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Archive 2008 · LensAlign: Get the most out of your lenses!
  
 
Harvey Moore
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p.8 #1 · LensAlign: Get the most out of your lenses!


anthony whitmo wrote:
...My wife is still whining about spending 10 Grand on an EF 800 but she'll come around
Or I'll have a new wife this time next year ...




I used to include the line "One ex-wife" in my gear list, this item was the main reason for the list to exist.



Dec 25, 2008 at 09:34 AM
Yakim Peled
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p.8 #2 · LensAlign: Get the most out of your lenses!


Harvey Moore wrote:


I used to include the line "One ex-wife" in my gear list, this item was the main reason for the list to exist.



Hummmmmm............

Up to now I didn't have a specific desire for this lens but now all that changed. I like this forum a lot. You learn so many other things beside photography.

Best regards,
Yakim.



Dec 25, 2008 at 09:41 AM
MichaelT
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p.8 #3 · LensAlign: Get the most out of your lenses!


Pondria wrote:
3. How can you absolutely make sure that the whole target plane including the ruler is perfectly parallel to the film plane ? Whenever I shoot the target patterns, this is the most difficult part. Mike appears to spend no effort for this.


This is addressed in LA PRO by three sighting systems varying from super quick to 100% accurate. The LA LITE has the 100% accurate sighting system. Full attention has been paid to this to your point #3. Maybe I did not explain myself in the video. All the videos are being replaced over time to be more clear and to the point.

Also why so much dwelling on the $140 PRO price, when we offer the same accuracy for $79 in a different package (LITE). If the $79 does not offer value for a specific photographer, then they should not buy it..

Happy holidays..

Michael T



Dec 25, 2008 at 12:12 PM
Pondria
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p.8 #4 · LensAlign: Get the most out of your lenses!


David and Ant,
I don't buy in your argument that you've already spent a lot of money on the bodies and the lenses ...". For those, you don't have alternatives. But for the Aligner, you do.

MichaelT,
I am not dwelling on the price. I have bought things for less value for $. In this case, I'm challeging what the commercial product can do better and more than the simple tape measure test that I presented above. This is purely a techie's issue. The cost aside, the tape measure ruler test seems to be as easy and accurate, if not more.

I admit that I may be missing something as I don't have hands-on experience with the LA product. So my question to those who have, can you compare it with the tape measure test ? Probably that will lead us to more productive discussions than how to divorce.



Dec 25, 2008 at 02:51 PM
DavidP
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p.8 #5 · LensAlign: Get the most out of your lenses!


MichaelT wrote:
This is addressed in LA PRO by three sighting systems varying from super quick to 100% accurate.


Three?

There's the "holes" sighting system, and the "mirror" sighting system. What's the third one that I'm missing?



Dec 25, 2008 at 02:53 PM
budjames
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p.8 #6 · LensAlign: Get the most out of your lenses!


I just received my LensAlign Pro yesterday. The first lens that I calibrated was my Canon 24-105 f4 IS mounted on my 1Ds MkIII. I had the body and lens calibrated by Canon 2 weeks ago and I was not happy with the results. Images were still soft.

I used LensAlign to check the focus at all of the indexed focal lengths on the lens barrel: 24, 35, 50, 70 and 105. The lens front-focused about the same amount at all focal lenths at the max aperture of f4. I ended up with a +6 micro adjustment.

The results are a definite improvement.

Then I calibrated my Canon 16-35 f2.8 L. A +5 provided the best focus wide open at each of the indexed focal lengths on the lens barrel. Oh my gosh, this lens is not really sharp even after calibration because the LensAlign ruler is at the right edge of the image where the lens exhibits distortion. I think that I might be in the market for a Canon wide prime after this experience.

The remaining Canon lens that I now have to calibrate are: 24-70 f2.8 L, 70-200 f2.8 IS L, 100-400 f4.5/5.6 IS L, and a 100 f2.8 Macro.

Although my Canon 40D does not have micro adjustment capability, I'm going to check my Canon 10-22 f3.5/4.5 S lens and 24-105 f4 IS L on the body to see how it fares. I think that I might have a 5D MkII in my not to distant future to replace my 1 yr old 40D.

