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Fine Tuning AF

Discussion in 'Nikon Chat' started by Camera Bag, Sep 13, 2020.

  1. Camera Bag

    Camera Bag New Member

    Hi my first query on this forum!

    I have a trusty old D80 that Ive had for years, and I've been reading this article about sharp images and one suggestion is that you can fine-tune your AF - but I've looked and I don't think you can on the D80 - am I right? Or am I missing something?
     
  2. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Hello and welcome. Micro-focus adjust became all the rage a while ago. A few cameras started to be equipped with it and then “suddenly” it became “essential” (not). The manual for the D80 will tell you if the camera has it. There are several causes of lack of sharpness and the need for micro-focus adjust is at the bottom of the list in my book. If you rule out camera movement, subject movement, focussing on the wrong thing and pictures are still noticeably unsharp the chances are that something has had a hard knock. If the camera supports live-view* then you can set everything up on a tripod with a target and contrast results taken with viewfinder focus and live-view focus. If live-view is sharp and viewfinder not then the camera needs a service and calibration. If they are both soft then the lens needs service and calibration.

    *if it hasn’t got live-view it definitely won’t have micro-focus adjust.
     
    Camera Bag likes this.
  3. DaveM399

    DaveM399 Well-Known Member

    I have a D90, the successor to the D80. The D90 doesn't have a fine tune feature for AF, so it's unlikely that the D80 will have it, being an older model.
     
    Camera Bag likes this.
  4. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    If you go to the Nikon UK web site you can download the D80 manual, if you don’t have the paper copy.
    I don’t think the D80 has AF micro adjustments but even if it did you would need a sturdy support for your camera and a simple test chart to determine the adjustment needed. The chart can be downloaded and printed but if you don’t have the support you may have a problem. I agree with PeteRob that micro adjustment is the last resort, even with VR a higher shutter speed generally results in sharper images. Rule out all PeteRob’s other causes before going down the micro adjustment route.
     
  5. Camera Bag

    Camera Bag New Member

    Cheers guys

    I do have the manual and haven't found it, hence the query. I'm not really bothered, I'm not concerned about sharpness - only it's good to know what your camera does do ;)
     
  6. Chester AP

    Chester AP Well-Known Member

    I have found this useful for one of my secondhand lenses, a Sigma 30 mm F 1.4. When I first got it I assumed that my attempts to use it fully open at short distances with autofocus gave hopeless results because the depth of field was so small (it gave perfect results on F8 and manual focus at infinity for subjects a long way away), but posting on the PentaxForum website directed me to the relevant section of the user manual for my K-5 and the correct focusing took only a few minutes to adjust. I didn't use the complex procedure discussed in AP, just mounted the camera and lens on a tripod at a 45 degree angle to some books on a shelf and used spot focus on one n the middle of the row. It now works perfectly at all focusing distances, and I assume the lens was originally 'within tolerance' but not spot-on. This may have been the reason why somebody part-exchanged it when it was 'like new'.

    My K-5 was introduced in September 2010, but your D80 came out about 4 years earlier so you are unlucky not to have the autofocus adjustment facility in the camera body. So if you buy an lenses (new or secondhand) to use with it, take the camera body to the shop and test the autofocus with the lens before you buy it.
     
  7. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    As it happens I have a downloaded copy of the D90, the successor model to the D80, and the words Micro-adjustment do not appear in the index. However Nikon call the function AF Fine tuning but that is also absent from the D90 manual. I looked up the D80 on Nikon's UK web site but the full specification is no longer available.

    As the successor model doesn't have AF Fine tuning it is reasonable to assume that the D80 also lacks this feature.
     
  8. ChrisNewman

    ChrisNewman Well-Known Member

    I started digital photography with a D90 which lacks AF Fine-Tune, and moved on to a D800 which has it. When I bought the super-sharp Sigma Art 50mm f/1.4, I noticed that it was rather soft at very large apertures using phase AF, but as sharp as I expected using contrast AF. I used impromptu bits to fine-tune the AF, which made it far better. Later I bought a second-hand kit for AF fine tuning (a member of our camera club had died, and his stuff was being sold off). I spent a long time trying to fine-tune the AF on my Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 Macro before deciding that I was only responding to the imperfect accuracy of the AF system, and I left it unadjusted. None of my other lenses seem to need AF fine tuning anyway, and it’s probably unlikely to be necessary with the smaller image field of the D80, with its APS-C sensor, although it’s not unusual for it to improve focusing with large-aperture primes.

    Chris
     
  9. Chester AP

    Chester AP Well-Known Member

    My lens that needed a focusing adjustment in the camera body was also a fast aperture (Sigma 30 mm F 1.4), the the camera body was a half-frame (APS-C) one, and the adjustment was certainly necessary and the and the improvement in image focusing very obvious.
    Using spot focus, the chosen focus point was very sharp even at full aperture when I took some test shots at varying distances.
     

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