canon rumors FORUM

Rumors => Lenses => Topic started by: Scott_McPhee on June 19, 2013, 08:35:21 AM

Title: AFMA - Is is really necessary?
Post by: Scott_McPhee on June 19, 2013, 08:35:21 AM
I am semi-pro and use a 5D mark III body and I have recently upgraded my Mk 1 lenses to the 24-70mm f2.8L II and 70-200mm f2.8L II.

I have never bothered with any AFMA and the mark II lenses do look sharp - even in 100% crops, but it has always niggled in my mind that they "could" benefit from some AFMA.

Should I be doing it and, without buying a calibration kit, what is the easiest way to do AFMA?

I have heard a method where you tether the camera to a PC and use the EOS tool to do it - this looks reasonably easy.
Title: Re: AFMA - Is is really necessary?
Post by: neuroanatomist on June 19, 2013, 09:10:32 AM
Yes, it matters.  Granted, sometimes a lens-body combo needs no AFMA, but the more lenses you have....

I'd recommend Reikan FoCal.  You've got north of $7K in gear, a small investment in software to get the most from that gear is more than worthwhile, IMO.
Title: Re: AFMA - Is is really necessary?
Post by: Pi on June 19, 2013, 10:15:01 AM
It is only needed when it is needed.  :) I use it on about half of my lenses. When I get a new lens, I test it with "real life" shots, and carefully scrutinize them for focus accuracy. If I see nothing wrong, I do not do MA. It does not stop there, I may find problems later, and then do MA.

I do it manually, with a target at my normal shooting distance with that lens. With zooms, I do it at the longest FL.
Title: Re: AFMA - Is is really necessary?
Post by: Scott_McPhee on June 19, 2013, 10:51:44 AM
It seems like a subject that you could get obsessed with.

This looks like a good guide to doing it for free:
http://www.northlight-images.co.uk/article_pages/cameras/1ds3_af_micoadjustment.html (http://www.northlight-images.co.uk/article_pages/cameras/1ds3_af_micoadjustment.html)

I've never done it before so would be worried about screwing up my AF.
Title: Re: AFMA - Is is really necessary?
Post by: neuroanatomist on June 19, 2013, 10:54:51 AM
This looks like a good guide to doing it for free:
http://www.northlight-images.co.uk/article_pages/cameras/1ds3_af_micoadjustment.html (http://www.northlight-images.co.uk/article_pages/cameras/1ds3_af_micoadjustment.html)

In my experience, the camera can be moved a fair bit with no discernable change in the moiré pattern.
Title: Re: AFMA - Is is really necessary?
Post by: Scott_McPhee on June 19, 2013, 11:14:13 AM
Reikan FoCal looks good - anyone used it?
Title: Re: AFMA - Is is really necessary?
Post by: AcutancePhotography on June 19, 2013, 12:09:16 PM
If the pictures are sharp enough/focus accurate enough for your purposes, then AFMA may not be necessary.

Is anyone (you?) complaining about the sharpness of your pictures?
Title: Re: AFMA - Is is really necessary?
Post by: Zv on June 19, 2013, 12:16:25 PM
Reikan FoCal looks good - anyone used it?

Yeah I recommend it for any lens that has a wide aperture. If anything you can see how consistent the AF is. The software is automated and it does repeated tests and then averages it out. What's interesting is how the focus at these wide apertures varies - click +10,  click again +6 and so on. So that means at any given time, even with a calibrated lens you're not gonna be hitting the target with 100% accuracy every time. All your doing is increasing that probability or getting it closer to accurate. Some lenses may only be slightly off in which case you might get away with leaving it at zero. But some will clearly be off when you see Reikan in action.

Forgot to mention it also depends a lot on your typical shooting distance. The further the subject is from the lens the more likely it is to be in sharp focus as the dof increases. So calibrate the lens at your working distance.
Title: Re: AFMA - Is is really necessary?
Post by: Dutchphotographer on June 19, 2013, 12:23:33 PM
Yes I use Focal Pro.
Some of my lenses need little to none AFMA, some like my 85mm 1.8 need +8.
I once returned 2 sigma's 30mm 1.4 that needed more than +20.

