Why you should calibrate Canon EF Lenses

SPKoko

EOS T7i
Sep 19, 2014
57
0
Reikan Focal has just released this interesting article with some graphs showing the percentage of units of each Canon lens that will benefit from calibration:

http://www.reikan.co.uk/focalweb/index.php/2017/07/calibrate-canon-ef-with-reikan-focal/

Honestly, I am not surprised by the high percentages. I do use Reikan Focal and all my fast primes need more or less calibration, but none of them is spot-on without MFA.
 

Keith_Reeder

I really don't mind offending trolls.
Feb 8, 2014
837
288
59
Blyth, NE England
I took delivery of my new Canon 500mm f/4 MK II this week, thoroughly expecting my luck finally to run out, and that I'd have to AFMA it on my 7D Mk II.

Nope - it's spot-on naked, and with both the 1.4x and 2x TC...
 

Otara

EOS RP
Jul 16, 2012
300
83
Pretty big potential selection bias by using the FoCal database to come up with these numbers. For a start, does it exclude people who havent done a good setup, in which case you can get errors where none may really exist.
 

Don Haines

Beware of cats with laser eyes!
Jun 4, 2012
8,262
1,920
Canada
Otara said:
Pretty big potential selection bias by using the FoCal database to come up with these numbers. For a start, does it exclude people who havent done a good setup, in which case you can get errors where none may really exist.
Exactly! Buddy buys a lens, takes a bunch of test shots, and it is tack sharp so he doesn't run it through focal.....

Jane buys a lens, it is a bit soft, so she calibrates it.....

One of those self fulfilling prophecies......


And besides, this is a company that sells calibration software that is trying to convince you that you need to calibrate everything..... I find it hard to believe such results, particularly when the second best lens for calibration was the 18-200 super zoom..........
 

AlanF

Canon 5DSR II
Aug 16, 2012
6,369
4,576
All of my lenses get put through FoCal as a matter of course. 2/13 require 0 AFMA.
 

Don Haines

Beware of cats with laser eyes!
Jun 4, 2012
8,262
1,920
Canada
AlanF said:
All of my lenses get put through FoCal as a matter of course. 2/13 require 0 AFMA.
It can come down to a question of what is acceptable and what isn't. I have 11 lenses (I AFMA everything too), none of them had 0 AFMA, but about half were within 3 or 4 units.... the worst was around 14.

Interestingly enough, my worst lens was the Tamron 150-600, but after a LONG! Process with the tap-in console, it is now 0 for AFMA.... being able to AFMA for 6 different zoom values and 3 distances made the AF on this lens a dream to use....
 

weixing

EOS 7D MK II
Jul 20, 2010
612
14
Hi,
I just send the lenses and the body to Canon service center for calibration.

Have a nice day.
 

dpc

EOS 1D MK II
Dec 11, 2013
5,756
2,310
Western Canada
I own two canon bodies and eight lenses. I've not felt the need to calibrate any of them. I guess my standards as to what is acceptable focus accuracy are lax.
 

AlanF

Canon 5DSR II
Aug 16, 2012
6,369
4,576
weixing said:
Hi,
I just send the lenses and the body to Canon service center for calibration.

Have a nice day.
There are some downsides. It's quicker for me usually to AFMA a lens using FoCal than pack it for sending to Canon. If you send it to Canon, you risk the lens and camera being bumped out of adjustment by the postman on return, and you don't have use for a while. For telephotos, you have no choice of distance for where to optimise AFMA.


dpc said:
I own two canon bodies and eight lenses. I've not felt the need to calibrate any of them. I guess my standards as to what is acceptable focus accuracy are lax.
You said it.
 

arthurbikemad

EOS 7D MK II
Jul 19, 2015
474
54
UK
I use Focal, tbh I am very happy with it, the software is great, from 11mm to 1000mm (500ii+2xiii) blar blar blar they are all in and around +\- 5 on two bodies, end of the day if you have the gear I think its only right to calibrate it.
 

Mt Spokane Photography

I post too Much on Here!!
Mar 25, 2011
15,709
880
I just received my new 5D MK IV and will be using Focal to AFMA them all. Its easy to see if they may benefit, I tried my 24-70L and took identical photos of a flower using phase detect and DPAF. I could see more detail in the AFMA photo while the DPAF PDAFwas front focused. I won't know for sure until I do the AFMA, but I'd be surprised if my lenses did not benefit.

One potentially good thing about mirrorless is that there will be no need for AFMA, if focus is not within spec, the lens or the camera has a issue calling for repair.
 

Mt Spokane Photography

I post too Much on Here!!
Mar 25, 2011
15,709
880
Otara said:
Pretty big potential selection bias by using the FoCal database to come up with these numbers. For a start, does it exclude people who havent done a good setup, in which case you can get errors where none may really exist.
So, do you think that those lenses that showed a need for a huge adjustment due to a poor setup should have been included to make things look worse yet?

No respectable statistician includes bad data, and no one knowledgable would believe results if they did.
 

neuroanatomist

I post too Much on Here!!
Jul 21, 2010
24,639
2,153
Mt Spokane Photography said:
I just received my new 5D MK IV and will be using Focal to AFMA them all. Its easy to see if they may benefit, I tried my 24-70L and took identical photos of a flower using phase detect and DPAF. I could see more detail in the AFMA photo while the DPAF was front focused. I won't know for sure until I do the AFMA, but I'd be surprised if my lenses did not benefit.

