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Focusing disasters with the D500!


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#1 dave's clichés

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Posted 14 October 2016 - 06:45 PM

Hi guys,

             The weather finally cleared so I could test out the D500, first steps of course is calibrating lenses. Things went OK with the Tamron 150-600mm and the Nikon 500mm F4, needing around -2/-3.

 But then things went rapidly downhill with shorter focal lengths.

   The AF35mm F2D was way out and needed -17, the AF50mm F1.8D -14, and on it went till -20 wasn't enough for the AF20mm F2.8D.  Changing the distance produced outrageous changes of focus and I realized that the whole focus system was out of kilter. None of them needed anything more than -3/-4 on the D7100, except the 500mm which needed -8.  Obviously the registration distance and AF sensors distance bore no relation in a linear sense.

 

 I emailed Priceminister stating I would return it for a refund, fortunately I'm well within the 14 days return period!

 

 A great pity because so far both my Nikons haven't put a foot wrong with accurate AF and not even a niggle, I hoped that as the D500 is a pro camera extra care and quality control would have been taken.

 

 BTW. The camera's presentation was perfect and nothing leads me suspect that it was anything other than a brand new camera straight out of the box.

 

 Regrouping and hoping for better luck with the next D500!

 

 

Update:  I've just received an email from Priceminister and am awaiting instructions for the return.



#2 toni-a

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Posted 14 October 2016 - 07:24 PM

Sad to hear that... focus errors just kill everything

this is a strong point for mirrorless though, my Canon 17-55 had back focus, however when switching to live view focus was decent and acurate



#3 southerncross

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Posted 14 October 2016 - 09:00 PM

Funny thing I never needed to adjust even a single lens with a Pentax K-r and a K-30. The difference in adjustment was neglictible, focus varience come into play. I had the devil's luck as I haven't noticed any decentering worth worring about. Again my zoom lenses are not perfect but I don't see problems wide open in normal use, on moire targets on a PC screen I see slight decentering in all lenses but it is similar to my ability to have the sensor parallel to the screen. Again within user error. And I am a perfectionist.

 

Then again high end equipment with a lot of complexity like D500 is a lot easier to not be inside the specifications, the are a lot tighter than a simple autofocus system like of my cameras.

 

Hopefully manufacturers will increase quality control along with the prices :D :D :D (Nikon and Pentax have more issues from what I read than Olympus or Canon).



#4 dave's clichés

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Posted 14 October 2016 - 11:16 PM

  Maybe I'm just unlucky, I was with Pentax, I had three K20s with six returns, the K5 was OK but it would take two shots instead of one sometimes. The K3 had the mirror-flap syndrome and then the card slots packed up and the K01 had a badly aligned sensor. Then two good Nikons then this dud, so I feel I've had more than my share of bad luck.

 

  As for de-centered lenses!  I was going to say I don't have any, but maybe the Sigma 150mm F2.8 EX macro arrives tomorrow , we'll see what that brings, it sure would be nice if it was well centered as I've been hankering after one of those for some years.



#5 dave's clichés

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Posted 15 October 2016 - 09:36 AM

Image showing back focus with no AFMA  -17 needed to focus on the can, increase the distance and then it front focuses! I don't know if it can be seen here.

 

   I can never find my psychiatrist when I need him, my glass is empty!

Attached Files



#6 toni-a

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Posted 15 October 2016 - 10:00 AM

Looks like a severe case of back focus for me, I have been through this ....



#7 JoJu

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Posted 15 October 2016 - 03:23 PM

I'm really sorry to read that, dave. Hopefully the next one will do better.



#8 dave's clichés

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Posted 15 October 2016 - 09:24 PM

I'm really sorry to read that, dave. Hopefully the next one will do better.

OK thanks JoJu/ toni-a, I hope so too!



#9 dave's clichés

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Posted 16 October 2016 - 02:57 PM

I've been doing the auto fine tune tests:

 

   AF28 F2.8D   failed results off the scale.....more than -20      AF24 F2.8D  failed results off the scale.

 

   AF20 F2.8      around -14                                                         AF35 F2       around  -17

 

  AF50 F1.8       around -14                                                         AF55 F2.8 Macro  around -13

 

  AF 85 F1.8D    around -18                                                         Tamron 150-600   around  -3

 

   AF-S 500mm F4D around -2.

 

 I spoke to Nikon who asked me to make a pro account with which  calibration would take around a week and may be payable, I have to send in some images. 

 Also I'm looking to maybe send it back for a replacement, I'm still weighing up the pros and cons. As the camera was about 650 euros less than the non grey price maybe I'll spend out on the calibration. I'll see what Priceminister and Nikon have to say!



