D90 out of focus pics, please advice

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Freida, Sep 19, 2016.

  1. Freida, Sep 19, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2016

    Freida macrumors 65816

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    #1
    Hello guys,

    can you please help me out here because I really don't know what is happening or what i did or didn't do wrong. (or maybe issue with the camera?)

    I recently went to a photography workshop where I was hoping to improve my skill but I kept struggling with having pics in focus. I even set the focus point manually so I was certain that the point I chose was the one I wanted in focus but for some reason around half of the pics (out of 2500pics) are out of focus or blurred. On some its even clear that the camera clearly put something else in focus. It was the first time I was shooting manual as in the past i would use autofocus (not selecting the AF points) and would often go for Aperture priority. This time I felt I've grasped the triangle of ISO, Speed & Aperture so I was brave to go for Manual mode which I think worked fine except the focus. Here is one example with it.

    Edit: I can see for this one I was still shooting aperture priority so it must have been before I switched to full manual later :)
     

    Attached Files:

  2. simonsi macrumors 601

    simonsi

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    #2
    Check your lens is in M/A and not M.

    Be super-clear you understand Manual EXPOSURE mode and its controls and Manual FOCUS mode and its controls, your post confuses the two.

    I've never had a D90 but my D300 is similar-era, in the AF settings there is possibly an option to prevent shutter release unless the selected focus point detects that part of the image is in focus.

    The viewfinder also provides a green dot in-focus indicator, you can also use an audible beep to indicate focus obtained in S focus mode - and check through the viewfinder, the sample image you posted is pretty obviously out of focus on the girl and in focus some metres behind her. However none of the focus points are in focus whether selected (red) or not. The EXIF indicates AF mode vs Manual focus so my betting is the lens M/A switch is set to M ie Manual Focus.
     
  3. Freida thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #3
    Well, I understand what you are saying but I don't think any of those were an issue. The lens is set to M/A and so is the AF on the camera. I always press the shutter half way to acquire focus and then then take the picture once i get the confirmation. Maybe I was a bit confusing about the fact that I mentioned that I shot in full Manual mode PLUS I chose the focus points myself instead of having the camera decide which focus points to use.
    So in this case above I was still in Aperture priority (as I switched later that day and stayed manual for rest of the course) but I still selected the focus point myself. For composition purposes I chose the focus point I needed for the right composition (in this case top left one) and I focused on her face. Once I got the focus I took the picture.

    I should mention 2 things though:
    1) it was the first time I used the 50mm lens so extensively as usually I had the kit lens and would use the 50mm for only certain occasions (in the past) but for this trip I only took the 50mm one
    2) sometimes the lens would fail to get focus (it would zoom in and out and then just would not get the focus) which I would fix by lifting the camera up a bit and recompose the shot again in order to get that focus on the point I needed. I think it happened at least 30x which I found a bit too much based on my experience.

    So, is there a chance that the 50mm lens needed some more calibration? Is there a chance that I've overlooked some settings? I've had this camera for 6 years and always had nice results with occasional out of focus issue but not so extensively like this. I just wanna find the issue to avoid it in the future. I'll be soon switching to D750 (or its successor) which apparently has amazing AF (among other amazing upgrades) but I still wanna learn from this experience to know if/what i did wrong or if there is something that could maybe be a gear issue? (I hope not the lens as I wanna keep it).
     
  4. simonsi macrumors 601

    simonsi

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    #4
    The camera doesn't have an "M/A" setting, it has A or M, check to see it is switched to A (although the EXIF data said AF so I'd assume the camera did think it was in AF. That leaves the lens, no it doesn't need calibration, the focus error on that shot is huge and not a minor calibration issue.

    What do you mean you take the picture "once i get the confirmation", what told you it was in focus?

    At this point I think something needs a repair, in bright light like that the lens should not hunt for focus unless you were too close but you aren't in the sample.

    Other than this, if you only get such focus problems with that lens and not any other then the lens probably needs service, it only has the one control (which may have broken...). If more than one lens has a similar iissue then the body needs service.
     