I highly recommend the LensAlign especially when you consider the investment that we have in our camera bodies and lenses, it's money well spent! Besides, I met Michael Tapes at the first Fine Art Photographers Summit back in 2003 and I agree with a previous poster, he's a great guy.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Bud James
North Wales, PA


--------------------
Bud James
North Wales, PA
www.budjamesphotography.com



Dec 25, 2008 at 03:34 PM
bmstudios
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p.8 #7 · LensAlign: Get the most out of your lenses!


budjames wrote:
I just received my LensAlign Pro yesterday. The first lens that I calibrated was my Canon 24-105 f4 IS mounted on my 1Ds MkIII. I had the body and lens calibrated by Canon 2 weeks ago and I was not happy with the results. Images were still soft.

I used LensAlign to check the focus at all of the indexed focal lengths on the lens barrel: 24, 35, 50, 70 and 105. The lens front-focused about the same amount at all focal lenths at the max aperture of f4. I ended up with a +6 micro adjustment.

The results are a
...Show more


Thanks for the info. I ordered mine a few days ago so hopefully it will be in soon



Dec 25, 2008 at 04:43 PM
Gil_W
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p.8 #8 · LensAlign: Get the most out of your lenses!


I had eyeballed the LA a couple of weeks before David's post and had ordered it several days ago. I am glad to hear it works pretty well and is accurate.
My only concern is that the adjustments may vary with distance, while not much I'm sure, I suspect it may. This may mean you might not want the adjusted focus to be 50/50 but perhaps 30/70, 60/40 or whatever. This could be a concern with long lenses like the 500mm, which is normally on the mark, as is.
Pondria's comment about a comparison between the LA and the old method sounds like a good idea and I'm sure we will see it done. I was not a ruler shooter to check for focus and sharpness. I use my wife's figurines which always seemed to work quite well. Not too scientific but it worked. Now that I can adjust focus on one camera, it's a different ball game.

Gil



Dec 25, 2008 at 05:56 PM
MichaelT
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p.8 #9 · LensAlign: Get the most out of your lenses!


Pondria wrote:
MichaelT,
I am not dwelling on the price. I have bought things for less value for $. In this case, I'm challeging what the commercial product can do better and more than the simple tape measure test that I presented above. This is purely a techie's issue. The cost aside, the tape measure ruler test seems to be as easy and accurate, if not more.


There were many design criteria for the LA product. I would summarize them like this:


  1. Accuracy
  2. Speed and ease of operation
  3. Eliminate as much user error as possible
  4. Repeatability


Most of the DIY systems have no means to accurately set the camera imaging plane parallel to the focus target. This is a must. Also any of the "systems" that shoot the focus target at 45 degrees have to be discounted if for no other reason that Canon will not accept them as valid. In most of the systems there is no way to ensure that the "ruler readout" is proper aligned to the focus target, again which must be parallel to the imaging plane. Most of the systems are not repeatable and certainly not from one photographer to another. Also all of these "systems" depend on the skill of the user to build, setup, and use the system properly.

No doubt any individual specific system as built by its designer, or builder might do the job. But that requires skill and knowledge most of which photographers do not necessarily have in the area of building a tight tolerance DIY project.

The scope of LA is much more than adjusting the AFMA of specific cameras. By using LensAlign (and possible comparing to LA results of others with the same equipment) one can learn much as to whether they are getting what their lenses should deliver in the real world, and knowledge that in fact can improve the performance of their lenses on specific camera bodies, by using their new found knowledge.

The issue is not whether or not a given DIY implementation can or will work, it is that it is somewhat of an unknown because it is being built and used by someone else whose skill level may differ.

I hope this helps....

Also, people should understand that the LensAlign LITE offers the same accuracy and repeatability for about 1/2 the cost of the Pro. This is meant to address the larger mass market.

Bottom line. LA is priced about the same as any manufactured product offered by a "real" company with overhead and salaries to pay. Because someone as a hobbiest can cobble together $40 worth of parts and is willing to sell it for $50, is not a model that a real business can follow.

