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Photographer
Tourmaline Images
Posts: 53
Brooklyn, New York, US


My D300s has terrible focusing issues.

At first I thought the used Tamron 28-75 f2.8 that I purchased had trouble focusing in very bright (sunny day) or medium (lamp in house) light. Eventually I bought got the Nikkor 24-70 (which I'm in love with) hoping to solve my problems but its the same - when I try to focus the camera just keeps twisting and turning, hardly finding its mark regardless of how much or how little light is available.
I usually use single point AF so this weekend I tried to use dynamic AF and the results were better. Not perfect but better.

Am I doomed to reside in dynamic AF or is there a way to fix this? Do I need to get my camera serviced?
Oct 04 12 09:34 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Select Models
Posts: 35,292
Upland, California, US


My recommendation... NEVER buy aftermarket lenses for Nikon cameras.  Nikon lenses are always 100% compatible, always sharper (except for maybe a few kit lenses) and all the lenses they've made over the last 20 years will work perfectly with your D300s... wink
Oct 04 12 09:44 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Yingwah Productions
Posts: 1,341
New York, New York, US


depends which mode you were using. There's 3 positions Dynamic(camera chooses the focus point), single dynamic, and single point. It's best to use the middle one, you choose the point and the surrounding points assist. You can also go into the menu to set how many surrounding points are used to assist. It might be set to 51point 3D tracking. That can track an object moving across your frame but not good for models. I usually use 21 or 9 points.
Oct 04 12 10:32 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Raoul Isidro Images
Posts: 5,930
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


Tourmaline Images wrote:
My D300s has terrible focusing issues.
I usually use single point AF so this weekend I tried to use dynamic AF and the results were better.

Use a cheap lens like a 50mm f1.8 AF-D to test focus. (around $90).

If the symptoms persist, it might be that the AF sensor (at the bottom of the mirror box) have some dirt and needs to be cleaned and vacuumed.

If focus is ok for the 50mm, then the other lenses are in question.

.

Oct 04 12 10:33 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
R Michael Walker
Posts: 11,957
Costa Mesa, California, US


Tourmaline Images wrote:
My D300s has terrible focusing issues.

At first I thought the used Tamron 28-75 f2.8 that I purchased had trouble focusing in very bright (sunny day) or medium (lamp in house) light. Eventually I bought got the Nikkor 24-70 (which I'm in love with) hoping to solve my problems but its the same - when I try to focus the camera just keeps twisting and turning, hardly finding its mark regardless of how much or how little light is available.
I usually use single point AF so this weekend I tried to use dynamic AF and the results were better. Not perfect but better.

Am I doomed to reside in dynamic AF or is there a way to fix this? Do I need to get my camera serviced?

Mine was very responsive. AF was the main reason I shot Nikon over Canon. If your is sluggish, especially with the Nikkor 24-70 then I'd say it has a problem.

Oct 04 12 10:38 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Richard Klein Photo
Posts: 174
Buffalo Grove, Illinois, US


I have a D300s with almost 55,000 shutter actuations.  Were you on "C" for continuous focusing or "S" for single?  I might check that switch, and also try "M" to see if you can focus manually in bright and dim light.  Is your battery fully charged?  I'm not sure if that can be a factor or not but it is worth checking.  I use a variety of lenses with my body, including Nikon, Vivitar, and even an ancient Spiratone 400mm preset lens.  My camera focuses perfectly with these lenses, although some require Manual focus only and exposure.  Have you used the Setup Menu Non CPU Lens Choice choices?  I have to use this menu to make sure my really old Nikon and other non-Nikon lenses can be used. You might also clean the contacts on the body and your 24-70 to make sure you are getting a solid connection. I have to agree that if none of the solutions work, take it in for service.
Oct 04 12 10:58 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Bob Helm Photography
Posts: 18,090
Cherry Hill, New Jersey, US


Slow focus should not happen with modern lenses on that camera. I use it for sports (motorsports in particular) and find it has no problem keeping up with action.

There are a lot of setting on the camera that affects focus speed. At one time I found a listing for all the setting togive you the fastest AF but cannot find it now. you might ask Nikon via their web page.
Oct 05 12 07:31 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Marty McBride
Posts: 3,132
Owensboro, Kentucky, US


I have the D300s and the Tamron 28-75, and I have no problems focusing whatsoever, regardless of AF point selected. Do a reset on your camera, or as others have mentioned, try other selections. I shoot single point, focus priority.
Oct 05 12 07:42 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
KMP
Posts: 4,650
Houston, Texas, US


Have you considered having your camera looked at?   I had an issue with my old 28-70 Nikon lens..but it was the lens.. not the camera.

