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D300 Help...out of focus?

Discussion in 'General Technical Discussion' started by BagOfBones, Aug 16, 2009.

  1. BagOfBones


    Apr 28, 2008
    Dayton, OH
    Hope this is the correct area for this thread. I have a weird question about my D300. It did not come with a manual or anything, so I have been tooling around with the camera trying new things. Recently I have had a problem with what seems to be focusing. I will be taking pictures, they look great in my view finder however when i get home to look at them on the computer they are blurry. Today I found a especially weird photo of a truck that I took at a local car show. The hood forward is blurry yet the bed is pretty sharp. Like I said this has just happened recently, I havent messed with settings for quite a while. Plus, some photos do this and others are perfectly fine... May I have hit something to cause this? I just need a little direction, Im curious what you guys have your settings as. Here is the picture Im talking about. Thanks for the help.

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    zoom hood
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    bed zoom
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  2. Go to the Nikon USA Web Site and you can download the manual.

    In order to help, how about some more info?

    1. How is your camera set up for AF? # points and such
    2. What software are you using to look at your images?
    3. Are you shooting NEF, JPG or both?
    4. What, if any, picture controls do you have set in the camera?
  3. NYracefan


    Nov 19, 2008
    I am guessing it is either an AF point issue, or operator error (camera shake) If it only does it on some photos, while others seem fine, sounds more like a camera shake issue. Does this happen when using a tripod also?
  4. Growltiger

    Growltiger Administrator Administrator

    Were you taking the photo from inside another vehicle? That would explain it.

    You used 1/500 sec so it probably isn't camera shake.

    Since all the truck is the same distance, it is not a focussing problem.

    Have you dropped the camera? Loose element in the lens?
  5. WayneF


    Apr 3, 2006
    If the little lever switch on body under the lens mount is in C position, the camera will take a picture immediately, without waiting on the lens to focus first. We have to consciously give it a fraction of a second between half press and full press to allow it to focus.

    If that switch is in S position, the camera will wait until the lens is focused to take any picture. D300 page 62. D300 manual is at http://support.nikontech.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/14435
  6. BagOfBones


    Apr 28, 2008
    Dayton, OH
    I went in and selected Dynamic AF Area 51 point thinking that might have been the problem.
    I use photoshop, I have been shooting in NEF lately.
    The dynamic af area setting is really all i have messed with in the camera, i try not to tamper with most setting because im not sure what they all do.
    Thank you for the link.

    Its not camera shake, I have a very steady hand. I barely use a tripod and no i havent tried to see if it makes a difference.

    I was not in another vehicle. I was kinda worried that it might be the lens, I personally have not dropped the camera however i did buy the camera used. it has worked so well in recent days and now this? The lens is a brand new promaster. I do have some other lens that i could try and use in the same situation maybe.

    Yep, Im in S. But I didnt know that, thanks. I have only messed with where my right thumb can reach on the right side of the camera. Ive tried to find an ultimate good all around setting for the AF area.
  7. I'd definitely try another lens if you can. I've never heard of "Promaster" lenses. It could be the lens isn't assembled properly so you're not getting even focus across the frame. Try taking the same picture with both lenses and see what happens.

  8. Looks like a lens element is out of alignment, and lens mount problem. Take pictures of the same scene with different lens's--use a tripod. While Promaster "may" be an OK lens at times, the quality and build, and hence reliability are low. Can you borrow a Nikon lens from a friend.
  9. OK, very good info.

    Dynamic 51 point, the first time I tried to use it NOTHING I wanted in focus was even close :mad: :mad: , and the reason was that it did EXACTLY what it was supposed to do, it found the bits with the most contrast and focused right there. I was using 51 point 3D, is this what you are set to?

    Here are the things I would do in your position.

    1. Download the manual and read the Focus section, pay particular attention to page 64, set the AF-area mode selector to either Single or Dynamic, Auto-area can fool you as this relies more on contrast.