Focal pro also allows you to test lens sharpness and plots a graph per aperture. It's quick to set up and verify your lenses are work as expected. Also included is a focus consistency test.
Title: Re: AFMA - Is is really necessary?
Post by: Malte_P on June 19, 2013, 12:32:57 PM
ken rockwell says nobody needs AFMA and he knows best.

Title: Re: AFMA - Is is really necessary?
Post by: comsense on June 19, 2013, 01:20:40 PM
It seems like a subject that you could get obsessed with.
+100 X 1
I have seen enough obsession here. No doubt its a very useful tool when you NEED it.
There are plenty of conflicting views here. Opinion range from:
1) You should get every lens you have and put it through test charts at every focal length, distance, with temperature changes of +/- 1 deg in bright light
2) If you see a problem, try AF microadjust with real life things you tend to shoot most.
I will leave it up to you to decide what you want to believe.  Must add that most respectable pro's (any yes Ken R is not included here - neither respectable nor pro) tend to suggest #2. I am adding an article from what should be most relevant source - The Canon itself:

http://www.learn.usa.canon.com/resources/articles/2011/af_microadjustment_article.shtml (http://www.learn.usa.canon.com/resources/articles/2011/af_microadjustment_article.shtml)

There are many people aggressively pushing for FoCal (not suggesting any financial interest; it may be their obsession). If you believe in nice and valid argument that $60 is less than 1% of $6000 or more you might have spent on gear, you can stop here. FoCal has been widely reported to work well. IMHO, it might be more damaging to your time than your wallet. If you are one who can't waste $1 even if you can afford everything you want, there are free ways. One from Arash Hazeghi looks most interesting (would love to hear opinions of people who have used it). Google or see description in link below.

http://ophrysphotography.co.uk/pages/tutoriallensmicroadjustment.htm (http://ophrysphotography.co.uk/pages/tutoriallensmicroadjustment.htm)

Just my opinion (and I am neither expert in AFMA nor pro), not trying to flame anyone.
Title: Re: AFMA - Is is really necessary?
Post by: caMARYnon on June 19, 2013, 01:25:19 PM
I used Dot-Tune (fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1187247/0) with excellent results. It's easy to set and it's free.
Title: Re: AFMA - Is is really necessary?
Post by: neuroanatomist on June 19, 2013, 01:35:49 PM
2) If you see a problem, try AF microadjust with real life things you tend to shoot most.

I think that's a reasonable approach.  The only possible downside is that if a lens-body combo is a little off, the images will still look pretty sharp - it's just that they could be a little sharper...but how would you know that?

One 'quick-and-dirty' test is to compare contrast-detect (live view) AF with phase-detect (viewfinder) AF.  Set up on a tripod, take a few shots in Live View, then a few shots with standard AF.  If there's a noticeable difference in sharpness between the sets of images with the Live View images winning, AFMA would be a good next step. 

When I put my 135L on my 5DII, shots looked soft.  It needed an AFMA of -11, after that it was very sharp.  That same lens on my 1D X needs no adjustment.  I didn't get around to running an AFMA test on my 600/4 for a while after getting the lens, but the images appeared sharp.  Sure enough, it tested out at +1 for the bare lens, and -1 with the 1.4xIII - not really significant for an f/4 lens. 
Title: Re: AFMA - Is is really necessary?
Post by: Mt Spokane Photography on June 19, 2013, 01:39:07 PM
I check all my new lenses as soon as I get them.  The reason is simple, if there is a problem, its easiest to find it by using a tool like Focal. 
 
It has nothing to do with obsession, a properly functioning lens is important, and it can be returned and replaced if you check it out immediately.  I once bought a used lens, it seemed fine, and after a few weeks, I used it to take photos of my 90 year old father at Christmas.  Every one of them was coming out oof.  Finally, I spotted that by reviewing them at magnification on the camera LCD.  The only other lens I had was a f/4, and in the poor light, I had to use extreme ISO.  I lost a lot of photos that could not be replaced, he passed on without another Christmas.
 
