D200 back focus?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by photo5, May 7, 2006.

  1. Anyone notice the D200 back focus problem? I have been testing it
    with a number of different manual and auto focus lenses and when I
    mounted a Tamrom SP 20-40mm lens and pointed the camera at an infinity
    subject (some buildings some ways away from my balcony) the camera
    back focuses and the image isn't sharp! When I change the zoom to
    40mm the camera correctly focuses at infinity. Other AF lenses don't
    do this.

    Is this a lens problem? I put the lens on my n8008s and it focuses
    correctly at infinity at both 20 and 40mm.

    Anyone have any ideas? This kind of freaks me out and it needs to be


  2. Make sure you the correct diopter setting for the D200 viewfinder.
  3. Make sure you have the correct diopter setting for the D200 viewfinder.
  4. I suspect an antiquated chip in the Tamron lens to be the cause of your problem.
  5. "Is this a lens problem?"

    Most likely, and that's certainly what Nikon will tell you if you were to ask, since it apparently only occurs with this specific *Tamron* lens.

    The D200 has compatibility problems with some Sigma HSM lenses. I guess one should not be surprised if there may also issues with other third party lenses, particularly if it's an older lens. Canon users have experienced this to a much greater extent than Nikon users. Expect more of the same in future generations of DSLR's.
  6. Any and all SLR ,especially autofocus, cameras can have focus alignment problems. Are you judging by the image in the viewfinder or the iamge itself?

    On the other hand it may be that the D200 is pointing out inadequacies with your lens that film doesn't catch. And that is a thing that is heavily documented.
  7. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Moderator

    Thom Hogan has pointed out a few times that the D200 does not really have 11 AF points. Some of the outer "points" actually represent a much larger area then indicated. That might be the problem if you are using one of the outer points.

    Hogan has pointed that out several times in the DPReview Forums. Here is one of them but there are better explanations that I am unable to locate at the moment: http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1021&message=18265799
  8. Diopter shouldn't have anything to do with the problem unless you are doing manual focus.
  9. Thanks for all your responses. After a day of field testing with the D200 I've resigned myself to just turning off AF when I am using the Tamron 20-40mm at the 20mm setting. It is a disappointment but not such a big deal. I can see the fresnel go a little off when it focuses, and I know that it should be infinity, not 10 feet. Otherwise the D200 is proving itself to be quite a nice camera! Dave
  10. Dave wrote: "Anyone notice the D200 back focus problem?"

    *Does* a back focus problem actually exist with the D200? Your statement applies that this condition exists and that it is, at least, endemic.

    I'd like to see owners of the D200 exercise the greatest discretion and precision in describing problems, if any exist. Otherwise Nikon forums across the internet will be flooded with anxious posts pleading "Is this a back focus problem with the D200? I heard there was a back focus problem with the D200. How can I spot the back focus problem with my D200? Why did Nikon sell me a D200 with a back focus problem?"
  11. Well, here we go with Phase Two of the official launch of the spaceship Chicken Little:

  12. Lex,

    I have been testing the D200 since last Thursday. I posted this experience here because the D200 has a back focus problem with the Tamron 20-40mm SP lens at the 20mm focal length setting. I never said the D200 has a back focus problem across the board. You are overreacting. Read the original post carefully before responding.

    I also have observed focus errors with a Sigma 28-70mm 2.8 EX zoom. I am pretty shocked that Nikon would build a new camera that is not 100% compatible with older AF lenses. Note when I say older I am talking about a 10 year old lens.

  13. Lex,

    I am not the first to post about the D200 back focus problem. Read this post:<P>


  14. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Moderator

    I am sure quite a few (D)SLRs have some sort of "back focus" problem under certain situations. For years I was quite happy with my F5's AF, but after like 5, 6 years, I started noticing some occasional back focus problems with my 500mm/f4 AF-S lens on it. I don't recall observing such problems earlier. It was quite rare and since I don't use my F5 any more, I don't bother to figure out the cause.
  15. "I am pretty shocked that Nikon would build a new camera that is not 100% compatible with older AF lenses." -- Dave Lee
    Nikon DID build a new camera that IS completely 100% compatible with ALL older NIKON autofocus lenses.
    Your problem is with third party lenses, and Nikon bears ZERO responsibility to make sure that their cameras work with another vendor's lenses (from which they received zero financial benefit). Your problem lies with the lens builder, not the camera manufacturer.
    Place the blame and "shock" where it belongs.
  16. Michael,

    You make a good point. I guess Tamron is really to blame here. Too bad as the Nikon 20-35mm 2.8 is 5 times the price of this little gem...

