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Archive 2013 · Reiken Focal did it work for you?
lwrnclightner
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p.1 #1 · Reiken Focal did it work for you?


I just got around to running Focal on my bodies and lens, and I am pleasantly surprised with the difference that I am seeing (for the good).
Until now I have been under the impression that my LCD could not be used to judge sharpness, I thought that because images were soft on my LCD that it was due to a lack of resolution of the LCD. Well I was mistaken, because I can see a real difference when reviewing a shot on the LCD now.

Now there was one or two results that were questionable to my weak eyes so that made me interested to know what others experience has been, and are there other more preferred methods or software that you have used in comparison?

I can't wait to shoot this weekend to see the real world difference it makes for me. I am really excited to anticipate being able to get better results then I was getting before (all the while thinking I was getting OK stuff already, but suspecting that there was better focus to be had)

Hoping I can stop worrying about gear and time, and start letting "The Light" be my main focus!

Please let me know what your experiences with achieving accurate focus from your canon bodies has been.

Lawrence



Jan 24, 2013 at 03:26 PM
robbymack
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p.1 #2 · Reiken Focal did it work for you?


I'm hit and miss with focal, but I think that has more to do with running the tests under less than idea light indoors. I think for it to really be accurate you need to test it outside on a cloudless day or have some serious constant lighting in a studio. I'll try again this spring. I do think the trend though is right even under less than ideal lighting. For example if focal is telling you +4 on the tele end then any value from +1-+4 is likely to be better than the standard setting. Until you get into really good light it's going it be hard to be exact. I will say though its pretty fool proof in terms of getting it to work especially if your camera supports full auto.


Jan 24, 2013 at 03:38 PM
retrofocus
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p.1 #3 · Reiken Focal did it work for you?


Not associated to Reikan in any way, and normally I am critical in regard to products. But I consider FocalPro a great investment which I made - I calibrated a bunch of lenses on two 5D II camera bodies, one of them even converted for infrared photography - FocalPro worked very reliable there, too. Sometimes a few calibration runs are needed with very fast lenses, e.g. the 50/1.2. Good lighting of the target area is very important, I recommend studio lights if possible. The given MFA number cannot be transfered from one camera body in a series to another. I found the MFA number depends mostly on the camera body, not so much on the lens itself.

The software could still improve minor things to which I got used now. I find it a bit cumbersome to have a separate menu to adjust the target before starting the automated calibration process - one could simply just lead into the other. Also, the zoom in/out feature to adjust the target is a bit confusing.

As I said, minor things, and overall it is a very good package. For me the investment paid off since I didn't get those fairly reliable MFA numbers in other manual methods described. The only wish I have is that Canon would provide customers automatically with this kind of program when a DSLR with MFA function is bought (similar to DPP as freeware).



Jan 24, 2013 at 05:25 PM
mttran
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p.1 #4 · Reiken Focal did it work for you?


Reiken Focal works only if your set (bodies and lenses) is well calibrated other than that it won't do any good since your subject dof (distance) is changing every shot so does MA number. I rather have MA = 0 or don't use MA function at all. There was no MA system in old model and they all performed no less or better if calibrated. To save and avoid headache, buying new and let MFG calibrate the system for you before using them.

Edited on Jan 24, 2013 at 06:14 PM · View previous versions



Jan 24, 2013 at 06:04 PM
retrofocus
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p.1 #5 · Reiken Focal did it work for you?


mttran wrote:
Reiken Focal works only if your set (bodies and lenses) is well calibrated other than that it won't do any good since your subject dof (distance) is changing every shot so does MA number. I rather have MA = 0 or don't use MA function at all. There was no MA system in old model and they all performed no less.


I can clearly see the difference in using the MFA numbers provided by the software, both in regular light and in infrared (for both of my camera bodies). This effect is especially visible with faster lenses. Before I microfocus adjusted my 50/1.2 for example, it was severely front-focusing. I didn't land any sharp center-focus shot at f/1.2 with MA = 0. After calibration with FocalPro, I have now the center focus consistently even at f/1.2. I made similar experiences with my 35/1.4, 50/1.4, and 85/1.8. The difference between not-adjusted and adjusted/calibrated lenses in regard to the camera bodies was less visible from f/2.8 and smaller apertures obviously. The distance setting is important, I tend to set the lens-target distance either at the given 50xFL in mm or use a distance where I often shoot with. So far this has worked out for me very well.



Jan 24, 2013 at 06:14 PM
GammyKnee
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p.1 #6 · Reiken Focal did it work for you?


I figure out my own MA adjustments using a home made target, and then real-world shooting to verify. I figure that if I can't get happy with the lens using that, then it's not the lens for me and it goes back.

I dare say that Focal might nail the sweet spot better than my less rigorous method in some cases, but in real world use there are so many variables that can affect focus I just figure that good enough is.. well, good enough.



Jan 24, 2013 at 06:27 PM
scalesusa
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p.1 #7 · Reiken Focal did it work for you?


I used to do my own AFMA, but Focal is much more accurate. The reason is that it is difficult to tell which image of two very good ones is sharpest, my eyes just can't pick it out.

You do need a careful setup, read the instructions - TWICE. Use very bright lighting, a stable tripod and vibration proof floor are needed, or learn to holld your breath for a couple of minutes

If you want utmost accuracy and repeatable test results, change the default settings to allow the software to shoot more shots at each AFMA setting. Lenses do vary from shot to shot, so taking 10 shots at each setting will result in much more accuracy. Remember, you will not get the same focus each time, there is variation, so you are working off a average.

