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Author Topic: The Truth about Microadjust  (Read 34958 times)

Edwin Herdman

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Re: The Truth about Microadjust
« Reply #15 on: December 18, 2010, 06:52:34 PM »
I know I wrote it elsewhere, but MA strikes me as being good for us and good for manufacturers:  We get to solve problems (even if not 100% of the time) on our own, without having to pay for shipping; Canon reduces the work load at the service center to people who actually need the service.  Obviously, not having the numbers, it'd be spreading FUD in a different direction for me to say that people who return lenses and cameras to the service center over, and over, and over, are a burden on the system, or that they make things more expensive for the rest of us - or even that they are unjustified (especially if they have lenses that can't be adjusted correctly throughout their range).  But it may make a small positive impact to reduce the number of times this happens.

I use a manual focus lens for architecture / landscape shots, but if it was autofocus and I could use microadjust, there would be little downside to it.  Obviously a wide lens doesn't suffer as obviously from microadjust, so this doesn't fix problems for too great a percentage of the DSLR-buying public - but it does cut down on the numbers of people sending things in for service a little.  I think it's obvious to say that the technical side of things becomes critical with the longer lenses, with sports and other action-tracking shooting.

For those users who need long zoom or prime lenses, perhaps it's reasonable (considering their investment) that they can get help from a service center when their lenses and camera bodies are out of alignment.  For everyone else, technique (especially live view focusing as scalesusa said) should often be enough to compensate.

I agree with kubelik about the 50/1.4; I definitely could use microadjust for mine.  I suppose Canon doesn't include it on lower-end cameras both as an enticement to buy a more "professional" camera, and to prevent beginners from making their lenses perform worse, but it seems petty to me.  Anybody who's brave enough to dig around in the menus should be granted a phone call or email to a service center to at least be told that they have made things worse, but it's not as if they will make the earth explode by trying it out.

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Re: The Truth about Microadjust
« Reply #15 on: December 18, 2010, 06:52:34 PM »

revup67

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Re: The Truth about Microadjust
« Reply #16 on: December 20, 2010, 02:49:06 AM »
Micro Adjust has been a concern of mine since I received my Canon 7D and 1.4 IS USM 50mm.  I suspected the lens might be a bit off right out of the box and per the reviews I've read this lens is a bit soft around the edges to begin with.  In addition and overtime AF lenses may succumb to going out of tune so this would be a good tool to have around especially if you own multiple lenses.  To combat my concerns I dug into this further and found a few products out there to help calibrate such nuances.  I ultimately just decided on the LensAlign Mark II (just released on 12/15/10 @ http://mtapesdesign.com/ ) - I was aware and opted to wait for this new and improved version.  There's an online tool to help you figure out distance from the LensAlign (the formula is 25x the mm of the lens) so a 100mm would be 2500mm or 8.2 feet (Windows 7 built in calculator can do the math for you or the online LensAlign Distance Tool).  For the folks that don't want to spend the $$ I have also found a free online tool in which you can use your monitor to assist which is at:  http://www.northlight-images.co.uk/article_pages/cameras/1ds3_af_micoadjustment.html#AF_test_image  - I've not used this so cannot comment.  I've just received the LensAlign MK II product and put it together in about 10 minutes and plan on doing the calibration this week.  Others have reported excellent results from the LensAlign and the product has been around for awhile.
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neuroanatomist

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Re: The Truth about Microadjust
« Reply #17 on: December 21, 2010, 10:28:00 AM »
I ultimately just decided on the LensAlign Mark II (just released on 12/15/10 @ http://mtapesdesign.com/ ) - I was aware and opted to wait for this new and improved version.

