Yes, it is a shame to scrap it, but you porbably need to replace the entire lens assembly. Knowing the prices that Sony charges, scrapping may be your best option.
Try to find a shop in you area that repairs Sony and you may be able to negotiate a more reasonable price than Sony would charge.
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Are you using an auto-focus m4/3 lens? I have about 20 lenses for this camera and only 1 of them is an auto-focus m4/3 lens. I have an adapter so I can use my 4/3 lenses on it in auto-focus mode along with other various mounts (including cctv) that do not support auto-focus. So if you are using a non-auto-focus lens, you will need to manually focus the pictures.
If you are certain it is an auto-focus lens, are you sure you have it set to auto-focus?
What settings do you have your camera set to (aperature mostly is what I'd like to know)? Try adjusting your aperature to be small (to increase your DOF).
Also what lens are you using and what is your focal distance? It could be your lens has a larger or shallower focal distance than what you are trying to achieve (like a macro lens doesn't work that great for landscape photography or a telephoto lens doesn't work great for macro photography).
Last thought: is your lens or sensor dirty? A dirty lens can cause focusing issues if it is REALLY dirty and a dirty sensor can too (sensor is a bigger pain to clean. I strongly recommend taking it to the pros as they scratch really easily). Dirty lenses can be cleaned with a blower and a lint free cloth and rubbing alcohol if those 2 things don't clear it out.
OHH - I can met this problem before , the camera is trying to auto focus and in the time it does the focus the action has passed.
Take a light & speed setting - then switch to manual mode OR manual focus , this will eliminate the AUTO focus looking for best light reading distance etc.
Some cameras also have a "fast" setting which is usually a 'running man' icon - click this button and the picture will drop back to 5mpixels but it will take a quick shot instead of saving then scanning at a slower speed.
I have a sample image here, I'm not sure how it will load it's a crop from a full frame. I've read into your camera specifications and have found that 15 seconds is the longest shutter speed you can use, I didn't find a "Bulb" for shutter speed and this will limit your abilities to make clear "clarity" night photographs to work within the 15 seconds you will need to increase the ISO, increasing the ISO will introduce a grain effect and the clarity will fall off. I'll give you a starting point some things you won't like what I'm saying but I've been doing this since 1983. You will need a sturdy tripod. Shut the IS off. See if you can focus on your subject and compose. If you can't auto focus (lack of light or contrast) switch to manual focus, focus is critical if you can't obtain this the shot will be useless. After focus compose your scene set your camera at ISO 100, manual mode F11 adjust the shutter speed to give proper exposure increase ISO by one stop and decrease F stop by one (F8) check exposure once you have the exposure recompose your scene. Make sure the camera is in manual focus, IS (image stabilization) is off, set self timer to 2 second delay, check your scene again and release the shutter and don't touch the camera again until the exposure is complete. There is a whole lot more to this and you are limited because of the lack of the bulb feature or a shutter speed greater then 15 seconds. Sample image
We need to understand Depth of Field first. Depth of field increase in two ways, one with the Aperture setting and one with the distance the lens is focused on. Example, at F22 focused at 10 feet the Depth of Field will be (assume for the example) from 7ft to 20 ft. You need to use the camera in aperture mode, set it to a "Slow" aperture, the larger the number the slower the aperture. Example F2.8 is "fast or Open, F22 is slow or "closed". The problem is not in your lens or camera. To get maximum Depth of fuield you need to shoot in Aperture Mode, set the f-stop to F11 or slower, F16, F22. The use manual focus to focus the lens. Using auto focus is "ok" for many scenes but to get MAX Depth of field you cannot let the camera select the object to focus on. Here is the BEST way to do it. Setup your camera in Aperture mode, set F-stops as suggested above. Focus on the subject that you want and shoot. Dont forget, the camera will be using slow shutter speeds like this so camera shake will create blurr that can be confused with out of focus. Shooting slow at F11 to F22 usually required a good tripod. Also, another thing to know, Field of focus is deeper "behind" the spot you are focusing on than in "Frint" of the point you are focused on. Good luck, Worm1855
I do not think your lens is out of order.
Sometimes this happens.
If your lens is not out of order then lets think the problem is another thing according to the user.
Autofocusing is great but under some conditions such as below you may consider.
Shooting in dimly lit environments can be difficult for some cameras and lenses when it comes to focusing.
You’ll know when your camera is struggling in Auto mode when every time you go to take a shot the lens will whirl from one end of it’s focusing options to the other and back again before deciding on where to focus.
This can really lengthen your shooting process and make taking quick candid shots quite frustrating.
Switch to manual mode and you can quickly find your focusing point and get the shot you’re after.
Try to get to the menus and set all to default. Some of these cameras may have a reset button or in the menu to reset all.
Lens problems can vary and can be the result of a lot of other problems which may cloud the issue, and may never be found out. Since electronics control the lens, it may be possible that some of the modules or components have changed value. In this case, it could be that it may never be able to be found out, except to use test equipment from Canon. In which case, it needs to be repaired by Canon.
Canon does have a repair department, and a toll free number. canon.com They also have a trade-in or trade-up program for those who have decided not to fix a camera, but get a refurbished one from Canon. This program they have is great, and I have used it more than once to trade off a couple of my broken cameras. They will use them for parts on repairs of cameras they fix.
Sounds like you need to get your camera fixed by Nikon.
However, you say the auto focus stopped working, you didn't switch to a lens that uses a mechanical focus linkage do you? The D40 only supports lenses with AF-S or AF-I type autofocus drives. AF-D and AF-G types without AF-S or AF-I don't autofocus.
Also, check that the A/M switch on the lens is in the correct position.
Manual focusing is quite difficult to do accurately with an AF camera. The screen inside the camera is not optimized for this. If you are sure you are focusing accurately but the pictures you take are still out of focus, the mirror may need adjusting. I can provide further info on this if you require, but if you're within warranty, i'd recommend that route first.
You don't normally want to focus on infinity for landscape shots.
Auto focus on mid distance between you and infinity [horizon or most distant object] while half holding down shutter button re compose your pic and shoot.
Depth of field will help to ensure that everything is in focus larger F stop more depth of field. f2.8 minimum depth of field.
This is digital, film is cheap :-)
Using the same focus spot, take one shot at each aperture and decide which aperture gives the desired results in terms of sharpness, I think you will find that will be around f4.
Then try different focusing spot [closer or further away] to adjust how much between you and infinity is in focus depending on the results YOU wish to achieve.
The shooting modes are described as follows:
PROGRAM AUTO (Factory default setting)
Program Auto mode is used for regular photography. The camera automatically makes the settings for natural color balance. Other functions, such as the flash mode and metering, can be adjusted manually.
Portrait mode is suitable for taking a portrait-style picture of a person. The camera automatically sets the optimal shooting conditions.
Landscape mode is suitable for taking pictures of landscapes and other outdoor scenes. The camera automatically sets the optimal shooting conditions.
Night scene mode is suitable for shooting pictures in the evening or at night. The camera sets a slower shutter speed than is used in normal shooting. If you take a picture of a street at night in any other mode, the lack of brightness will result in a dark picture with only dots of light showing. In this mode, the true appearance of the street is captured. The camera automatically sets the optimal shooting conditions. If you use the flash, you can take pictures of both your subject and the night background.
Self-portrait mode enables you to take a picture of yourself while holding the camera. Point the lens towards yourself, and the focus will be locked on you. The camera automatically sets the optimal shooting conditions. The zoom is fixed in the wide position and cannot be changed.
QuickTime Movie mode lets you record movies. The focus and zoom are locked. If the distance to the subject changes, the focus may be compromised.