    2. Wayne notes the "S" selector, but that is half the story, you also need to look at the a1 setting. The "S" selector on the front is "Single-servo", the camera will only focus once, but it will still release the shutter if the camera is using factory defaults. Check the a1 setting on Page 267 as well.

    3. Set your AF to Single-Point and try. Dowload ViewNX, this is free from Nikon, but it will allow you to see the focus point, which would be very helpful in tracking this down.

    4. Try a test with Manual Focus, this should help to eliminate issues with the lens itself.
  10. BagOfBones


    Apr 28, 2008
    Dayton, OH
    Wow, I was told Promaster was a really good lens for the price. I might have been told wrong. I purchased it at a reputable local dealer, I hope that I just happened to get a faulty one. I will definitely try this out. Thanks

    Alright, noted. I will try it out. If it doesnt work I will be heading to Click Camera and hopefully I will be able to work something out. Thanks

    No I just tried 51 Points, it was on 9 Points before I changed to 51.

    Alright, I ill download the manual and start reading. Thank you.
  11. Do you have a uv filter on the lens? It almost looks like a smear on the lens or filter or something. Try a shot w/out the uv filter and see if that helps?
  12. BagOfBones


    Apr 28, 2008
    Dayton, OH
    Hi sylvesterii, sorry i didnt think i had any more responses. I believe I had a Polarizer on the lens at the time. Sometimes I feel like the lens is messed up, and other times I dont. Im not sure if maybe the lens that happens to be out of place sometimes goes back into place? When that happens I just feel like im paranoid and its my imagination. Its obvious that something is wrong with those first shots i posted.

    Check this photo out from my recent vacation. Is it me or does it look like the ocean comes up on the right side of the photo?

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  13. WayneF


    Apr 3, 2006

    Yes. That is pincushion distortion. That and barrel distortion is common in extreme zooms. Often noticed more in pictures of buildings, where the straight lines are curved.

    Here is a description:

    It varies at each zoom level. Here are test results of the Nikon 18-135mm lens:

    Click 70mm or 135mm there, to see barrel change to pincushion.
  14. But shouldn't it exhibit it on both side of the frame? Not just one?
  15. WayneF


    Apr 3, 2006
    Yes, but if that shown is full frame, then the camera was tilted slightly, horizon is not level - so it just looks like one side.
  16. What brand of polarizer were you using? Putting an inexpensive low quality filter on a the best of lenses will cause degradation of the image quality. Make sure that if you do use a polarizer that it is a circular polarizer and not a linear polarizer. I would do some testing, shooting the same object with and without the filter attached from a tripod to see if it is the polarizer or lens first. Manually defocus between shots and let the camera refocus between shots. If it is still the same, then try with a different lens.
  17. BagOfBones


    Apr 28, 2008
    Dayton, OH
    very interesting! thank you!

    ITs a Promaster filter as well, but i havent had problems with it. Im pretty sure it is the lens. I will start testing again. Thanks!
  18. midocr


    Mar 28, 2008
    OH - IO
    Click really pushes those Promaster lenses. Must have a really good profit margin for them. I bought my first DSLR kit (Minolta) from Click, that included two Promaster lenses. That's one of the reasons I sold the Minolta and went to Nikon. Never thought either ProM lens was sharp. I'd stay away from the Promaster filters too. I had a couple UVs on my Nikon lenses for a while and my shots are sharper without the Promaster filters mounted.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 27, 2009
  19. Growltiger

    Growltiger Administrator Administrator

    To be fair this is probably a true statement. He never said it was a really good lens. Promaster are various manufacturers' lenses rebranded to improve their saleability, as people may not like the sound of names like Tokina. They are inexpensive, I would imagine quite a bit cheaper than the Nikon lenses, although the Nikon kit lenses are not that expensive. You get what you pay for. I would definitely remove the cheap filter though.
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