Lesson learned - check new equipment.
 
How critical is the AFMA adjustment?  Most Canon lenses are close enough to where it is not a issue, but there are enough exceptions to make it worth checking.  Third party lenses tend to be a lot more variable.
 
When a lens requires more than about a 5 point adjustment, the improvement is noticeable, and 10 points or more is flat out obvious.
 
I find, not surprisingly, that used lenses tend to need AFMA more than new ones, but there are exceptions, about 1 in 4 had a adjustment of 8 pts or more.
 
 
 
 

 
Title: Re: AFMA - Is is really necessary?
Post by: comsense on June 19, 2013, 01:58:15 PM

One 'quick-and-dirty' test is to compare contrast-detect (live view) AF with phase-detect (viewfinder) AF.  Set up on a tripod, take a few shots in Live View, then a few shots with standard AF.  If there's a noticeable difference in sharpness between the sets of images with the Live View images winning, AFMA would be a good next step. 


Couldn't agree more. This is my absolute must after I buy a new lens or try new combo.

I think its also relevant to add here, that for situations where DoF is super thin (and hence optimal AFMA most necessary) finding a contrasty signal for AF sensor to latch on (mostly in sub-optimal light) is most critical. Would definitely increase razor sharp keepers (provided everything else is in tolerable range).
Title: Re: AFMA - Is is really necessary?
Post by: comsense on June 19, 2013, 02:15:25 PM

When a lens requires more than about a 5 point adjustment, the improvement is noticeable, and 10 points or more is flat out obvious.
 

Good point. Example of useful information FoCal (can also DIY but much easier on FoCal) can provide for those who want to know their equipment. What is error range of AF on a given camera? That in turn would decide what AFMA change would bring noticeable difference. However it is important to note that it is hard to measure AF error objectively for cross comparison as it depends on contrast on/near sensors and available light. This is one reason why some advocate using real shooting scenario rather than charts. In simple words, charts would reduce the AF error beyond that is possible in real world shooting, making you obsess for adjustments that wont be relevant in real world.
Now, if you have time and patience, it would not be a bad thing at all to fine tune you equipment even at a test chart level.
Title: Re: AFMA - Is is really necessary?
Post by: cayenne on June 19, 2013, 02:46:17 PM
Yes, it matters.  Granted, sometimes a lens-body combo needs no AFMA, but the more lenses you have....

I'd recommend Reikan FoCal.  You've got north of $7K in gear, a small investment in software to get the most from that gear is more than worthwhile, IMO.

I've kinda of been waiting for Magic Lantern's next stable release for the 5D3, and hoping they will have the DotTune auto AFMA parts working....

Would that not do the same as the Focal product?

Cayenne
Title: Re: AFMA - Is is really necessary?
Post by: neuroanatomist on June 19, 2013, 04:21:22 PM
I've kinda of been waiting for Magic Lantern's next stable release for the 5D3, and hoping they will have the DotTune auto AFMA parts working....

Would that not do the same as the Focal product?

Perhaps similar to FoCal's new 'quick' method, but it depends on the implementation.  The quick method may not be the same (or as accurate) as the longer method which averages more shots.
Title: Re: AFMA - Is is really necessary?
Post by: Mt Spokane Photography on June 19, 2013, 04:52:54 PM
Yes, it matters.  Granted, sometimes a lens-body combo needs no AFMA, but the more lenses you have....

I'd recommend Reikan FoCal.  You've got north of $7K in gear, a small investment in software to get the most from that gear is more than worthwhile, IMO.

I've kinda of been waiting for Magic Lantern's next stable release for the 5D3, and hoping they will have the DotTune auto AFMA parts working....

Would that not do the same as the Focal product?

Cayenne

I wonder?  FoCal has been thru a lot in the past year, discovering that the Canon live view AF is not as accurate or reliable as it should be, and having to write their own algorithm to determine accurate focus, for example.
 
