Is AF Fine Tune worth it?

Joined
Aug 15, 2010
Messages
2,967
Location
Sydney Australia
It can be if you know what your doing. Honestly I have not used it and dont really see a need. I was tempted but unless you have significant AF issues I dont see the need. I certainly have not needed it.
 
Joined
Feb 19, 2006
Messages
8,400
Location
LA (Lower Arkansas)
I use a combination of AF-Fine tuning and a boost in the in-camera sharpness level to get amazing shots from my Tamron 17-50. So, yes, it's worth it - if you pay close attention to what you're doing.
 
Joined
Jan 15, 2008
Messages
4,553
For me it is not. The value of fine tuning needed for a particular lens is not the same at every focusing distance. For example, my 85/1.4D would need +3 at 2 meters, -4 at 5 meters and +2 at 10 meters. Since I can only store one value for a particular lens, I would need a printed fine tuning table and would have to enter a new tuning value before every shot. This is just a prime lens, it gets more complicated with zoom lenses, because I'd need different tuning values for different zoom settings.

After playing a while with my lenses I turned AF fine tune off.
 
Joined
Jun 16, 2008
Messages
314
Location
Los Angeles, Ca.
I can see how it would be helpful if you know what you are doing. That being said, I feel its not worth it for me. Being within driving distance to Nikon El Segundo, if a lens is not focusing properly I take it in.
 
Joined
Apr 22, 2011
Messages
40
Location
Zürich, Switzerland
Depending on the lens it can really improve things, but really only on fast (F/2.8 and wider) lenses. IME the effect of AF fine tune is diminished after around F/3.5 and pretty much negligible after F/5.6 - obviously because the DoF is greater and masks most focusing errors.

As a poster above stated the focusing error can change depending on the focusing distance, but if you've got a lens that's way out, like my 50mm 1.8 was (needed +15), you can use the AF fine tune to bring it to a good average.
 
Joined
Feb 17, 2011
Messages
63
Location
Southern California
.... I would need a printed fine tuning table and would have to enter a new tuning value before every shot.....

holy cow! .... i'd never considered that before. it makes sense, but that's hard to imagine that a lens could have that degree of variability. how did you manage to figure out that you needed to test at all the different focal lengths?

-richard
 
Joined
Feb 17, 2011
Messages
63
Location
Southern California
....Being within driving distance to Nikon El Segundo, if a lens is not focusing properly I take it in.

well, i've learned something new. i'm just down the road in san diego and i travel to el segundo periodically. that's really good to know about their facility there. thanks.

-richard
 
Joined
Jan 15, 2008
Messages
4,553
... how did you manage to figure out that you needed to test at all the different focal lengths?

-richard

After I fine tuned my AF-S 28-70 f/2.8 lens using 70 mm setting and a good target at 2 meters I started to feel that most of my shots were worse than before. So, back to testing.

I agree with a previous poster, that when a lens is constantly off and needs a same kind of correction at all focusing distances, like +5 at 2 meters, +15 at 5 meters and +10 at 10 meters, it would be beneficial to dial in something like +5 (maybe even +7). In this case all shots will be sharper than before. Of course Nikon can calibrate the lens in these cases.
 
Joined
Mar 18, 2008
Messages
5,114
Location
Miami, Florida, USA.
I do not remember ever any of my Nikkor lenses requiring focus calibration. Strong words, I know.
The last lens I bought was the 18-105 VR kit lens and I tested its focus at 18mm, 50mm and 105mm and it was right on. Barrel distortions at 18mm and pincushion that I could hardly notice at 105mm yes, but focus right on.
I agree with the other members that suggested Nikon repairs for a lens requiring focus calibration. If near a repair station, surely my camera is going also.

William Rodriguez
Miami, Florida.
 
Joined
Jun 3, 2009
Messages
6,227
Location
Chicago "burbs"
I check my lenses that have a very shallow dof on FX, i.e. 85mm f/1.4 d. Here, back/front focus is not a good thing. Same goes for my 600 VR and 400 VR f/2.8 close to their MFD where DOF again is very thin. TC's tend to make the DOF thinner. My 85 1.4 looks great with +10 on my D3.
 
Joined
Feb 10, 2009
Messages
1,956
Location
St. Paul, MN
In a word, yes. I have had several lenses that have benefited greatly from fine-tuning. Including my currect 50 1.4G (-4) and 24 2.8 (-11)
 
Joined
Feb 17, 2011
Messages
63
Location
Southern California
so are there others who have noted that AF-fine tune would actually need to have different values depending on subject difference (at least for primes)? i'd never really thought about it, but i suppose it could make sense. i'd just assumed that a single setting would accurately adjust your lens for all focal distances (much less zoom settings).

does the AF-fine tune work with just the new AFS lenses? or can it work with the screw-drive AF lenses also?

-Richard
 
Joined
Feb 24, 2006
Messages
1,243
Location
London UK
It really does vary from lens to lens and can be a big headache to figure out if you need fine tune or not sometimes, especially with zooms. But for example, with my 600 VR and TC-20EIII I get such bad backfocus that even maximum fine tune can't fix it.
 

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