From a buyers perspective, one should look at the market for a given tool, and buy or build the one that meets their needs as to price and performance and time. I have no problem with that. However, the personal attacks that my pricing is somehow a rip-off are insulting and absurd to be attributed to a person with a track record like mine.

Instant JPEG from Raw Utility for Mac and Windows being my last product....offered to the marketplace for free. Simply because I wanted to give something back is a good example. Free Lightroom Tutotorial Videos another.

Happy holidays..





Dec 25, 2008 at 06:01 PM
John P Mulgrew
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p.8 #10 · LensAlign: Get the most out of your lenses!


Man I'm doing something wrong. Just messed with the 85 1.2 from about 8' away from the LA. I would focus once and then look at the ruler, way off then I would just focus on the same spot again and look at the ruler but this time way off in the other direction. Put it away after this. It's a PITA for me because of the damn wheelchair but I think I had it aligned properly with the lens. Both on tripods.

"However, the personal attacks that my pricing is somehow a rip-off are insulting and absurd "

I'm sure you can't say it but I will, Aholes everywhere you go. If you don't like the price and never had any intention of buying this then keep it to yourselves. I for one want to learn how to use this thing properly and if I can get all my lenses nice and sharp then it's worth every penny.



Dec 25, 2008 at 06:26 PM
 

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MichaelT
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p.8 #11 · LensAlign: Get the most out of your lenses!


John,

Best to post a shot with the Sight Gate open showing the rear dot aligned to the from focus target circle. That will tell me if the LA is Aligned properly to the camera. Also what camera? Also what ruler angle were you using...(1-5)?

Lighting will have an effect on AF, also what AF mode, etc.

Thanks. Sorry for the problem..



Dec 25, 2008 at 07:19 PM
DavidP
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p.8 #12 · LensAlign: Get the most out of your lenses!


John P Mulgrew wrote:
I would focus once and then look at the ruler, way off then I would just focus on the same spot again and look at the ruler but this time way off in the other direction.


The first thing I'd check is to make sure you're in OneShot AF mode, and not in AI-Servo.


Also, what's your exposure settings? Sounds like it could be you're in a fairly dark environment, too.



Dec 25, 2008 at 07:25 PM
Pondria
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p.8 #13 · LensAlign: Get the most out of your lenses!


Michael, thank you for the detailed response. I agree with the criteria that you listed.

As you see in my ruler shot, there is NO need for the target being perfectly parallel to the camera sensor frame. Only requirement is that the tape runs reasonably along the line of the lens axis, which is extremely easy to achieve just by locating the camera right above the stretched tape measure. The angle between the ruler axis and the lens axis won't matter either. We rely on the simple fact that the tick mark spacing is even ( which most rulers guarantee ). Everything else is simple linear algebra to convert the offset amount in ruler tick marks to the Adjustment counts, which you have to do anyway even with LA, right.

And, again, I have never challenged the justification of the price of the product. I'm not discouraging the purchase either.




Dec 25, 2008 at 07:27 PM
MichaelT
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p.8 #14 · LensAlign: Get the most out of your lenses!


Pondria wrote:
Michael, thank you for the detailed response. I agree with the criteria that you listed.

As you see in my ruler shot, there is NO need for the target being perfectly parallel to the camera sensor frame. Only requirement is that the tape runs reasonably along the line of the lens axis, which is extremely easy to achieve just by locating the camera right above the stretched tape measure. The angle between the ruler axis and the lens axis won't matter either. We rely on the simple fact that the tick mark spacing is even ( which most rulers guarantee ).
...Show more

Pondria,

Thanks for your reply to my reply. The problem with your setup (IMO and from a commercial product point of view, which means all the criteria I listed), is that:

1: The focus target is not parallel to the film (image) plane of the camera. Again, Canon will not allow this as documentation, so that, while it may be useful to you as an individual, it will not work as a product that I want to be used in conjunction with people documenting their "problems" based on LA images.

2: The placement of your "focus cross" in addition to not being perpendicular to the line of sight of the camera, leave much too much "room" for the AF to latch onto the ruler itself, negating the repeatability and accuracy of the test.