As I understand it, dot tune relies on the Canon live view autofocus.  I'm sure its better than nothing, but has already been found to be unreliable.
 
Focal has run so many tests for each body, they have a very good understanding of the system inaccuracies and are still learning and improving.
 
Its interesting to note that the Canon 6D has much more consistent Live AF.
 
http://www.reikan.co.uk/focalweb/index.php/2012/12/af-consistency-comparison-nikon-canon-phase-detect-contrast-detect/ (http://www.reikan.co.uk/focalweb/index.php/2012/12/af-consistency-comparison-nikon-canon-phase-detect-contrast-detect/)
Title: Re: AFMA - Is is really necessary?
Post by: DJD on June 19, 2013, 04:57:23 PM
Here is an example of a "real world" test case where it's pretty easy to tell, without pixel peeping, whether or not you have a issue with front or back focusing.
-djd

(https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-QJe4lZWBv7M/URb6wOBFW1I/AAAAAAAAFyE/buCENUQo-EI/w1026-h733-no/IMG_9214.jpg)

Canon EOS 7D
Focal Length    400mm
Exposure    1/160
F Number    f/5.6
ISO    3200
Title: Re: AFMA - Is is really necessary?
Post by: Mt Spokane Photography on June 19, 2013, 05:21:26 PM
Here is an example of a "real world" test case where it's pretty easy to tell, without pixel peeping, whether or not you have a issue with front or back focusing.
-djd

(https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-QJe4lZWBv7M/URb6wOBFW1I/AAAAAAAAFyE/buCENUQo-EI/w1026-h733-no/IMG_9214.jpg)

Canon EOS 7D
Focal Length    400mm
Exposure    1/160
F Number    f/5.6
ISO    3200

Is it?  Its just one image.  Things are not quite so simple.
 
Please consider the following:
 
 
The Canon AF system varies from shot to shot, so a thorough test requires that you take several shots setting the lens to infinity or mfd before each shot.  Then you need to throw out obvious misfires, and average the others.
 
That one image that appears to be perfect could, in fact be a misfire, and the other nine be OOF.
 
2. With a wide aperture lens, the depth of field is very shallow, so its difficult to spot the exact focus on a three dimensional object.
 
3.  You do not "KNOW" exactly where the camera tried to focus, it could have been on the beak, the foot, the tail, or the board the bird is standing on.  A properly designed target will insure that the AF system will try to focus on the same spot every time.
Title: Re: AFMA - Is is really necessary?
Post by: Dylan777 on June 19, 2013, 06:35:32 PM
I found AFMA is necessary for big aperture prime lenses: 50L, 85L II etc

My 24-70 II & 70-200 f2.8 IS II are amazing without AFMA.
Title: Re: AFMA - Is is really necessary?
Post by: DJD on June 19, 2013, 08:37:21 PM
Here is an example of a "real world" test case where it's pretty easy to tell, without pixel peeping, whether or not you have a issue with front or back focusing.
-djd

(https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-QJe4lZWBv7M/URb6wOBFW1I/AAAAAAAAFyE/buCENUQo-EI/w1026-h733-no/IMG_9214.jpg)

Canon EOS 7D
Focal Length    400mm
Exposure    1/160
F Number    f/5.6
ISO    3200

Is it?  Its just one image.  Things are not quite so simple.
 
Please consider the following:
 
 
The Canon AF system varies from shot to shot, so a thorough test requires that you take several shots setting the lens to infinity or mfd before each shot.  Then you need to throw out obvious misfires, and average the others.
 
That one image that appears to be perfect could, in fact be a misfire, and the other nine be OOF.
 
2. With a wide aperture lens, the depth of field is very shallow, so its difficult to spot the exact focus on a three dimensional object.
 
3.  You do not "KNOW" exactly where the camera tried to focus, it could have been on the beak, the foot, the tail, or the board the bird is standing on.  A properly designed target will insure that the AF system will try to focus on the same spot every time.

