Nikon D3400 Blurred photos


TPF Noob!
Nov 16, 2021
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I'm new and have been trying to take photos from Nikon D3400, lens AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G but photos always seem to be blurred. I've tried manual, automatic etc but no luck. Camera & lens are brand new so less chance of anything wrong with it. I must be not using it right.

Camera settings in auto mode

Image JPG

NEF image

Any suggestions?
My first thought is that you're closer to this subject than the lens can focus, inside the minimum focus distance. Does the viewfinder indicate good focus? (There's a dot at the bottom left that lights up to indicate good focus.)
It's blurry because of the shallow depth of field. F/1.8 is wide open. Close it down when you're shooting close. More like f/8 to f/16.
"MF" is lit-indicating manual focus?
Regarding depth-of-field, the f:1.8 aperture indeed creates an extremely shallow zone of focus, but this image is entirely out of focus. The rear of the box is almost in focus, which is why I think the subject is simply too close.

If the camera is indeed in manual focus and isn't even trying to focus, perhaps the OP is trying to judge focus on the ground glass screen of the viewfinder, which is nigh impossible. If manually focusing, use the indicator dot at the bottom left of the viewfinder.
"MF" is lit-indicating manual focus?

According to my D3400 manual, the camera is in MANUAL FOCUS mode.
So, YOU have to manually focus the lens.

You have to change it to AF-S.

For the autofocus to work, you NEED a subject with contrast.
Try a black+white object (like a newspaper page) to test your focusing on.

If you were purposely in MF mode to manually focus the lens, then
- Today's dSLRs are not as easy to manually focus as the film SLRs of the past.
- You need to adjust the viewfinder diopter for your eye. So that when you focus, you can see when the image is in focus.
- You want a subject with enough contrast that you can easily see when the lens is in focus.

I would put the camera in P mode.
The problem with Auto exposure mode is that the camera will choose what to focus on, not you. The camera uses "closest subject" logic. So anything between you and the subject (that has an AF point on it) is what the camera will focus on.
In P mode, YOU control what the camera focuses on.

As for the image
- As was suggested, there is marginal lighting. Go OUTSIDE in the sun, at least for the testing. Then you have enough light to not be shooting wide open.
- As for the image, it "appears" to me that it might be in focus, but as @480sparky said, the DoF is so shallow that only that one plane is in focus, the back side of the box in the red box. Everything out of that plane is out of focus. Try taking a picture of a newspaper taped to the wall, from head on at 90 degrees to the paper.

That is a stellar lens but you have to stop it down sometimes. Shooting it wide open takes some practice, try shooting some flowers to get familiar with it.
You might also consult the manual concerning auto-focus patterns.

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