I am finding it quite difficult to use my 70-300 Manual focus non-VR lens with D5000. Learnt it from experts that 70-300 non VR lens does not perform well with D5k though the lens mounts on this body!

My problem is, whenever I focus a subject, I feel like the subject is crisp and focussed. But while post processing, when I crop the subject to fill in frame, I find that the image is totally disappointing. The image now appears to be off-focus.

What might be the problem? Should I switch my lens?

Thanks & Regards, Raj

  • 1
    Can you post a sample image?
    – Agos
    Jan 31, 2011 at 9:45
  • Thanks for the answers guys! Sorry for a very late reply, but I wanted some time to ponder upon what you guys have suggested. I will upload some photos tonight and will bombard some more questions :) Feb 11, 2011 at 7:33

3 Answers 3


Camera shake and cropping are definite candidates, but I would say that the most likely culprit is manual focusing.

Are you using the green focus indicator light to judge focus? If not then you will almost certainly be out of focus. I find it impossible to focus by eye through my D300. Digital SLRs' focus screens are designed to show as bright an image as possible, and unlike older manual focus lenses these focus screens are much more forgiving to the image being out of focus. So, unless you have very sharp eyes, I doubt you'll be able to focus reliably just by looking at the image in the viewfinder. (FWIW I also find the LCD on the back of the camera to be insufficient to really judge focus, even at 100% zoom)

As I say, I believe, you can use the focus indicator light even with manual focus lenses (It's labelled 1 in the diagram here: http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/nikond5000/page5.asp).

If you want to check your lens, then put the camera on a tripod, focus on something stationary and bright enough to give you a good high shutter speed (say 1/500 of a second) and see what that looks like on your computer.

  • +1 for hard manual focus on focusing screen'less cameras. Jan 31, 2011 at 11:55

Have you tried shooting from tripod (or other flat and stable surface) ? If this solves the problem then the reason is camera shake. Also it is rather hard to manualy focus using small viewfinder of entry level DSLR.


How hard are you cropping? The D5000's image sensor is a small one. Its capacity for holding fine detail is limited, as is the case with all small sensor cameras when compared to the detail you'll pull off a full-frame sensor such as you'll find in the Nikon D3 cameras. Thus, the harder you the crop the image, the fuzzier it is going to look. Realise that when you crop an image, you subtract pixels. None are replaced. The image may scale up to the same size on-screen as the original image was but that doesn't mean any pixels are being re-scaled. You crop your image, you lose detail. It has ever been thus and always will be. On top of that, any lens with that kind of zoom range is going to suffer in the acuity stakes. When you say the image looks sharp through the viewfinder, you should remember that's because your eye, emotions and intellect are idealising the image. It's really not as sharp as you think it is, and I don't care what anyone says about the quality of a 70-300mm lens, it just ain't gonna cut it for fine detail capture in the same way as a prime lens at any equal length.

In short, if you're cropping too hard and expecting your image to remain sharp after shooting with a 70-300mm on a DX sensor, you're just asking too much of your equipment. Try getting closer to your subject instead. :)

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