Mt Spokane,
You are absolutely correct. I never intended to imply one photo was enough. It was just to give a real world example for which you should take several to determine if you have a problem or not.

I agree with all the other points you bring up as well which also emphasizes the fact that there are lots of other real world reasons why we don't always get perfect focus where we expect in an image. And they have nothing to do with AFMA.

Cheers,
DJD
Title: Re: AFMA - Is is really necessary?
Post by: Mt Spokane Photography on June 19, 2013, 09:29:56 PM
Then again, there's the cheap-o DIY version
A 2x8, a step ladder, and any kind of target (in this case, a cardboard box) - see setup.
I take a few photos, manual defocusing before using AF, and estimate the number of inches front or back focusing. Adjust the micro adjust and repeat.
But ... where is the camera actually trying to focus?  You can't tell by the red box, because the aF area is larger, and it makes a difference based on exactly where the camera focused.  A Camera sensor tends to grab horizontal lines in preference to vertical, and that can have a effect.
There can be lots of gotchas that can lead to wrong conclusions, or they could be right ones, the problem is in knowing which is which.
Title: Re: AFMA - Is is really necessary?
Post by: East Wind Photography on June 19, 2013, 11:10:19 PM
And some are more sensitive in cross or X pattern.  This is good in theory but the target should be better defined and quite a bit larger than the ladder itself to prevent the camera from weighing on it.  Otherwise it's just as good or better than Focal. 

The latest version 1.8.1 failed on all of my lenses (5-15, 100L 70-200L II, 300 2.8L 600F4L and the latter 3 with and without 1.4XIII and 2XIII extenders) but ironically the older 24-70L.  After letting focal do a quick cal as well as a full call on all of my lenses, a check with my spydercal revealed that focal had incorrectly calculated the AFMA on all but the 24-70.

This is quite disappointing as I would have expected an improvement in later versions and instead it has gone the other way.  1.4 seemed to give the best results.

Another interesting thing that happened with 1.8.1 when calibrating my 70-200 2.8L IS II is that on the 200 end at AFMA -20, focal gave it a higher result than at 0.  The images were garbage compared to the same with AFMA 0.  Even with removing those test points the AFMA calculation was considerably off.  Again using the SpyderCal, -3 put the AF dead on 8 out of 8 shots.

To answer the OP question, yes AFMA matters if your lenses are not already dead sharp at 0 AFMA.  And you would never know if you dont test them.  Software and dot tune are not ideal. Both seem problematic to me and the only sure way to verify everything is to use SPyderCal or LensCal type device, homemade or not.

Then again, there's the cheap-o DIY version
A 2x8, a step ladder, and any kind of target (in this case, a cardboard box) - see setup.
I take a few photos, manual defocusing before using AF, and estimate the number of inches front or back focusing. Adjust the micro adjust and repeat.
But ... where is the camera actually trying to focus?  You can't tell by the red box, because the aF area is larger, and it makes a difference based on exactly where the camera focused.  A Camera sensor tends to grab horizontal lines in preference to vertical, and that can have a effect.
There can be lots of gotchas that can lead to wrong conclusions, or they could be right ones, the problem is in knowing which is which.
Title: Re: AFMA - Is is really necessary?
Post by: LetTheRightLensIn on June 20, 2013, 12:05:08 AM
I am semi-pro and use a 5D mark III body and I have recently upgraded my Mk 1 lenses to the 24-70mm f2.8L II and 70-200mm f2.8L II.

I have never bothered with any AFMA and the mark II lenses do look sharp - even in 100% crops, but it has always niggled in my mind that they "could" benefit from some AFMA.

Should I be doing it and, without buying a calibration kit, what is the easiest way to do AFMA?

