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LensAlign Pro Plus Calibration System...my experience

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Thread started 28 Jun 2010 (Monday) 11:58   
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hollis_f
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Invertalon wrote in post #10485273external link
You know, looking closer at the Lens Align, the quality is the reason for the cost. It is really well made with features that make it better than do-it-yourself methods.

I'd be most interested to hear what these features are?

I use a focus test chart I printed for free. At 50x FL there's no need to have the focus target exactly parallel to the sensor plane so it's easy to eyeball it. There's no need for an inclined ruler, just take a series of shots at different MFA values and see which is the sharpest.

So what would I gain by paying $260?

Post #46, Jul 07, 2010 08:11:02


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Invertalon
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First off, buy it used at $100-115... You won't pay $260.

Secondly, it is the ease of use. Very high contrast and easy to spot the DOF at given distances. The whole system is easy and accurate. You get the sensor plane equal with the target mainly for consistant results. The build is excellent, with integrated magnets to lock the ruler in at fixed degrees. Can be mounted on a tripod for easier calibration.

Sure, you can do it other ways... But this is a TOOL that makes it EASIER.

You don't have to use a hammer to drive a nail, but if you do, the job is easier and takes less time. Same with Lens Align.

I did the same as you printing a target, slapping it on a flat surface and shooting until I got the sharpest result. My result? All but one were off compared to Lens Align...

My 135L I did at +9, stayed at +9.
135L with 1.4x TC was at +9, now at +7.
300 f/4 was at +4, now at +1.
300 + 1.4TC was at +4, now at +2.
Sigma 30 was at 0, still at 0.

Still yet to do my 24-105 and 12-24 (possible really only at the long end).

Conclusion is, I spent a LONG time calibrating those lenses to a nice, detailed target to compare sharpest image. And yet, Lens Align showed my flaws with all but one.

You don't need this tool to microadjust, it just is more accurate and easy to use IMO.

Post #47, Jul 07, 2010 08:57:21 as a reply to hollis_f's post 46 minutes earlier.


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hollis_f
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Invertalon wrote in post #10492068external link
First off, buy it used at $100-115... You won't pay $260.

Here in the UK it seems that the only way to get one is to buy from the US - so no used ones at all. Once you add $40 shipping and 17.5% tax it becomes very expensive.

Might be worthwhile if I were a rabid measurebator - wanting to determine exactly what depth of field I was getting, etc. But I just need something to determine which MFA setting gives the sharpest results - and a printed test chart does that perfectly well.

Post #48, Jul 07, 2010 09:33:12


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jemanner
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So, from browsing this thread, is lens calibration with LensAlign or by other methods more applicable to primes? That is, does a zoom typically remain "off" the same correction factor across the entire range of the lens?

Post #49, Jul 07, 2010 09:44:21


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Invertalon
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Primes are ideal, as zooms usually change along the Focal Length. For example, my 24-105 was 0 MA at 24mm yet +8 at 105mm.. I sent to Canon and the result was consistant throughout. Canon calibrates zoom lenses at I believe ( 8 ) different focal lengths, were microadjust only does them all as a whole. So for that, best to send to Canon.

Post #50, Jul 07, 2010 09:57:53


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Invertalon
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Got all 135L and 300L complete with and without TC's... Results are excellent.

However, my Sigma 30 is being very difficult. It seems to be much less consistant, with the same MA value changing from front/back/perfect... Then it was front focusing more with positive MA values added (should backfocused more). Frustrated me so I just left it at 0 for now :p

Still have to do my Sigma 30 (bah), Tokina 12-24 and 24-105L.

Post #51, Jul 08, 2010 09:37:09


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John_T
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Seen quite a few comments about erratic Sigma AF on Canon bodies, don't drive yourself nuts with the thing.

Post #52, Jul 08, 2010 10:12:33


Canon : 5DIII : 7DII : 40 2.8 : 50 1.4 : 35L : 85L : 100L IS Macro : 135L : 16-35L II : 24-105L IS : 70-200L II : 100-400L IS II : 1.4x & 2x TC III : 580EX : 430EX : G1XII : Markins Q10 & Q3T : Jobu Gimbal : Manfrotto Underware : etc...

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JonK
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Would I be able to get away with the $179 LensAlign pro vs pro plus to calibrate my 70-200 2.8 and 70-200 2.8 w/ 2X EFII?

Whats the difference between the Lens Align, Pro, and Pro plus? $250 is a bit much, but $79-179 I could swing.

Post #53, Jul 08, 2010 10:14:50


7NE | 7D | 5DII | 16-35/2.8L II | 24/1.4L II | TS-E 24/3.5L II | 50/1.4 | 85/1.2L II | 100/2.8L IS | 70-200/2.8L IS II | 400/5.6L | PIXMA Pro 9500 Mark II
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John_T
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I assume from what you say, the Pro includes the sensor plane alignment which I think is necessary. Perhaps the Pro Plus includes the long ruler, which is well designed and made out of long lasting material, which you can probably skip as it is more for long lenses, maybe UWA too. Think the normal ruler will suit your purposes.