#10 JoJu

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Posted 16 October 2016 - 03:32 PM

Haven't you been the one who "never had problems with my Nikons, so I take the chance and order a grey market camera"? It's only a question, not an accusation. Somehow Priceminister has also to make money and I really wonder, if those bodies sold by them just are classified by Nikon to go to "lower expectation markets". Of course, they would never admit that and maintain, all D500 are outstanding no matter how cheap they were.

 

But it's a tempting idea, to sell an "close to borders of spec"camera instead of demolish it or try to adjust it.

 

Also I wonder how many D500 to whatever comparisons were made without lens calibration? Anyway, I made my experiences with DSLRs and Nikon in particular and somehow I prefer not to bother with systematic issues anymore.

 

How long did it take you to check this 9 lenses? It's a rhetoric question, don't answer, because I already doubt the Tamron will have it's AFMA throughout the range of FL and distance.

 

No, I'm not happy about the unlucky D500 body and it doesn't show much more than "mistakes happen".



#11 toni-a

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Posted 16 October 2016 - 04:59 PM

Well as long as the camera can be calibrated, it's not a big deal, however if it is not 100% repaired it's a useless camera.
Using live view is the focus accurate? If it isn't I think we have serious problems.
I really feel sorry for what you had, have been through this, ten years ago I had ordered 17-55f2.8 IS from US ( at that time its price was merely twice my student salary) and waited for weeks to end up with a lemon totally non functional with the zoom often locking at 35mm.
Luckily they had extended return for Christmas and it was replaced by a fantastic sample that is still till now my prefered lens, it's the reason I left the full frame body at home and now I am traveling with it as my main lens, for all those years it almost never left my bag

#12 dave's clichés

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Posted 16 October 2016 - 06:46 PM

Haven't you been the one who "never had problems with my Nikons, so I take the chance and order a grey market camera"? It's only a question, not an accusation. Somehow Priceminister has also to make money and I really wonder, if those bodies sold by them just are classified by Nikon to go to "lower expectation markets". Of course, they would never admit that and maintain, all D500 are outstanding no matter how cheap they were.

 

But it's a tempting idea, to sell an "close to borders of spec"camera instead of demolish it or try to adjust it.

 

Also I wonder how many D500 to whatever comparisons were made without lens calibration? Anyway, I made my experiences with DSLRs and Nikon in particular and somehow I prefer not to bother with systematic issues anymore.

 

How long did it take you to check this 9 lenses? It's a rhetoric question, don't answer, because I already doubt the Tamron will have it's AFMA throughout the range of FL and distance.

 

No, I'm not happy about the unlucky D500 body and it doesn't show much more than "mistakes happen".

 I know it easy to think that they could be the rejects, but think, they are just cameras for Asian markets coming in from different countries, to supply a market with defective cameras just wouldn't be possible or feasible. This is the forth grey market product I've had, the K3 and the D750 were fine (the K3 had problems later but so did many non grey versions) the D750 has been great, many US versions haven't. The Tammy had to be returned de-centered, the second grey one is fine. (normal for lenses).

   You know yourself how it is with PDAF , you've high-lighted it's problems many a time JoJu, that's the whole thing with DSLRs they are as good as their calibration!

   In fact this is the best presented DSLR I have had, the seal and the box were perfect and not a trace of even being touched, I think I got the one that was being assembled on Friday at two minutes to six! I Nikon is not what it was since it move it's production!

 

PS. The D500's shutter is superbly damped and quiet, the noise is also short. Using the Tammy's VC used to blur the image at 600mm, I was using it this afternoon at the river with VC on, no blurring, it's now my guess that the VC was trying to compensate for the vibration of the older clacky shutters that was causing the problem, not so with the D500's one.



#13 JoJu

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Posted 16 October 2016 - 07:56 PM

It's tempting to believe that grey market stuff is second or third choice, but I've no evidence and I think as you, as soon as "somebody would leak this information" it was rotten business. For Nikon's bean-counters sold bodies are sold bodies.

 

What you tell otherwise about your little gem is the same I felt when arriving at D7000 from Pentax plastic (K-m, K-x) to something more decent. Then again with D800 and the best so far is D810. Regardless how many days I spent with calibrating, it feels sooo solid. I still like to grab it when I want to feel something heavy, large and bulky in my hands  ^_^ .



#14 thxbb12

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Posted 16 October 2016 - 10:54 PM

Sorry to read about your AF issues, Dave.

It must have taken you a lot of time to test all these lenses!

