Published on January 22nd,2011 at 9:15 PM
By >Daimaou - G.G-B

Unleash your DSLR Raw power by checking your Camera Micro AF settings!

Unleash your DSLR Raw power by checking your Camera Micro AF settings!

This news may be slightly out of topic today, but I would like to share with you the importance of Micro AF adjustment on your DSLR.

Here you are an example below that will demonstrate how important Micro AF adjustment is when you want to get the best out of your camera. My Canon 5D MK II mounted with a 50mm lens was everything but sharp and after checking numerous website I took the time to adjust my Camera AF manually.

Don’t be scare this is not really difficult and you can always go back to your camera default setting, but if your camera support Micro AF adjustment, give it a try I am sure you won’t be disappointed.

In my case and as you will see below, a Micro AF adjustment of -7 is just what my camera needed when mounted with its 50mm lens.

100% Crop

Unleash your DLSR Raw power by checking your Camera Micro AF settings! Unleash your DLSR Raw power by checking your Camera Micro AF settings!

Here you are Canon’s official method (According to Northlight Images) to tweak your Camera’s Micro AF.

* Mount the camera on a good tripod.
* Set up a target for the camera to focus on. The reference target should have sufficient contrast for the AF system to detect. It should be flat and parallel to the camera’s focal plane, and centred.
* Lighting should be bright / even.
* Camera-to-subject distance should be no less than 50 times the focal length of the lens. For a 50mm lens, that would be at least 2.5 meters.
* Set the lens for AF and the camera for One-Shot AF, and manually select the centre focusing point.
* Shoot at the maximum aperture of the lens via manual mode or aperture-priority. Adjust exposure level to get an accurate exposure. Use low ISO setting.
* If the lens has an image stabilizer, turn it off.
* Use a remote switch or the camera’s self-timer to fire the shutter. Use mirror lock up as well.
* Take three sets of images at microadjustment settings of -5, 0 and +5, i.e, three consecutive images at -5, three consecutive images at 0, and three consecutive images at +5.
* Look at the images on your screen at 100% magnification.
* Take additional sets of test images at different microadjustment settings if necessary until the sharpest image is achieved.
* Register the corresponding microadjustment settings in the camera.

Category Cameras Offbeat
              
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Comments
 

  • Sk-1

    it’s DSLR (digital single lens reflex) not DLSR …

    • Daimaou – G-A.G

      Too much work lately… Thanks for pointing this out!

  • Scott

    Also note that this is ok for fixed focal length lenses, but with zooms, if you adjust at one zoom setting, it may make all others worse!

    • Daimaou – G-A.G

      Indeed you are right, but you normally do not use anything than fix focal lenses on cameras like a 5D for example. I will have to try this on my 24-105 to check if there is any improvements

    • http://www.iketennis.com Ike

      Every model has an MTF Chart (Modulation transfer frequency). It depends for what you use it the most, but if it’s portraits with background blur you want your lines to be somewhere around F4. But you need the MTF charts to check where it’s on it’s sharpest.

  • http://www.iketennis.com Ike

    Interested to see which firmware you were using. Normally new firmware fixes these flaws for you. And The 5D Mark II had it’s fair share of FW updates.

    At the moment I use Canon for its 1.6x devices. But your 5d2 is a full frame body. For fullframes you are still beter off with Nikon imho.

    • Daimaou – G-A.G

      latest Firmware, and while I agree than FF Nikon DSLRs are better for picture, I mainly use my 5D MK II for video.

  • fh

    Micro AF adjust works for zooms as well. Just calibrate it on the tele end (eg: on a 24-105 f/4L, calibrate the Micro AF adjust for 105mm), since the tele end is more sensitive to slight focus changes.

    There is also an easier method for determining and calibrating Micro AF adjust.
    1) Position an interference pattern in front of the camera, similar to the setup above.
    2) Switch the lens to MF; then enter mirror lock-up (live view), and manually focus on the target interference pattern. Since the live view on the LCD is down-sizing the pattern, you will see very sharp moire patterns once you achieve focus.
    3) Being careful not to move the camera or shift focus, exit mirror lock-up, and turn AF back on.
    4) Activate AF (half-press shutter button), and pay attention to the focus distance window on the lens. If there is no movement, the lens is properly calibrated and no Micro AF adjust is necessary. If the focus distance changes (even slightly), change the Micro AF adjust as necessary, then repeat steps 2)-4) until the MF moire and AF match.

    As nice as having Micro AF adjust is, sadly there are still many AF camera systems on the market which do not have equivalent feature (especially entry-level DSLRs, and most mirrorless formats).

    • http://www.iketennis.com Ike

      It’s best to use the usb cable and take it over with the Remote trigger utitlity (notebook or pc) included with your DSLR. Then you’re 100% sure the camera hasn’t moved by pressing buttons.

      Or one could go out and buy a pair of PocketWizard Multimaxes :D

 

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