  5. Freida thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #5
    D90 has either AF or M mode. Its set on AF (autofocus). Lens has M/A or M but I have it on M/A (auto).
    What I mean by the confirmation is that I half press the shutter, the focus point highlights and then i get the beep sound which tells me that the point is now in focus. :)
     
  6. simonsi macrumors 601

    simonsi

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    #6
    Ok well on that sample photo that shouldnt have happened as nothing is in focus under any focus point. In order to get further you need to take note of when it isnt achieving focus and work out whether it happens with only that lens as above, then send it for service.

    Might be worth doing a reset on it to make sure you havent inadvertantly changed a setting sonewhere but I cant think of one.
     
  7. kenoh macrumors demi-god

    kenoh

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    #7
    Could it be hunting because that is not a cross type AF point and so needs to find (in this orientation) a horizontal line to work with?

    Could you also be aiming at the sky and missing the subject in the AF point? Does it do it if you use the centre point and try the focus and recompose technique?

    What about continuous autofocus? Are you moving off subject once locked on and it is focussing on something else?

    The AF will hunt if it cannot get enough contrast to tell when it is focussed. Clutching at straws here but hopefully this helps.

    Switch the camera back into full auto and try shots see if it works OK.. if it does then it is user error, if it doesn't, then it is a trip to the lens docs...
     
  8. Freida thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #8
    Thats what I was thinking. If the focus point is selected and I aim at the eyes of the model I would expect it to be in focus and even if i slightly move the camera I wouldn't expect such a massive blur with such a high shutter speed. The thing that upsets me is that I have a lot of pictures that would be super nice if they were in focus and that is something I can't go back and redo. Will probably have to wait till next year for the workshop to take place again and then will get some new pics but its such a shame that those I took are not in focus. Also, I'm not that skilled yet to know where the issue is so its a bit difficult to solve the problem but I think all the settings on the camera was correct. It almost feels tempting to next time chose manual focus and focus things myself. At least that way I would know I'm in full control :)

    I haven't tried to recompose technique but will try that. I was told its better to choose the focus point as the recompose technique might increase the blur due to the movement so i stick to those manual points selections

    In all honesty, I've never really tried continuous autofocus. When I read about it I noticed that the camera keeps focusing but when the shutter is pressed the camera takes pic regardless if the subject was in focus or not. The method I use doesn't allow me to take pic unless the focus in acquired and because I mainly take pics of things or people that are not moving much I never really explored that continuous autofocus feature.
     
  9. kenoh macrumors demi-god

    kenoh

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    #9
    Also... Googled d90 50mm f1.4 g focus issues and there seems to be a lot of chatter about it... Hmm.. maybe the combo doesn't work. Sorry I am out of ideas I am afraid
     
  10. Freida thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #10
    Wow, I haven't thought of googling that as i thought i overlooked something. Now that I did you are right, there are a lot of people talking about the similar issue. I guess that is one expensive lesson to learn and next time I will bring better combo.
    --- Post Merged, Sep 20, 2016 ---
    Thank you so much for trying to help, really appreciate that and from others too. You guys rock!
     
  11. kenoh macrumors demi-god

    kenoh

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    #11
    Nothing better than a puzzle to solve...

    Looks like an issue on D800 too.. so maybe check before buying the d750 as the issue may persist...
     
  12. koilvr macrumors 6502

    koilvr

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  13. Freida thread starter macrumors 65816

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  14. Apple fanboy macrumors Core

    Apple fanboy

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    #14
    D750 shooter here, and only recently picked up a 50mm. A lot of the reviews I read said the autofocus was better on the cheaper 1.8g, so that's the one I went for.
    To rest your autofocus lean a newspaper at 45 degree angle in good light.
    With the correct exposure (aperture priority should work fine here) select your lens wide open (1.4). Then choose a word in the centre of the page and with single point AF, select that word.
    Now is it in focus in the image? If not you might be able to manually adjust the focus point for that combo (Google back focus). But I'm not familiar with the D90, so not 100% it has the fine tune option.
     
  15. kenoh macrumors demi-god

    kenoh

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    #15
    Hmm, this article suggests a "sod that for a game of soldiers" scenario...

    http://www.howtoshot.com/82/how-to-fix-front-focus-nikon-d90-d80-back-focus-problem/

    I would leave it if your other lenses are OK... but didnt we have a discussion about focus on another thread for you? wondering if there is a focus issue as your camera looks to have back focussed in the sample above maybe...

