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Lens Calibration
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Apr 14, 2019 11:36:38   #
hogilbert
 
How important is it? What is the best method? DIY or camera shop? Is it worthwhile to calibrate a zoom lens? If so what focal lengths? Example: Tamron 70-200 2.8 G2

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Apr 14, 2019 11:38:33   #
jeep_daddy (a regular here)
 
It's probably worth it when you have 3rd party lenses, but if you have OEM lenses then I've never found it necessary to calibrate. They've been spot on. I have read that a lot of people find the Tamron and other 3rd party lenses to be off a little and that they front focus quite a lot.

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Apr 14, 2019 12:06:56   #
MT Shooter (a regular here)
 
hogilbert wrote:
How important is it? What is the best method? DIY or camera shop? Is it worthwhile to calibrate a zoom lens? If so what focal lengths? Example: Tamron 70-200 2.8 G2


Any lens can benefit from AF tuning. The key is to TEST it to see if it actually NEEDS it. I have lenses from Nikon, Tamron, Sigma and Canon and every one was improved, some more than others, by testing and tuning to its best AF.
Your Tamron allows you to tune the lens itself at 4 different focal lengths, having nothing to do with the body, using Tamrons Tap-in Console. (Sigma has this ability too with their USB Dock system.) Be aware though that any such tuning will transfer to any other body you use that lens on so if you use it on 3 defferent bodies the AF may be off on the oned you did not tune it for just due to the focus tolerance range of the different cameras.
Tuning is a slow, tedious process to do right, but is always beneficial and worth the effort.

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Apr 14, 2019 12:42:02   #
User ID (a regular here)
 
`

jeep_daddy wrote:

It's probably worth it when you have 3rd party lenses, but if you
have OEM lenses then I've never found it necessary to calibrate.
They've been spot on. I have read that a lot of people find the
Tamron and other 3rd party lenses to be off a little and that they
front focus quite a lot.


Not doubting what you've experienced ... just adding
that the situation is "all over the map". In using many
[waaaaay many] brands of bodies and lenses. I have
never found front focus. Always the reverse, and with
no general difference between OEM and 3rd party.

Maybe it's a difference in testing procedures. Do some
folks [you maybe?] test at infinity ? I test at various
distances, based on two things. One thing is simple to
deal with, just testing at the most used distance for
my uses of that lens. 2nd thing is much more tedious.
I'll check a lens to see if it has worst and best range,
both for distance and FL if it's a zoom. Then I'll do the
correction for the range with greatest error ... and let
all else fly on a wing and a prayer.

.

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Apr 14, 2019 12:49:12   #
CamB (a regular here)
 
hogilbert wrote:
How important is it? What is the best method? DIY or camera shop? Is it worthwhile to calibrate a zoom lens? If so what focal lengths? Example: Tamron 70-200 2.8 G2


This is a confusing subject. Some will say all their lenses needed it and are better for it. Others will say none of their lenses needed it. When I heard about doing this about two years ago, I got all excited for sharper pictures and better performing lenses. Downloaded what I needed, set up the conditions and checked all eight of my Nikon lenses. Not one of them needed anything. They were all spot on. This leads me to think that unless you are having a problem with a lens it is sort of a waste of time. If you are worried about it then you probably won't settle down until you have done it, but I won't bother anymore.
...Cam

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Apr 14, 2019 13:45:36   #
hogilbert
 
jeep_daddy wrote:
It's probably worth it when you have 3rd party lenses, but if you have OEM lenses then I've never found it necessary to calibrate. They've been spot on. I have read that a lot of people find the Tamron and other 3rd party lenses to be off a little and that they front focus quite a lot.


I have the following:
Nikon 20mm 1.8
" 50MM 1.8
" 60 mm 2.8 Micro
" 70-300 4.5-6.3
" 24-120mm 4
Tamron 85mm 1.8
" 70-200 2.8
" 100-400 4.5-6.3
Your recommendation is to check the Tamrons and skip the Nikons?