I have heard a method where you tether the camera to a PC and use the EOS tool to do it - this looks reasonably easy.

yes^yes unless you are really lucky

sometiems just aiming at a crack in the pavement and adjusting works

sometimes just aim at a player and adjust until grass centers around their feet as you like
Title: Re: AFMA - Is is really necessary?
Post by: Rienzphotoz on June 20, 2013, 01:14:32 AM
ken rockwell says nobody needs AFMA and he knows best.
Looks like CR members have become very polite, coz no one picked up on Malte_P's above post ... usually the mere mention of the name Ken Rockwell instigates much love (or the lack thereof) ;D
Title: Re: AFMA - Is is really necessary?
Post by: NormanBates on June 20, 2013, 03:25:51 AM
My opinion:

You don't need AFMA if:
* your camera is not reflex (m43 and nex cameras don't have AFMA because they don't need it)
* your lenses don't have AF or you don't plan to use it (don't laugh, that's my personal case)
* you're not going to shoot faster than f/2.8 on APS-C or f/4 on FF

In every other case, AFMA is the one single biggest feature a camera can have. For me, it trumps everything. Even if you're starting out photography, you'll probably grow beyond "I don't need AFMA" in 6 to 12 months. I've seen it before: totally new to photography, buy a 60D with a few lenses, including a 50mm f/1.8 II, six months later sell it and get a second-hand 50D, because of AFMA. Much happier user now.

Some people may just have been lucky with their camera-lens combination. Sending lenses back until you get one that suits your body may be an option for some. For everybody else, lack of AFMA will most probably ruin most fast-aperture pictures.
Title: Re: AFMA - Is is really necessary?
Post by: East Wind Photography on June 20, 2013, 09:16:25 AM
One of the problems with doing that is that the moire patterns you sometimes get (not sensor moire but from the screen on the camera) on the older models can give you a false interpretation of the results.  I have tried very carefully to use the rear screen to eval AF points and then find later after downloading to the PC that it was off.  The only thing I can come up with is that the screen DPI even at actual magnification, alters the image slightly enough to make AFMA determination risky (yes I made sure all of the in camera alterations were disabled).  5D3 and 1DX are much better but it's still easier to find the exact AF point on a larger computer screen.

You really need to take the time to evaluate it correctly...sometimes requires going out back and taking 12 shots then coming in to eval, make some tweaks, go back out for another 12 and repeat until you have it nailed down.  Anything else and you are simply guessing and unless your AFMA is already way off, it's probably best left at disabled.


I am semi-pro and use a 5D mark III body and I have recently upgraded my Mk 1 lenses to the 24-70mm f2.8L II and 70-200mm f2.8L II.

I have never bothered with any AFMA and the mark II lenses do look sharp - even in 100% crops, but it has always niggled in my mind that they "could" benefit from some AFMA.

Should I be doing it and, without buying a calibration kit, what is the easiest way to do AFMA?

I have heard a method where you tether the camera to a PC and use the EOS tool to do it - this looks reasonably easy.

yes^yes unless you are really lucky

sometiems just aiming at a crack in the pavement and adjusting works

sometimes just aim at a player and adjust until grass centers around their feet as you like
Title: Re: AFMA - Is is really necessary?
Post by: Scott_McPhee on June 20, 2013, 10:24:49 AM
Well, some great comments here on my original post, thanks for the input and opinions.

I've purchased the Plus version of FoCal and will be giving it a go tonight.
From what I read you can't do fully automatic calibration with the 5D3 but it's as close and you can get.

Anyone know if I add my 1.4 TC to my 70-200 will the camera store separate AFMA data from it than when I use the 70-20 on it's own?
Title: Re: AFMA - Is is really necessary?
Post by: neuroanatomist on June 20, 2013, 11:01:37 AM
Anyone know if I add my 1.4 TC to my 70-200 will the camera store separate AFMA data from it than when I use the 70-20 on it's own?

Yes, a lens + TC is treated as a unique 'lens' for AFMA value storage.
Title: Re: AFMA - Is is really necessary?
Post by: East Wind Photography on June 20, 2013, 11:28:14 AM
I think thats only true if it's a canon TC.  Will it save say a Canon lens and Kenko TC combo?

