The best tool I've puchased yet.

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by inTempus, May 6, 2009.

  1. inTempus

    inTempus TPF Noob!

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    I've been struggling with the various methods for determining if my lenses are front/back/neutral focusing. Each method yielded slightly different results.

    I read about Lens Align a while back but couldn't justify the $79/$139 cost. The cheaper of the two being the "lite" version while the more expensive being the "professional" version.

    After deciding that I was wasting my time trying the freebie methods I figured "what the heck" and ordered the pro version of Lens Align.

    Here's what it looks like:

    [​IMG]

    One lens out of my whole kit was perfect on my 1D and not a single one was perfect on my 5D. I can also say that none of the lenses were off the same amount on both bodies.

    Wow. What a difference.

    Two things came of this purchase.

    1. There is a notable difference between the results using Lens Align Pro and using the freebie methods found on the internet with the advantage going to Lens Align.

    2. I will never buy another body that doesn't have micro-adjustment. My 85L would be unusable on my 5D Mk II if I couldn't adjust to compensate for the front focus. It took 10 clicks of adjustment to bring it into line on that body, and only 3 on my 1D Mark III. Keep in mind the "clicks" are very minute, but the difference in how the lens focuses is night and day.

    I can't say the cost is justified completely, once you have all of your lenses calibrated on your body(ies) the tool sits until you buy another lens. If anything, it's a good excuse to buy more lenses. :) Also, if you don't have micro-adjustment it might be frustrating seeing just how out of focus your camera/lens is. The only solution if you don't have MA is to send your camera back to the manufacturer and have them adjust things then retest days/weeks later when you get it back (not to mention shipping costs).

    I can honestly say to me it was worth the investment. Now I can help my buddies calibrate their kits properly too.
     
  2. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I would say this is of limited concern outside wide aperture lenses though. I mean your 85L yeah if you're going to spend $2000 on a lens, then the extra cost of spot on AF is well worth it, but for the vast majority of the people with kit lenses or even f/2.8 wide angle lenses this may not have an effect at all even when pixel peeping.

    Did you notice any usable or field relevant difference with the 17-40 f/4 ?
     
  3. inTempus

    inTempus TPF Noob!

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    I didn't notice much of a difference 17-40. On my 1D I had one click of back focus to bring things perfectly into alignment and on my 5D it was the opposite - 1 click of front focus. I've never found my images from that lens to be soft, but then it's not really a lens I use (or expect to produce) razor sharp images.

    My 85L was purchased because of its reputation as a very sharp image producing lens. It wasn't at all on my 5D and it was quite annoying given the price. Now it's amazingly sharp.

    The same with my 24-70 on my 5D, it was just a little soft and it drove me nuts.

    I also noticed a big difference with my 70-200. I need to get out this weekend to confirm the results of my test and shoot things as a distance, but after shooting a baseball game a couple of weeks ago I felt like it was a little soft. Sure enough, it required several clicks of adjustment.
     
  4. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I saw a demo of this thing and I thought it was pretty neat...then I heard the price :shock:

    I'm hoping that other products come onto the market and that the competition gives the consumer a good product at a lower price.

    Or maybe it would be a good idea for groups of local photographers to buy one and share it among them. Like you said, once you calibrate your lenses, this thing sits useless until you buy a new lens.
     
  5. 250Gimp

    250Gimp TPF Noob!

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    I like the idea of this thing. Now I need a body with micro adjust!!

    I'm sure as it gets more popular the used market will start seeing them.
     
  6. inTempus

    inTempus TPF Noob!

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    I think Mike is on to something, it's only a matter of time before you see a competitive product. Given the popularity of this device with those who have used it, someone will pick up the ball and run with it.
     
  7. cereal83

    cereal83 TPF Noob!

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    This is something very cool and I never even thought about it. What camera's don't have micro-adjust or if the list is short, which Canon ones DO have micro-adjust?

    Do you physically change anything on the lens or is it all camera?

    Thanks
     
  8. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    It's in the camera's menu.

    Off the top of my head...I think the only ones that do have it at the 50D, 5D mkII, 1D mkIII and 1Ds mkIII.
     
  9. cereal83

    cereal83 TPF Noob!

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    Ok cool as maybe this would be a good thing for me to look into for the close future!
     
  10. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    On the Nikon side, D300, D700 and D3 all have this ability as well. I am not sure about others.
     
  11. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    It is pretty cool...but photographers have been living without it up till now...so it's not something that is absolutely necessary.
    As mentioned above, this is more of an issue when shooting with ultra fast lenses at maximum aperture (F1.4, F1.2) where you DOF is razor thin. If you are shooting at F4, it's unlikely that you would even notice a slight mis-focus.
     
  12. wgp1987

    wgp1987 TPF Noob!

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    WHAT ABOUT MY 30D!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LOL
     

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