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gengiant

Problems w/Nikkor 60mm Macro Autofocus

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Hi all,

 

I had my D200 and Sea & Sea DX200 in the ocean for the first time last weekend and really enjoyed the experience. This was my first digital photo experience underwater and I must say that I am impressed! However, I did have a problem on one dive with the 60 mm macro lens. At the beginning of the dive the autofocus worked the way it is supposed to. However, after about 20 +/- shots it wouldn't work any longer. It was "stuck" on a fixed focus. ;)

 

Thinking that it might be an issue with the housing, after the dive I took the camera out of the housing to test the function of the autofocus. The autofocus mode was set on the lens the way it is supposed to be - the ring was locked in the autofocus mode. However, it still didn't autofocus. Not until I removed the lens from the body and re-attached it, did it work again. I did not have a chance to take this setup on another dive, so I don't know if this will be a repeat problem.

 

Does anyone have any ideas on what may have caused this? Mis-alignment of the lens on the body? Lens issue?

 

Thanks for your time!!

 

Holger Fuerst

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On my N90s, there is a selection lever for "Continuous, single and manual" focus selections. I assume there is a similar one on your camera. Make sure it has not moved to manual.

 

Also make sure the lens to camera body contacts are clean of debris and 'O' ring grease.

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On my N90s, there is a selection lever for "Continuous, single and manual" focus selections.  I assume there is a similar one on your camera.  Make sure it has not moved to manual.

 

 

Thanks okuma! I guess I really should familiarize myself with all camera functions. ;) I had no idea that the "single focus" setting would "fix" the focus at a particular setting to the point of "overriding" the autofocus setting on the camera. Thankfully, the housing has a rotating focus mode selector. More "stuff" to play with... :D

 

Holger

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Whoooa there, Single focus would not stop the Auto function - each time you depress the fire btn half way you should get the lens to focus.

 

Another thing to check is that no other button is sticking on the housing - the electronics in the camera can get all confused if the odd button is depressed.

 

Paul C

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In addition to the C/S/M focus, the 60 had a M-AF switch that if even slightly moved will lock up the lens. You have to really make sure the lens:

 

1. Is in AF mode (Not manual)

2. The Servo switch is set to C or S, not M (unless you want to use manual focus).

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One of our D200's quit autofocusing on a trip to Lembeh.....it would cycle out and back and would never lock on focus

 

Had to send it back twice to finally get it fixed by Nikon.....seems to work fine now

 

Karl

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Gengiant

 

I had the same problem with my D200 and the 60mm lens at Cayman Brac several months back. It was wierd, the focusing would work for the 1st dive, but half way thru the 2nd dive, the autofocus quit. After the dive, I took it out of the housing and I checked all of the possible switches, AF/M switch, servo switch. Everything was fine. I turned it on, no problems. AF perfectly. I haven't had a problem since. I thought I was the only one and it was operator error.

 

Looking back, I was messing around with sun flares before it broke. Of course there were good sun flares and sun beams but not as many macro subjects when the 60 mm is loaded! I wonder if the D200 has a problem with the direct sun from sun flares doing something with the AF. The manual doesn't recommend shooting directly the sun. Brac has great vis, so could that cause a problem? What condition where you shooting when yours quit?

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Sorry Paul - I didn't mean to confuse the issue. Instead of "single" focus I actually was thinking about the "M" (manual) setting on the focus mode selector. But as I said before and as also experienced by Karl and LChan, all of the settings on the camera as well as on the lens were set the way they were supposed to be set - I did check this back on the boat when I took the camera out of the housing. Now that I know that others have experienced the same/similar problems I will keep watching for a repeat occurance of the same. If it does happen again the camera will be sent back for "repair" prior to my next "exotic" trip to Bonnair next Spring.

 

LChan, as to the conditions I was shooting in when this happened, I was in about 35-40 feet of chunky/hazy water with no more than about 20-25 feet of visibility off Santa Cruz Island. And it was surgy to boot...gotta love California diving! ;)

 

Holger

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I had a similar problem with my underwater setup and traced it to the focus mode selector on the housing.

 

When you move the focus selector on the camera body, you can feel the lever snap into place. However you may not be able to feel this lever seating action transmitted through the housing focus mode control lever when diving due to the housing focus control lever and camera body focus control lever interface.

 

In other words, the housing lever may have too much play in it to accurately position the camera body focus lever into place.

 

While you may be thinking you have the focus lever positioned correctly because the housing lever is in the appropriate position, the camera body lever may in fact be positioned in such a way as to be stuck between focus modes thereby giving you no focus control at all.

 

Since discovering this, I have paid special attention to the position of both levers and have had little or no focus activation issues with my setup.

 

Hope this helps.

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[...snip...]

 

Since discovering this, I have paid special attention to the position of both levers and have had little or no focus activation issues with my setup.

 

Hope this helps.

 

If I ever experience this problem again I will certainly first check the focus mode selector on the housing. It is easy to remember the sequence of setting (C->S->M) and as such should be easy to verify the exact setting by "feel" rather than by looking at the letter designations next to the focus mode knob on the housing.

 

As a side note, I am wondering how people overcome auto-focus "hunting" on low-contrast subjects using a DSLR. But I will start a new thread for this.

 

Ok, I just looked through the archive and found the thread regarding auto-focus issues with a D-70. It offered some good advise as to what people to - continuous versus single focus, focus lights, focus lock, dynamic area focus, etc. I also came across a long article posted on the Nikonian web site entitled "Understanding the Nikon D200 Multi Cam 1000 AF Module". The article is way too long to read and digest here at the office, so I will need to do that at home. But I am hoping that it offers additional insights. If anyone has anything else to add, I'd be much abliged.

 

Thanks again all for your much valued advice!

 

Holger

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