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05-20-2012, 09:09 AM   #1
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Lens Focus Calibration - Lens Align vs SpyderdeLensCal vs Focus Pyramid vs Free Stuff

I've occasionally had some focus issues with my Tamron 28-75. Occasionally it will not focus accurately. When it does, the shots are spectacular, but those times it misses, it can be frustrating. I've been thinking about getting a Focus Calibration Tool for a while, but have never bought one because of the price. I've finally decided it might be worth the investment.

I've noticed that the two top calibration charts seem to be Lens Align and SpyderLensCal. They both cost more than 70 dollars. I'm sure they both work well, but can anyone tell me if there are pros and cons to either of them? If you were to buy one, which would you buy?

This morning, I found this on on the bay: Canon Nikon Sony Olympus & Pentax Lens Calibration Auto Focus Tool | eBay
It's only 20 dollars so it almost feels worth the risk. Has anyone tried this out? It seems to be made out of "high quality paper" whatever that means.

I know that there are some free charts that are available online, but they never seem to be highly recommended. Has this changed recently? Are there any now that perform just as well, or pretty close to any of the other calibration tools?

05-20-2012, 09:29 AM   #2
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Have you seen our homepage article on front focus and back focus ? It gives you a comparison of the lenscal and lensalign. The lenscal wasn't as good (or versatile), but certainly usable.
05-20-2012, 09:37 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
Have you seen our homepage article on front focus and back focus ? It gives you a comparison of the lenscal and lensalign. The lenscal wasn't as good (or versatile), but certainly usable.
Thanks Adam. I will look at it.
05-20-2012, 09:40 AM   #4
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For anyone else looking for the article:

Fixing Front and Back Focus - Introduction - PentaxForums.com

05-20-2012, 09:50 AM   #5
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I recently came across this method that uses moire interference patterns to calibrate focus, it looked interesting. AF microadjustment for the 1Ds mark III, 1D Mk3, 5D Mk2, 7D
05-20-2012, 10:27 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Karl Stevens Quote
I recently came across this method that uses moire interference patterns to calibrate focus, it looked interesting. AF microadjustment for the 1Ds mark III, 1D Mk3, 5D Mk2, 7D
Have you tried it out? If you did, how were the results?
05-20-2012, 07:22 PM   #7
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Another option is Yvon Bourque's FREE guide and chart (download it and print it yourself). I used this for my K20D and first 6 lenses and it worked quite well. Later I bought a Lens Align for my K-5 and the 12 lenses that could be "remembered" by the camera... it was easier to set up and align, but was $80 more!
05-21-2012, 06:54 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by reivax Quote
Have you tried it out? If you did, how were the results?
I'm happy with the focus of my lenses, but I did point the camera at the screen to see the moire pattern change - it seemed to do what it said on the tin.

09-05-2013, 02:48 PM   #9
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I did buy focus pyramid cos it was cheap on ebay. Actually its enough good for me. Biggest minus is that place to focus is not strait. If check where center af point the most lowest part is and use that part to focus then can make accirate enough calibration. I did check my k5 and center af sensor in my camera ends right after bottom of red square in viewfinder when af is center point af mode. I just focus using that bottom line so i put that samelevel with focus pyramid focus line. If i would not do like this then calibration error in 50mm lens would be about 8mm front focus. This is biggest problem with focus pyramid. U must know excactly where af sensor ends. Butit can be easily checked so i can recomend this product also if on very tight budget like me. Its better than no calibration tool at all, but not much. If use book with very little txt and focus on that and then compare with k5 32x zooming in camera jpg biggest and best quality files can get same results. Like shoot -10, -7, -4,-1,2,5,8,10. Then select sharpest. Then compare neigbours like if -4 sharpest and -7 second sharpest then u shoot -5 and u select sharpest from -4 or -5. Use tripod and 2sec delay after prsessing fire button. Before every pic focus manually to infinity. One more thing put book about 25x focal lenght from camera. Simple as that, commercial tools not necassary needed at all. I did do like this using book only before and results i get with focus pyramid are same
09-05-2013, 03:23 PM   #10
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I used a grass-filled crack in the sidewalk.
09-05-2013, 03:55 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by panoguy Quote
Another option is Yvon Bourque's FREE guide and chart (download it and print it yourself).
I also printed this. The biggest problem was printing it onto heavy card as my printer doesn't have a straight paper path. To get heavy enough "paper" to allow the focus aids to be self-supporting, I bought a sheet of art card from the stationery store and cut it into A4 sized sheets to fit the printer.

I fed the card into the manual feed slot and helped it through the printer.

I may cut a wooden block of the required shape and glue the focus aid onto the block in order to maintain the aid's shape.
09-05-2013, 05:55 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by p38arover Quote
I may cut a wooden block of the required shape and glue the focus aid onto the block in order to maintain the aid's shape.
Wouldn't picking up some polystyrene foam board from an art store be easier/cheaper? It cuts easily with a razor.
09-05-2013, 10:02 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by nater Quote
Wouldn't picking up some polystyrene foam board from an art store be easier/cheaper? It cuts easily with a razor.
Not for me. I'd use my radial arm saw or my drop saw (mitre saw/chop saw). It would be marked out and cut in a couple of minutes.
09-06-2013, 01:29 AM   #14
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I think they're all more of less of similar effectiveness.

I personally use the Ghetto Cal chart because it's free.

GhettoCAL DIY Lens Calibration DSLR Micro Adjust Fine Tune

Took about 20 minutes using some bits of foam board.
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