Post #54, Jul 08, 2010 10:45:26


Canon : 5DIII : 7DII : 40 2.8 : 50 1.4 : 35L : 85L : 100L IS Macro : 135L : 16-35L II : 24-105L IS : 70-200L II : 100-400L IS II : 1.4x & 2x TC III : 580EX : 430EX : G1XII : Markins Q10 & Q3T : Jobu Gimbal : Manfrotto Underware : etc...

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Methodical
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Those are the same results I got with the 50 1.8

Invertalon wrote in post #10491474external link
...For one thing, the Sigma 30 is quite hard to microadjust... Very little consistancy to its focus. I can take five shots in a row and 2 will be front, 2 will be back, and 1 will be nowhere close :p...

The Pro Plus comes with the 4' ruler that's used for longer focal length lens. But it can be used with the smaller ones too. You will be ok with the Pro kit.

JonK wrote in post #10498829external link
Would I be able to get away with the $179 LensAlign pro vs pro plus to calibrate my 70-200 2.8 and 70-200 2.8 w/ 2X EFII?

Whats the difference between the Lens Align, Pro, and Pro plus? $250 is a bit much, but $79-179 I could swing.

Post #55, Jul 08, 2010 11:34:14 as a reply to John_T's post 48 minutes earlier.


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ilikeglass
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For normal primes to telephoto, micro adjust with a $20 bill works great. If I had a long prime I'd consider the LensAlign Pro, but I have enough stuff piling up around the house.

Chuck Westfall gave some tips on micro adjust -- http://digitaljournali​st.org/issue0812/tech-tips.htmlexternal link

It's a long post, but here's an experpt:

• Do not attempt to autofocus on an angled chart, because doing so will degrade the consistency of the camera's focusing measurement. Keep in mind that the camera's AF sensor is comprised of multiple pairs of linear pixel arrays. If you attempt to autofocus on a single line in an angled focusing chart, only a few pixels from each active pixel array will "see" the target. Ideally, the contrast in the reference target should cover the entire area of the camera's center focusing point, and the reference target should be perfectly parallel to the camera's focal plane.


LensAlign Pro avoids this.

Post #56, Jul 08, 2010 12:07:10


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John_T
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1. The LensAlign focuses on a target parallel to the sensor plane, not an angled ruler - http://www.lensalign.c​om/products.htmlexternal link

2. Chuck Westfall from the same quoted tip:

• Last but not least, there is no "official" Canon method for setting AF microadjustments, so this procedure is unofficial. If you think you can do better, then by all means, go for it. Towards that end, be advised that some independently made tools are designed to help you set AF microadjustments accurately. One of these is the LensAlign kit, due out soon from RawWorkflow.com.

Post #57, Jul 08, 2010 12:41:27


Canon : 5DIII : 7DII : 40 2.8 : 50 1.4 : 35L : 85L : 100L IS Macro : 135L : 16-35L II : 24-105L IS : 70-200L II : 100-400L IS II : 1.4x & 2x TC III : 580EX : 430EX : G1XII : Markins Q10 & Q3T : Jobu Gimbal : Manfrotto Underware : etc...

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ilikeglass
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John_T wrote in post #10499827external link
1. The LensAlign focuses on a target parallel to the sensor plane, not an angled ruler - http://www.lensalign.c​om/products.htmlexternal link
...

If you see my post I wrote - "LensAlign Pro avoids this." Sorry if I wasn't clear.

Post #58, Jul 08, 2010 12:43:46


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Methodical
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Thanks ilikeglass and John T for that reference and link to Mr. Westfalls's suggested method to perform MA and methods to avoid when performing MA. I would think he has some knowledge on subject.

Post #59, Jul 08, 2010 13:04:03


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Bfromaz
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I don't get the whole pay a chunk of cash for something that is easy to do free. I just recieved my 7D last week. Here is how I plan on doing it.

2 Tripods, 1 2 foot dowel. Small piece of cardboard. 25' lenth of string. 2' lenth of string. Fishing wieght. Printed calibration target.

Dowel taped to top of tripod 1. String from dowel to hanging cardboard with target on it ( fishing wieght to keep it down ). Gravity will keep it straight. Second string loosly tied from target to tripod leg to keep it even ( could use other materials for this ).

Measure target center to ground. Mount camera on second tripod and position camera the same distance to ground. 25' string to put a 25' distance between the 2. Take 20 shots pick the accurate focus point based on different MA settings.

Save $200.00 plus dollars. Buy a new toy that I will use more than once.

Bfromaz

Post #60, Jul 08, 2010 18:59:56 as a reply to Methodical's post 5 hours earlier.


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