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01-02-2013, 06:34 PM   #1
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Sigma lenses AF micro adjustment

I'm postin this on both Pentax forums.

I'm in the process of testing my new Sigma 500/4.5 and 180/3.5 macro lenses. Unfortunately not everything goes right.

In the past I had trouble making custom lens correction with three Sigma lenses: two 100-300/4 and one 170-500mm which I used to own. Now I'm trying to squeeze the best from my both new Sigmas: 500/4.5 and 180/3.5 macro.

It looks like K-5 doesn't recognize fully long tele Sigma lenses and thus doesn't store any micro adjustment settings for them. I tested it on both 180/3.5 macro and 500/4.5. E.g. Exif data does read 500mm for 500/4.5, but doesn't show lens name: 500mm 1:4.5 EX DG, referencing just Sigma named lens.

For Sigma lenses only the last saved AF micro adjustment setting is stored by default. So, if you use a multiple Sigma lenses which require different AF custom adjustments, you have to set it every time before shooting. Otherwise the lens may pick up wrong previous Sigma named lens setting.

Why am I concerned? Because my both long Pentax lenses do need AF micro adjustment. I do have +3 for my FA*300/4.5 and +4 for the DA*60-250/4 at the longest end.

Another finding. It looks like my favorite quick PDAF vs. CDAF focus correction lens method on longest FL tele lenses is not very accurate. All CDAF shots taken from 12m (40 ft.) distance with my new 500/4.5 are noticeably softer than adjusted PDAF outputs.

More testing needs to be done. However, I'm going to use old fashion laborious side by side shoot out this time. Any other suggestions? So far the best sharpness for the 500/4.5 is somewhere in between +5 and +10

01-02-2013, 06:48 PM   #2
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Evening,

In some respects I am unable to help, since I only have a single Sigma lens - the 8-16. However, when I did acquire it, I found that it was off and the maximum 10 adjustment units was insufficient. CRIS is an authorized Pentax and Sigma warranty repair depot, so I called them and asked what could be done. They suggested dropping off both the camera body and lens. It turns out that the lens was at least 45 adjustments units out, and the body was perfect, so they adjusted and aligned the lens, maintaining a 0 micro adjustment on the body. The combination is now spot on. It was all done under the Sigma warranty - and having CRIS familiar with Pentax was an added bonus.

I might suggest calling them - its a short shipment from LA to Phoenix, and you might have a matched set of lenses with your body. On the other hand, I don't have a clue why you can only have a single micro-adjustment value for all your Sigma lenses. That makes no sense.

01-02-2013, 07:12 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by interested_observer Quote
Evening,

In some respects I am unable to help, since I only have a single Sigma lens - the 8-16. However, when I did acquire it, I found that it was off and the maximum 10 adjustment units was insufficient. CRIS is an authorized Pentax and Sigma warranty repair depot, so I called them and asked what could be done. They suggested dropping off both the camera body and lens. It turns out that the lens was at least 45 adjustments units out, and the body was perfect, so they adjusted and aligned the lens, maintaining a 0 micro adjustment on the body. The combination is now spot on. It was all done under the Sigma warranty - and having CRIS familiar with Pentax was an added bonus.

I might suggest calling them - its a short shipment from LA to Phoenix, and you might have a matched set of lenses with your body. On the other hand, I don't have a clue why you can only have That makes no sense.

Interesting. My 8-16 looks good to me so far. And huge DOF of ultra wide angle lens shall compensate fo some irregularities. However, +/-45 sounds scary.

I may go this way. However, $5000 lens shipping with insurance would cost a lot. And I really don't want to start over with my other adjusted already lenses.

I have no hope for a single micro-adjustment value for all Sigma lenses. The point is, if you have one Sigma adjusted and switch to another Sigma. The latter will pick up adjustment of the previous one. so, you need to set it up every time when using next Sigma lens.
01-02-2013, 08:02 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Greyser Quote
Any other suggestions? So far the best sharpness for the 500/4.5 is somewhere in between +5 and +10
My only suggestion is what a Sigma technician told me about this very same problem (AF adjust for multiple lenses) - send the lenses and body to Sigma Service (NY) and request that they be calibrated to each other. Sigma will adjust the lenses so your AF adjust in that particular body would be zero. Naturally, the next time you upgrade your body, they won't be perfect anymore... that's the nature of hand-assembled consumer goods!

This was offered as a free service on my 100-300/4 by Sigma's distributor in Canada (incl. shipping to Sigma USA in NY, who does the service for them), so I'm certain Sigma USA will do it for your 500mm, but contact them to be sure.

The new Sigma lenses (120-300/2.8) have a USB dock that allows the end-user to adjust the lens AF, but that's only in three new lenses that I know of.


Last edited by panoguy; 01-02-2013 at 08:10 PM.
01-02-2013, 11:58 PM   #5
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I have the Sigma 500/4.5 APO DG EX, the Sigma 100-300/4 APO DG EX and the Sigma 70-200/2.8 II. I have no difficulty recording individual focus corrections for each of these lenses on my K5 or K20D, although I note as you have done that the 500 does not identify correctly. My firmware is 1.13. For reference, the focus correction on the three lenses respectively is +5, 0, and -7. My focus test for the 500 is shooting at soft drink cans at about 20 metres. Once adjusted at +5, I would describe the 500 as 'dead sharp' and I usually use it at f5.6 to get enough depth of field to shoot birds. Not sure if this will help the lens confusion, but I hope it helps with the focus adjustment.

