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Focus accuracy with varying distance, Nikon D3x + AF-S 35mm f/1.4G

Nikon D3x + Nikon AF-S 35mm f/1.4G

Just published in my review of the Nikon 35mm f/1.4G is a new page showing focus error at five different distances from about 120 feet to about 20 feet, thus establishing that the focus error seen with the 35mm f/1.4G occurs at wide variation in distance. In short, it is not a near-infinity focus problem only.

I have also established that lighting intensity is not involved; the focus error occurs in dim, bright, or moderate light.

One thing I’ve noted is that the two samples of the 35/1.4G I’ve used both have true infinity focus well beyond the infinity mark, which is a little odd compared to the rest of my AF-S lenses, which tend to focus very close to the infinity mark.

A Nikon D3x is coming from today, and I will check that body’s behavior with the 35/1.4G, to establish whether my own D3x and D3s bodies are just not liking the lens. Could I have two faulty pro bodies? Seems unlikely, since my other AF-S lenses have not troubled me. I suppose the good news would be that both bodies are faulty, which would of course be incriminating testimony as to Nikon quality.

I’ve already established that a second sample of the 35/1.4G also has focus problems with my Nikon D3x and D3s camera bodies, and see reader comments as well.

I can also report that the 35/1.4G ruined all my Christmas morning shots (Nikon D3s): even at f/2.8 the images were all front-focused, with the result of soft faces (still usable at small print sizes I suppose). And this was at close range (3-10 feet). Well, there is always next Christmas (pros: there is always the next wedding!).

In terms of autofocus, the 35/1.4G is surely the biggest piece of crap I’ve ever used of any brand, at least on my Nikon D3x and D3s (that’s $13K worth of pro camera bodies, folks). How can Nikon ship this garbage? Bad lens? Well, the other 35/1.4G sample I shot two days ago showed similar issues under field conditions, and could not focus properly on an eye for a portrait.

What is the explanation? I don’t know, and my usual Nikon contact is away until Jan 3, so nothing will be forthcoming from that direction for a week, assuming I get a response to my inquiry (never got a response to my Nikon 24/1.4G query some months ago, which also had problems, see the survey).

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