not posted a sample image.

I make it 27 sample images I have looked at on this forum since 1st April have posted images where phase detect AF may not work good and none were of subjects where AF should not work good

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Leonard Shepherd
Producing good quality photographs, or being good at sport or art, involves a little more than buying appropriate equipment. Practice, some learning and perhaps natural talent often play a bigger role than the equipment in your hands.

 Leonard Shepherd's gear list:Leonard Shepherd's gear list
Nikon D850 Nikon Z7 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Micro-Nikkor 60mm F2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/2.8G ED-IF VR +23 more
PhotoBlaz Regular Member • Posts: 184
Re: How good is your test set up?

Interesting post!!

I am playing with d7100 almost a year, first with Nikon 18-200 VR, which performed bad every now and than (It was perfect all the time on D300). Than I tried Sigma 17-70 2,8-4(C) whis was/is a perfect sharp lens for D7100 resolution and for reasonable money (although it has a major problem in communication with D7100 when in play-mode).

A few days using Sigma 17-70 showed AF problems and I calibrated it  with Sigma USB dock. Lens performed extremlly sharp! ....but sometimes AF is completely wrong. I was not used to that on D300 and other lenses ever. ... a few shots after problematic ones it performs perfect again. I don't know what to do. Is it Sigma or Nikon or a combination.

I am very satisfied with pictures from D7100 and Sigma17-70 when AF is correct, but sorry to say... for AF I trust my phone Samsung Note more

BirgerH
BirgerH Veteran Member • Posts: 5,904
Re: How good is your test set up?

PhotoBlaz wrote:

Interesting post!!

I am playing with d7100 almost a year, first with Nikon 18-200 VR, which performed bad every now and than (It was perfect all the time on D300). Than I tried Sigma 17-70 2,8-4(C) whis was/is a perfect sharp lens for D7100 resolution and for reasonable money (although it has a major problem in communication with D7100 when in play-mode).

A few days using Sigma 17-70 showed AF problems and I calibrated it with Sigma USB dock. Lens performed extremlly sharp! ....but sometimes AF is completely wrong. I was not used to that on D300 and other lenses ever. ... a few shots after problematic ones it performs perfect again. I don't know what to do. Is it Sigma or Nikon or a combination.

I am very satisfied with pictures from D7100 and Sigma17-70 when AF is correct, but sorry to say... for AF I trust my phone Samsung Note more

What to do?

You could post some examples of the images that goes wrong - with all the exifs.

This is just the same kind of posts, we got with the D7000 - and they are impossible to comment without wild guesses, if there's no will to show the troubles to the forum.

So please!

BirgerH.

 BirgerH's gear list:BirgerH's gear list
Nikon D90 Nikon D7000 Nikon D800
Slimzy Forum Member • Posts: 90
Re: How good is your test set up?

BirgerH wrote:

PhotoBlaz wrote:

Interesting post!!

I am playing with d7100 almost a year, first with Nikon 18-200 VR, which performed bad every now and than (It was perfect all the time on D300). Than I tried Sigma 17-70 2,8-4(C) whis was/is a perfect sharp lens for D7100 resolution and for reasonable money (although it has a major problem in communication with D7100 when in play-mode).

A few days using Sigma 17-70 showed AF problems and I calibrated it with Sigma USB dock. Lens performed extremlly sharp! ....but sometimes AF is completely wrong. I was not used to that on D300 and other lenses ever. ... a few shots after problematic ones it performs perfect again. I don't know what to do. Is it Sigma or Nikon or a combination.

I am very satisfied with pictures from D7100 and Sigma17-70 when AF is correct, but sorry to say... for AF I trust my phone Samsung Note more

What to do?

You could post some examples of the images that goes wrong - with all the exifs.

This is just the same kind of posts, we got with the D7000 - and they are impossible to comment without wild guesses, if there's no will to show the troubles to the forum.

So please!

BirgerH.

I too have had problems with this lense on my Nikon D5600. I have calibrated it on the dock. Its fine when daylight and object is in good light. But it refuses to stay consitent in shadows or low light. I'm sending it back for the second time. I think either there is a batch, or some that dont focus well on certain camera models (communication issue).. or some that just dont focus well in the dark and people dont notice as they only take pics in very good light...

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