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Micro adjustment

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Old Monday 9th March 2020, 14:48   #1
colincurry
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Micro adjustment

I have opened this thread under Canon as my kit is from Canon. I would also expect it to apply to Nikon gear as well.

My usual wild life kit is the 7D mk ii and 100-400 mk ii, with which I am well pleased.

I also have 1.4 tc mk iii which I have tried adding from time to time with fairish results.

In an effort to improve matters, I printed off the Reikan FoCal chart and attempted to micro adjust the auto focus settings to include the 1.4 tc. I have subjectively selected the best settings and applied these. There does seem to be some improvement but we have not had much sun and an aperture of f8 for autofocus needs all the help it can get. Also, photographing birds at 560 mm with a much reduced number of AF points will require more practice.

I have a collection of other lenses. I have read that all lenses should be checked to see if they require micro adjustment.

The manual process is tedious and, in my case, fairly subjective although I asked my wife to give her views on the sharpness of the various samples. The process may be speeded up and a more objective sharpness assessment provided by the use of a program such Reikan FoCal.

What I am asking is has anyone used this and what have the results been like, please? I have looked at several videos on YouTube but am more interested in the views of fellow members.

Thanks

Colin
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Old Monday 9th March 2020, 15:31   #2
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I have the 750d with the sigma 150-600mm lens - obviously this is a far lesser set-up than yours but the set up I followed was based on this article

https://www.the-digital-picture.com/...spx?News=15624

The lens has a sweet spot at f7.1 which is where it works best. I tend to build everything around this. The other tip I try to use is the speed. A faster speed than the length of the lens. If I'm fully zoomed at 600mm that makes an effective length of 1,6 x 600 or 960mm so therefore I need to use a speed in excess of 1000. So for you you have 1,4 x 400 x 1,6 = 896 - realistically you also need a speed in excess of 1000...

I'm sure that sharpness is more related to this or some of the settings above than micro adjustment. The settings 10,11,12,and 13 probably the keys.

I'm also sure that there are other experts who will offer better advice than me...

Last edited by rosbifs : Monday 9th March 2020 at 15:34.
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Old Wednesday 11th March 2020, 08:54   #3
Dave Williams
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Must admit I have never felt the need to micro adjust any of my lenses and I have owned both Nikon and, nowadays,Canon. They have always been L series though and I wouldn't expect them to need any.
Reading comments from other people though it seems the 3rd party lenses may well need a bit of tweaking.
I have the 100-400 Mk2 and it's a cracking lens, fast to AF and very sharp. I'm impressed with the performance with a 1.4TC too, although not so much for action shots. The only thing I'm not fond of it the protruding extended lens barrel which although is an improvement on it's predecessor, still attracts some dust ingress.
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Old Thursday 12th March 2020, 00:14   #4
martytwy
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I have the same issue. I have 7D II, EF 100-400 Mk II and 1.4x III Extender. With the lens alone, the images are sharp. With the 1.4 extender added at 400mm, the images all seem a bit soft. Having googled this, it is apparently a common issue with this combination and does require micro adjustment on the body for the lens and extender combo. As you say, it does seem a tedious process to do it manually and the majority of people recommend Reikan Focal as the best solution to fix the issue. However it does need the more expensive Pro version as the focal length with extender is greater than 400mm. I would also like to hear if anyone has tried it and whether it worked before splashing out 70. In the absence of any feedback, I may purchase it myself and will update the thread with the results if I do.

Last edited by martytwy : Thursday 12th March 2020 at 00:17.
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Old Thursday 12th March 2020, 01:24   #5
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I am far from a camera expert but managed to play around with the micro adjustment on my lens. There are images or patterns on google you can print to help....
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Old Thursday 12th March 2020, 07:01   #6
colincurry
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I agree that I don't want to spend 70 if it is not worth it. All my lenses seem sharp to me and it is only the addition of 1.4 tc to the 100-400 that loses some sharpness.

After my manual micro adjustments, I used -20 for the wide angle value and plus 10 to the tele value. These sound extreme but have improved matters.