    I am a coward though... anything inside a camera is not for me - learned that trying to clean the focus screen on my canon before... wow! that is a delicate part....
     
  16. Freida thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #16
    I don't think so. Few months back I debated a purchase of D750 and 24-70 which I still plan to do but now I'll wait for the D750 successor as I have no trips planned until next year around april.

    I'm surprised and disappointed that I didn't find out about this issue before as I could have gone better prepared. Well, lets see how well it works on the D750 otherwise I might consider changing it for something else even though one would expect that 50mm 1.4g would be the best one from nikon :)
    Thank you guys, lets see how it goes ;)

    p.s.: I never used AF-C so I might start practicing with the principle to see if I can use it to my advantage. :)
     
  17. Apple fanboy macrumors Core

    Apple fanboy

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    #17
    AF-C isn't for every scenario. I shoot AF-S 90% of the time.
     
  18. rocknblogger macrumors 68020

    rocknblogger

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    #18
    I haven't seen you mention this but have you tried changing to single AF point and single servo? If not, give that a try and use Aperature Priority at f1.4 and f1.8. Choose a subject and shoot it from different distances. Start close and move back with each shot. If you already did this...never mind:D
     
  19. simonsi macrumors 601

    simonsi

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    #19


    Its not camera shake, that would affect the whole image and leave nothing sharp. You have a sharp component to the image, its just not under the selected (or any) focus point.

    This isn't a minor focus issue, there would be several indicators that focus hadn't been achieved: viewfinder image, no focus beep, possibly no movement in the lens, periodic image checks using zoom to check how accurate focus is. These would avoid you missing focus on so many of the images without you taking some corrective action (like going to manual focus).

    I have my D300s setup to use the centre of the multiselector to zoom to 100% (or close to it), making it easy to check focus periodically. If you are serious then you must check exposure and focus periodically during a shoot otherwise you will get caught out.

    The workshop environment may have distracted you but even with AF, on this kind of subject you should be able to see if the camera is achieving close to correct focus.

    And no, focus errors like this cannot be sensibly corrected in PP...
     
  20. kenoh macrumors demi-god

    kenoh

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    #20

    Yep sorry getting confused...

    Don't beat yourself up. I would expect Nikon on Nikon to be spot on and I never Google first to find out if stuff works or not. It's easy for us to think of it after the fact... The key is getting to the bottom of it and working out a fix for you.

    Maybe take it into a service centre and ask them for advice?
     
  21. Freida thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #21
    You are correct. The only thing that made me a bit disappointed was the fact that I usually shoot with the kit lens (will get the 24-70 eventually) which always worked great for me within the constrain of that lens and out of focus was rarely an issue and i'm sure when there was blurred image or not focused where it was meant to be I'm 99% certain it was due to my error. This was different though and seeing that I went to another country to shoot with professionals to learn from them I took the 50mm lens as I thought its the perfect one for the job as most pics were portraits or what you see on the example. And although it was my first ever learning experience and first ever workshop I kinda hoped I would do better so naturally at this point I'm a bit sad about that. Well, not much I can do now except to learn from this experience and use that knowledge for next times. Be better prepared and be more careful. Shame about the lost photos but thats life.

    Thank you guys for being supportive, I really appreciate that
    --- Post Merged, Sep 21, 2016 ---
    Here is one picture I've edited first. Still probably needs work but just I think it's a decent start. Feedback is welcomed too if anyone wants. I'll probably come back later once I have the pictures worth showing ready and will ask for feedback but for now. And thank you again :)
     

    Attached Files:

  22. kenoh macrumors demi-god

    kenoh

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    #22

    Wow! thats really nice. Very well done.

    On the photos, remember that you still learned about lighting and composition so while they are not in focus, they are still likely of value from a learning perspective - to a degree of course. Keep at it...
     
  23. Freida thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #23
    Thank you. Yes, that makes sense. :) I look forward to an upgrade. I'm sure D750 (or D760) will give me more flexibility especially in those low light conditions.
     

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