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Author Topic: The Truth about Microadjust  (Read 34495 times)

canonman

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The Truth about Microadjust
« on: December 13, 2010, 04:02:40 PM »
I have seen enough threads here on MicroAdjust so I thought I might provide some facts on it. 

-  Most people take hours or all day to "microadjust" a lens.  Its better to send it back to Canon along with the camera or to the lens manufacturer Sigma if you have that type of lens and let them calibrate it.  I think Canon charges $70, but thats a whole lot cheaper on an hourly cost basis then if you did the "microadjust" on your own.  I know Sigma is good with accepting their lenses back and adjusting them.  Let the experts adjust the lenses.

-  Some folks who fool with the microadjust feature ultimately go back to setting it at zero when they find they have messed the focus of the camera up.

-  Microadjust is useful for prime lenses only.  Lets say you microadjust a zoom, then it will need different microadjust settings at different focal points.  Other variables such as temperature, humidity, etc. might effect the focus adjustment too.  Again, its probably best to send it to the repair depot and pay the price for calibration because it might ultimately take hours for you to do and then you mess it up.

I have two prime lenses.  The Canon 50mm 1.4 seems to work well, but my Sigma 30mm 1.4 seems to have some issues.  In the case of the Sigma, I plan on sending the body and lens so they can adjust it.  They are the experts on these lens focus issues...I am just the photographer.  I will let them fool with it versus myself in my living room taking hours to adjust the focus and even then I may not get it right.

Lets say you are a professional.  Why would you want to bother with doing the calibrations yourself?  You are not a person who actually inspects and works with these lenses all day long.  You might spend hours trying to do this and you may even screw it up more.  Why wouldnt you simply send it all back to the repair depot to get properly calibrated versus risking making the issue worse?  If your bread and butter comes from wedding photography for example, why not have the experts at Canon do the calibration? 

Here are reference threads to back up my conclusions:

http://www.inspiring-photography.com/forum/showthread.php?t=25972
http://www.flickr.com/groups/canoneos5dmarkii/discuss/72157612282515084/

This is a good link check halfway down the page.  Canon states the following:

http://www.northlight-images.co.uk/article_pages/cameras/1ds3_af_micoadjustment.html
"If you are attempting to set microadjustments for a zoom lens, it is important to realize that the camera's setting may only be accurate for the focal length setting you test."

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The Truth about Microadjust
« on: December 13, 2010, 04:02:40 PM »

Hesbehindyou

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Re: The Truth about Microadjust
« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2010, 04:49:44 PM »
Canonman said:
"FEAR; UNCERTAINTY; DOUBT."

That sum it up?  ;)

Gothmoth

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Re: The Truth about Microadjust
« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2010, 04:57:14 PM »
i put much weight in something a nobody writes on a forum.. really i do.    ;D

nothing of the above is new.. still microadjust is usefull.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2010, 04:59:46 PM by Gothmoth »

kubelik

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Re: The Truth about Microadjust
« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2010, 05:26:01 PM »
did someone who works at a canon repair center realize they were a few orders shy of a bonus this holiday season?

the fact that Canon decided to include microadjustment as a feature on their cameras tells me at least someone at Canon thinks having it available is useful.  simple as that.

also, how is it going to mess up your autofocus?  if you don't like the results, set it back to zero.  problem solved. 

canonman

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Re: The Truth about Microadjust
« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2010, 05:41:47 PM »
I live and shoot around Manhattan.  I go to several fashion shows and do all kinds of photographic work.  I rarely, if ever, see anyone out and about with a prime lens in their hand.  Actually, I am the only one I know of that uses a prime when taking pictures around Manhattan.  I have never seen anyone utilize a prime out there in Manhattan for shoots. 

In order to use the microadjust feature, then you need to adjust it at several different focal points for a zoom.  This means hours of time and work and even then you probably wont get it right.  If my zoom was off calibration then I would send it to Canon. 

There are many features on the 7D and many of its prosumer cameras that most of us will never ever use and if we do then it will probably take some time to get it right.  Microadjust is one of those settings that if not used properly will mess your shots up. 

The only time microadjust would be helpful is if you shoot with primes...especially cheap primes like the Sigmas.  However, in those situations, you might as well just send it to Sigma along with the body who will calibrate for free.  If you shoot with zooms, then fooling around with the microadjust will probably make the focus worse especially if you do not know what you are doing. 