I sent my D300 into Nikon to have some shutter work done.
They sent me  a D300s as a loaner..  It worked GREAT for me.

The only time I've had an issue shooting is when the focus is set to C (Continuous).  The camera won't fire until it's happy with the focus.. I found the S setting worked quickly and didn't hamper my shooting.
Oct 05 12 07:51 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Tourmaline Images
Posts: 53
Brooklyn, New York, US


Oct 05 12 07:57 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Tourmaline Images
Posts: 53
Brooklyn, New York, US


Raoul Isidro Images wrote:
Use a cheap lens like a 50mm f1.8 AF-D to test focus. (around $90).

If the symptoms persist, it might be that the AF sensor (at the bottom of the mirror box) have some dirt and needs to be cleaned and vacuumed.

If focus is ok for the 50mm, then the other lenses are in question.

.

So I've tried everything except a reset and cleaning the lens contacts on the camera. I have noticed that there is dust or hair on the sensor so I'll try cleaning that. Hopefully that works, otherwise its a trip to the doctor.
Does anyone know how much it costs to service a camera?

Oct 05 12 08:00 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Marty McBride
Posts: 3,132
Owensboro, Kentucky, US


KevinMcGowanPhotography wrote:
The only time I've had an issue shooting is when the focus is set to C (Continuous).  The camera won't fire until it's happy with the focus.. I found the S setting worked quickly and didn't hamper my shooting.

Turning focus priority off for continuous shooting, will let the camera fire regardless of focus. To me, not a desired choice!

Oct 05 12 08:45 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Marty McBride
Posts: 3,132
Owensboro, Kentucky, US


Tourmaline Images wrote:

So I've tried everything except a reset and cleaning the lens contacts on the camera. I have noticed that there is dust or hair on the sensor so I'll try cleaning that. Hopefully that works, otherwise its a trip to the doctor.
Does anyone know how much it costs to service a camera?

Don't quote me, but when I asked Nikon about a year ago about servicing my D300s for cleaning and a check up, they were in the $350-400 range.

Oct 05 12 08:51 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
KMP
Posts: 4,650
Houston, Texas, US


Marty McBride wrote:
Turning focus priority off for continuous shooting, will let the camera fire regardless of focus. To me, not a desired choice!

Well true..I don't like fuzzy shots and neither do my clients.

However, I find the camera, on that setting,  can get confused as to what I am focusing on.   

Too many times, the focus is where I want it and the camera seems to be thinking.."no not quite yet" and I've missed the shot.

I find the S setting respects my auhtoritah!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgX9Ru_G2Ko

Oct 05 12 09:04 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Bob Helm Photography
Posts: 18,090
Cherry Hill, New Jersey, US


KevinMcGowanPhotography wrote:

Well true..I don't like fuzzy shots and neither do my clients.

However, I find the camera, on that setting,  can get confused as to what I am focusing on.   

Too many times, the focus is where I want it and the camera seems to be thinking.."no not quite yet" and I've missed the shot.

I find the S setting respects my auhtoritah!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgX9Ru_G2Ko

Agreed, none of my cameras are set to focus priority too often the camera gets confused about insignificant changes

Oct 05 12 09:08 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
KMP
Posts: 4,650
Houston, Texas, US


Tourmaline Images wrote:

So I've tried everything except a reset and cleaning the lens contacts on the camera. I have noticed that there is dust or hair on the sensor so I'll try cleaning that. Hopefully that works, otherwise its a trip to the doctor.
Does anyone know how much it costs to service a camera?

I had my D300 shutter replaced by Nikon Pro Services. They also replaced all the rubber surfaces on the body cleaned and calibrated the camera. 

Plus sent me a D300s as a replacement until I got my camera back.    All that for $256.

Oct 05 12 09:12 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
ChanStudio - OtherSide
Posts: 5,311
Alpharetta, Georgia, US


Tourmaline Images wrote:
My D300s has terrible focusing issues.

At first I thought the used Tamron 28-75 f2.8 that I purchased had trouble focusing in very bright (sunny day) or medium (lamp in house) light. Eventually I bought got the Nikkor 24-70 (which I'm in love with) hoping to solve my problems but its the same - when I try to focus the camera just keeps twisting and turning, hardly finding its mark regardless of how much or how little light is available.
I usually use single point AF so this weekend I tried to use dynamic AF and the results were better. Not perfect but better.