I have again used the combo for BIF but still find it very difficult to lock on. I have removed the 1.4 tc and find it much easier to use for BIF; and also find that the native sharpness of the 100-400 is still better than with the tc.

I am drawn to the conclusion that I will use the 1.4 tc on static subjects where the need for reach is paramount, and not for BIF.

Thanks for the replies.

Colin
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Old Thursday 12th March 2020, 09:13   #7
Barred Wobbler
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rosbifs View Post
I am far from a camera expert but managed to play around with the micro adjustment on my lens. There are images or patterns on google you can print to help....
For my Sigma 150-600 Sport on my 7DII and 5DIV I used an empty Jack Daniels bottle on a fence post with a string of barbed wire running fore and aft to give me an indication of front or rear focus. Nice clean crisp white lines on a contrasting black background. Set up thirty yards or so from the tripod.

My Canon lenses didn't need adjustment, but my Sigma is set on Wide -1, Telephoto +4 as a result.

Tried and tested.
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Old Thursday 12th March 2020, 18:50   #8
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Originally Posted by Barred Wobbler View Post
For my Sigma 150-600 Sport on my 7DII and 5DIV I used an empty Jack Daniels bottle on a fence post with a string of barbed wire running fore and aft to give me an indication of front or rear focus. Nice clean crisp white lines on a contrasting black background. Set up thirty yards or so from the tripod.

My Canon lenses didn't need adjustment, but my Sigma is set on Wide -1, Telephoto +4 as a result.

Tried and tested.
Did you check the sharpness after the jack daniels?
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Old Thursday 12th March 2020, 19:19   #9
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Originally Posted by rosbifs View Post
Did you check the sharpness after the jack daniels?
Sharp as a knife.

I've still got the bottle tucked away in a cupboard for future use.

Not only is the label nice and contrasty, but the square bottle presents a flat face to focus on.
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Old Friday 13th March 2020, 09:25   #10
Roy C
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I have run AFMA test on all my lenses over the years (mainly Canon L's) and never needed any adjustments even with a 1.4x tc (canon mkII) and the 100-400 MkII.
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Old Sunday 22nd March 2020, 11:53   #11
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I have used FoCal a lot. My engineers mind likes measurement and (implied) precision I have had lenses that I thought were "iffy" and found problems getting ANY satisfactory results, even using FoCal. I used this to prove to Canon that my 300f4 was out of range for AFMA. It may mean that I am in the PIYT zone (Peeing In My Trousers - gives me a warm felling, but is it actually any better?) but I know I go out confident in my gear.

Longer lenses with extenders are much more likely to need AFMA adjustment - especially 2x extenders! Shorter lenses much less likely to need adjustment (deeper depth of field?).

In my humble opinion, I can only see difference in steps of 5 in the +-20 range for AFMA. So results of (say) -3 from FoCal could be 0 or 5 and I probably wouldn't be able to tell visually, but if it says 3 why not set it to that.

You also get a lot from looking at the curves that FoCal produces. Some lenses have a narrow tight peak of good focus, some are spread out more. With the former, using smaller integer changes CAN make a difference, for the latter the range may widen from 5 to 10 so a FoCal setting of 5 would look the same to me as a seating of 0 and 10.

My settings for my current camera/lenses given below. I have had much wider variances, but I am happy with the kit I use when AFMA adjusted.

Don't think there is a right or wrong answer here - it probably depends more on the users mentality than the equipment itself (see PIYT comment earlier!)

Post Focal results:

Canon 1dxII +

Canon 600 f4 -6
Canon 600 f4 +1.4x -5
Canon 600 f4 +2x +15

Canon 300 f2.8 -5
Canon 300 f2.8 +1.4x -3
Canon 300 f2.8 + 2x (Never use)

Canon 100-400 @100mm -1 @400 +1
Canon 100-400 +1.4x @100mm 0 @400 0

Canon 24-105 @20mm +2 @105 +3

Hope it helps

Michael
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Old Tuesday 31st March 2020, 20:34   #12
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So over the last few years I've tried three different methods.