I have and use the LensAlign Pro and it's excellent.  Just to clarify, the LensAlign Mark II is a new and improved version of the LensAlign Lite product (it adds the site gate feature of the Pro version while keeping compact flat storage and still keeping the cost lower than the Pro).  The Pro version has the Enumerator (an easy tool to record the adjustment you set right in the image), which the Lite and the Mark II do not have.
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revup67

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Re: The Truth about Microadjust
« Reply #18 on: December 22, 2010, 03:40:20 AM »
The Lens Align MK II didn't offer a Site Gate that you mention.  M Tapes goes through the differences on his site (don't recall them all) within the knowledge base as I recall.  Excellent product along with the WhiBal..can't leave home without it.
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Rev
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neuroanatomist

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Re: The Truth about Microadjust
« Reply #19 on: December 22, 2010, 07:35:31 AM »
The Lens Align MK II didn't offer a Site Gate that you mention.  M Tapes goes through the differences on his site (don't recall them all) within the knowledge base as I recall.  Excellent product along with the WhiBal..can't leave home without it.

The 'sight gate' refers to the two sighting plates (front and rear) that the Pro has, and now the Mark II also has.  Sighting through the hole in the front plate to the target on the rear plate results in precise alignment.  The old LensAlign Lite had just a singe plate and used a mirror for alignment, probably as precise but more difficult and time consuming. 
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acoll123

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Re: The Truth about Microadjust
« Reply #20 on: March 23, 2011, 10:52:47 PM »
 I micro-adjusted all of my lenses on my two bodies (5d mk II and 7D). I didn't make any adjustments at all to the longer lenses (70-200/2.8, 85/1.2 and 24-105/4.0) but did make adjustments to the short lenses (50/1.2 and 16-35/2.8). Is this just a coincidence or is it normal for the shorter lenses to need more adjustment? I have not yet taken any sample images with the adjusted lenses - maybe tomorrow - to see if there is a noticeable difference.

I used the Moire interference patterns method found at NorthlightImages:

http://www.northlight-images.co.uk/article_pages/cameras/1ds3_af_micoadjustment.html

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Re: The Truth about Microadjust
« Reply #21 on: March 24, 2011, 12:19:46 PM »
I micro-adjusted all of my lenses on my two bodies (5d mk II and 7D). I didn't make any adjustments at all to the longer lenses (70-200/2.8, 85/1.2 and 24-105/4.0) but did make adjustments to the short lenses (50/1.2 and 16-35/2.8). Is this just a coincidence or is it normal for the shorter lenses to need more adjustment? I have not yet taken any sample images with the adjusted lenses - maybe tomorrow - to see if there is a noticeable difference.

I used the Moire interference patterns method found at NorthlightImages:

http://www.northlight-images.co.uk/article_pages/cameras/1ds3_af_micoadjustment.html

Its normal for wider aperture lenses to need adjustment, because they have a shallow depth of field and any issues are seen more easily then a lens with a narrow depth of field.  Many shorter lenses tend to have wide apertures.

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Re: The Truth about Microadjust
« Reply #21 on: March 24, 2011, 12:19:46 PM »

neuroanatomist

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Re: The Truth about Microadjust
« Reply #22 on: March 24, 2011, 03:32:30 PM »
Is this just a coincidence or is it normal for the shorter lenses to need more adjustment? I have not yet taken any sample images with the adjusted lenses - maybe tomorrow - to see if there is a noticeable difference.

As scalesusa says, wide aperture (fast) lenses tend to need adjustment more than narrow aperture (slow) lenses, because the latter have a deeper DoF which masks the effect of inaccurate focus.  Like slow lenses, wide angle lenses have deeper DoF, so in theory should be less in need of microadjustment.

