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


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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.

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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


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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
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I bought it on auction website, so I am not sure if the guy will give me my money back.


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.

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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.
But i dont need auto focus. I use manual focus only (most of the time I am shooting products and food from a tripod).
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Have you checked the diopter adjustment on your D3300?

Not the issue here because:

I used zoomed in live view.


BTW, the older 55mm micro lens has much shorter focus throw.

And herein I believe lies the problem. I find it quite hard to manually focus using a magnified live view image simply because every time I touch the focus ring, the image dances on the LCD screen and it is quite impossible to tell if one has nailed focus. A short focus throw makes this even harder.


Have you tried focusing via the viewfinder (and yield the advice above about the diopter)? Not sure the D3300 has that feature - but if it does, have you tried focusing via the "green dot" focus confirmation?

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