Am I doomed to reside in dynamic AF or is there a way to fix this? Do I need to get my camera serviced?

You can test this easily.

#1.  Put the camera in single/static AF and then select center point.
#2.  Point the camera (center point) on subject that has contrast, i.e book, leaves, or anything that has textures.  Validate this and see if the camera focus or not.  It should focus very fast. if #2 works, continue to #3, otherwise send it to repair.
#3.  Move/select the focusing point to outer and perform testing again.  Note:  Outer focusing point aren't crossed.  make sure you focus on something that has contrast. If #3 works, continue to #4.
#4.  Understand how the AF system works.

Oct 05 12 09:20 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Marty McBride
Posts: 3,132
Owensboro, Kentucky, US


KevinMcGowanPhotography wrote:
I had my D300 shutter replaced by Nikon Pro Services. They also replaced all the rubber surfaces on the body cleaned and calibrated the camera. 

Plus sent me a D300s as a replacement until I got my camera back.    All that for $256.

Oh that sounds much more encouraging from what they quoted me, even though they said the price included shutter replacement in worse case scenario. My camera is in immaculate condition, and for that price it will always be in working condition, no matter what I own beyond it. The D300s is in most ways, all the camera I need. I sometimes miss a shot, but the camera never does, at least not what I use it for. I would like to own the D600 also, and see that in near future. I will appreciate, though seldom take advantage of the high iso performance, but mostly the extra resolution for cropping purposes.
    Also my method for focusing continuously even in sports, is single point, focus priority....I keep one of the 3 most center AF points on my subject and tap tap tap tap as I follow it.... laborious maybe, but my images are always sharp!

p.s. just caught where your price was NPS pricing! grrr

Oct 05 12 09:26 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Dan OMell
Posts: 1,331
Charlotte, North Carolina, US


usually it's a problem with 3d party's lenses.
Oct 05 12 09:26 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
DougBPhoto
Posts: 37,482
Portland, Oregon, US


KevinMcGowanPhotography wrote:
I had my D300 shutter replaced by Nikon Pro Services. They also replaced all the rubber surfaces on the body cleaned and calibrated the camera. 

Plus sent me a D300s as a replacement until I got my camera back.    All that for $256.

That is impressive, I've not known them to lower their prices.  That same work on my D2x was much more expensive.

I bought the ESC for $60 on my D300s, so just had all that replaced for far less.

Back to the OP though, sounds like either A) Operator Error or B) Camera error.

There is no good reason for a 24-70 nikkor to not work great on a D300s unless something is wrong... either with the lens, camera, contacts, or user/operator.

Oct 05 12 11:21 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Select Models
Posts: 35,292
Upland, California, US


Dan OMell wrote:
usually it's a problem with 3d party's lenses.

BINGO... and even 2nd party... lol

Oct 05 12 12:20 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
KMP
Posts: 4,650
Houston, Texas, US


Marty McBride wrote:
p.s. just caught where your price was NPS pricing! grrr

I don't know if it was an NPS price or not.   It certainly was the cheapest I've ever paid them but was quite impressed by the work and the price. 

NPS membership has it privileges.  We get expedited service.  I can borrow gear, based on its availability, to see what I think of it: i.e. a D4 or a specialty lens.   I've never taken advantage of that service.

A friend of mine was shooting in Europe and he had to ship his camera gear.  He ended up there but his gear did not. Nikon sent him a full compliment of gear to do his shoot until his gear was found..  Hard to put a price on service like that.

Oct 05 12 01:04 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Marty McBride
Posts: 3,132
Owensboro, Kentucky, US


KevinMcGowanPhotography wrote:

I don't know if it was an NPS price or not.   It certainly was the cheapest I've ever paid them but was quite impressed by the work and the price. 

NPS membership has it privileges.  We get expedited service.  I can borrow gear, based on its availability, to see what I think of it: i.e. a D4 or a specialty lens.   I've never taken advantage of that service.

A friend of mine was shooting in Europe and he had to ship his camera gear.  He ended up there but his gear did not. Nikon sent him a full compliment of gear to do his shoot until his gear was found..  Hard to put a price on service like that.

I have received the best service ever from Nikon, because other than a 5 day turnaround on my D70 for AF adjustment, I've never needed it in over 35 yrs of using their gear!

Oct 05 12 02:06 pm  Link  Quote 
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