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Re: The Truth about Microadjust
« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2010, 05:47:16 PM »
Well, the fact is that the calibration Canon does is solder a wire from one point to the other. Why they microadjust is because if you, like me use fast lenses with extreme shallow dof, experience that the previous setting was waay in front and then canon switch the wire point and then it's slightly behind, what do you do? You have the abillity to microadjust. For zoom lenses, I agree, it's pretty close to impossible to get all focals at all distances right, if it is off. But for primes, I would have to trade in my 35L, 50L and 300 2,8 L if I couldn't do the small adjustment after Canon have adjusted it MUCH closer to perfect first.
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Re: The Truth about Microadjust
« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2010, 06:11:53 PM »
Canonman, I appreciate your effort to add some common sense to the microadjust debate. Unfortunately, I don't think it is going to do much good.

It seems to me that a lot of people were just looking for something to be upset about and when the 60D did not have microadjust they pounced on it. It feeds into the conspiracy theories that Canon is purposely trying to deny their customers some wonderful feature. Of course, if the feature were that wonderful and that much in demand, no manufacturer would leave it off of a camera.

I really think Canon did not include it because the downsides outweighed the upsides. When this issue first came up, I did a little reading and concluded that I was likely to do more damage than good if I played around with this on my 7D. With almost anything, but especially with precision optical equipment, I think the old adage "if it ain't broken, don't fix it" is a good idea.

Something tells me that Canon probably found that there were far more people likely to screw up their cameras using this feature than there are people who actually need it and are sufficiently sophisticated to make the adjustments themselves.
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Re: The Truth about Microadjust
« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2010, 06:11:53 PM »

neuroanatomist

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Re: The Truth about Microadjust
« Reply #7 on: December 13, 2010, 07:51:52 PM »
Thanks for sharing your opinion, canonman.  I'm recommending others take a large grain of Salt-with-a-capital-S to go along with your Truth-with-a-capital-T.  I agree with kubelik that Canon includes this feature for a reason.  Just to name one, lots of people rent lenses - would you recommend they rent them for a couple of extra weeks, each time, so they can send them into Canon for adjustment?  Something else to consider is that many people who've sent their cameras into Canon to let 'the experts' clean the sensor have reported getting the camera back with more sensor dust than when it was sent in - what makes it certain that 'the same experts' will do a better job at focus adjustment?
« Last Edit: December 13, 2010, 08:04:29 PM by neuroanatomist »
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Re: The Truth about Microadjust
« Reply #8 on: December 13, 2010, 09:00:03 PM »
Thanks for sharing your opinion, canonman.  I'm recommending others take a large grain of Salt-with-a-capital-S to go along with your Truth-with-a-capital-T.  I agree with kubelik that Canon includes this feature for a reason.  Just to name one, lots of people rent lenses - would you recommend they rent them for a couple of extra weeks, each time, so they can send them into Canon for adjustment?  Something else to consider is that many people who've sent their cameras into Canon to let 'the experts' clean the sensor have reported getting the camera back with more sensor dust than when it was sent in - what makes it certain that 'the same experts' will do a better job at focus adjustment?

Agreed with a !  I have micro-adjusted many Canon lenses.  While it is true that wide aperture lenses are more sensitive to focus errors, mis focus has happened on standard aperture lenses.

Its quick and easy to do a MF adjust using a tripod and live view.    I would not send in my lenses unless my testing revealed a serious problem.

Too many people read internet blogs and then proclaim what they have read as the truth.

neuroanatomist

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Re: The Truth about Microadjust
« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2010, 07:22:10 AM »
I have been through this before with my Canon equipment.  Trust me, I have had problems with items such as Canon speedlites and my tinkering only made it worse.  The problem only got solved when it was sent to the depot.

What the heck would you 'tinker' with on a Speedlite?  There's a world of difference between changing a software setting that a manufacturer provides as an optional calibration step to improve the quality of your pictures, and getting out your set of eyeglass screwdrivers and a small hammer to 'fix' your Speedlite.  Last time an application crashed on your computer, did you box the whole thing up and send it back to Dell?


