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01-29-2014, 12:49 PM - 2 Likes   #1
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LensAlign MkII Focus Calibration System up for loan

I'm going to work overseas during the next few months. As such, I'm not needing my LensAlign MkII Focus Calibration System and felt I should offer it up as a loaner to others.

The way I envision it is it's a little like pay it forward. You PayPal me $ 6 to handle the USPA priority mail large envelope mailing to the first loanee or do a local pickup around Whidbey Island north of Seattle. Then that person when done is sent $ 6 to forward it onto the next loanee. When I get back, I'll send $ 6 to cover my return shipping or do local pickup.

Sound fair? Any critiques?

Who's first? Yeah A. Yzerr

Notes on how to use the LensAlign kit are below.


Last edited by comprock; 01-30-2014 at 08:32 PM. Reason: tweaks
01-29-2014, 01:28 PM   #2
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Sounds like a good idea in theory!

I'd be happy to start this community project off
01-29-2014, 06:55 PM   #3
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Sounds good, $ 5 via PayPal through TOP_SECRET_EMAIL_ADDRESS please. Be sure to stick the address on the PayPal receipt. If it costs more, I'll eat this time, but let folks know the revised shipping fare.

If you've more details, PM them.

Last edited by comprock; 01-30-2014 at 03:47 PM.
01-29-2014, 11:23 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by comprock Quote
Sounds good, $ 5 via PayPal through mc@aihr.us please. Be sure to stick the address on the PayPal receipt. If it costs more, I'll eat this time, but let folks know the revised shipping fare.

If you've more details, PM them.
I just went ahead and made it 7, hopefully give some luck!

01-30-2014, 01:16 PM   #5
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@A. Yzerr, I'll send it out this afternoon.
01-30-2014, 01:47 PM   #6
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01-30-2014, 03:28 PM   #7
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Kit is on its way.

$6 is the magic number for USPS priority mail 2-day envelope.
01-30-2014, 04:04 PM - 1 Like   #8
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How to Use LensAlign MkII Focus Calibration System

Once you've setup the LensAlign kit per its included directions and are saying "now what to yourself", I suggest you try the following steps to fine tune the auto focus of your camera and lens.

Area Setup
* Work in a consistently lit area.
* Got tripod? Put the alignment kit on a counter or table top and then generally aim your camera at it from the tripod.
* No tripod? I found setting the target flat and the camera raised via books on the kitchen counter works. A hard, flat floor works too.
* See Camera and Target Separation for how far apart initially to set your camera and LensAlign target.

Camera and Target Separation
The basic distance formula is focal length x 25, in millimeters. Here's a cheat sheet. It's unknown at this time what the effects are in distances being off. Hopefully, future experimentation will tell us the answer.

Camera Setup
* Put camera into manual mode to ensure a consistent baseline between shoots.
* Turn off image stabilization because it assumes movement and when there's none, it potentially adds it.
* Set your aperture to the smallest f number possible, like 1.8 or 4.0. This is your largest aperture opening.
* Set a low ISO 200 to reduce low-noise grains which interferes with determining focus adjustments.
* Set focus mode AFS or AFC.
* Set center point only focus.
* Set shutter speed to the inverse of your lens. Go a little faster on the shutter speed than the lens to prevent inadvertent camera shake induced fuzziness. E.g. 15mm = 1/15, 18mm = 1/20, 35mm = 1/45, 50/55mm = 1/60, 77mm = 1/90, 135mm = 1/180, etc.
* Increase your ISO or constant lighting if you're not able to correctly set shutter speed.
* If you've got a remote trigger, use that. Otherwise, use a shutter timer to prevent shutter press jiggling.

Ensure Straight and Parallel Targeting
* Aim your camera at the middle, largest dial on the cards left side. If shooting from a long distance, you might try aiming for the right circle as the right-side scale is then in the frame.

* Check that your camera and target are parallel and straight. When looking through the camera viewfinder and target, you should see through the middle and through the back such that you'll see what's behind the back card.
* It might be easier to manually focus to infinity or close, then fine tune manually or via auto-focus while aiming for the center target.
* Take a picture.
* Check the picture at 100% on camera LCD. Viewing on a larger screen is better, but not all have tethering capabilities or some sort to make this easy.
* Make sure the middle, largest dial center is truly parallel. Basically 3 circles evenly within each other, as shown above.
* Repeat above till parallel and straight photos are achieved.