 

Life is much simpler on the mirrorless-side of the fence. Believe me, not having to worry about AF accuracy/calibration issues is truly a game changer (in fact, it's the greatest strength of mirrorless IMO). It makes the whole photography experience much more enjoyable :-)

 

Of course given how many Nikon lenses you own, a switch wouldn't make much sense unfortunately.

 

Good luck.


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#15 JoJu

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Posted 16 October 2016 - 11:31 PM

Plus, there's no lens like his 500/4 available on mirrorless APS-C ... the Oly 300/2.8 goes close to 10.000 $, but it's smaller sibling 300/4 is a bargain for 3 k$ :huh: And the 75-300 is around 600, but I doubt if it's competitive to Tamron 150-600.

 

Also, Dave still has the D750 and if that has a better adjusted AF-module, it would be good since the rest of the lenses is FF already.



#16 dave's clichés

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Posted 17 October 2016 - 01:25 AM

   It's certainly all about the tele lenses, that super shallow DOF, the same as macro, shooting wide apertures at long FLs makes for an "intimate" photo with which you can isolate the subject totally from the rest of the world, it's addictive. Ironically it's that very shallow DOF that makes PDAF so accurate with long focal lengths. At the moment it's uniquely DSLR territory!

 

  It would be interesting to see the Tamron or the Sigma tele-zoom in the Fuji mount, that would send a shock wave through the photo world.   If Fuji could nail  AF in tele mode, it could be the final nail in the coffin of the DSLR, but and it's a big but... we need the lenses!  300mm just doesn't cut it.

  Sports and nature photography has grown enormously in the last five years with the latest budget zooms, but little is there for MLCs.

 Oh and M4/3rds, has to small a sensor for anything more than bright daylight shooting, and precious little margin in the shadows.



#17 JoJu

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Posted 17 October 2016 - 09:24 AM

300 mm at µ 4/3 is equivalent 600 at FF. DoF aside, it's f/2.8 and you will have problems to find a 600/2.8. Now forget about equivalence - it's about speed, nothing else matters for small sensors to bring down the ISO.

 

But there's still an advantage for DSLR: While looking thrugh the EVF will suck the battery empty, no matter if bird at home or not, with the DSLR you always can watch without battery consumption.

 

And if the AF misses the shot and the tail of that little vulture is sharper than the eye, you still can comfort yourself "but I could watch the nest a whole day long and have still battery power. Maybe next time the AF will guess better"

 

:P

 

Did I mention the easy power connection? With a power bar you can transfer energy via USB to the X-T2, you can use solar panels and other stuff. Unlike Nikon, who milks you for each gram of copper they put in their "Made in china"-cables. So power consumption IS an issue for mirrorless - but AF inaccuracy is no problem.

 

I would not like to have a Sigron 150-600 for mirrorless, it's far too heavy and the motors are too big to save energy. Of course, for birds you can't have enough reach. But I never managed to track a predictable duck with the Sigma handheld, so for me heavy tele is something I leave to you.  :rolleyes:



#18 dave's clichés

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Posted 17 October 2016 - 10:55 AM

 The thing about life JoJu, is we are all different.

  

I know from the amount of bird shooting I do, that M3/4rds wouldn't cut it for me, F2.8 or not, you say that the lens is $10,000?  You won't find many S/H then.

 FF is what I like shooting best if I can get close enough, Apsc if I need to get even closer, the noise difference is still quite a lot I still think it's around a stop and a half, and the images are sharper and cleaner.

So ML still remains something I can't use for birding, as you say you can wait several hours for a shot and camera has to be on and ready, battery life is key, I think I've only run down a battery a couple of time in a few years.

 

 I got my first birding shot of an egret yesterday down at the river, so that cheered me a little, nothing great but I had put it up on Flickr.  Tamron@600mm.

 

https://www.flickr.c.../124690178@N08/



#19 JoJu

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Posted 17 October 2016 - 11:24 AM

I see, I can stay at home with my silly ducks...  :wacko:

 

:D



#20 dave's clichés

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Posted 17 October 2016 - 11:45 AM

  The plot thickens!  I've just received this message after sending Nikon three images from three lenses with no AFMA as asked by Niko France:

 

Bonjour Monsieur Manze,
 
Merci pour ces images.
 
Suite à leur visionnage, je constate effectivement un fort back focus. Aussi, il semble que votre D500 nécessite d'une intervention au niveau de notre centre SAV.
 
Pour nous faire parvenir votre appareil photo, je vous invite à suivre la procédure ci-dessous
 
 
Being Swiss I'm sure you understood it, they want me to send it in for calibration, I now have to wait and see how  Priceminister react, for the immediate moment there's no super rush it shoots fine with the teles!





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