Lens I bought that should be very sharp is very soft. Why?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by alan_kovarik, Dec 29, 2017.

  1. Hi. I just bought Nikon 55mm f/2.8 AF MICRO-NIKKOR. Ken Rockwell says its probably Nikon's sharpest lens ( and the sample images I saw on the internet are extremely sharp. However, the lens I bought is extremely soft. Its actually the less sharpest lens I had (even my cheap kit lens is much sharper). I have Nikon D3300. Where could be the problem? Do you think there is something wrong about this lens or am I doing something wrong? (Of course, I am focusing manually)
    I try to upload some images tommorrow.
  2. Could you upload some images? What exactly are you doing you are shooting--handheld? lighting? aperture? shutter speed? etc...

    It is a very sharp lens in general, so unless you received a damaged lens, it could very well be user error.
  3. That should be the sharpest lens you own. Just speculating, they're known for stiff focusing due to the grease going hard. It's possible somebody took it apart to service it, and got something wrong on reassembly. I've got a couple, plus one I use at work, and they're all sharp as a razor.
  4. I used tripod. 1/160 shutter speed, ISO 100, f4.0. And speedlite reflected from a foam board.
    I also tried to shoot some images with my kit lens with the same settings (I was manual focusing with both).
    The kit lens was much sharper (but I noticed It was set to f8).

    Here are some quick tests. My kit lens was probably se to a different focal length, but both images are 100% crops. I try to shot some better tests tomorrow.

    Upper image: 55mm Micro Nikkor

    Bottom image: my kit lens
  5. I know its a bit underexposed. I didnt use any adjustments in postproduction.
  6. Definitely does not look sharp, and it should be a bit sharper than the kit lens. How did you achieve focus? I have a difficult time with manual focus through the viewfinder on modern cameras with the brite view screens. Live view zoomed in is the best way to verify manual focus accuracy.
  7. I used zoomed in live view.
  8. If all images are properly exposed and focused carefully with zoomed live view look like the one you uploaded, I would return the lens.
  9. Vincent Peri

    Vincent Peri Metairie, LA

    If it were my lens, I would return it before too much time passes. But first, try at a higher shutter speed. If that doesn't help, test the lens with another camera (friend's or camera store's).
  10. I bought it on auction website, so I am not sure if the guy will give me my money back. :) I try another tests tomorrow.
  11. I would return the lens and stop reading reviews from KR. He's right about this lens, but it's a hit or miss proposition. He has, in the past, admitted that he enjoys making stuff up. That statement may still be on his "About" page, I won't bother to look.
  12. BTW, the older 55mm micro lens has much shorter focus throw. Its much easier to focus with the kit lens.
  13. Sorry, I didn't notice "AF". It's the old ones that have the grease issue. It should still be way better than that, so see if you can return it.
  14. Do not manual focus when testing the lens because you will introducing another variable. Image shown out of focus.for what ever reason. You could have purchased damaged lens. Take picture of a ruller at 45 degrees angle and see where is the focus point or have the lens tested by Nikon
  15. Vincent Peri

    Vincent Peri Metairie, LA

    If it was eBay, you can request to return the lens because it is defective. Follow eBay's instructions to return the camera. You will even get a postage paid shipping label to print out and attach to the lens package. Mail it back and wait for the seller to receive it. If he doesn't issue a refund by a certain date, go back to eBay and for eBay to issue the refund.

    Good luck.
  16. My camera cant manual focus with this lens, thats why I used manual focus.
    I did more tests. Now both lenses has the same settings (1/200, f8, ISO100, tripod, shutter release, manual focus, both images are 100% crops):

    Top image: 55mm Micro

    Bottom image: kit lens
  17. F8 looks much better than f4, but my kit lens is still sharper.
  18. SCL


    This makes no sense at all "My camera cant manual focus with this lens, thats why I used manual focus." Just return the lens...and find another which works with your camera.
  19. But i dont need auto focus. I use manual focus only (most of the time I am shooting products and food from a tripod).
  20. I tried different apertures (f/8 is rather ok, but still worse than my kit lens, f/3.5 is just out of focus, even when from a bigger distance).
    What do you think? Is it ok?






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