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Thread: Nikon 70-300mm lens focus question . . . focus is everywhere but where I want it . .

  1. #1

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    Nikon 70-300mm lens focus question . . . focus is everywhere but where I want it . .

    Got my new lens today, very excited to use it, I took some photos and the focus is everywhere but where I wanted it! Could it be that my metering system on my Nikon d5000 is set to the incorrect setting?? its is currently set to matrix metering. Here are some photo examples.


    lower right and top right flower in focus
    Nikon 70-300mm lens focus question . . . focus is everywhere but where I want it . .

    lower right flower in focus
    Nikon 70-300mm lens focus question . . . focus is everywhere but where I want it . .

    top left flower in focus
    Nikon 70-300mm lens focus question . . . focus is everywhere but where I want it . .

    one photo that turned out ok
    Nikon 70-300mm lens focus question . . . focus is everywhere but where I want it . .

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    Re: Nikon 70-300mm lens focus question . . . focus is everywhere but where I want it

    Two questions Kathy, what is you focal lenght on these, and you f-stop, no make that 3 question, what mode of shooting, "M","A","S", "P", or auto. I would say that you really using all that zoom that you now have. Remember that you can do images like this, however a macro would be better. also remember that the auto focus work on contrast so sometimes up this close it has a hard time telling what to focus on, and now one last question, no two, was it handheld or tripod and second are you having fun with it?

    Cheers:

    Allan

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    Re: Nikon 70-300mm lens focus question . . . focus is everywhere but where I want it

    very nice i have a hard time getting things to focus!!!!!

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    Re: Nikon 70-300mm lens focus question . . . focus is everywhere but where I want it

    Quote Originally Posted by Polar01 View Post
    Two questions Kathy, what is you focal lenght on these, and you f-stop, no make that 3 question, what mode of shooting, "M","A","S", "P", or auto. I would say that you really using all that zoom that you now have. Remember that you can do images like this, however a macro would be better. also remember that the auto focus work on contrast so sometimes up this close it has a hard time telling what to focus on, and now one last question, no two, was it handheld or tripod and second are you having fun with it?

    Cheers:

    Allan
    I was shooting in manual mode, it was hand held (which I know makes a difference) I think you make a good point , I was to close to my subject and the camera had a tough time deciding on what to focus on. the last photo was taken further away and it turned out better --don't you think?? I am hoping to shoot alot of mountain and waterfall scenery with this lens in the next two weeks, I really need to practice and get better, I really don't want to screw up those photos!! Thanks for your input!

    Kathy

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    Re: Nikon 70-300mm lens focus question . . . focus is everywhere but where I want it

    What focus drive are you using?

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    Re: Nikon 70-300mm lens focus question . . . focus is everywhere but where I want it

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve S View Post
    What focus drive are you using?
    Okay Steve, you are going to find out just how little I know about photography . . . what do you mean by focus drive?? Sorry for the stupid question

    Kathy

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    Re: Nikon 70-300mm lens focus question . . . focus is everywhere but where I want it

    Kathy,

    I don't want to mess things up by interjecting comments about topics that others are already explaining to you. Instead, I just want to bring to light that you mentioned the matrix metering in your first post and wondered if that could be affecting your focusing. Keep in mind (yes, there are a LOT of things to think about) that metering is the camera's method of determining the exposure. Focusing is the camera's method of determining the sharpest part of the image. Metering does not affect focusing and vice versa.

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    Re: Nikon 70-300mm lens focus question . . . focus is everywhere but where I want it

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Buckley View Post
    Kathy,

    I don't want to mess things up by interjecting comments about topics that others are already explaining to you. Instead, I just want to bring to light that you mentioned the matrix metering in your first post and wondered if that could be affecting your focusing. Keep in mind (yes, there are a LOT of things to think about) that metering is the camera's method of determining the exposure. Focusing is the camera's method of determining the sharpest part of the image. Metering does not affect focusing and vice versa.
    Thanks for clearing that up, your help is appreciated!

    Kathy

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    Re: Nikon 70-300mm lens focus question . . . focus is everywhere but where I want it

    All,

    I wrote that focusing does not affect metering. That's true in general.

