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Help with AF Fine Tuning on D300

Discussion in 'Nikon DX DSLR Forum' started by MMarz, Aug 30, 2008.

  1. MMarz


    Sep 15, 2007
    Long Island, NY
    It's a rainy day...not going out...so I thought I would spend some time setting the AF Fine Tuning on a few lenses.

    Started with the Sigma 70-200/2.8 and arrived at a value of +2, which I saved as Lens #1. When I open the AF tuning in the menu, it shows Lens 1 of 99, as the 70-200 with a value of +2...good.

    I mount what will be Lens #2..Sigma 300/2.8. However the AF Fine Tuning menu doesn't reflect that this is a different lens, and any changes I try to make other than to change the Default, seem to be applied to the 70-200. :confused: 

    So, I try another lens.. the Sigma 500/4.5. Same thing. Still only showing the 70-200. :frown:

    This seems odd... Mount the Nikon 70-300VR..Ok, this is progress since it shows as a new lens and properly indicates the 70-300VR.

    Now, mount the Sigma 150/2.8 Macro...yep, it shows as the 70-200/2.8.

    So, this pretty much sucks. Looks like the D300 can only recognize non-nikor lenses by manufacturer, not focal length...if you own more than one non-Nikor lens, you can only save AF Fine tuning calibration data for one of them.:Shocked:

    Did I mention that this sucks??:mad: 

    Please double check me.. if you have more than one lens from a non-nikon manufacturer, would you just mount it and enter the AF Fine Tuning dialog, save one (you can leave it at a setting of 0 so as not to upset your lens) then mount a second from that manufacturer and tell me if each show as the proper lens or if they all show as the saved lens..

    I am strongly hoping that I am doing something wrong and this is not a limitation that will essentially cripple the use of the AF Fine tuning for me...
  2. lovemy8514

    lovemy8514 Guest


    I read on another forum that one shouldn't need to use AF fine tune for every lens unless there are actual problems with the lens, which would prompt a check-up from the manufacturer anyway.

    It made sense, but then again, I can't see why Nikon would include it on a body if it wasn't needed! It must be a feature that people asked for at some point.

    I'm wondering if every lens actually does need to be fine-tuned or not? I would hope that lenses are built to tight enough tolerences that it shouldn't be necessary, but don't know this to be fact.
  3. Michael, I'm not really a good photographer, but I am good at mechanics. I've worked with all types of equipment all my life, so playing and getting the AF Fine Tune set on my lenses was a fun task for me to compelete. I can say that (with the D300) I had 12 lenses of which every one took a different setting to be their best. A couple required a lot of adjustment, most required only a tweak, but all were able to be improved with small adjustments. Since getting the D700, I'm finding the exact same thing. I have 10 lenses set-up on this camera and one requires a lot of adjustment (I may send that one in to get calibrated) and the others range from -7 to +6 (one set to +1 and none are set to zero).

    I would feel comfortable saying that minor adjustments appear to be normal in any lens, the real question is, Do all the adjustments really show up in the pictures that are produced? To be honest, I doubt it. Perahaps two or three were significantly helped, but I couldn't say that real world output was improved on the rest.... only that very close inpection showed improvement in sharpness at the point of focus.
  4. lovemy8514

    lovemy8514 Guest

    Thanks Kap.

    Are you using a tripod and test chart, shot at an angle, to get your adjustment correct?
  5. MMarz


    Sep 15, 2007
    Long Island, NY
    Kap, I might not have been clear...

    I have no doubt that most lenses can benefit from tweak at some level.

    The problem, and I have confirmed it through number of sources, is that Nikon doesn't support the AF fine tuning on other than Nikon lenses.

    You can make an adjustment for one Sigma lens, but then any Sigma that is mounted will be "read" as the original Sigma lens, unlike Nikon lenses which will will each show up separately.
  6. MMarz


    Sep 15, 2007
    Long Island, NY
    Tripod, Test chart tapped to a door, Dead straight on, On board flash in commander mode, and SB-800 in Remote mode to avoid glare.
  7. Sorry, I TOTALLY agree with that and have confirmed that issue with the purchase of a Sigma 30mm and Sigma 10x20 at the same time when I had my D300. Both lenses read the same adjustment, even though the camera knew the lens zoom range changed.

    I took time to work up the tech support chain and Nikon said the problem is with the aftermarket lens, not the camera. That's why it works with their lenses. It appears that there is a special code that is not present in some of the 3rd party lens chips. Tech Support said that code has been present for a long time in Nikon lenses, so Sigma (the one I called about) has had ample time to put their systems in order.