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Apr 14, 2019 14:07:19   #
mwsilvers (a regular here)
 
MT Shooter wrote:
Any lens can benefit from AF tuning. The key is to TEST it to see if it actually NEEDS it. I have lenses from Nikon, Tamron, Sigma and Canon and every one was improved, some more than others, by testing and tuning to its best AF.
Your Tamron allows you to tune the lens itself at 4 different focal lengths, having nothing to do with the body, using Tamrons Tap-in Console. (Sigma has this ability too with their USB Dock system.) Be aware though that any such tuning will transfer to any other body you use that lens on so if you use it on 3 defferent bodies the AF may be off on the oned you did not tune it for just due to the focus tolerance range of the different cameras.
Tuning is a slow, tedious process to do right, but is always beneficial and worth the effort.
Any lens can benefit from AF tuning. The key is to... (show quote)


Just a quick addendum to your comments. First any in-camera settings can be undone or modified as desired. But it must be understood that the setting for a particular lens on a particular body may differ if that lens is mounted on a different copy of that same body.

Second Tamron and Sigma zoom lenses have the option to adjust 16 different parameters on the respective console and dock, but the task is very arduous requiring a lot of time and patience, and detailed understanding of the correct procedures. Once done those lenses are only optimized for a particular camera body and must be re-calibrated for use on a different body, and of course those lenses can be reset to the original settings.

Third and most serious, having a lens adjusted to work better with a particular body by the lens manufacturer means that the lens has been permanently adjusted and may never work optimally with any other body unless you repeat that process and have it re-adjusted. I had that done in the past and regretted it ever since.

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Apr 14, 2019 15:06:08   #
MT Shooter (a regular here)
 
mwsilvers wrote:
Just a quick addendum to your comments. First any in-camera settings can be undone or modified as desired. But it must be understood that the setting for a particular lens on a particular body may differ if that lens is mounted on a different copy of that same body.

Second Tamron and Sigma zoom lenses have the option to adjust 16 different parameters on the respective console and dock, but the task is very arduous requiring a lot of time and patience, and detailed understanding of the correct procedures. Once done those lenses are only optimized for a particular camera body and must be re-calibrated for use on a different body, and of course those lenses can be reset to the original settings.

Third and most serious, having a lens adjusted to work better with a particular body by the lens manufacturer means that the lens has been permanently adjusted and may never work optimally with any other body unless you repeat that process and have it re-adjusted. I had that done in the past and regretted it ever since.
Just a quick addendum to your comments. First any ... (show quote)


Just a rehash of my statement. Except ANY tuning is very easily removed in both brands by just clicking the return to default selection.

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Apr 14, 2019 15:25:06   #
Strodav (a regular here)
 
Here we go again. This has been discussed several times over the last couple of months and there have been a few posts on lens comparisons that ends up in a discussion over tuning. The exchanges have gotten fairly heated. Let's see how many pages this post goes to.

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Apr 14, 2019 16:12:11   #
mwsilvers (a regular here)
 
MT Shooter wrote:
Just a rehash of my statement. Except ANY tuning is very easily removed in both brands by just clicking the return to default selection.


I was referring to lenses that are not supported by the tuning systems and are updated by a lens manufacturer for particular body.

In my own case I have an older Sigma 30mm f/1.4 which is not supported by the Sigma USB dock. It needed adjustment to work well with my then primary camera, which did not have inbody focus adjustments, the Canon 60D. At the same time, that lens worked fairly well wide open on my two Canon Rebel bodies.

Around 5 years ago I had Sigma modify that lens to match my 60D body and as a result it now works extremely well on it. But it no longer works well on the Canon t2i and Canon t3i bodies belonging to my wife and son. And when I purchased my Canon 7D Mark II around four plus years ago, that lens didn't work well on that body either. Luckily my Canon 7D Mark II has in-body focus adjustment capability so I was able to compensate.

My point was simply that modifying a third-party lens by the manufacturer to a specific body can have unexpected consequences when you want to use that lens with a different camera.

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Apr 14, 2019 16:16:53   #
MT Shooter (a regular here)
 
mwsilvers wrote:
I was referring to lenses that are not supported by the tuning systems and are updated by a lens manufacturer for particular body.

In my own case I have an older Sigma 30mm f/1.4 which is not supported by the Sigma USB dock. It needed adjustment to work well with my then primary camera, which did not have inbody focus adjustments, the Canon 60D. At the same time, that lens worked fairly well wide open on my two Canon Rebel bodies.