But, microadjusting wide angle lenses is more challenging than longer lenses, and more prone to error.  In part, this is because the adjustment is usually performed at a fixed ratio to the focal length (LensAlign suggests 25x, Chuck Westfall suggests 50x).  25 times 35mm = ~34 inches, which is pretty close, quite likely closer than you're usually going to use the lens.  The other reason it's challenging is that because of that close distance, the process is more affected by an imperfect alignment of the camera and the focus target.  Even though the DoF is the same if the aperture is the same (e.g. 35mm f/2.8 has the same DoF as 200mm f/2.8 at 25 times the respective focal lengths), at the closer distance with the wide lens, the angular difference of a misaligned target has a bigger impact.  That's why the better commercial adjustment tools have features that allow you to accurately align the camera to the target (something the on-screen moire pattern lacks).
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prestonpalmer

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Re: The Truth about Microadjust
« Reply #23 on: March 25, 2011, 11:35:39 PM »
fantastic article.  I HATE when people tell me their lens is "soft" ARGH!

K3nt

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Re: The Truth about Microadjust
« Reply #24 on: April 05, 2011, 04:17:49 AM »
I agree with you preston. Sounds wrong.
Now if someone would just compile the info in this thread into a microadjustment guide and make it sticky.
Personnally I'd like to see a tutorial on how it's done, preferrably using a Mac. What software and tools are needed (if any) and examples adjusted / not adjusted lenses.

anyone? :)
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ronin8600

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Re: The Truth about Microadjust
« Reply #25 on: April 05, 2011, 08:25:49 AM »
Now if someone would just compile the info in this thread into a microadjustment guide and make it sticky.
Personnally I'd like to see a tutorial on how it's done, preferrably using a Mac. What software and tools are needed (if any) and examples adjusted / not adjusted lenses.

anyone? :)

I use a tool called lens align pro which I highly recommend. 

Below is a link to tutorials and videos on using the lens align product
http://www.mtdhelp.com/kb/lensalign-how-to/documentation-tools-and-resources

skitron

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Re: The Truth about Microadjust
« Reply #26 on: April 05, 2011, 09:00:36 AM »
All I can say is I just bought a 60d and three different lens from three different manufacturers and every one of them front focuses the same degree on this body. I will say that the Canon 100mm f/2.8 L macro has a truly spectacular front focus  8) an amazing lens indeed. So every piece of gear is going back where it came from. The naysayers need to realize that I bought this stuff because I thought it would work out, not so I could just come here to bash it. however, it did not work out. The bottom line is every single camera from 7d up has it and they don't put it on their pro offerings as a sales gimmick.  After thinking it thru, it seems the reason they dropped it on the 60d may have to do with the plastic body. It may simply have too much flex and too much thermal expansion for microadjust to even be effective, meaning you could probably dial it in and then as soon as you hang a heavy lens on it or take it in the hot sun it's off again.
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neuroanatomist

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Re: The Truth about Microadjust
« Reply #27 on: April 05, 2011, 11:01:23 AM »
After thinking it thru, it seems the reason they dropped it on the 60d may have to do with the plastic body. It may simply have too much flex and too much thermal expansion for microadjust to even be effective, meaning you could probably dial it in and then as soon as you hang a heavy lens on it or take it in the hot sun it's off again.

Actually, I think a little more thinking might be in order.  The thermal coefficient of expansion for the 60D's 'plastic' body (actually, glass fiber-reinforced polycarbonate) is 21.5 10-6 m/m K, and the value for the underlying aluminum frame of the 60D is very close to that (22.2 10-6 m/m K).  The expansion coefficient for the 'metal' bodies (actually, magnesuim alloy) of the higher-end cameras is in the range of 25-27 10-6 m/m K, depending on the other metals in the alloy.  So, if anything, the 60D will expand/contract less in response to temperature changes than camera bodies with the microadjust feature.

IMO, Canon left AMFA out of the 60D purely as way to discriminate the 60D from higher end models, and more clearly discriminate four lines of camera bodies (which the 50D had started to blur).  Thus in the current lineup, AFMA is found only on the xD bodies.
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Re: The Truth about Microadjust
« Reply #27 on: April 05, 2011, 11:01:23 AM »

skitron

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Re: The Truth about Microadjust
« Reply #28 on: April 05, 2011, 12:30:01 PM »
Actually, I think a little more thinking might be in order.

