This is an example of how the plane of focus can make or break a shot. The slightest back- or front-focus would have rendered the fencing in the foreground unsharp, thereby eliminating the contrast between what's sharp and what's not. On the other hand, I doubt this image would have worked as well if it was all in focus. What do you think?
I'm pretty relaxed about most technical aspects of photography. A bit of under- or overexposure or a white balance that's a bit too warm or cool is really not that big a deal if you're shooting Raw and converting many of your files from color to monochrome anyway. The one area where I tend to get fussy is focus. I use focus, composition, and the way tones are arranged in a scene to help direct the viewer's eye to what I want them to see. Of these three, a missed plane of focus is the one I am least able to correct in Photoshop. Blurring things is easy; focusing something that wasn't in focus to begin with, not so much.
That's why I--and I suspect I'm not alone here--still like shooting with manual focus cameras (my Nikon FM3A, for example). It's easy to tell from looking through the viewfinder where the plane of focus is and where it isn't. Because manual focus lenses have distance markings and lots of them, I can even prefocus a lens without looking through the viewfinder, stop down for depth-of-field, and use the depth-of-field markings (anyone remember those?) to get a pretty good idea of how much of the image will be in reasonable focus.
You can probably tell from the narrow angle of view here that I was using a telephoto lens. My focus shifted from achieving depth-of-focus to making it deep enough for key compositional elements to look sharp. This, by the way, was shot while walking up the stairs on the Eiffel Tower.
Lack of consistently accurate autofocus, especially indoors, is why I'm preparing to sell my Nikon D7000. It has many wonderful qualities; this just doesn't happen to be one of them. You can tell me I'm using it incorrectly and accuse me of being incompetent all you like. You can also assure me that this problem doesn't exist, every photo you've taken with your D7000 has been tack-sharp, and therefore I don't know what I'm talking about. I don't care. Life is too short and there are too many good cameras out there for me to have to use one I don't trust completely. I've got my eye on one or two replacements but won't tip my hand just yet. It probably won't be another Nikon though. Nothing personal; it's just time for a change.
If you or your camera can't get consistently sharp photos of this type of subject at this distance then something is seriously wrong--speaking of which, why would someone name a chic restaurant in the St. Germain area of Paris "Le Schmuck"? It doesn't sound particularly appetizing. On the other hand, I imagine the French find some of our restaurant names equally perplexing.
I have just the opposite attitude toward my Nikon V1 though. It focusses a lot faster than I can and with more consistency and accuracy too. Throw in its small size, nondescript appearance, sturdy construction, and quiet operation and it's a street and travel photographer's delight. Instead of feeling as if I have to be constantly on my guard to make sure it doesn't screw up, I feel as if I can relax and concentrate on capturing the right light and the right moment. And shouldn't that be everyone's focus?