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Author Topic: Bought at 6D on Black Friday; AFMA or not?  (Read 2413 times)

PCM-madison

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Bought at 6D on Black Friday; AFMA or not?
« on: December 09, 2013, 01:12:53 AM »
I bought my first auto-focus micro adjustment capable camera this week (Canon 6D-$1400 Black Friday special). My question is, should I?

1) Go out and shoot pictures without worrying about AFMA?
2) Only consider AFMA if I am unhappy with real world images?
3) Use AFMA feature no matter what on all my lenses?
4) Selectively use AFMA for my fast lenses (F2.8 and wider)?

If the answer is to use AFMA, what work flow do you recommend?

Paul

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Bought at 6D on Black Friday; AFMA or not?
« on: December 09, 2013, 01:12:53 AM »

Marsu42

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Re: Bought at 6D on Black Friday; AFMA or not?
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2013, 03:30:43 AM »
4) Selectively use AFMA for my fast lenses (F2.8 and wider)?

This. Unless your f4+ lenses are completely off the scale (doesn't hurt to check though) you'll first want to adjust your fast lenses. Also use search :-) and/or read this thread: http://www.canonrumors.com/forum/index.php/topic,17966.msg333275.html#msg333275

If the answer is to use AFMA, what work flow do you recommend?

I recommend using Magic Lantern, it has an afma module ("dot_tune") that automatically adjusts your lens. If you don't want to use that in the current alpha state, alternatives are the commercial FoCal software or using a simple metering stick, then phase' af'ing on a certain spot and afma'ing until it's where you want it... but you have to do that a couple of times because the 6d af has some variance itsseelf.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2013, 07:40:57 AM by Marsu42 »

ninjapeps

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Re: Bought at 6D on Black Friday; AFMA or not?
« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2013, 03:33:35 AM »
It all depends on you. I've had an AFMA capable camera since 2010 but I never even bothered figuring out what it was for or how to use it until I got a lens that front-focused to the point of unusability last month. If you don't think you've been missing focus often or you're not that discerning, you could probably live without it.
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Fleetie

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Re: Bought at 6D on Black Friday; AFMA or not?
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2013, 07:33:21 AM »
...or just use a piece of paper with suitable lines drawn on it.


There's no need to complicate basic AFMA tests, providing they're done carefully. You should probably put the camera on a tripod.


I've been getting the feeling round here recently that if you don't purcahse AFMA software to do the adjustments, you're as much of a "newbie", or even "simpleton" as people who only shoot JPEG and not RAW.

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neuroanatomist

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Re: Bought at 6D on Black Friday; AFMA or not?
« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2013, 08:16:55 AM »
I recommend #3 - a proper AFMA on all lenses.  I use Reikan FoCal.

...or just use a piece of paper with suitable lines drawn on it.

There's no need to complicate basic AFMA tests, providing they're done carefully. You should probably put the camera on a tripod.

I've been getting the feeling round here recently that if you don't purcahse AFMA software to do the adjustments, you're as much of a "newbie", or even "simpleton" as people who only shoot JPEG and not RAW.

Doing them "carefully" is not so simple.  For example, the commonly used printout where you focus on a horizontal line is designed for Nikon cameras.  With many Canon cameras (including the 6D) that is not optimal because you're using an f/5.6 line on the AF sensor, and not a more accurate f/2.8 line.

I agree that purchasing AFMA software isn't required - but it makes it easier to get accurate results.  The commercial tools (LensAlign, etc.) also make it easier, but IMO the software is even easier.  If you use a DIY setup, it should recapitulate the features of a commercial tool (stable setup, 2D focus target parallel to the image sensor, angled ruler, etc.).

A 'piece of paper with suitable lines drawn on it' isn't the way to do it, IMO, as it can lead to incorrect results.  Done properly, AFMA helps you get the sharpest images from your gear.  Done improperly, it can be worse than doing nothing, and I suppose that's why Canon basically warns against doing it ('do it only if necessary, it might prevent correct focus from being achieved').
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RC

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Re: Bought at 6D on Black Friday; AFMA or not?
« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2013, 09:34:23 AM »
If you choose to buy a tool down the road I would certainly go with Reikan FoCal.  I started out with LensAlign, the MkII version, and found it fairly difficult and frustrating at first.  The tool is also very flimsy and fragile.  I understand the more expensive "pro" version has a metal ruler so it's probably more robust.  Focal is easier, quicker, and requires less human interpretation.

