Mon 15-Oct-12 06:42 AM | edited Mon 15-Oct-12 06:43 AM by richardd300
Photography Life (Mansurovs) has issued an interesting article regarding lens calibration. As this principally concentrates on the need to calibrate the lens to the camera and the D800 is mentioned in particular, I have it posted here. It may be better suited to the Nikon lens forum, but I'll leave that to the moderator.
I always consider the whole issue of home lens calibration fraught with difficulties and a bit of a dark art. Nasim seems to explain his methods so well giving a good balance between achieving good results and the pitfalls.
I fully understand how a prime can be adjusted and a zoom at one single setting, perhaps the most used setting. This is discussed well and clearly his site is fast becoming a very valuable recourse to the owners of numerous makes of photographic equipment.
Am I correct in thinking that the LensCal he refers to is only available in the US, as I've searched Google and found nothing in the UK.
Richard, thanks for posting this tutorial. I thought it was excellent.
I feel prepared to do AF fine tuning on my own. As a bonus, Mansurov includes guidelines for when adjustment values may be too high to be corrected by tuning based on his experience. His advice would be to consider returning the camera or lens to the manufacturer for calibration outside of these ranges.
I also learned a non-technical bit of information - that lens adjustment terms vary by manufacturer. I had noticed earlier in looking for lens adjustment articles on the web that micro-adjustment appeared to be a more common term than tuning. Just interesting...
Thanks David. I have always been very resistant to seriously attempt fine tune, although admit I have tried it. My problem with it, until the Mansurovs article, is that I read many interpretations and methods especially on forums. However most "expert" written books just mentioned it was possible and went no further. For that reason I was always reluctant to mess about with what I didn't have a clear idea of what I was doing.
Than I read my first ByThom book, the D800 manual and he went into much depth and gave me a greater understanding. However, I was still very nervous. Then, Nasim gave us his thoughts and it helped to give me confidence to try it out with LensCal. I only have one lens, a 70-200mm f2.8 which I am worried about, all others gave me no worries at all as all were free of focus problems when pixel peeping. I have sent that lens to the repairers, because it needs a service anyway. I still don't quite understand how one fine tunes a zoom lens across all focal lengths, but will accept that if it's used predominantly at a single focal length that is possible. I use that lens from 70 thru 200mm so that doesn't satisfy me.
Finally, the LensCal is not available in the UK and costs a fortune to import. One kind member wrote to me and asked if I would like to borrow his. As it's only one lens I've politely declined the very generous offer.
I am rambling, but I see AF-fine tune as being a routine to be attempted under almost scientific laboratory standards, even more especially on zooms. However following the article I am now brave enough to try it on my D800 with my primes. So, thank you Mansurovs
Indeed, an excellent article Richard, also some comments are very interesting. BTW, I found a "Richard" in the comments (you?). Especially comment number 50 written by Michael Tapes (LensAlign), who includes a link by the way, is a point I want to draw attention to. Marc
PS. I have both SpyderLensCal and Michael Tapes' LensAlign. I ordered LensAlign after using LensCal once... and I've used LensAlign for all my lenses since then. LensCal = wasted money.
Thanks mabuge. Yes it was me. Since I wrote above I got frustrated as the LensAlign delivered to the UK was $64 for postage! Michael Tapes has answered me in that they have introduced rate of $16 delivery and if I go the website the new delivery cost will be reflected. I did and it wasn't, still $64! Michael has said that if I checkout then write an email to them the lower postage cost will apply. Too messy for me, but I will have another look soon just out of curiosity.
Anyway, I think I am being persuaded by the article, excellent as it is, to go looking for trouble as I've always shied away from AF-fine tune after using a LensCal once and it told me nothing. Yep I think it's a waste of money too. No different to the free printed out pdf test sheet and set the camera to 45 degrees.
I may buy a lensalign when I hit trouble, but for now I'm awaiting the return of my 70-200mm from the repairers.
Yes indeed Richard, it is pretty expensive to get it to Europe (+ import taxes). When I ordered, transportation to the continent costed exactly 35$. I had to pay an extra charge for import at delivery (I don't remember how much).
Related to hoping that repairs solve back or front focus... I had repairs to a lens and got a new TC + a repair of my D800E. The camera showed the known left-right focus issue + back focus. After repair, none of my lenses is dead on at AF adjustment 0. So I'm happy I bought LensAlign. My reasoning is that if you can afford a D800 + lenses, a product like LensAlign is a well spent cost, better than the expensive protection filters almost everyone puts in front to protect their lenses (only required at a windy beach, sand and salty water, or likewise I'd say).
The point I also wanted to make is that comment #50 makes me curious about the new FocusTune software Michael Tapes mentions, soon to appear... it works with LensAlign or stand-alone. With LensAlign you probably can do more. Interesting introduction price of $29.95 ($19.95 for MKII owners)! Take a look.
Yes, I saw the FocusTune extract and I signed on to their release of FocusTune which is planned for Monday Oct 22nd. At the moment I'm just being nosey. I also totally agree with your reasoning that if one can afford a D800, then one can afford a LensAlign. I had another reply from Michael since I last posted about carriage prices which I am afraid I don't quite understand
"Hi Richard, Looking deeper for the LensAlign MkII Plus we uncovered another cayuse for the shipping price problems. (Simple stuff that cause big problems...how the post office looks at LxWxH as opposed to the shopping cart.). All LensAlign models should not show at $16.95 (or very close) for International Priority Mail. Thanks again for bringing this to our attention. Michael".
So, is he saying that $16.95 is not available! I'm just about to reply to him. I am more confused than ever now.
Richard, I guess it was just a typo, "not at $16.95 should have been now at $16.95. I checked at Michael Tapes site:16.95$ is the current transportation tariff to Europe (note I did not check all countries, just a few). Marc
Yes and very complicated if ordering. To get that $16.95 rate I had to order it directly with Michael Tapes who is aware that there is a glitch on the ordering procedure. You will note the word "ordered"! I have relented and decided that because I am naturally curious and know little about AF fine tune, except that I've always considered it a dark art, it would do no harm to learn. As we've said Lenscal is not good, but LensAlign gets an excellent response here. Also, for a limited period the new FocusTune is discounted and I want to take advantage of that.
Who knows, perhaps I'll strt my own business setting up people's camera focus systems Said with tongue in cheek.