My Canon 70-200 f/2.8 IS II went in for service twice in a three week or so period.
It had a front element defect which was followed by a "misaligned" element upon return which caused very oof (yet inconsistent) corners. Now upon return for the "misaligned"element, the corners aren't perfect, but much better. Unfortunately, everything is slightly oof now. I want to micro-adjust and see how things look then. Using just a yardstick, it appears that the camera is back focusing a bit, but I'd like to adjust using a proper tool.
Reikan Focal is something I want to purchase and use in the near future, but for now I need something that doesn't require a computer and isn't fussy about lighting. Enter Lensalign mk II generation 2 and its quasi copycat, the Datacolor Spyderlenscal.
I am trying to pick one. Here's my analysis of the pros and cons of each as far as I can tell:
Pros: More sophisticated design with dual sided and dual color (B&W + W&B) measurement stick, better target that includes a built in tool to get the camera center and parallel to it, and the option of a larger measuring stick for super telephoto lenses.
Cons: Supposedly somewhat flimsy design where measuring stick will sag over time and cannot be disassembled and reassembled many times before it becomes damaged. No bubble level to ensure it is level on a tripod that has no level.
Pros: More robust build quality. Designed to be repeatedly folded flat. Bubble level built into base.
Cons: Less sophisticated design than Lensalign. Measurement stick is basically a ruler. No tool to help align camera to target.
So, for those of you who own one or the other, any info you can share would be appreciated.
Please note: I'm posting this because it seems every other thread on the internet asking the same question was derailed by a bunch of people replying that they use neither and instead use Reikan Focal. I appreciate what Focal has to offer, but in this thread I'm asking about Lensalign mk II generation 2 vs Spyderlenscal - not Focal. Also, if you use Lensalign Pro or Lite, neither product is still sold. The original Lensalign mk II is also discontinued.
So I guess I am one of the few that gave up on FoCal and now use a spyder lanscal.
First off the reasons I gave up I on Focal. More complex setup, results were not consistent across lenses and bodies, typically would rack up excessive shutter actuations just trying to get it to provide something of consistency, constant bugs which would cause the application to crash be unresponsive and countless wasted hours dealing with it. What it is good for is testing your equipment to make sure it's working...though I don't believe you can completely determine if it's working properly.
Neuro has had decent results taking the shots manually and importing them later into the application. Definately would help since the direct camera interface has a lot to be desired.
The Spyder lanscal is small but that does have a benefit in that you are forced to target the center of the tool which even if is tilted slightly is still close enough for govt work. The variances in AF accuracy due to lens aging, color temperature of the light, intensity of the light, ambient temperature, really negate the need for perfect parallel setup. Eyeball should get you within 1mm on this target. It's also portable so you can take it anywhere, set it up and verify everything is working as set before you actually start shooting. Yes it has a short ruler but it's fairly easy to tell which wayyou need to go if you are off the scale. Not an issue.
The lensalign product I never used but decided not to buy at the time for the same reasons you did not. I doubt it would hold up very well in the field, especially when calibrating a large supertele. I wanted something I could set up on site in the conditions I am shooting and make final tweaks as needed. Setting up a computer on a football field is not something I really want to do all of the time.
I'm sure Reikan will eventually evolve their product into something more reliable. However the setup is challenging and was not the solution for me. It's easy enough to just use the spyder lenscal and be done with it.