    However, there are certain very specific lighting situations, depending on the camera model, when placement of a single focus point can affect the accuracy of matrix metering. But that's not Kathy's immediate concern and she will not notice it until she gets to a more advanced stage. In fact, I am writing this post only for the benefit of the more advanced readers who might otherwise wonder if I realize that there are situations when focusing can indeed affect metering.
    Last edited by Mike Buckley; 17th August 2012 at 03:37 AM.

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    Re: Nikon 70-300mm lens focus question . . . focus is everywhere but where I want it

    Depending which model you have, the 70-300mm Nikon lens has a minimum focus distance of about 4 or 5 feet! So if you are within that range then you're not going to be able to focus.

    So you need to be at least 5 feet from your subject to focus properly.

  11. #11
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    Re: Nikon 70-300mm lens focus question . . . focus is everywhere but where I want it

    You don't say which 70-300 you have. If it has VR this could also be causing you problems, so make sure it is set correctly or switch it off.
    The point previously made regarding nearest point of focus is also valid.
    What setting have you for the focus servo? Single shot or continuous? In single shot mode the shutter should be locked until focus (on something) is achieved. On continuous setting the shutter is not locked and a shot can be taken without focus being achieved.
    Make sure you check the focus LED in the viewfinder. It will flash until focus is achieved and then glow continuously once locked on.
    We can by no means be certain but the odds are that it is technique that is wrong and not the lens. I have had a 70-300 VR for a year or two now and still get it wrong quite frequently. With such a narrow depth of field on a telephoto lens any shortcomings in technique are sure to show, as I know to my cost.

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    Re: Nikon 70-300mm lens focus question . . . focus is everywhere but where I want it

    I don't currently have a Nikon, but I don't think you have mentioned whether/how you have have used the focus point selection? My Canon would easily get confused with such a small DoF if I didn't set the focus point to central to be sure I can focus on what I want. So I set it to central point only, focus on the the point I want, focus lock and then re-compose and shot. I'm sure the D5000 has the same facility. Hope this makes sense (I'm sure someone will tell me if it doesn't)

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    Re: Nikon 70-300mm lens focus question . . . focus is everywhere but where I want it

    Quote Originally Posted by Kathy O View Post
    Okay Steve, you are going to find out just how little I know about photography . . . what do you mean by focus drive?? Sorry for the stupid question

    Kathy
    Are you using the focus drive of ..........one shot.........or AI servo? (not shure the nikon equivalents) Are you using a single focus point or multi points?

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    Re: Nikon 70-300mm lens focus question . . . focus is everywhere but where I want it

    Hi Cathy,
    Sorry for interfering here. I am no expert but have had the same problem. Thought it was the lens, in the mean time it was an IBM fault. IBM? Yes the Idiot Behind Machine fault.

    The matrix metering will only affect overall exposure. The AF Area Mode affects how the camera focuses.
    Check the AF-Area mode you set the camera to, make sure you set it to Single area AF. Use the multi-selector on the back of the camera to select the focus area. Make sure you set the AF Mode to single servo. Make sure you set the camera in the MENU selection “AF-S Mode Priority” to “Focus”, that way the shutter will not release unless something is in focus.

    Mount the camera on a tripod and try again. If you are shooting outside make sure the wind is not swinging your subject, in that case you will have to use a faster shutter speed, bigger aperture and probably higher ISO. The swinging motion can cause your subject to be out of focus especially when it is swinging towards and away from the lens. Your moving a tad closer or away from the subject, while half pressing the shutter release button, can also cause the subject to be out of focus.

    Try getting it right with a lot of direct daylight on your subject before trying to shoot in “available light”.
    It is not a very good idea to try shooting zoomed in subjects with the camera hand held, always try to support your camera as much as possible when zooming in on a subject. Why are Pro’s so keen on their tripods? If you have one, use it, if you don’t, buy one if you cannot afford one, borrow one (steal one, is not an option). You will need it with your new lens.

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    Re: Nikon 70-300mm lens focus question . . . focus is everywhere but where I want it

    Hi Kathy, looking at the images I think Tommy is correct. The out of focus images you were too close to the subject. The last image you were far enought away from the subject so the lens could focus. I have a similar lens and as Tommy wrote I cannot focus if I am closer than 5 feet from the subject.

