Defective Tokina 100mm 2.8 Macro?

eli_harper13

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A bit of back ground info first: I've been doing some photography for about 4 years now, just a hobby, I'm nothing of a pro for sure. I started off with a used, old D70. My primary lens was a 35mm 1.8 DX. It gave me fantastic results consistently. Just a year ago I decided it was time for something newer and better, so I picked of a D7100 on a great sale. I was so pleased with the better low light performance and dynamic range compared to the D70. But, Its like I could not get really crisp, sharp photos. Not even with my trusty 35mm. I then spent the year thinking it was from lack of skill or expensive lenses. The year went with little to no improvement UNTIL I discovered the AF fine tune setting. After adding a +10 to the 35mm, my photos were sharp as ever. I recently picked up a Tokina 100mm 2.8 Macro after reading so many glowing reviews (if you are not aware, the aperture decreases the closer you are to your focal point. Its only 2.8 at infinity). When taking Macro shots (which drops to f/5.6 I believe) the photos are unbelievably sharp! But when I attempted some portrait photos of my wive (f/2.8) the photo was beyond soft. So I began the AF fine tune procedure again. Unfortunately, even at +20 (and yes it needs + not -) its better but still soft. But if I take the photo with live view where it focuses from the sensor, the image is sharp. So I sent the D7100 off to Nikon hoping they can help. In my aggravation (which brings not well thought out decisions) I ordered a D610, the FX camera I've been longing for. I immediately began checking my AF lenses with the AF fine tune on the new D610 last night after work. Both my Nikons (Nikkor 35mm 1.8 DX and Nikkor 200-500mm 5.6 FX) did not require any adjustments! I was so pleased! But the Tokina 100mm 2.8 required a +14 to achieve a sharp photo at 2.8 (from what I could tell in my poorly lit home last night using a tripod and remote, I have yet to bring it out in the sun, should do that today).

So my questions is, should I exchange the Tokina since it appears to require such an adjustment? Am I having unrealistic expectations at f/2.8 even though everything I've read says its sharp at ever aperture? Or is an adjustment like +14 normal on a none Nikon lens? And if it truly is focusing properly at 2.8 (which I shall know this evening when I can take it out in the light) should I just stick with it and its +14 adjustment? Sorry for being long winded and thanks for your opinions!
 

Timppa

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I would say +14 is ok for a none Nikon lens. And if it is sharp now, I wouldn't bother getting a new one to be honest.
Also a macro lens has a harder time focusing when the object is not close. If the object is further away, just like a portrait, landscape, etc..., the lens has some issues getting a correct focus. A macro lens is primarily made for macro :)
 

Timppa

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check out this thread:
ONE lens that'll do macro and portraits?

But honestly, I do not recommend using a macro lens as a portrait or field telephoto lens; the focusing on most is hair-trigger beyond about four feet or so, and there can be focus misses at normal "field telephoto" ranges of 10,12,15,20,25,30,50,60 feet.

The last time I took the 90 AF-SP out and decided to use it for double-duty was during cherry blossom season in downtown Portland in 2014. It missed a LOT of shots at 20,30,40 feet. Not by much, but it missed hitting focus on a number of people shots by a foot or two; I knew this too, from having owned the lens for a long time, and from using the 60mm AF-D Micro~Nikkor as a landscape lens.

Look at most AF macro lenses: they go from Infinity to 10 feet in something like a 10-degree focus ring arc, and then go from 10 feet down to 1 foot in a 240 to 270 degree arc, with very,very finely-graduated focus ring movements...great for AF or manual focus in the close-up range, but absolutely hair-trigger beyond 10 feet.
 

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Macro lenses are not good as portrait lenses. Focus tends to be inconsistent from shot to shot.
 
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eli_harper13

eli_harper13

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check out this thread:
ONE lens that'll do macro and portraits?

But honestly, I do not recommend using a macro lens as a portrait or field telephoto lens; the focusing on most is hair-trigger beyond about four feet or so, and there can be focus misses at normal "field telephoto" ranges of 10,12,15,20,25,30,50,60 feet.

The last time I took the 90 AF-SP out and decided to use it for double-duty was during cherry blossom season in downtown Portland in 2014. It missed a LOT of shots at 20,30,40 feet. Not by much, but it missed hitting focus on a number of people shots by a foot or two; I knew this too, from having owned the lens for a long time, and from using the 60mm AF-D Micro~Nikkor as a landscape lens.

Look at most AF macro lenses: they go from Infinity to 10 feet in something like a 10-degree focus ring arc, and then go from 10 feet down to 1 foot in a 240 to 270 degree arc, with very,very finely-graduated focus ring movements...great for AF or manual focus in the close-up range, but absolutely hair-trigger beyond 10 feet.

Thanks for your reply and info! I was kinda thinking the same thing.. It just seems like I remember reading in multiple places that it also did very well as a portrait lens. But perhaps that got my expectations too high or maybe it would function a little better its a stoped it down some from 2.8. I usually have used my 35mm when taking photos of my wife or people but sometimes its too close. I may have to invest in a Nikon 85mm if I want crips, super sharp portrait photos.
 
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eli_harper13

eli_harper13

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Macro lenses are not good as portrait lenses. Focus tends to be inconsistent from shot to shot.