In PhotoME exif data:
- the lens ID for the 500 is 3 +0 +0 +0 and comes as a "Sigma (Model Unknown)"
- The 100-300 records as 3 +46 +0 +0 and identifies as either a 100-300 f4 or a 70-200.2.8
- The 70-200 2.8 identifies as 8 +255 +0 +0 and records as a 70-200 2.8 or 150-500 f5-6.3

You might care to check the data for your 180/3.5 and see if it is the same as the 500/4.5
01-03-2013, 01:16 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by AdrianM Quote
I have the Sigma 500/4.5 APO DG EX, the Sigma 100-300/4 APO DG EX and the Sigma 70-200/2.8 II. I have no difficulty recording individual focus corrections for each of these lenses on my K5 or K20D, although I note as you have done that the 500 does not identify correctly. My firmware is 1.13. For reference, the focus correction on the three lenses respectively is +5, 0, and -7. My focus test for the 500 is shooting at soft drink cans at about 20 metres. Once adjusted at +5, I would describe the 500 as 'dead sharp' and I usually use it at f5.6 to get enough depth of field to shoot birds. Not sure if this will help the lens confusion, but I hope it helps with the focus adjustment.

In PhotoME exif data:
- the lens ID for the 500 is 3 +0 +0 +0 and comes as a "Sigma (Model Unknown)"
- The 100-300 records as 3 +46 +0 +0 and identifies as either a 100-300 f4 or a 70-200.2.8
- The 70-200 2.8 identifies as 8 +255 +0 +0 and records as a 70-200 2.8 or 150-500 f5-6.3

You might care to check the data for your 180/3.5 and see if it is the same as the 500/4.5
Thank you for the reply. Have you tried to check what focus correction value is used when different lenses are attached? Let's say I set +10 for 500/4.5 and +4 for 180/3.5. If I used the 500/4.5 before my K-5 keeps +10. When I attach the 180/3.5 and check for the correction value my camera still shows +10 instead of +4 that I previously saved for this lens. And vice versa. For example when my FA*300/4.5 is attached instead of 180/3.5 the camera shows proper +3 which is set and saved for this lens.

My firmware version is still 1.03. However, I have reasonable doubts that these updates fix the Sigma lenses AF correction and recognition issue. All newer updates were about GPS, Astrotracer, and SDXC cards functionalities, and I did not downloaded them.

Unfortunately I have no access to PhotoME now, because I'm on two iMacs and do not use virtual Windows. However, you may be right about same identification of 500/4.5 and 180/3.5. I just checked my Sigma 8-16. K-5 does save it correction. And neither 180mm or 500mm picks up the value of 8-16. So, the issue may be very local, affecting only two my lenses. It's still inconvenient a bit, though.

Thank you very much for your help and the tip. I may ask somebody tomorrow to check my both jpeg files to confirm it.

My regards,

SG
01-04-2013, 08:42 PM   #7
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Hi Greyser - the individual corrections work as they are supposed to ie. each correction is properly retained and does not conflict with another.. I suggest you look at downloding the latest firmwre anyway. What I have discovered is that there are sometimes minor fixes that are not in the description of the change.


... and by the way, there is more EXIF info retained in a Raw shot than JPEG.
01-04-2013, 11:33 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by AdrianM Quote
Hi Greyser - the individual corrections work as they are supposed to ie. each correction is properly retained and does not conflict with another.. I suggest you look at downloding the latest firmwre anyway. What I have discovered is that there are sometimes minor fixes that are not in the description of the change.


... and by the way, there is more EXIF info retained in a Raw shot than JPEG.
Hi Adrian,

I tried exiftool yesterday. Got a hundreds lines of exif data. For both lenses lens ID is simply <Sigma>. I was unable to find these numerical ID tags, what you mentioned above. There is another layer of data, I guess, to retrive numerical IDs. However, it doesn't matter anymore. My other Sigma lenses hold individual settings just fine. I just need to learn a new routine: when the 180/3.5 is attached, I need to eneter +4. When I take it off, the value needs to be switched back to +10 for more commonly used 500/4.5. That's all. A bit ugly, but straightforward.

And I have to upgrade the firmware, you are right.

Thank you for your help,

SG

01-07-2013, 06:57 AM   #9
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I pretty much gave up on Sigma lenses for the reason stated above. I understand there are manufacturing tolerances and have read the articles about AF adjustment being needed with some combinations of cameras and lenses.

I've bought a lot of lenses over the past couple years and have happily ended up very satisfied with my current set in the signature. Notice they are all Pentax lenses?

My first new Sigma lens was the 150-500 - so very excited to finally saved up enough to buy it. First day of testing it had terrible back focus. I felt that when spending $1K on a lens, it should be perfect - that one was returned.

Next was the refurbished 50-150 direct from Sigma. Awesome lens and focus was right on at the wide end, but off on the long end. As per the suggestions here on the forum, sent it and my K-5 into Sigma for adjustment. Came back perfect on the long end, but a little soft on the wide end.

Then one more try with Sigma - bought a new 17-50 2.8 HSM. Beautiful lens - back focused terribly - returned.

A couple members here suggest sending your Sigma lenses in to Sigma with your body for calibration. Sorry, but I find that ridiculous. When I buy a new lens ($550-$1000) I should not have to do that with a brand new lens. Now I am reading this about the same sort of thing with a $5k lens? Sorry - that is totally unacceptable to me.

And to be fair, I did have one new Pentax lens that was off also - my first copy of the DA*55. Second copy is right on. All my current Pentax lenses are totally sharp without any AF adjustment - the way it should be in my world when spending big bucks on new lenses. After my 3 trials with new Sigma lenses, I am done. It's a shame since they do have a nice selection of lenses that I like.
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