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    Re: Nikon 70-300mm lens focus question . . . focus is everywhere but where I want it

    I took this photo today, not much of a subject but I was trying to focus on something that would tell me if the photo was sharp or not, I think it is better . . . what do you all think?

    ISO 100, f8, 1/100 sec, 135mm

    Nikon 70-300mm lens focus question . . . focus is everywhere but where I want it . .

  17. #17

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    Re: Nikon 70-300mm lens focus question . . . focus is everywhere but where I want it

    Why not set up a target at 8 to 10 feet and shoot the lens wide open. This will tell you if it is focusing properly or not. (some lenses front or backfocus) And use a tripod for the camera.

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    Re: Nikon 70-300mm lens focus question . . . focus is everywhere but where I want it

    Kathy,
    Shutter speed at 1/100sec at focal length of 135mm? Was it hand held? Well you did a pretty good job of it and I do not see any problem with sharpness.
    It is always a good idea to read all reviews on your camera model. This way you find the limitations you have to face.

    by Shawn Barnett, Zig Weidelich, and Dave Etchells IMAGING RESOURCE
    Autofocus. Though the Nikon D5000's phase-detect autofocus speed tested very well in our lab tests, turning in 0.27 single-point and 0.35 auto-area AF shutter lag numbers at wide angle, I noticed considerable AF lag while shooting indoors in low light situations, especially in Wide-area AF mode. At first we considered whether it was the kit lens's f/3.5 maximum aperture, but the AF-S 35mm f/1.8G gave us the same trouble, sometimes taking a second or more to make a decision. It's nice that the Nikon D5000 has an AF-assist lamp, but it really doesn't speed things up much. The Canon XTi I have at my desk is considerably faster in both modes, though it too is slower in auto-area AF, just not as slow.
    In Live View mode, which uses contrast-detect autofocus, it gets worse. In the lab, we averaged 2.3 seconds to focus. That's not great. It's exacerbated by camera movement, so attaching a VR lens does have some positive effect, but not much. Live view on the Nikon D5000 is best used on a tripod, where you can move the AF point around and let the camera do its work slow and steady. Consumers should know up front that the Nikon D5000 focuses much slower in Live view than the all-in-one digicam that they're used to. Adjust your expectations accordingly, and you'll be happy.
    http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/D5000/D5000A.

    DPREVIEW
    Autofocus speed / accuracy
    The D5000 has a pretty sophisticated AF system - it's the same as the system in the D90 which is, itself, a simplified version of the system that occurs in high-end Nikons. The camera locks focus quickly, even with the kit lens's relatively small apertures. We took over 600 real-life sample shots with the production D5000, using a variety of lenses and didn't have any issues with focus accuracy (Though I tend to use the center focus point). Focus performance in low light is good: it slows down as you should expect (and is more likely to hunt a bit) and the camera is a bit keen to make use of its AF illuminator but the result is that you still get nice sharp shots, so long as the subject hasn't decided to hide their face.
    The AF-point selection modes are easy-to-understand and tend to do a good job of focusing where you'd expect them to, though we'd echo Nikon's comment that the 3D tracking mode is more useful for focus-and-recomposing than for trying to keep up with fast-moving action.
    In live view and video mode the picture looks slightly different. The D5000's contrast AF is so slow that it's almost unusable. Don't expect to lock the focus on any fast moving objects while shooting a video or when in live view. To be fair though, this is not significantly better on any of the competition's models (the Panasonic G1 and GH1 are the only interchangeable lens cameras to be designed specifically to use contrast-detect AF, and it shows).
    http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/nikond5000

  19. #19
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    Re: Nikon 70-300mm lens focus question . . . focus is everywhere but where I want it

    Hi Kathy,

    I missed this yesterday, sorry.

    Unfortunately - you will need to learn more about your camera to use what you have effectively.

    The D5000 has a help system built in; press and hold down the centre (of 5) buttons on left side of LCD for some words about whatever menu option you were looking at. "?" is beside the button.

    I have tha same lens and camera, so I feel qualified, but that may come across opinionated, I'll apologise now for that

    Extracting the important points from the above posts and adding some of my own;
    As Mike and Joe say - it won't focus closer than five feet - get further back and zoom in more, but watch shutter speed doesn't go too low, especially as for flowers, you really want f/11 or f/16 for better DoF.

