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Thread: Nikon D7000 Focus Problem

  1. #1

    Nikon D7000 Focus Problem

    I found this forum while googling my problem, hopefully someone here can help.

    I noticed something yesterday while out shooting my wife. I normally shoot AF-S with the center focus point only, using focus and reframe. I also set the Release mode to CL and usually shoot 3 frames because sometimes she blinks. Then, during post I pick the best of the 3 and work on that one.

    Anyway, yesterday I noticed the camera refocusing on the 2nd and 3rd shots. I don't take my finger off of the shutter release, I just let 2 or 3 frames click off. Since I reframe, the focus of all shots after the first was somewhere in the distance. I don't know what I might have changed in the menu to cause this.

    I do have a user setting saved that has the focus moved to the AE-L/AF-L button on the back and when I tried that yesterday, everything worked as expected, meaning the focus stayed locked for all 3 shots after reframing.

    If anyone has some insight as to what I'm doing wrong, it would be much appreciated.

    It has been suggested that I reset the camera back to factory default settings, which I hope to avoid for now.

  2. #2
    Momo's Avatar
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    Re: Nikon D7000 Focus Problem

    So, if I understand this correctly, you focused on your wife with the center marker and then recomposed to take the photo. Did you not hold down the AF-L (auto focus lock) button? Either that or it's possibly doing some focus bracketing. I'd be curious to know if you were locking the focus or not. Judging from your comment about the user setting, it sounds like you might have it fixed. I would double check your settings for that button to see how it behaves. Here's a link that might better explain it.

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    Re: Nikon D7000 Focus Problem

    This happens to me on my D300 when my finger his the focus mode switch on the front of the camera. It's very easy to do with mine, not sure about yours. It moves from single to continuous focus which will do exactly what you describe. Perhaps that's what happened to yours??

  4. #4

    Re: Nikon D7000 Focus Problem

    First, it's not the AF - M button on the front--I checked that.

    Secondly, I did not hold the AE-L/AF-L button on the back. I have that set for AE/AF Lock when I shoot in Aperture Mode. I do have that set for AF Lock Only under U1 and I do lock focus with it when I have it set to that user setting.

    However, I usually shoot portraits with focus on the shutter release button and I use the focus and reframe method and CL release mode (because sometimes my wife blinks) and I usually fire off 2-3 frames after reframing. It has not refocused between the shots in the past, that I recall. I'm pretty sure I would have noticed it while shooting (like I did this weekend) and I definitely would have seen it while I was flipping through the 2 or 3 frames, deciding which one to keep.

    I hope that helps to clear up my situation. Let me know if you need more info.

  5. #5

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    Re: Nikon D7000 Focus Problem

    So the 7000 is a bit different than mine. You only get AF or M on the front. Have you confirmed you are in AF-S(single)? Apparently modes A(auto) or C(continuous ) will both refocus on movement.

  6. #6

    Re: Nikon D7000 Focus Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew1 View Post
    So the 7000 is a bit different than mine. You only get AF or M on the front. Have you confirmed you are in AF-S(single)? Apparently modes A(auto) or C(continuous ) will both refocus on movement.
    Yes, I retested when I got home from work today. I was set to AF-S, release mode CL, tried two consecutive shots with focus/reframe (light switch was focus--end of hallway was reframe,) and the second shot did refocus at the far end of the hallway. I also tried two different lenses to make sure it was not lens specific.

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    Re: Nikon D7000 Focus Problem

    OK so going by the little I know, the only thing left I can suggest is take the battery out for the night. It was working before and it sounds like you've covered the bases. Reset it back to factory default. Hopefully something in the software got corrupted and will correct on a restart. Failing that we're getting into hardware. Switches and contacts. Manufacturer stuff. Good luck. Hopefully this works.
    Last edited by Andrew1; 8th May 2012 at 02:58 AM.

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    Re: Nikon D7000 Focus Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Raytonium View Post
    I found this forum while googling my problem, hopefully someone here can help.

    I noticed something yesterday while out shooting my wife. I normally shoot AF-S with the center focus point only, using focus and reframe. I also set the Release mode to CL and usually shoot 3 frames because sometimes she blinks. Then, during post I pick the best of the 3 and work on that one.

    Anyway, yesterday I noticed the camera refocusing on the 2nd and 3rd shots. I don't take my finger off of the shutter release, I just let 2 or 3 frames click off. Since I reframe, the focus of all shots after the first was somewhere in the distance. I don't know what I might have changed in the menu to cause this.

    I do have a user setting saved that has the focus moved to the AE-L/AF-L button on the back and when I tried that yesterday, everything worked as expected, meaning the focus stayed locked for all 3 shots after reframing.

    If anyone has some insight as to what I'm doing wrong, it would be much appreciated.

    It has been suggested that I reset the camera back to factory default settings, which I hope to avoid for now.
    Are you focusing on her eyes and at what shutter speed? Could you post an example?