3: Obviously if the 2 issues are carefully controlled for you use, this would he hard to be used to compare results across people and equipment except in a loose manner.

Having said that, if one is careful and controlled, each time that it is set up. surely it can be used to set AFMF, although with some degree of risk of incorrect data. I think your setup is better than the 45 degree charts like Tim Jackson, but still leaves open areas of doubt, at least for me.

The best document that I found discussing all these issues is by Jeffrey Friedl on his Blog. He developed the best of an printed test charts, and acknowledged the pitfalls in the others, and even in his. He wrote about the development and use of his chart, and later about LA.

Regarding DIY and LA, each person has to make up their own mind as to how they value their time, expendable cash, the benefits of LA (if they perceive them <g>, etc. As always the choice is in the hands of the buyer. No one need to diss a BMW 7 series because it is priced too high. Simply say it is priced too high, or it is priced too high for my budget and emotional and transportation needs.

Individual choice.

Thanks and happy holidays..

MT



Dec 25, 2008 at 07:44 PM
DavidP
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p.8 #15 · LensAlign: Get the most out of your lenses!


MichaelT wrote:
No one need to diss a BMW 7 series because it is priced too high.


I prefer to dispel the myth of the superiority of Japanese vehicles.



Dec 25, 2008 at 07:57 PM
John P Mulgrew
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p.8 #16 · LensAlign: Get the most out of your lenses!


Was in a dark area, my dining room and it has lousy lights. It will be a bit warmer tomorrow so I'll try it outside. Was using the 1DsMKIII. Will post tomorrow, thank u


Dec 26, 2008 at 03:00 AM
jaclarkaus
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p.8 #17 · LensAlign: Get the most out of your lenses!


John P Mulgrew wrote:
Was in a dark area, my dining room and it has lousy lights. It will be a bit warmer tomorrow so I'll try it outside. Was using the 1DsMKIII. Will post tomorrow, thank u


Try using a flash



Dec 26, 2008 at 03:31 AM
John Power
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p.8 #18 · LensAlign: Get the most out of your lenses!


You really stirred up a hornet's nest here David on what is supposed to be a peaceful holiday...I am losing sleep trying to decide if I want to go with Pondria's econo MD 20/20 mode or your high-end single malt aged 12 year Scotch mode.

Maybe I will just accept my lenses for what they are, imperfect objects in an imperfect universe.



Dec 26, 2008 at 03:32 AM
UCSB
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p.8 #19 · LensAlign: Get the most out of your lenses!


OK ... I really hate to do this. Hummm, how do I say this tackfully. There may not be a way ... OK ... out with it. The LensAlign and every other method discussed in this thread is woefully inadequate. Some border on just plain silly ... sorry.

A little background. I decided that I was going to build a system for myself that could handle up to a 200mm focal length lens (like my 70-200 f/4 IS) on my FF 5DII and crop 50D. I started with Canon's 50x FL as the calibration distance and then looked at both distance to target, target size and calibration scale size (ruler showing in focus / out of focus regions). I did my calculations for 10mm to 200mm at all common FL (10, 16, 17, 24, 28 .... 200). I used dofmaster.com to estimate the DOF at calibration distances and thus the required size of the scale. Bottom line is that all of the items discussed in this thread are a fraction of the size that they need to be. Either Canon's 50x FL has be reevaluated or the tools and workflow to support MA have to completely changed. One thing that I learned, run a dofmaster.com DOF chart for your lens before attempting MA. I haven't built my MA system yet ... so I may learn some additional things after I complete it.

Edited on Dec 26, 2008 at 07:41 AM · View previous versions



Dec 26, 2008 at 07:30 AM
miccullen
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p.8 #20 · LensAlign: Get the most out of your lenses!


UCSB wrote:
OK ... I really hate to do this. Hummm, how do I say this tackfully. There may not be a way ... OK ... out with it. The LensAlign and every other method discussed in this thread is woefully inadequate. Some border on just plain silly ... sorry.


Well, you've offered exactly no evidence as to why these won't work, just an assertion based on nothing much, so I doubt many are going to change their mind based on this.

(And it's tactfully, BTW.)



Dec 26, 2008 at 07:34 AM
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