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Calibrating camera & lens

Discussion in 'Animal Photography' started by AdrianW1963, 27 May 2019.

  1. AdrianW1963

    AdrianW1963 Well-Known Member

    15 Oct 2016
    Black Country
    I have just acquired a Nikon D800 and a Sigma 100-400mm lens I would also like to calibrate my sigma 50-500mm lens to either the D800 or D7000 and was wondering what others think and have they calibrated there own equipment I do have the Focal2 pro software I could use from a friend.
  2. littleRedPanda

    littleRedPanda Well-Known Member

    22 Sep 2014
    In the middle
    I never seemed to fine tune my Tamrons satisfactorily to my D7000. I've now decided to stick with Nikon lenses
  3. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Well-Known Member Premium Member

    10 Feb 2009
    Arizona, USA
    I assume by calibration you mean what is commonly referred to as micro focus adjust. I have owned professional Canon digital cameras (starting with 5D2, then 5D3 and 1D4, now a pair of 5D4) and have gone through at least ten lenses (mostly Canon, but also a couple Sigma). I am a semi-professional photographer with numerous publication credits and I have enlarged my photos up to 40x60 inches. I have never, ever done micro focus adjustment and never needed to. Every lens and body combo I have ever tried focused perfectly (except for a Sigma EX 85 f1.4 that had trouble focusing at close range and was corrected under factory warranty, but that was nothing that micro focus adjust would have fixed).

    My personal opinion is that micro focus adjustment is unnecessary and a waste of time. However if you follow photography blogs and forums you will see that I am in the minority opinion. Lots of people swear by it, but considering the number of lens and camera combinations I have used, I find it hard to believe it is that necessary. If you decide to do it, from what I have read, keep in mind you have to do a separate calibration at different focal lengths (on a zoom lens like yours).

    The best way to decide if you need to do it is to take lots of pictures that you know should be in focus (i.e. camera shake or subject movement are not an issue) and review them. The only reason you need calibration is if the point of focus is consistently off in the same way. For example you are photographing animals like bears and you know the focus point is locked on their eye but when you review the focus is always closer on the nose and the eye is a bit blurry. If you try the lens and this is not the case, then my advice is forget about calibration and just enjoy the lens.
    NigeW and Terry Thomas like this.
  4. RetiredToTheZoo

    RetiredToTheZoo Well-Known Member

    25 Jun 2015
    Mid South, USA
    Personally, I find the fine tune focus adjustments most useful on prime lenses when using them at large apertures for a shallow DOF, f1.2 to f4. Zoom lenses on the other hand are optimized for the mid range focal length. They tend to back focus at one end of the range and front focus at the other. The larger the zoom range is, the greater the variance will be. I do check a new lens for focus accuracy using a focus calibration device. Software methods tend to not be very reliable. If you are using an electronic view finder or live view on the camera, then focus adjustment is not necessary since you are focusing the lens directly on the sensor.