Yes, I bought a D5 to use as my action/fast AF/high ISO camera.  My D810 bodies will continue as my landscape/lower ISO cameras.  I’ve had the new D5 all of two days now, but I’m already getting emails about one feature: how to use the automatic AF fine-tune.  OK, so here goes…and to make it work you need to follow these steps precisely.

  • You need a flat target with distinct high contrast printing.
  • Mount your camera on a sturdy tripod, on a hard surface floor, with the target parallel to the camera back.  Have the camera/target distance about 25 times the focal length of the lens you’re using.
  • Turn off VR.
  • Set the AF mode on the camera to AF-S.
  • Have the Movie Record button set to None (in Custom Settings f1)
  • In Custom Settings f2, set the multi-selector center button > shooting mode > reset > select center focus point.
  • Turn on AF fine-tune in the Setup menu, with the default value at 0.  Leave AF fine-tune turned on from now on.
  • Turn on Live View (make sure the Live View selector switch is set to camera, not video), and select the center focus point by pressing the multi-selector center button.
  • Autofocus on the target using either the shutter button or AF-ON button, and make sure the focus box in Live View turns green, indicating that focus has been achieved.
  • Hold down the AF-mode selector and movie-record button simultaneously, and keep them pressed until a message appears on the LCD (this should appear in about two seconds).  Make sure YES is highlighted, then press the OK button.
  • When a second dialog message appears, press OK again.

That’s it.  Easy.  It took more time to write this out than to do the actual process.

And I now have two D4 camera bodies for sale.  Both in great shape, will all the goodies from Nikon.  Make me a reasonable offer for either (or both!).


  1. Satish Menon April 3, 2016 at 2:12 pm #

    John, thank you for this procedure. Do we do this every time we buy a new lens? Does the camera remember the fine-tuned setting every time we change lenses in the field? What triggers the need for AF fine-tune?

    • John April 5, 2016 at 10:19 am #

      AF fine-tune should be done for every lens + camera body combination that you own. AF fine-turn just corrects for any discrepancies between the AF module and actual focus, and so long as you leave AF fine-tune turned on in the camera’s menu, the camera remembers all the correction factors. Google “autofocus fine-tune” and you’ll get a wealth of info. Note that while AF fine-tine has been a Nikon feature for some time, automatic AF fine-tune is a feature found only on the D5 and the D500.

  2. Satish Menon April 5, 2016 at 2:21 pm #

    Thank you, John. This is very helpful.

  3. protik April 6, 2016 at 5:58 pm #

    Thanks for info.
    Looking forward to see your 2015 image gallery.