How to use the AF Fine-Tune function

The process described below for AF fine-tune applies to the following cameras: D3, D3s, D3X, D4, D4S, Df, D300, D300S, D600, D610, D700, D750, D800, D800E, D810, D810A, D7000, D7100, D7200. For cameras from the D5 (Jan. 2016) onwards please refer to the camera User Manual for reference to the revised AF fine-tune process.

Professional photographers sometimes require an extra level of ultra-fine AF tuning. This feature allows you to fine-tune and register the autofocus position for multiple lens models, then apply the compensation whenever the lens is attached. It's important to remember that AF Fine-Tune is an adjustment specific to the camera and lens combination under test. The adjustment has to be repeated should you need to adjust another lens with the same camera body or another camera body and lens combination.

AF tuning is not recommended in most situations and may interfere with normal focus; use only when required.

Service note: If your lens has a focus problem you should return it to Nikon Service as AF Fine-Tune is not intended to solve optical problems which will generally be outside of scope for this tool. If you have a focus problem which is always present with different lenses then this would indicate a camera setting issue or that the camera has received impact damage which is causing general defocus problems. Again return it to service.

How to set up the test
During testing keep shooting conditions consistent from shot to shot, keep lighting, position and camera exposure settings constant. Use aperture priority and stop down one stop from maximum aperture, this will offer good contrast and thus allow you to make the best judgment. Only one adjustment can be made per lens, we recommend the longest focus distance which is achievable for your test setup. Do not select a focus distance which you do not regularly use as this may lead to unsatisfactory results later. The precision of your focus adjustment will be dependent on the precision of your testing.

  1. Fix the lens to the camera and place the camera on the tripod. Do not move the tripod during testing.

  2. Autofocus on a flat object such as a hardback book or small box which has fine detail a fixed distance from the camera.

  3. Place a ruler at an angle of 45 degrees or more beside the object as shown below.

  4. Align the flat surface of the object with a selected measurement point in the middle of the ruler.

  5. Using autofocus, focus on the flat surface of the object and then use focus lock. Keeping focus lock, photograph the ruler at the point next to the flat surface.

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How to interpret the results:


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If the camera focuses on the selected point no adjustment is required (the grey highlighted area indicates the focus point in the image above).

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If the camera focusses in front of the selected point: adjust fine tuning upward towards (+) so that the focus point moves away from the camera (see image below)

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If the camera focusses behind the selected point: adjust fine tuning downward towards (-) so that the focus point moves towards the camera.

 

How to make an adjustment

  1. The AF fine-tune menu option can be found in the Setup Menu.

  2. Use the Saved value menu to display the value scale as seen in the image below. Make the adjustment in the appropriate direction, (+) to move the focal point away from the camera and (-) to move the focal point towards the camera depending on the results of your focus test.

  3. Perform the test above again to check that the focus point is now correct with compensation value entered. This may be necessary a few times.

  4. Click OK to save. Each time you use the same lens, the camera will use the saved value for that lens as long as AF fine-tune is switched on. Settings for 12-20 lenses can be saved depending on the camera used.

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