Around 5 years ago I had Sigma modify that lens to match my 60D body and as a result it now works extremely well on it. But it no longer works well on the Canon t2i and Canon t3i bodies belonging to my wife and son. And when I purchased my Canon 7D Mark II four years ago that lens didn't work well on that body either. Luckily my Canon 7D Mark II has in-body focus adjustment capability so I was able to compensate.

My point was simply that modifying a third-party lens by the manufacturer to a specific body can have unexpected consequences when you want to use that lens with a different camera.
I was referring to lenses that are not supported b... (show quote)


That is true of OEM OR third party lenses, any factory tuning requires sending that lens back to re-tune and that can be a real PITA if the manufacturer no lo ger supports that older lens. I do not recommend doing that unless the lens is REALLY bad and in-camera tuning does not help. I would futher request a replacement if it were truly that bad. However a really bad lens can often work quite well on a different body. This happens often on entry level bodies in the Canon Rebel series and Nikon D3xxx/D5xxx series as these cameras are often manufactured with wider AF tolerances and none of them offer in camera tuning ability.

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Apr 14, 2019 16:19:29   #
Gene51 (a regular here)
 
hogilbert wrote:
How important is it? What is the best method? DIY or camera shop? Is it worthwhile to calibrate a zoom lens? If so what focal lengths? Example: Tamron 70-200 2.8 G2


Ok, here goes nothing. The only problem I've ever had was with a Nikkor lens on a Nikon D800. All my other lenses - including manual and autofocus Nikkors, Sigmas (5), Tamrons (3), Tokina (1) have NEVER needed any autofocus adjustment. The most comprehensive method is to figure out which is out of whack, and send it to that manufacturer's repair facility. There is a lot of urban mythology about auto focus fine tune - but the facts are as follows:

In camera, user accessible autofocus tuning is a)a simple focus offset, affecting all focus performance, b)a poor substitute for proper tuning - where lenses/cameras are adjusted at multiple distances/focal lengths.

Focus issues are rarely linear in nature - and if you fix, for instance, back focusing at one distance and/or focal length, you will likely create front focusing at other distances/focal lengths. But don't take my word for it - speak to a tech - I got my info from a tech at Nikon in Melville, NY.

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Apr 14, 2019 19:00:46   #
TriX (a regular here)
 
Let me suggest that you use the search function and look at all the previous threads on the subject rather than repeating this discussion yet again. We just finished this exact discussion last week. As you’ll find out, this is a subject of constant disagreement between experienced photographers, and I suspect that it may be related to shooting style. If you shoot wide angle lenses or stopped down with a large DOF, you may never see an error and assume that lenses need no correction. On the other hand, if you shoot long teles or wide open where the DOF is inches, rather than feet, you may find it very useful. Rather than providing anecdotal evidence, let me suggest you take a look at an actual test in this subject: https://www.uglyhedgehog.com/t-508300-1.html

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Apr 14, 2019 20:10:45   #
CamB (a regular here)
 
TriX wrote:
Let me suggest that you use the search function and look at all the previous threads on the subject rather than repeating this discussion yet again. We just finished this exact discussion last week. As you’ll find out, this is a subject of constant disagreement between experienced photographers, and I suspect that it may be related to shooting style. If you shoot wide angle lenses or stopped down with a large DOF, you may never see an error and assume that lenses need no correction. On the other hand, if you shoot long teles or wide open where the DOF is inches, rather than feet, you may find it very useful. Rather than providing anecdotal evidence, let me suggest you take a look at an actual test in this subject: https://www.uglyhedgehog.com/t-508300-1.html
Let me suggest that you use the search function an... (show quote)


This is probably a good idea, but of course you will just find nine pages of yes/no. There is no one answer for all.

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Apr 14, 2019 20:13:32   #
Strodav (a regular here)
 
TriX wrote:
Let me suggest that you use the search function and look at all the previous threads on the subject rather than repeating this discussion yet again. We just finished this exact discussion last week. As you’ll find out, this is a subject of constant disagreement between experienced photographers, and I suspect that it may be related to shooting style. If you shoot wide angle lenses or stopped down with a large DOF, you may never see an error and assume that lenses need no correction. On the other hand, if you shoot long teles or wide open where the DOF is inches, rather than feet, you may find it very useful. Rather than providing anecdotal evidence, let me suggest you take a look at an actual test in this subject: https://www.uglyhedgehog.com/t-508300-1.html
Let me suggest that you use the search function an... (show quote)



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