D300s - focus issues

chrissie_green85chrissie_green85 Posts: 7Member
edited March 2015 in D300/D300s/D500
Please bear with me as I am not very technical and i'm useless at describing things - but I am hoping someone here can help me!

I am having focus issues with my D300s and it is driving me insane.

No matter what lens I use, my camera seems to have focus issues. It'll produce nice sharp images, and then all of a sudden it will produce something blurry. I have tried various things to rectify it, but I just can't seem to find the source of the problem.

At first, I thought it was possibly handshake, but I have been photographing for years and never experienced an issue like this before.

Then I thought that it might be the settings I use. I like to shoot manually to get the exposure I want, so I tried aperature priority, shutter priority and programme mode, and it still does it.

Someone suggested I try back button focussing, but it still does it. I also read that setting my camera up so it won't take photos unless it's actually in focus (option A1 and A2 set to focus) but that still has no effect.

I've tried various methods of focussing - Single AF, continuous AF and then single point, cross hair and auto focus and again, it still does it.

I did a practice session with my daughter the other day to try and get an example to show you all. Using studio lights, I used f8, 1/125th and ISO 200. Lens at 70mm for both images.

First image is fine

[IMG]http://i413.photobucket.com/albums/pp216/chrissie_green85/DSC_2224 ok.jpg[/IMG]


Second image was taken less than a minute later and as you can see it isn't in focus.

[IMG]http://i413.photobucket.com/albums/pp216/chrissie_green85/DSC_2227 - blurry.jpg[/IMG]


With it only being a 12 megapixel camera I know you aren't going to get perfect detail as you haven't got the pixels to do that, but surely wanting a photo to be in focus isn't asking too much :-(

If anyone could help me by suggesting where I might be going wrong then I would really appreciate any advice/tips/suggestions. I have been scratching my head over this problem for over a year and I've even contemplated giving photography for good as it's got me feeling so down.

Comments

  • PhotobugPhotobug Posts: 4,775Member
    Contact Nikon Service, describe the problem and they will place it into a category. Probably going to cost you $350 to $500 to fix but you get new grips, mirror realignment, AF & Meter system adjustments, and a clean. Well worth the money if your planning on keeping the D300.
    D750 & D7100 | 24-70 F2.8 G AF-S ED, 70-200 F2.8 AF VR, TC-14E III, TC-1.7EII, 35 F2 AF D, 50mm F1.8G, 105mm G AF-S VR | Backup & Wife's Gear: D5500 & Sony HX50V | 18-140 AF-S ED VR DX, 55-300 AF-S G VR DX |
    |SB-800, Amaran Halo LED Ring light | MB-D16 grip| Gitzo GT3541 + RRS BH-55LR, Gitzo GM2942 + Sirui L-10 | RRS gear | Lowepro, ThinkTank, & Hoodman gear | BosStrap | Vello Freewave Plus wireless Remote, Leica Lens Cleaning Cloth |
  • chrissie_green85chrissie_green85 Posts: 7Member
    Is it a common fault with the D300s then?
  • PhotobugPhotobug Posts: 4,775Member
    No, not really a common fault. I believe you have an electrical or mechanical issue.
    Is this happening with the same lens or multiple lens?
    D750 & D7100 | 24-70 F2.8 G AF-S ED, 70-200 F2.8 AF VR, TC-14E III, TC-1.7EII, 35 F2 AF D, 50mm F1.8G, 105mm G AF-S VR | Backup & Wife's Gear: D5500 & Sony HX50V | 18-140 AF-S ED VR DX, 55-300 AF-S G VR DX |
    |SB-800, Amaran Halo LED Ring light | MB-D16 grip| Gitzo GT3541 + RRS BH-55LR, Gitzo GM2942 + Sirui L-10 | RRS gear | Lowepro, ThinkTank, & Hoodman gear | BosStrap | Vello Freewave Plus wireless Remote, Leica Lens Cleaning Cloth |
  • chrissie_green85chrissie_green85 Posts: 7Member
    I've tried it with about 5 lenses and it does it with all of them. It doesn't do it 100% all of the time, but a good proportion of the time. It's so disheartening when you have some stunning photos and then realise that the focus is useless on most of them. I had been wanting to upgrade to a D810, but I thought that if the problem was something I was doing then there is no point buying another camera when I can't even get the one I have to produce in focus shots! Everyone I know keeps telling me how good a camera the D300s is, but it's never been spectacular for me :-(
  • chrissie_green85chrissie_green85 Posts: 7Member
    So those examples I posted, would you expect the focus to be ok at f8? I have friends who do child portraiture at F4 and F3.5 and I feel useless when I can't even get an in focus shot at f8 :-(
  • PapermanPaperman Posts: 469Member
    Have you checked with any software if the AF is on the point where you intended it to be?
  • TomBTomB Posts: 44Member
    This software will help determine if you are hitting the right focus point.

