Have you ever had that feeling that something has to be wrong? Last August, just after we bought our D300, we went to Oshkosh. Imagine my surprise when I figured out that out of almost two thousand pictures I shoot over the course of four days I couldn’t pick more than handful I would be satisfied with their sharpness.
Usually if it was like 30% of them out of focus, I’d be just mad on myself for being a crappy shooter. But almost all of them? That got me really thinking, and Googling. It turned out that way too many D300 users were reporting problems with auto focus mechanism. Then looking at the few sharp pictures I saw that all those where of planes that were flying along the lens longitudinal axis. That seemed to support the suspicious that our D300 also has auto focus problem.
So I went to Tim Jackson’s site and downloaded the test chart. Quick test confirmed that our body shows symptoms of extreme front focus. Fortunately the D300 has a fine tuning option that allowed us to tune the body to our lenses. Doing so let us go by almost six months. But recently the body developed another quite annoying manner – the auto focus started to wander. Fine tune done one day was of by several points after a week or two. That was enough. We’ve decided to sent our body to Nikon’s service center.
Today our body came back. So I repeat the test. And here is what I saw:
On the left you have part ‘before’. You can clearly see that even though I was focusing on ‘Focus here’ line the camera actually focused around +14mm line. On the right is ‘after’. The focus is almost perfect. So despite some mixed feelings about Nikon Service Center (which is a story for another post) I am very happy camper today. I hope it will stay as sharp forever now.