    Metering and AF are separate.

    Use the viewfinder, NOT LIVEVIEW on LCD to focus, as Andre quotes, it's (almost) useless.

    Cut to chase:
    For flowers and static subjects, I suggest you set the following options on the lens;
    set all switches 'forward' (i.e. away from the camera body); specifically;
    top switch (AF) to "M/A",
    middle switch (VR) to "ON"
    lower switch to "NORMAL"

    For flowers and static subjects, I suggest you set the following options on the camera;
    I am working down the right hand side of LCD settings in shooting mode; half press shutter to see them, press lower right "i" button and use cursor to position over each in turn, then "OK" followed by cursor up/down to make changes;
    I have Bolded the important ones for AF issues you are having
    Image Quality = RAW (or RAW + your choice of jpg)
    White Balance = Auto
    ISO = 200, 400, 800, etc. as appropriate
    Release Mode = Single "S" in a box
    Focus Mode = AF-S (should beep when focus is OK)
    AF-area mode = small brackets (top option)
    Metering is the next option, but we're done here

    You should now be in single point AF mode, this means YOU choose which focus point to use, select by using cursor keys after a shutter half press, OK centres it. there's a map on LCD in addition to the V/F indication.

    For all but the centre AF point, you will notice they are oblong shaped, make sure you have a contrast edge crossing the longest side of your highlighted focus point for best results.

    As long as you haven't muted all sounds, you should get a double beep when focus is locked, if you don't get it, don't take it! (It may not let you anyway)

    Cheers,
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 18th August 2012 at 01:51 PM.

  20. #20

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    Re: Nikon 70-300mm lens focus question . . . focus is everywhere but where I want it

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post
    Hi Kathy,

    I missed this yesterday, sorry.

    Unfortunately - you will need to learn more about your camera to use what you have effectively.

    The D5000 has a help system built in; press and hold down the centre (of 5) buttons on left side of LCD for some words about whatever menu option you were looking at. "?" is beside the button.

    I have tha same lens and camera, so I feel qualified, but that may come across opinionated, I'll apologise now for that

    Extracting the important points from the above posts and adding some of my own;
    As Mike and Joe say - it won't focus closer than five feet - get further back and zoom in more, but watch shutter speed doesn't go too low, especially as for flowers, you really want f/11 or f/16 for better DoF.

    Metering and AF are separate.

    Use the viewfinder, NOT LIVEVIEW on LCD to focus, as Andre quotes, it's (almost) useless.

    Cut to chase:
    For flowers and static subjects, I suggest you set the following options on the lens;
    set all switches 'forward' (i.e. away from the camera body); specifically;
    top switch (AF) to "M/A",
    middle switch (VR) to "ON"
    lower switch to "NORMAL"

    For flowers and static subjects, I suggest you set the following options on the camera;
    I am working down the right hand side of LCD settings in shooting mode; half press shutter to see them, press lower right "i" button and use cursor to position over each in turn, then "OK" followed by cursor up/down to make changes;
    I have Bolded the important ones for AF issues you are having
    Image Quality = RAW (or RAW + your choice of jpg)
    White Balance = Auto
    ISO = 200, 400, 800, etc. as appropriate
    Release Mode = Single "S" in a box
    Focus Mode = AF-S (should beep when focus is OK)
    AF-area mode = small brackets (top option)
    Metering is the next option, but we're done here

    You should now be in single point AF mode, this means YOU choose which focus point to use, select by using cursor keys after a shutter half press, OK centres it. there's a map on LCD in addition to the V/F indication.

    For all but the centre AF point, you will notice they are oblong shaped, make sure you have a contrast edge crossing the longest side of your highlighted focus point for best results.

    As long as you haven't muted all sounds, you should get a double beep when focus is locked, if you don't get it, don't take it! (It may not let you anyway)

    Cheers,
    Thank you so much for your help! My only questions is with the settings you gave me for the A-F Area Mode work with shooting landscapes such as mountains, for example: range of mountains from a highway pull off? Thanks again for your help.

    Kathy

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