Anyone know if I add my 1.4 TC to my 70-200 will the camera store separate AFMA data from it than when I use the 70-20 on it's own?

Yes, a lens + TC is treated as a unique 'lens' for AFMA value storage.
Title: Re: AFMA - Is is really necessary?
Post by: neuroanatomist on June 20, 2013, 11:32:29 AM
I think thats only true if it's a canon TC.  Will it save say a Canon lens and Kenko TC combo?

Depends on the model and firmware (dot color) of the Kenko TC.  Some don't report their existence at all, so no separate AFMA.  Some that report their existence cause certain Canon camera models (e.g. the 5DIII) to lock up if AMFA is enabled, requiring pulling the battery to reset the camera).
Title: Re: AFMA - Is is really necessary?
Post by: Scott_McPhee on June 20, 2013, 11:43:09 AM
Mine is a Canon TC so all good.  :)

Hopefully FoCal will take the hassle out of calibrating my lenses - will do all 3 of mine and the 70-200 with the TC.

Title: Re: AFMA - Is is really necessary?
Post by: East Wind Photography on June 20, 2013, 01:55:00 PM
I hope you find it hassle free.  For me it has been more work and disappointment (see my post below).  My SpyderCal has been a much better investment in time and $$$.

Mine is a Canon TC so all good.  :)

Hopefully FoCal will take the hassle out of calibrating my lenses - will do all 3 of mine and the 70-200 with the TC.
Title: Re: AFMA - Is is really necessary?
Post by: cayenne on June 20, 2013, 03:47:38 PM
Well, some great comments here on my original post, thanks for the input and opinions.

I've purchased the Plus version of FoCal and will be giving it a go tonight.
From what I read you can't do fully automatic calibration with the 5D3 but it's as close and you can get.

Anyone know if I add my 1.4 TC to my 70-200 will the camera store separate AFMA data from it than when I use the 70-20 on it's own?

I'm looking and reading about this too....I have a 5D3.

I'm curious, since you have to do the adjustments manually, why did you get the PLUS version rather than the standard version?

I read the FAQ page about 'why they say you should still buy the higher versions', but it didn't make much sense to me what else you get out of the plus vs the standard version really.

Curious your thoughts on the Plus version and why you got it...?

Thanks in advance,

cayenne
Title: Re: AFMA - Is is really necessary?
Post by: Scott_McPhee on June 26, 2013, 10:42:06 AM
I found the program really easy to use - the only issue for me was it needs a bit of PC POWER to run and it wouldn't run on my little notebook so I had to do all the calibration from my main PC - this was a bit of a pain for me due to the minimum recommended distance for calibrating the far end of my 200mm lens.
I had to use a USB lead extender and place the target on the wall at the far end of my hallway to get the distance.

The calibration results I got were as follows:

50mm F1.4 - +1
24-70mm f2.8L II - W:+1 T:+1
70-200 f2.8L II - W:+4 T+1

Surprised at the 70-200 with the +4 at the wide end but the program was easy to use and I am now shooting with these recommended values. (My 24-70 and 70-200 lenses are brand new.)

I went for the Plus version as (hopefully) 5D3 users will get fully automatic calibration soon, although it's not a real pain now as all you have to do is change the AF Microadjustment (ALL) value when prompted buy the software. 

AFMA was always something I avoided doing as the manual method was too hit and miss for me, at least now I can calibrate my lenses on a year to year basis.

Do I notice the differerence after calibration - yes - shots look slightly sharper but I am not sure even a +4 AFMA will produce a very noticable difference on the wide end of my 70-200mmm.