1) Dot tune....... Just don't go there!
2) Reikan Focal............ Despite purchasing it, I never really gave it a chance, I just didn't get on with it.
3) Spyder Lens Cal...... My preferred method. It cost me about 50 to buy which seems expensive for what it is but it's well built and should last forever

Lockdown has left us all with plenty of time to fill and today, with an abundance of good even light, I decided to MFA my Canon 1DX mk2 and 500mm f4 mk2 + both convertors.

There are numerous basic settings to observe such as turn off IS, jpeg, wide aperture, single shot, remote release, low ISO, test shots to obtain even exposure etc. They're all available with a quick Google.

Also advised is a fixed distance between the target and camera based on the focal length. I ignored this as I shoot birds and chose a distance that would be optimal for my shooting needs. I selected seven metres between target and camera.

My modus operandi was to take ten test shots at 0 MFA manually defocusing between each shot and then reviewing the results on the laptop at 100%.
I selected five different categories for the reviewed images. Back focus, marginal back focus, Good, marginal front focus and front focus.
The idea being to bundle as many of the ten shots as possible into the good and marginal brackets and adjusting either plus or minus MFA in further tests so as to achieve this.

I chose 10 shots because I found the af can for whatever reason miss occasionally so I still had plenty of good data to work with.

The results were pretty much as I expected they were:

Body + 500 mm lens.................. No MFA required
Body + 500mm lens + 1.4.......... Plus three required
Body + 500mm lens + 2X........... Minus seven required

I'll try it with the 5DSR on the next nice day.

Stay safe,
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Old Wednesday 1st April 2020, 00:29   #13
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I kind of understand the choice of 7 meters for the lens alone, but why not add a little distance with each of the converters? I assume that would be why you need converters anyway, that the birds are further away?

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Old Wednesday 1st April 2020, 08:52   #14
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Originally Posted by njlarsen View Post
I kind of understand the choice of 7 meters for the lens alone, but why not add a little distance with each of the converters? I assume that would be why you need converters anyway, that the birds are further away?

Niels
Whilst reading another forum recently about the 2X convertor, one contributor stated that in his opinion it was at it's best when used to bring a close subject closer.
The more I thought about it, the more I subscribed to the idea.

A wren or similar at 7 metres with a full frame sensor and 500mm is not overlarge in the frame for sure and an extender would be used in this situation by me.

All the same, you raise a good point and I may well try the lens with extenders at about 10 and 14 metres respectively to see if there's any difference.


Thanks and stay safe.
Mike.

Last edited by MJN : Wednesday 1st April 2020 at 12:57.
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Old Wednesday 1st April 2020, 12:43   #15
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My late mother certainly thought all telephoto lenses were to enable her to take tiny pictures of birds even further away than before.

John
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Old Tuesday 7th April 2020, 19:52   #16
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[quote=Dave Williams;3967999]Must admit I have never felt the need to micro adjust any of my lenses and I have owned both Nikon and, nowadays,Canon. They have always been L series though and I wouldn't expect them to need any.


With my Canon 500mm L f4 Mk1 I need a -9 AF microadjustment and my former 400 m f5.6 L needed +11. Its worth checking any lens to get the best out of it.
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Old Wednesday 8th April 2020, 20:08   #17
Dave Williams
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[quote=Kevin Wade;3981849]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Williams View Post
Must admit I have never felt the need to micro adjust any of my lenses and I have owned both Nikon and, nowadays,Canon. They have always been L series though and I wouldn't expect them to need any.


With my Canon 500mm L f4 Mk1 I need a -9 AF microadjustment and my former 400 m f5.6 L needed +11. Its worth checking any lens to get the best out of it.
Couldn't agree more Kevin. If you are not happy with what you get try and improve by all means, I just have never seen the need to try for better with the lenses I have owned. Maybe I'm lucky. As I don't like over sharpened images I don't tend to apply sharpening on the finished product most of the time either but that's my preference not everyone else would agree..
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