Living a dream as a photographer & filmmaker

DSLR Focusing Test to help confirm your camera's proper autofocus operation

I have finally received the Nikon D4. Yay! But... during my wait, I have read that some units had a focusing problem. So, I decided to run a simple test (outlined by Nasim from that allows to check for proper autofocusing of the camera. My findings are described in this post. Please, take note, that this test can be performed on any DSLR/lens combination, so its not specific to Nikon or the D4.
1. Print out a focusing chart.

2. Tape it to a well lit wall (or other vertical surface).

3. Setup your DSLR on a tripod framing the focusing chart to take approximately 1/3 of the frame. I've used my Nikon D4 mounted on Manfrotto tripod.

4. Setup your lens to the largest aperture possible (smallest f/ number) (I've used Nikkor 50mm 1.4D lens; aperture set to 1.4); activate LiveView, focus, then take the photo via Self Timer Mode (to minimize the blur caused by vibration. You can also activate Mirror Up mode).

5. Deactivate LiveView, defocus the lens, then activate autofocus and take the photo by looking through the viewfinder.

6. Now you have 2 images on the memory card: one taken via LiveView, the other one via the viewfinder. Transfer the images to the computer and open them via image editing software.

7. Open both images in 100 % view or actual size (see images below).

8. Compare the two images; both of them should be sharp. Below is an image of the test chart that looks out of focus-its not suppose to look like that (image via

9. Repeat this test with another lens. Compare the results.

10. If your images are not sharp on both sets done with different lenses, your DSLR has a focusing problem. If one set is good, and another is bad, then, its the second lens that needs to be calibrated.

After conducting this test I confirmed that my Nikon D4 is focusing properly.

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