IMO - if you want to calibrate and want to do it easily or have never done it before, FoCal is a good way to go.
Title: Re: AFMA - Is is really necessary?
Post by: comsense on June 26, 2013, 11:08:53 AM
Do I notice the differerence after calibration - yes - shots look slightly sharper but I am not sure even a +4 AFMA will produce a very noticable difference on the wide end

'Looks' slightly sharper with +\- 1 is definitely a placebo effect. It should not make any difference in non test chart shooting situations and very little even on test charts.
Title: Re: AFMA - Is is really necessary?
Post by: baphomet on June 26, 2013, 12:29:10 PM
one additional question which has something in parallel with AFMA.
When do you say a picture is 100% sharp., at 100% crop, 300%? What is your expectation?
Background, just got my new 5d mark iii, and also thinking about afma.. at 300% crop I can see that the pictures seem not being sharp, at 100% they do, so now, afma or not :) ?
Title: Re: AFMA - Is is really necessary?
Post by: Zv on June 26, 2013, 12:55:17 PM
one additional question which has something in parallel with AFMA.
When do you say a picture is 100% sharp., at 100% crop, 300%? What is your expectation?
Background, just got my new 5d mark iii, and also thinking about afma.. at 300% crop I can see that the pictures seem not being sharp, at 100% they do, so now, afma or not :) ?

No image will be sharp at 300%. Are you kidding? Look at the image about 50-100%. I prefer 50% when I'm doing PP as it's about as big as it will ever be viewed in real life. 100% for AFMA purposes using Lightrooms compare mode.
Title: Re: AFMA - Is is really necessary?
Post by: baphomet on June 26, 2013, 01:36:45 PM
one additional question which has something in parallel with AFMA.
When do you say a picture is 100% sharp., at 100% crop, 300%? What is your expectation?
Background, just got my new 5d mark iii, and also thinking about afma.. at 300% crop I can see that the pictures seem not being sharp, at 100% they do, so now, afma or not :) ?

No image will be sharp at 300%. Are you kidding? Look at the image about 50-100%. I prefer 50% when I'm doing PP as it's about as big as it will ever be viewed in real life. 100% for AFMA purposes using Lightrooms compare mode.

thanks :) Just wanted to be on the save side :) thx.
Title: Re: AFMA - Is is really necessary?
Post by: Dick on June 26, 2013, 02:23:13 PM
For fast primes I can say I've benefitted from AFMA.

For everything else it has been complete waste of time. I have actually set every 2.8 & 2.8+ lens to 0 AFMA.
Title: Re: AFMA - Is is really necessary?
Post by: roadrunner on June 26, 2013, 02:27:05 PM
Glad everything worked out for you. I just recently purchased the Lens Align II, which feels like it is built out of recycled cardboard, and sent it back back and purchased FoCal. FoCal works awesome, even in the semi-auto mode with the 5D3. I too purchased the plus version. It's a Godsend for my 7D too, making the whole process super easy.

Many of my lenses showed no visible difference in real world use, like my 24-70LII, but other lenses like my 85mm 1.8 and Sigma 35mm 1.4 were clearly sharper. I think they both used +7 or +8. FoCal is one of the best investments I've made.
Title: Re: AFMA - Is is really necessary?
Post by: AJ on June 26, 2013, 03:53:34 PM
For most lenses it is not necessary.  But my 17-55/2.8 IS would be useless without it.
Title: Re: AFMA - Is is really necessary?
Post by: Scott_McPhee on June 27, 2013, 07:47:23 AM
I think a lot of photographers get obsessed by their image sharpness, investing in expensive camera bodies and high end L lenses only to then look at shots at 100%+ and "see" softness.

A lack of sharpness can be down to many other factors other than AFMA - shutter speed, subject movement, ISO noise, out of focus, etc. can all impact on image sharpness.

I would say when I get an unsharp image it's usually down to my fault for not getting everything correct when I am shooting. My focusing is off or my shutter speed hasn't been fast enough to freeze any movement.

I would expect on a expensive body like the 5D3 that you should be able to put virtually any L glass onto it and get sharp results with no AFMA - unless the body or lens is faulty.

It was a worthwhile excercise for me to buy FoCal and calibrate my lenses as it has told me that my lenses are "Okay" quality wise as they only required slight AFMA and I now have an easy method for re-calibrating anc checking in the future.

FoCal does make it easy, especially as I have never done any AFMA before and I managed to calibrate all my lenses in just over an hour at first attempt.