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Re: The Truth about Microadjust
« Reply #10 on: December 14, 2010, 08:25:27 AM »
If you need to take hours micro-adjusting a lens, you're doing it wrong pure and simple. There will be some set up time to have a focus target and reference, but once that is done the iterative process for the lens doesn't take long at all.

For non-pro users, "good enough" is a fair goal. Of my Canon lenses, only the 3 fast budget primes needed any adjustment to different degrees. All the zooms have no problem. The cost of Canon calibrating budget primes would not be economic.

In the CPS pages somewhere Canon actually recommend for pros they do not routinely use the microadjust, but to get them set by Canon if needed. They sell the feature as an emergency in-field fix in case the lens shifts for example if it is dropped.
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Re: The Truth about Microadjust
« Reply #11 on: December 14, 2010, 02:19:48 PM »
I do MA some lenses, incl. zooms. Using a tool like LensAlign makes profiling a lens quick and easy -- up to you to decide what to set for a zoom, I usually use a value that will correct the long end since the DOF on the short side will compensate.

canonman

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Re: The Truth about Microadjust
« Reply #12 on: December 16, 2010, 02:23:04 AM »
For non-pro users, "good enough" is a fair goal.

All the so called "pro users" I see around Manhattan do with much less.  I would say just about all the staff photographers at the Post, Times and every other major newspaper around here wouldn't bother with the microadjust.  Those photojournalists don't seem to care too much about it. 

I don't "send" anything in.  Around Manhattan there are plenty of independent repair labs where I can just walk in and get the work done on the spot. 

All of my lenses function "good enough".  A good lens isnt going to need adjusting and if it does right out of the box then its going right back to the store.  When I have spent over a grand on a lens, I didnt find it needed adjusting.  The only lens of mine that needed adjusting was this cheap Sigma 30mm and that went right to the repair facility along with the camera for them to personally fool around and tinker with. 

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Re: The Truth about Microadjust
« Reply #12 on: December 16, 2010, 02:23:04 AM »

stark-arts

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Re: The Truth about Microadjust
« Reply #13 on: December 16, 2010, 12:34:20 PM »
I live and shoot around Manhattan.  I go to several fashion shows and do all kinds of photographic work.  I rarely, if ever, see anyone out and about with a prime lens in their hand.  Actually, I am the only one I know of that uses a prime when taking pictures around Manhattan.  I have never seen anyone utilize a prime out there in Manhattan for shoots. 

In order to use the microadjust feature, then you need to adjust it at several different focal points for a zoom.  This means hours of time and work and even then you probably wont get it right.  If my zoom was off calibration then I would send it to Canon. 

There are many features on the 7D and many of its prosumer cameras that most of us will never ever use and if we do then it will probably take some time to get it right.  Microadjust is one of those settings that if not used properly will mess your shots up. 

The only time microadjust would be helpful is if you shoot with primes...especially cheap primes like the Sigmas.  However, in those situations, you might as well just send it to Sigma along with the body who will calibrate for free.  If you shoot with zooms, then fooling around with the microadjust will probably make the focus worse especially if you do not know what you are doing.

you don't look around much i guess - i see lots of primes these days. i for one always have my 35 1.4 on my camera and most of my friends are prime shooters...

kubelik

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Re: The Truth about Microadjust
« Reply #14 on: December 16, 2010, 04:35:04 PM »
stark, I agree.  if we're talking about the prosumer range, and pretty much by definition, people who buy 7D's and 5DII's are prosumers at the least, we are talking about people who know enough about photography to be interested in buying a few primes.

I even know a lot of Rebel users who buy primes (most commonly the 50 f/1.4).  and as even canonman observed, the 50 f/1.4 is a perfect example of the kind of lens that micro-adjust is useful for.

I'll admit I don't understand the context in which this thread was started.  if it's to say that microadjust is not a neccessary feature, and not buying the 60D because it doesn't have microadjust is silly, then I agree.  not having microadjustment is no reason not to buy the 60D.  however, if the point was to say there's no useful reason for microadjustment to exist ... I think that doesn't hold up at all; plenty of people happily and easily using microadjust on their cameras, count me as one of them.

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Re: The Truth about Microadjust
« Reply #14 on: December 16, 2010, 04:35:04 PM »