Well actually some hard data in terms of the coefficients rather than more speculation (which I admit I did), which I am pleasantly surprised anybody has access to!

So, if anything, the 60D will expand/contract less in response to temperature changes than camera bodies with the microadjust feature.

IMO, Canon left AMFA out of the 60D purely as way to discriminate the 60D from higher end models, and more clearly discriminate four lines of camera bodies (which the 50D had started to blur).  Thus in the current lineup, AFMA is found only on the xD bodies.

This makes it even more frustrating, knowing it isn't a mechanical constraint and they really did just dumb it down to "protect sales". I got news for them though, all it did was run me off to Nikon. Do they really think people are going to buy this thing and then get bait-N-switched into a 7d when they find out their shiney new L lens take crap pictures with this body??? "Oh, you need to move up to a 7d body if you want your pictures to actually be in focus with your $1200 lens."

And you know the REALLY stupid part? I would have chosen the 7d FIRST except they apparently dumbed IT down with lack of manual audio levels to protect 5d sales. Of well, they can enjoy their returns from the dealer since they all went back as "defective".  A TOTALLY HORRIBLE experience with Canon here...and sadly it was sooo close to being very good experience and completely preventable with a stem of firmware that they already have deployed elsewhere.
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neuroanatomist

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Re: The Truth about Microadjust
« Reply #29 on: April 05, 2011, 01:31:22 PM »
This makes it even more frustrating, knowing it isn't a mechanical constraint and they really did just dumb it down to "protect sales". I got news for them though, all it did was run me off to Nikon.

Leaving AFMA out of the 60D almost has to be a marketing decision - there's no mechanical reason for it, and since the 'feature' exists purely in the firmware and was already included in other bodies, there would be no real cost to include it in the 60D.

Unfortunately, it's pretty unlikely that Canon's marketing executives will get canned over your defection to Nikon.   :P

Especially since, at least based on Amazon's figures, the 60D is currently the #2 selling dSLR (yes, a Nikon is in the top slot and in the #3 slot, but those are sub-$1K entry-level bodies, and the 60D without a lens is in the #4 slot, indicating a strong possibility that adding the body only and kit versions of the 60D, it would be the current bestseller).  However you interpret the numbers, 60D sales are very strong.

The other consideration is that you're not really buying a camera, you're buying a system.  Chances are, whatever body you get, you'll replace it relatively soon...at least, a lot sooner than the lenses you buy.  So, IMO the thing to do is look at the lenses available for each system, and that's where you put your money.  Lenses are why I went with Canon in the first place.

Do they really think people are going to buy this thing and then get bait-N-switched into a 7d when they find out their shiney new L lens take crap pictures with this body??? "Oh, you need to move up to a 7d body if you want your pictures to actually be in focus with your $1200 lens."

Sure, why not?  Or, more likely, most people with a 60D won't even notice, because they're using it with a lenses like the 18-135mm it's bundled with, or the 15-85mm, etc., i.e. slow lenses with deep enough DoF to mask a slight misfocusing.

Also, do keep in mind that you can send body and lenses into Canon for them to adjust them, for free under warranty.

And you know the REALLY stupid part? I would have chosen the 7d FIRST except they apparently dumbed IT down with lack of manual audio levels to protect 5d sales.

History lesson: When the 7D was released, the 5DII did not offer manual audio gain either.  That was added with Firmware 2.0.3/2.0.4 about 7.5 months after the 7D came out (along with a 24 fps mode, which the 7D already had).  The 7D also offers an intermediate HD resolution (720p) with a fast frame rate (60 fps) that was not and still is not available on the 5DII (but is on the 1D IV).  In theory, Canon could add manual audio control to the 7D via a firmware update, as they did for the 5DII.  Every Canon body released after the feature was added to the 5DII, including the Rebels (T2i and T3i) have the feature.
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Re: The Truth about Microadjust
« Reply #29 on: April 05, 2011, 01:31:22 PM »