    http://www.lightroomfocuspointsplugin.com/

    Works with Lightroom.
    Www.timbersnakestudios.com
  • chrissie_green85chrissie_green85 Posts: 7Member
    Is there anything which will work with Photoshop?
  • PapermanPaperman Posts: 469Member
    edited March 2015
    You don't necessarily need a plug-in. PhotoMe, which is an EXIF reader - will show the AF point ( in untouched photos ). Downloads in 10 seconds. You just need to open the photo with that software. Nikon's own software should show the AF point as well.

    Are we looking at a crop of 1:1 enlargement in the images or are they more or less the actual frame ?

    The second image is probably 1-1.5 stops or so more exposed than the other like a high-key version which may be why some of the details are washed out. You have indicated settings are the same in both so that puzzles me.

    In any case, f8 should have given enough DOF to cover any focus error that might have happened but it has not , which again puzzles me.. :-? :-?
    Post edited by Paperman on
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    I would suggest very carefully cleaning all the contacts on lens and body with an electrical contact cleaner. Use something like a Q-Tip, do not spray anything near the camera. Sometimes dirt, corrosion, oil, about anything can interfere with the lens/camera electrical connections and this problem usually results in an intermittent issue, unpredictable.
    Msmoto, mod
  • chrissie_green85chrissie_green85 Posts: 7Member
    I used the Nikon software which came with the camera to show the AF points and all seems well with those.

    The enlargements are a 700px x 700px crop - so basically showing what it looks like at 100%. Yes, the issue of some photos being a stop or so over exposed happens ALL the time with studio lights, even though none of the settings have changed. The lights are near enough new and seem to throw out consistent amounts of light when you meter them.

    I thought f8 should be enough to cover any errors, so I am glad that I was right for thinking that, as I know my technical knowledge isn't the greatest. I will do what Msmoto has suggested and will try cleaning the contacts on both my lenses and the body to see if that shows any improvement.

    Do you think it is worth sending my camera away to be looked at just in case there is some underlying issue?
  • chrissie_green85chrissie_green85 Posts: 7Member
    Thought i'd upload the full images to show you.

    Like I said before, they were both taken using the exact same settings including the same focal length. The photos were taken about a minute apart. She was sat down on the floor the entire time


    This is the blurry one

    [IMG]http://i413.photobucket.com/albums/pp216/chrissie_green85/DSC_2227.jpg[/IMG]


    this is the ok one

    [IMG]http://i413.photobucket.com/albums/pp216/chrissie_green85/DSC_2224.jpg[/IMG]
  • PapermanPaperman Posts: 469Member
    edited March 2015
    Re-reading what you said - that it happens SOME of the time, that these are 1:1 crops and combining that with the 1/125 shutter speed at 70mm ( 105 mm equivalent ), and the fact that f8's DOF not being enough, I will go ahead and say it might just be movement blur / camera shake we are looking at, and not inaccurate focusing.

    1/125 may simply be not enough to prevent shake at 105mm. Sometimes you may nail it, sometimes not. One sees a lot these days with the ability to inspect all at 1:1 enlargement.

    All said assuming camera was not on a tripod :-)
    Post edited by Paperman on
  • PistnbrokePistnbroke Posts: 2,005Member
    edited March 2015
    VR lens I assume,,,???
    back focus adjusted spot on ???
    If you use flash you will remove any shake issues.
    Post edited by Pistnbroke on
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