FWIW, all of my lens did require some AFMAing.  Four required a minor adjustment of +/- 1-2 and one required a +10.  All but one are 2.8 lens.

neuroanatomist

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Re: Bought at 6D on Black Friday; AFMA or not?
« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2013, 10:02:01 AM »
FWIW, all of my lens did require some AFMAing.

I've had lenses that require no AFMA...on one body.  But I've never had a lens that didn't require AFMA on at least one of two-three bodies.  Since most people keep lenses through many bodies, it's almost certain that every lens will need AFMA at some point.

When I see people state, "None of my lenses need adjustment," I think they've either got one body and only 1-2 lenses and are very lucky, or more likely, they're not testing carefully.

I'll also say that even though an adjustment of 1-2 units for an f/4 or f/5.6 lens isn't going to be easily noticeable on any given shot, what it does is result in more accurate AF, on average.
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Re: Bought at 6D on Black Friday; AFMA or not?
« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2013, 10:02:01 AM »

CTJohn

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Re: Bought at 6D on Black Friday; AFMA or not?
« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2013, 12:05:15 PM »
FWIW, all of my lens did require some AFMAing.

I've had lenses that require no AFMA...on one body.  But I've never had a lens that didn't require AFMA on at least one of two-three bodies.  Since most people keep lenses through many bodies, it's almost certain that every lens will need AFMA at some point.

When I see people state, "None of my lenses need adjustment," I think they've either got one body and only 1-2 lenses and are very lucky, or more likely, they're not testing carefully.

I'll also say that even though an adjustment of 1-2 units for an f/4 or f/5.6 lens isn't going to be easily noticeable on any given shot, what it does is result in more accurate AF, on average.
+1

I just got my 24-105L back from Canon service for zoom collar replacement (due to lens creep.)  I ran through AFMA on my 6D and 7D and the difference in the lens from before was about a +5 adjustment on FoCal.  It worried me, so I did a manual test and came up with the same magnitude of change.  I went with the FoCal settings, but I was really surprised how much difference I had on the same lens.
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JohnDizzo15

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Re: Bought at 6D on Black Friday; AFMA or not?
« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2013, 12:10:32 PM »
FWIW, all of my lens did require some AFMAing.

I've had lenses that require no AFMA...on one body.  But I've never had a lens that didn't require AFMA on at least one of two-three bodies.  Since most people keep lenses through many bodies, it's almost certain that every lens will need AFMA at some point.

When I see people state, "None of my lenses need adjustment," I think they've either got one body and only 1-2 lenses and are very lucky, or more likely, they're not testing carefully.

I'll also say that even though an adjustment of 1-2 units for an f/4 or f/5.6 lens isn't going to be easily noticeable on any given shot, what it does is result in more accurate AF, on average.

+1 My assumption is that the levels of acceptable tolerance are actually quite wide from the factory (for both bodies and lenses) when you consider that the adjustment values let you go from -20 to +20 (which will cause major OOF issues when values are off enough). Once you have gone through enough lenses and/or bodies, you will inevitably need to AFMA to get the most out of some of your gear.

I'm almost certain that I had AFMA values entered for all my lenses stored on my 5D3 that I just sold (adjustments ranging from only +/- 1 or 2 all the way up to 15. Testing all of the same lenses on my new 6D, I am finding that the necessary AFMA values are even larger.

While I will say that it is not absolutely necessary to purchase software, it does remove some elements of human error (as others have stated) which is often times present in evaluating for AFMA. It also makes the whole process much easier (always the preference for me). I personally use Reikan FoCal Pro which was relatively reasonable (price-wise) with the discount code. It also lets you store up to five serials for bodies and swap them out when needed.

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Re: Bought at 6D on Black Friday; AFMA or not?
« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2013, 01:38:24 PM »
I found that lenses which I thought were not very sharp suddenly became wonderful when using Focal.  At first, I tried home printed charts, patterns on my monitor, and got different results all the time.  Lens Aligh II improved things a lot, but FoCal nailed it.
 
However, its not a simple process to do it right, and you can make things worse by fooling around.

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Re: Bought at 6D on Black Friday; AFMA or not?
« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2013, 01:38:24 PM »