  9. #9
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    Re: Nikon D7000 Focus Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Raytonium View Post
    I noticed something yesterday while out shooting my wife.
    I've considered doing this a few times over the years!!

  10. #10

    Re: Nikon D7000 Focus Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowman View Post
    Are you focusing on her eyes and at what shutter speed? Could you post an example?
    Yes, focusing on eyes. Average shutter speed was about 1/125. I don't have any examples from that session, but I can recreate the problem.

    Another thing I remember from that session was the metering was acting up. She was standing in a dimly lit doorway with bright outdoor light behind. Matrix metering was exposing the background correctly, but she was almost in silhouette. I tried center-weighted and even spot and some shots it would expose correctly and other shots looked like the matrix metered ones. It seemed random, no matter where I tried to point to, to set exposure. I was so caught up on the focusing problem, I didn't think these could be related and possibly be a computer problem.

    Looks like I will try to reset back to factory defaults and see if everything works like it used to. Thanks for everyone's help.

  11. #11

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    Re: Nikon D7000 Focus Problem

    You add some more important information you neglected to mention at first. Low light is a problem for any camera focusing system. There are just different degrees of what each model considers low. Does your camera work well in bright lighting?

    Focusing works using areas of contrast and depending on the camera, in a couple of different ways. If it can't see a contrasted edge well enough to focus on it for a sharp contrast, or phase comparison, it will keep hunting until it does. In that scenario I'd suggest even your first shot wasn't as in focus as you thought.

    I hope everything works out well and the camera us fine.

  12. #12

    Re: Nikon D7000 Focus Problem

    Despite a low light situation (which it really wasn't) should the halfway depressed shutter release button keep focus locked between multiple shots while set to AF-S?

  13. #13

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    Re: Nikon D7000 Focus Problem

    It should stay locked once halfway depressed in AF-S but if the light was that low perhaps it wasn't locked to start with. Does you camera work fine in a better light?

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    Re: Nikon D7000 Focus Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Raytonium View Post
    Despite a low light situation (which it really wasn't) should the halfway depressed shutter release button keep focus locked between multiple shots while set to AF-S?
    Not with my D40. That's what I use the AE-L/AF-L button for.

  15. #15
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    Re: Nikon D7000 Focus Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Raytonium View Post
    Despite a low light situation (which it really wasn't) should the halfway depressed shutter release button keep focus locked between multiple shots while set to AF-S?
    Hi Ray,

    I agree the new info is pertinent, the background may not have been low light, but comparitively, it sounds as though the subject was.

    Depending whether this was a full length, half length, or head and shoulders shot, will determine how 'upset' the focus and metering (even in spot) might have been when you recomposed - it may have been having a hard time - for example, the AF will detect edges and makes them sharp, so it may have been working on the edge of the silhouette, not the eyes, because the edge has more contrast to make it easier to be certain.

    One semi-new thought; on my D5000, there is a feature which prevents me taking a picture when the camera is "not focused", I wonder - if the camera thinks the focus error is large enough, whether this actually over-rides AF-S focus lock? I read my D5000 manual and there's no mention of it doing so, but they don't always mention everything in manuals, do they

    I noticed in my manual that the shooting situation as you now describe is the second one shown (of 6) as a situation when AF will struggle - and that's according to Nikon.

    One other assumption we are all making; that you are shooting with the viewfinder and not using Live View, that is correct, isn't it?

    Hope we get to the bottom of this for you.

    PS I even had a quick look at D7000 firmware updates, but saw nothing mentioned that seemed relevant to this, but it may be worth you double checking what you have and what the current update release is.

    Cheers,

  16. #16

    Re: Nikon D7000 Focus Problem

    Thanks to everyone for the replies.

    I tested with my D5000 and it does the same thing, so apparently I never noticed it before and that must be the way the focusing works. My problem wasn't low light. The doorway shots were at a different location than the ones with which I had focusing issues.

    I guess I just put this one down as operator error.

  17. #17

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    Re: Nikon D7000 Focus Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Raytonium View Post
    Thanks to everyone for the replies.

    I tested with my D5000 and it does the same thing, so apparently I never noticed it before and that must be the way the focusing works.
    Bad case of user unfriendlyness. It's much easier to lift your finger from the shutterbutton for a moment, then it is to disengage and reengage AF-L when you want to refocus. Something Nikon missed out on with this silly automatic re-focussing behaviour.

  18. #18

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    Re: Nikon D7000 Focus Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Raytonium View Post
    I tested with my D5000 and it does the same thing, so apparently I never noticed it before and that must be the way the focusing works.
    I don't think it's designed to work that way. In AF-S, with single focus point selection and CL release mode, you can't do anything but keep the shutter button pressed down, so the focus should stay locked (unless the shutter is not being used for focus because you've selected AF-On for the AE-L/AF-L button).
    Certainly works that way with my D7000, so it seems strange that your D5000 is doing the same thing..?

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