Lens AF does vary with distance, but unless I am at MFD, its not a issue. The bell curve of sharpness versus AFMA setting is pretty flat on the top, so a few points of AFMA make only a tiny difference in sharpness. A lens has to be off by 4-5 poinnts before sharpness suffers, and then its only a smallish amount.



Jan 24, 2013 at 10:04 PM
badlydrawnboy
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p.1 #8 · Reiken Focal did it work for you?


I was also hit and miss with FoCal. It very well could be related to my set-up, but I was using a stable tripod, remote release, bright LED light, etc. I decided to try FocusTune since I already had the LensAlign target, and get more consistent results with it. It's not as automatic, but it's works better for me.


Jan 24, 2013 at 10:46 PM
convergent
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p.1 #9 · Reiken Focal did it work for you?


I used FoCal indoors in my house, and used a good tripod and an incandescent house lamp placed near the target for illumination. I am very happy with the results so far.


Jan 24, 2013 at 11:00 PM
johnsarra
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p.1 #10 · Reiken Focal did it work for you?


+1


Jan 25, 2013 at 12:30 AM
 

Search in Used Dept. 



kodakeos
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p.1 #11 · Reiken Focal did it work for you?


I had used it to tune my 24-70, but recently at a wedding they were soo off I could see the softness on my LCD. I turned off the MFA and voila, sharp pictures again.
not pleased.



Jan 25, 2013 at 01:44 AM
msalvetti
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p.1 #12 · Reiken Focal did it work for you?


I bought the Pro version and it worked great on my 7D (70-200 and 100-400). Solid repeatable results.

Then I upgraded the 7D firmware to the newest version, and got wacky results with both lenses. So I just keep the settings that I had before the firmware upgrade, and they are fine.

Tried the 24-105 with the new firmware, and I ended up with a lens that would not focus at any focal length or MA setting until I shut off the camera and unmounted the lens.

This was a few months ago, haven't tried again since. I'll give it another go later this spring.

Mark



Jan 25, 2013 at 03:19 AM
Sven Jeppesen
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p.1 #13 · Reiken Focal did it work for you?


It works rather good. Not perfect but it's better than the other options


Jan 25, 2013 at 03:44 AM
adamx12m
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p.1 #14 · Reiken Focal did it work for you?


I'd say the early versions were a little inconsistent determining AFMA values but since v1.5 it's really become a much better product. As said previously, proper setup is a must.


Jan 25, 2013 at 04:53 AM
badlydrawnboy
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p.1 #15 · Reiken Focal did it work for you?


Re: proper set-up. What are folks using as a light source indoors? I tried an 500-watt LED light I use for video, but I often get and error half-way through the testing saying FoCal can't find the target anymore. I contacted support and they thought it might be because LEDs flicker at a high frequency. I've also tried a cheap Home Depot work light (aluminum dish) with an incandescent bulb in it, but that creates a hot spot on the target and doesn't seem to work well either. What about off-camera flash? Would that work?


Jan 25, 2013 at 04:57 AM
adamx12m
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p.1 #16 · Reiken Focal did it work for you?


I did a test tonight with a 200 watt light about 8' away setup on about a 60 degree angle and turned off all the other room lights with no issues. Trying to avoid any harsh reflections off the blacks on the target but remember your target should be printed off from an ink-jet, not a laser. Always have good luck with the target outdoors.

Do you see the problem with all your lens?



Jan 25, 2013 at 06:09 AM
Lars Johnsson
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p.1 #17 · Reiken Focal did it work for you?


I use natural light. In a room with large windows. At noon a sunny day it's no problem to get enough natural light inside.


Jan 25, 2013 at 06:27 AM
tdodd
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p.1 #18 · Reiken Focal did it work for you?


badlydrawnboy wrote:
What about off-camera flash? Would that work?


Absolutely not. You need to provide good light for the AF to work. All that flash does is give you a nice exposure. By then it's too late.

I've used studio modelling lamps in the past as a constant light source, but only in the early days, about a year ago. That doesn't really fit with my 99% outdoor shooting scenarios so these days I only use daylight for target illumination, and I set the target outdoors for that. You do need a day with steady lighting though - either clear skies or evenly overcast. Broken or variable cloud passing over is going to lead to aborted runs and much frustration.



Jan 25, 2013 at 10:39 AM
lwrnclightner
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p.1 #19 · Reiken Focal did it work for you?


retrofocus wrote:
I can clearly see the difference in using the MFA numbers provided by the software, both in regular light and in infrared (for both of my camera bodies). This effect is especially visible with faster lenses. Before I microfocus adjusted my 50/1.2 for example, it was severely front-focusing. I didn't land any sharp center-focus shot at f/1.2 with MA = 0. After calibration with FocalPro, I have now the center focus consistently even at f/1.2. I made similar experiences with my 35/1.4, 50/1.4, and 85/1.8. The difference between not-adjusted and adjusted/calibrated lenses in regard to the camera bodies was less
...Show more

I agree that I see a marked difference on fast glass, and my set up is questionable, I am going to re run all my gear in my basement where vibration is nill, I am sure that i probably messed up my runs a little due to vibrations and such as the tests were running.

But over all I am pleased with the results, probably more pleased second time around.

Thanks for the insights thus far, I am getting some good pointers.



Jan 25, 2013 at 11:04 AM
kewlcanon
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p.1 #20 · Reiken Focal did it work for you?


I use this for Canon:

http://www.birdphotographers.net/forums/showthread.php/58042-AF-microadjustment-tricks




Jan 25, 2013 at 11:05 AM
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