Yeah I was just reading you going more into detail about this subject on a different thread. Thanks alot for the info.
 
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eli_harper13

eli_harper13

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I would say +14 is ok for a none Nikon lens. And if it is sharp now, I wouldn't bother getting a new one to be honest.
Also a macro lens has a harder time focusing when the object is not close. If the object is further away, just like a portrait, landscape, etc..., the lens has some issues getting a correct focus. A macro lens is primarily made for macro :)
Just curious, would it be pretty normal to not need to adjust a Nikon lens with AF fine tune? Since they are made by Nikon for Nikon cameras?
 

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MANY lenses work best with an AF fine tune done on them, espcially now that we have 24 to 36 MP resulution. There are acceptable tolerances...some lenses do not focus perfectly on every camera body. I've had lenses that needed 0 and others that needed 10 points, plus or minus, for absolute perfect focusing.

Macro lenses often have HAIR-trigger movement to the mechanical focusing mechanism at distances in the 6,7,8,9,10 foot range, on out to Infinity. AIMING the lens properly can be a challenge...the AF square is an approximation of the actual AF point used. The AF square is not 100% dead-on accurate on every sized-target...it is often located a bit low in the box--and that might mean a 4 or 5-inch difference in the aim point and the actual target's lock-on point.

At longer distances, the AF square covers a larger physical area--again, leading to focus issues sometimes.
 

Timppa

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Just curious, would it be pretty normal to not need to adjust a Nikon lens with AF fine tune? Since they are made by Nikon for Nikon cameras?

In general I think you can say that a Nikon lens needs to be adjust less, but I wouldn't say 'not'.
I had a 35mm 1.8 before and it was like +10 or something.

Nikon makes its bodies for Nikon lenses. It doesn't care about Sigma, Tamron, Tokina, etc...
So why would it put a AF fine tuning, if it never would be needed for Nikon lenses? It's needed, but less :).
 
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eli_harper13

eli_harper13

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Just curious, would it be pretty normal to not need to adjust a Nikon lens with AF fine tune? Since they are made by Nikon for Nikon cameras?

In general I think you can say that a Nikon lens needs to be adjust less, but I wouldn't say 'not'.
I had a 35mm 1.8 before and it was like +10 or something.

Nikon makes its bodies for Nikon lenses. It doesn't care about Sigma, Tamron, Tokina, etc...
So why would it put a AF fine tuning, if it never would be needed for Nikon lenses? It's needed, but less :).
Thats very true lol. I will have to spend some more time out in the sun today testing. The camera arrived while I was working so I got the battery charging as soon as I got home but It wasn't fully charged til 8. When I was testing, I typically lay an open book down under the best lighting I have, and I focus the camera on a single world at an angle, using a tripod and remote. It seems to work pretty well. On my D7100 and 35mm 1.8, it was focused on the word below then one I was trying to focus on, but a +10 got it perfect. But on the D610, the 35mm was dead on in every shot. Does that seem like a good way to test?
 

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That test is fine for CLOSE-ups...but how well do you suppose it does at 10 to 15 feet? What about the depth of field band that is in front of the focus point? There's an acceptable range of sharpness in front of and behind the focuses spot.

A little bit, and I mean a litle bit in front is acceptable; what if your close-up testing shift messes up the longer distances? You need to do test "WHERE" the AF bracket's actual focusing data collection point is located; it might very well NOT be exactly smack-dab in the middle of the AF square, but perhaps LOW, or low and left, for example.

One needs to test the gear out and really evaluate the results. The AF square is "big" at 10,15,20 feet...and may cover an area well wider than a single person's head. Such things need to be check out very carefully. With a wide-angle lens, the width the bracket covers can easily be quite wide!

I would not expect that one or two days' worth of testing will be enough to learn the nuances of the AF system in its entirety. TESTING is a big deal, or at least it used to be. it can be tough to do a test if you've not used the gear for a certain amount of time.
 
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eli_harper13

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That test is fine for CLOSE-ups...but how well do you suppose it does at 10 to 15 feet? What about the depth of field band that is in front of the focus point? There's an acceptable range of sharpness in front of and behind the focuses spot.

A little bit, and I mean a litle bit in front is acceptable; what if your close-up testing shift messes up the longer distances? You need to do test "WHERE" the AF bracket's actual focusing data collection point is located; it might very well NOT be exactly smack-dab in the middle of the AF square, but perhaps LOW, or low and left, for example.

One needs to test the gear out and really evaluate the results. The AF square is "big" at 10,15,20 feet...and may cover an area well wider than a single person's head. Such things need to be check out very carefully. With a wide-angle lens, the width the bracket covers can easily be quite wide!

I would not expect that one or two days' worth of testing will be enough to learn the nuances of the AF system in its entirety. TESTING is a big deal, or at least it used to be. it can be tough to do a test if you've not used the gear for a certain amount of time.
Yes that was my concern as well. Is there a way that you recommend testing without having to by actually equipment? Would the best test be just using the lenses and see how they do further out? Or perhaps there is a scale I could print out and hang on a wall or something that would help? I really appreciate all your help and tips!
 

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My old D7000 is at -15 to -20 on all my lenses. I have a el-cheapo Yongnuo 35mm that just won't focus on the D7000 because it needs about a another -10 more than the D7000 has. It focuses OK on my D750 at -10.
 

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