    I purchased and adjusted the Tamron 17x35 on my D700 and I don't plan on any other third party lenses until I'm sure they can be adjusted on my camera.
  8. I also use straight on and no angle charts, and I will use a tripod on the 1.4 lenses. I shoot at 1/250 or more and use a room and subject with a lot of light (so the focus can see it easy) and a flash as well. Not using a tripod DOES impact the ease of making the adjustment and it's worse with more sensitive lenses. The camera/lens, for example, may not be able to change focus adjustments but every 1/2 inch. Working at 85mm and F 1.4, that 1/2 inch is important.
  9. MMarz


    Sep 15, 2007
    Long Island, NY
    I didn't review the EXIF in the Playback info so I can't confirm that the body knew the focal length changed, I would have said not, since the AF Fine Tune dialog didn't update to a new lens until I deleted the first saved Sigma data.

    Unfortunately I am pretty deeply entrenched in the Sigma line with no other complaints other than this.

    The alternative is pay Sigma NY a visit to have the lenses calibrated. Fortunately it's a matter of minutes from me, though that won't help me with the cost or the now useless AF Fine Tune option in the D300...:Curved:
  10. MMarz


    Sep 15, 2007
    Long Island, NY
    I don't think I would even give a moments thought trying the AF Fine Tuning while hand-holding.
  11. Actually, I could see the lens zoom listing inside the AF Fine Tune menu. In my situation, I would set the 30mm to +18, then when I put the 10x20 on it would be at +18 as well and the display showed the 10x20 lens was the one with that specific saved value, not the 30mm. So I would adjust the 10x20 to +2 (where it wanted to be) and put the 30mm on and now the 30mm would not read +2. Drove me nuts.

    I ended up selling the 10x20 and I sent the 30mm back to Sigma with a note that said it required a +18 adjustment on my camera. It came back almost perfect (they do good work there) and I made a promise to myself that I would only use one 3rd party lens.
  12. MMarz


    Sep 15, 2007
    Long Island, NY
    Well, you're one step better off.

    After saving the correction for the 70-200, that was the lens reported in the AF Fine Tuning dialog, whether it or the 150, 300 or 500 were mounted.
  13. dsidote


    Aug 23, 2008
    I own the 30 mm/1.4 and the 10-20 mm, both purchased about 6 months ago, and on my fairly recently purchased D300 the camera recognizes each lens as a different lens and retains the focus fine tuning settings for each. Perhaps Sigma has recently updated the code in their lenses.
  14. MMarz


    Sep 15, 2007
    Long Island, NY
    This is good to know!!

    I was planning a visit to Sigma as noted above, mainly to calibrate the lenses. If there is a chip upgrade, it will render the AF Fine Tuning less valuable. At this point the calibration might be a better option as it will carry over to both the D300 as well as my D2X which doesn't have the AF fine tuning.
  15. Confused!


    Aug 30, 2007
    can anyone please provide a link where i can get these test charts for straight on focusing tests?

  16. MMarz


    Sep 15, 2007
    Long Island, NY
    I'm sure a Google search for Focus Test Pattern will yield something, but two items you can use to test you focus are the Stock section of your newspaper, where there is tons of text characters or the front of a cereal box.. it's stiff cardboard and it's half-tone print is perfect for fine focus.
  17. Same thing happens with my 17-50 f2.8 Tamron and my 180 f3.5 Tamron. Both read as same lens. I put the 17-50 value in as the AF tuned number, and the 180 value as default number. Not sure if this will work or not. Haven't had a chance to check it yet. If only I can remember to switch it now........

    Most of my lenses seem to be working best at around +10. Don't know if this indicates a problem or not. I focused on distant house numbers and license plate numbers and compared images at 100% mag on computer. All shots from tripod and focused on another distance first and then back to the subject before shooting.
  18. TZ250


    Jul 16, 2008
    Ohio, USA
  19. I just did the fine tuning for my lenses on my D300 last night. I wish I had found this before... as some of them seem way out. I noticed it in my pictures, but seriously thought it was just my technique. Seems as though I'm not completely to blame.

    Regarding he original post though - I have several Sigma lenses (10-20, 30mm, and 70-300 APO, and the camera recognized and saves the settings for all my lenses. Perhaps it is a firmware issue? I notice that this post started before the latest version of the firmware...
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