  17. Dave,

    Unfortunately, as cameras become more and more complex (they are more computers than cameras today), compatibility becomes more and more of an issue. Tamron and Sigma do not license the body/lens communication protocols from Nikon, but reverse engineer it. They don't always get it 100% right. Because of this, what works today (or worked 10 years ago) might not work tomorrow. That's the gamble one takes when buying third party lenses.

    There is a price to be paid for everything, including economy. ;-)
  18. Well, I am a recent D200 Owner as of Sunday. Just two days of testing has led me to believe that there are bad copies and I've seen them. Best Buy, my local store however doesn't believe it's backfocused and is blaming it on the lens. To note, these are both Nkon AF lenses and not a third party lens (80-200 IF-ED 2.8/18-70 Kit lens). Well, since last night I just set up my D200 to record the focus point so when you view the image on the viewfinder it will show you where the focus point was and which focus point was used. In Single Servo Mode, I took some test shots of my wife with both lenses and get consistent results. Focusing on the Eyes results in soft eye lashes/lids and side hair around the front of the ears being tack sharp. Focusing on the Nose results in the Eyes being tack sharp where I can count the individual hairs of the eye lashes. I shoot both with a mid aperture between f8/f10 at the telephoto ends of the lenses so as to provide a shorter depth of view. I can consistantly produce the results. On top of that, I did the same tests with a gallon paint can. Focusing on the middle backside of the paint can where all the paint information is(text). This area consists of text 180 degrees from side to side curving around the can. I focus on the middle text of the can in AF mode and let the camera tell me that it is focused and snap the shot. Upon review, the text in the area where the camera told me it was focused is extremely soft and as I scroll around to both sides of the paint can, the text gets sharper and sharper going near the sides of the paint can which of course is a rounded can. Another test I do, I get two tubes of lotion. I set them side by side and stagger one about an inch or two behind the other. I focus on the Front tube and take the shot. Upon review, the text on the front lotion bottle is again very soft, however all the text on the rear bottle are tack sharp and in focus. I've replicated this on both copies of the D200's with two different lenses. I don't think that this is a lens issue. At any rate, if Best Buy will not do another exchange then I will most likely be having them ship this back to Nikon to get recalibrated.
  19. Highly interesting. I bought my D200 this January. I'm slightly different from most of you.
    I'm a jewelry photographer. I do it fulltime. For quick shots we used the d100 for 4 years
    and we recently moved up to the D200. I was very excited about this move. We've stuck
    with the 60mm AF Macro lens because it was so successful. This D200 demonstrated a
    uncomparable saturation and color difference, but the focus was giving us trouble. Auto
    focus was guaranteed to be slightly off and manual focus wasn't sharp either. We sent
    back to Nikon with lens to be calibrated to each other at least 2-3 times. Still no luck.
    We've reset the factory settings in it as well. My wife is a wedding photographer and
    borrowed it to shoot for once and the images were soft. Highly interesting. Recently I saw
    several posts and research and I must agree that the camera we built for soft focus. It
    gives the "soft" and "comforting" look. It appears that I'll only be shooting with the large
  20. I have a Tokina AT-X 20-30 2.8 and Nikkor 20-35 2.8..there are some issues with both using the D200
    the Nikkor has an intermittent focus problem at to 20mm end whereby it will not focus at infinity accuratly, what ever the apature setting, proving that DOF is not an answer...my test settings are single servo using only centre spot focus, standing square to building subject at 100-ISO,...I usually have to refocus from close several times before it is accurate...diopter eyepiece is ok but quite irrivelent in AF mode as an answer. 24mm is better and 28-35 perfect...
    the Tokina has no such problems but at the 20mm end the shutter will not fire unless I switch to continuous servo.. weird or not ??
    my other nikon lenses DX G type AF-S 18-70 (ok all settings) D 80-200 2.8 and Tokina AT-X 28-80 2.8 are all unaffected
    I thought that the drive pin was probably a problem but my D lenses work ok.
    focussing manually is an answer but why should I ??
    is the problem within the D200 itself..bought 6 months ago serial number starts with 8023XXX
    any ideas
  21. Yes there is an back focus problem on some D200's. I had my camera for 4 months and was extremely frustated with the soft focus. I tried everything. My professional photographer at work kept saying it was just me. I finally had him shoot flatwork with my D200 in studio, tripod mounted controlled flash and then shoot his D2x with the same setup. Night and Day difference. I had already had my D200 in to the Nikon repair which they made some "adjustments and cleaned the CCD". This time I took them the 18-200 Nikon lens and the body and my photographers images and they then came back and said the Body was back focusing and that the lens at 200 was front focusing. They made the best adjustments that they could but I can still get sharper images from my old Nikon or my Olympus. I have tried the +sharpening in camera and other in cammera adjustments but at the end of the day I am taking an ok image and making it good in raw editting instead of improving a good or great image. But in answer to the main question Nikon repair did confirm it had a back focus problem and was with a factory Nikon lens.
  22. I am a wedding photographer and have been for many years, I use only Nikon lenses and there is definetly a huge problem!!!! I am so frustrated and Nikon doesn't seem very interested in quickly resolving the problem. I have NEVER had focusing issues and am overwhelmed with this issue. Anyone just give up on Nikon?? Have you swithed to Cannon?? Which model??
  23. I have been shooting swimming, basketball and soccer for several years and my D70 gave me outstanding
    sharpness and dead on focus in either manual and sport mode setting. All my lens are Nikkon made ranging from 35-
    135mm f3.5, 70-200mm f2.8, 70-300mm and 15-35mm f2.8. Sure, I just got the D200 last year, so my time with the
    D200 was less than my time on my D70 but out of the box I struggled and struggled and disappointed with the
    focussing issue with my D200.