Auto Focus Adjust
The following mentions of auto focus adjust refers to your Pentax camera's AF Fine Adjustment for Apply One. This setting is probably found in settings via Menu, on the last Customizations tab. Within AF Fine Adjustment, select On, and then adjust Apply One as needed per the focusing methods below.

You want to use Apply One because that keeps the settings of the attached lens separate from others. If you used Apply All, then all of your lens would be affected. Further, Apply All and Apply One changes are not culmative. E.g. +10 and +10 doesn't mean +20, but +10. If I understand correctly, Apply One overrides Apply All if there's profile for the attached lens.

Focusing Method 1
Please note that this method only appears easier. It actually involves many trips between camera and computer.

* Take a picture.
* Check the on camera picture at 100%.
* Compare the same top and bottom numbers on the ruler.
* If the same numbers below 0 (Zero) are sharper, then decrement your auto focus adjust like -1, -2, -5, etc. Otherwise, if the numbers above 0 are sharper, then increment your auto focus adjust like +1, +2, +5, etc.

Hopefully, the results are close enough to good enough and no more AF focus adjust is needed. If so, the tweaks should be minor.

Focusing Method 2
Please note that this method only looks more difficult, but significantly reduces trips between camera and computer.

* Set your auto focus adjust to -10
* Take a picture
* Increment your auto focus adjust to -9
* Take a picture
* Repeat increasing auto focus adjust by 1 and taking a picture until you've reached auto focus adjust +10 and have taken 21 photos. Auto focus adjust "0" counts as 1 too!
* Export the photos to your computer
* Start with labeling your first image as -10 and continue all are correctly labeled; -9, -8, …, -1, 0, +1, …, +10.
* View each image and look at the ruler's right side big-sized numbers.

* When the same big-sized numbers seem to be in focus, then look at the medium-sized numbers for same in focus.
* When the same medium-sized numbers seem to be in focus, then look at the smallest-sized numbers for same in focus.
* Flip between images a couple of times to double-check your results and overcome sore eyes.
* When you feel the same top and bottom number sets are in focus equally, set your auto focus adjust to that number.
* Try Real World Adjustments.

Real World Adjustments
* Go take some photographs!
* Shoot from your normal, shorter, and farther distances.
* If there's still question about focus, see Fine Tuning.

Fine Tuning Auto Focus Adjustments
* Like Focusing Method 2, but start 2 stops before and end 2 stops after your current auto focus adjust.
* Change your aperture to your most common, like f5.6 for portraits or f8 for street.

References
* Fixing Front and Back Focus
* AF Microfine adjustment Using a LensAlign or equivalent
* Autofocus Adjustments Hints
* Front or Back Focusing Problems? Free test (Lens Alignment) charts for Pentax, Nikon, Canon, Sony, Olympus.
* LensAlign - See How to use it.

Good luck and happy shooting!

Attached Images
View Picture EXIF
PENTAX K-5 II  Photo 
View Picture EXIF
PENTAX K-5 II  Photo 

Last edited by comprock; 12-14-2014 at 04:34 PM. Reason: clarifications by feedback
01-31-2014, 01:00 AM   #9
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You're coming to India,right? Would have borrowed it from you here.
01-31-2014, 05:01 PM   #10
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@bhairavp, yup, I'll be outside of New Delhi mid-March. It's possible to ship worldwide, but it does cost.
01-31-2014, 07:05 PM   #11
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Can I get in on this list?
02-01-2014, 11:39 AM   #12
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Sure thing Fat Albert, contact A.Yzerr to arrange follow on mailing.
02-02-2014, 04:40 PM   #13
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Fat Albert i call dibs after you lol
02-03-2014, 08:56 PM   #14
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It's a good idea, but I think the cheat sheet may be wrong. 100 mm focal x 25 = 2500 mm = 2.5 meters, not 25 meters. It seems the meter column is wrong.
02-03-2014, 10:04 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Eebll Quote
It's a good idea, but I think the cheat sheet may be wrong. 100 mm focal x 25 = 2500 mm = 2.5 meters, not 25 meters. It seems the meter column is wrong.
Thank you for noticing. It's fixed now.
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