One potentially good thing about mirrorless is that there will be no need for AFMA, if focus is not within spec, the lens or the camera has a issue calling for repair.
If the DPAF shot (using the CMOS image sensor for phase AF) is front focused, that is a problem! Since on-sensor AF is the only option with MILCs, front- or back-focus can only be addressed by sending the camera in for service, at-home AFMA won't be an option.
 

Mt Spokane Photography

I post too Much on Here!!
Mar 25, 2011
15,709
880
neuroanatomist said:
Mt Spokane Photography said:
I just received my new 5D MK IV and will be using Focal to AFMA them all. Its easy to see if they may benefit, I tried my 24-70L and took identical photos of a flower using phase detect and DPAF. I could see more detail in the AFMA photo while the DPAF was front focused. I won't know for sure until I do the AFMA, but I'd be surprised if my lenses did not benefit.

One potentially good thing about mirrorless is that there will be no need for AFMA, if focus is not within spec, the lens or the camera has a issue calling for repair.
A Typo, the PDAF not DPAF. Thanks for pointing it out

If the DPAF shot (using the CMOS image sensor for phase AF) is front focused, that is a problem! Since on-sensor AF is the only option with MILCs, front- or back-focus can only be addressed by sending the camera in for service, at-home AFMA won't be an option.
 

Mt Spokane Photography

I post too Much on Here!!
Mar 25, 2011
15,709
880
I spent a few hours getting setup, and did my testing outdoors today. There was almost too much light.

Here is a summary of the FoCal Test Results.

One lens, my 24-70mm L MK II did not need AFMA, the others benefitted. I only included common lenses in the comparison with my 5D MK III values, Almost all of my lenses have been sold but 4. (I did not test my Tokina 17mm) I also did not test the 70-200mm with TC's. I could not run the Focal Test on the 100-400 with my 2X TC.

5D IV 5D III

24-70L II 24mm +3 70mm +1 24mm +1 70mm +4

100mm L 100mm +9

70-200mm L II 70mm +3 200mm +8 70mm 0 200mm +2

100-400mm L II 100mm +9 400mm +5
With 1.4X TC 140mm -8 560mm +3
 

Jopa

EOS 6D MK II
Dec 11, 2015
1,056
0
Interesting thread. I use FoCal periodically or if I see something is clearly wrong or inconsistent. My 70-200 II had severe consistency problems, couldn't ever calibrate it, sent to Canon and now it's requiring 0 AFMA. My other Canon lenses are quite accurate - 0 AFMA, except of the 200/2 which requires +2. My only Sigma (85A) requires +6. I used to run calibration on 2 cameras, and both produce very similar results with either 0 or 1 difference, so now I just take one camera - 5DsR, where AF accuracy is most critical.

To me the only benefit of a mirrorless camera is no more need to do AFMA, because it's a boring manual process (FoCal can't just run in a full auto mode on Canon), which needs to be done from time to time... AF is a critical factor in a photo, no matter how good is a subject, light and composition if the focus is not there, so it's kind of important.
 

SPKoko

EOS T7i
Sep 19, 2014
57
0
Jopa said:
To me the only benefit of a mirrorless camera is no more need to do AFMA, because it's a boring manual process (FoCal can't just run in a full auto mode on Canon), which needs to be done from time to time... AF is a critical factor in a photo, no matter how good is a subject, light and composition if the focus is not there, so it's kind of important.
Agree 100%. I also have a m43 camera and despite having a very painful continuous AF, its accuracy for static subjects is astonishing. On the opposite side, AF on my 70D is very fast and tracking is very good but when using large apertures it misses a lot of times (it is OKeyshis, but not very accurate) even after AFMA with FoCal.

That is why I am not going to get a 6DII as planned initially. I totally hate AFMA and not accurate AF these days. I tolerated that in the past, but after going through my m43, I know how accurate AF feels. I will patiently wait for a mirrorless Canon FF with EF mount for a couple of years more at least and if my patience gets exhausted, I will be forced to switch to Sony.
 

YuengLinger

EOS 5D MK IV
Dec 20, 2012
2,834
1,064
Southeastern USA
SPKoko said:
Jopa said:
To me the only benefit of a mirrorless camera is no more need to do AFMA, because it's a boring manual process (FoCal can't just run in a full auto mode on Canon), which needs to be done from time to time... AF is a critical factor in a photo, no matter how good is a subject, light and composition if the focus is not there, so it's kind of important.
Agree 100%. I also have a m43 camera and despite having a very painful continuous AF, its accuracy for static subjects is astonishing. On the opposite side, AF on my 70D is very fast and tracking is very good but when using large apertures it misses a lot of times (it is OKeyshis, but not very accurate) even after AFMA with FoCal.

That is why I am not going to get a 6DII as planned initially. I totally hate AFMA and not accurate AF these days. I tolerated that in the past, but after going through my m43, I know how accurate AF feels. I will patiently wait for a mirrorless Canon FF with EF mount for a couple of years more at least and if my patience gets exhausted, I will be forced to switch to Sony.
Yes, but as Neuro pointed out, if focus is off on the mirrorless, only shipping for service fixes things.

I don't understand why people moan and groan about AFMA, really. I can do any lens right from the camera's display screen within 10 minutes. Includes zooms with long and wide settings. All I need is a reliable target and a pair of reading glasses. Back patio has more than enough light in daytime.

AFMA is much less of a PITA than doing dishes, and, umm, ahem, somebody in the house does those every single day. ::)
 

Khalai

In the absence of light, darknoise prevails...
May 13, 2014
714
0
35
Prague
YuengLinger said:
AFMA is much less of a PITA than doing dishes, and, umm, ahem, somebody in the house does those every single day. ::)
That's why humanity invented automated dishwashers :) And also semi-automated AFMA system as well I guess..