Timothy Armes' blog

Life as I experience it…


Critical focus thanks to LensAlign Pro

I’d been aware that my 5D MkII was slightly front-focusing with some lenses. Like all products, cameras and lenses are made to within certain mechanical tolerances and it’s perfectly normal to expect a slight under performance from uncalibrated kit. Professional photographers are accustomed to having Canon calibrate their kit for them, but recent Canon cameras allow the user to calibrate each camera/lens combination for themselves. In my case I wasn’t overly concerned because I’d ordered Michael Tapes’ LensAlign Pro before Christmas, so I new I wouldn’t have to wait too long to rectify the issue.

Well, I received it today. It arrived safely in one piece, well packaged.

LensAligns is an innovative product, and as we’ve become accustomed to with Michael it’s been subjected to great deal of attention to detail. Once you have one in your hand the instructional videos on Michael’s web site are clear and easy to understand. Previously I’d been confused by the suggestion to place the LensAlign on a tripod (as opposed to a flat surface), but it soon becomes obvious that this allows you to very quicky align it parallel to the camera by looking through the back of the device towards the camera itself. When the LensAlign is on a tripod it can be positioned at any required angle; when placed on a flat surface it would become more awkward to achieve the required alignment, involving nudging the camera in all directions to get it just right. Personally I only have one proper tripod (on which I’d placed the camera), but I placed the LensAlign on a Manfrotto mini table-top tripod that I keep on by bag for emergencies, and this setup worked very well.

Aligning my lenses was a very quick process. I connected my camera to my Mac so that I could see the images at full size immediately, and this made it all the more efficient.

The results themselves were interesting. My prime lenses were all pretty much spot on; they were all back focusing a tiny bit but I’m really splitting hairs. However, all my zooms were front focusing significantly. Once adjusted they achieved critical focus each and every time.

LensAlign is definitely a worthwhile investment. It’s a shame to have a great camera and expensive lenses and then not take the time to ensure that those eyes are critically sharp when you need them to be….

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