    I did not want to believe it's the D200 or the lens, I blamed on myself not being able to get it setup right for the shots.

    In basketball and in soccer, I had to choose my focus points wisely due to the nature of the sports (with many
    nterfering objects nearby ). The same thing for swimming, the water often time competed with the face of the
    swimmer. I did not have much problem with such issues with my D70 but I do with my D200 using the same lens.

    In a low light HS gym, I had better sharpness w/o using flash (noise is a different issue comparing to D200) shooting
    at shuttle speed around 120-200 at 800 or above (mostly at 1200 or 1600) iso with my D70 than my D200. Sure
    200 shuttle speed can not freeze the action but you can still see and compare the areas in focus. The same thing
    for low-key, natural lighting, non-action sport type of shots, I noticed that the hair were notorious soft, almost like
    blur (with or without tripod) shooting at 2.8, 3.5 (depending on lens) and between 30sec -60sec. Before you said
    anything about tripod and slow shuttle speed, I hand-held my medium format Mamiya, Hasselblad, F1, D70 before at
    30 sec many times and still got great sharpness. If I shoot with flash, the focus problem seems reduce to almost

    I always aim my focus of the face of the subject and I got the wall behind or the shoulder or the table on the side
    focussed instead.

    I tried different focus setting in the back of the D200 and almost giving up all but the second from top. That is the
    only one setting that gave me better but not perfect focus. I feel like I lost my confidence shooting paid job with D200
    especially with my autofocus mode.

    If some one shooting with the same environment as I do and have a better result, please do share your finding and/or
    your setting. If you do, can you recommend the focus setting(and/or any tips) is best for swimming, soccer and
    basket ball with no flash ( I used my f2.8 lens) where my subjects often time compete with un-predictably in front or
    behind moving subjects. Thanks
  24. I have experienced the back focus problem with my D200 as well. It has been driving my absolutely nuts! I thought it was me, then the lens, but after trying many lenses and techniques etc, I finally purchased a KatzEye focusing screen and did a manual VS autofocus test using this http://regex.info/blog/photo-tech/focus-chart test chart, and found that the autofocus was indeed back focusing. Here are my test results...
    What I ended up doing was adjusting the stop for the secondary mirror using the procedure found here http://leongoodman.tripod.com/d70focuspart3.html . For the D200, a 1.5mm alan wrench fits the cam. I had to adjust mine about 10 degrees clockwise, and now the autofocus is spot on. I personally didn't like the idea of 'taping' up the primary mirror, so I used the 'mirror lockup' feature...just keep in mind the function will not operate unless your batter has a full charge, and in this mode the shutter is open, so the CCD is exposed so you must be careful with the tool, and also about dust.
  25. Frederick, thanks for the info and results! Good stuff. I really, really want to like my D200, in fact I love the colors and files WHEN IN FOCUS, but it sure has issues. It's often hit or miss - and I wouldn't dare to use it for any critical work. Absolutely no way. I've also thought of the KatzEye, but it ain't exactly cheap. But if it'll make the D200 trustworthy, I might give it a shot. Also very interesting about the adjustments. Those I'll experiment with. Thanks again.
  26. No problem.
    I've found the KatzEye to be a very handy tool...I didn't opt for the 'brite' coating, so only sunk the $100 into it. It was worth the $ for sure. It's not a very aggresive split image (especially compared to my old Kodak Retina Reflex 35mm), but it get's the job done. The split image effect is much more prominant with longer focal lengths. With the latest images I've been getting out of this camera, I feel like it's the flag-ship I always expected it to be.

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