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  1. #1
    Senior Member

    Simple auto-focus calibration for DSLRs with adjustable settings.

    I saw this in another Nikon forum, and it worked so well it's worth sharing. I have the Focal software, and it's slow to use and a hassle to set up. For this method, you don't even need to take any pictures.

    For beginners, high-end Nikon bodies have a feature in the set-up menu called "AF fine tune." You can make tiny AF adjustments to make each lens sharpest right where you are focusing, and the camera body remembers this adjustment for each lens.

    The simple idea here is to use Live View zoomed in to achieve perfect focus, then use the viewfinder's focus indicators to know how to adjust.

    With camera on tripod, do these steps in order.

    1. Set camera to manual focus.

    2. Turn on Live View and zoom it all the way in (using the + button) on your chosen focus chart or other busy subject. Manually focus to perfection. Live View shows you exactly what's on the sensor, so if it's in focus in Live View, it should be in focus in your photographs.

    3. Turn off Live View and LOOK THROUGH THE VIEWFINDER, and depress the shutter button slightly so the focus indicators turn on (bottom left of the info bar). Again, you should still be in Manual Focus mode, so touching the shutter button should NOT cause the lens to refocus.

    4A. In the viewfinder, IF the round green circle appears while putting pressure on the shutter button, your auto focus system agrees that your manual focus was correct. Lens is calibrated. Stop here and try another lens.

    4B. But, looking through the viewfinder with the shutter button partially depressed, if the round green circle does not appear, it means the auto-focus system in the camera does not agree that the image is in focus, so you have to make adjustments to the calibration WITHOUT CHANGING THE POSITION OF THE CAMERA OR THE FOCUS YOU ALREADY SET MANUALLY. In other words, you are teaching the camera body that the existing setting is the correct focus.

    5. If the arrow points to the right, the camera's AF system believes you are back focusing, so go to AF Fine Tune in the menu. Make sure the AF Fine Tune feature is set to ON. Set the number value to -5. SAVE IT. Look through the viewfinder again and see if the focus indicator has changed. If the green circle now appears, your lens is calibrated. If the arrow still points to the right, change to -10. If the RIGHT arrow appears at this point, your initial change was too much, so reduce it to -3, for example. Keep making adjustments until you get the round green circle in the viewfinder. You would do the exact opposite if the initial reading of the focus indicator pointed to the left.

    That's it. Remember to save your settings. Test the settings by putting the camera back in AF mode, and shooting down a ruler or along a bookshelf to see if the focus point you select is the same one that is sharpest in your photos.


    › See More: Simple auto-focus calibration for DSLRs with adjustable settings.
    Last edited by Blade Canyon; 12-30-2014 at 06:05 PM.
     



  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Rob Bye's Avatar

    Re: Simple auto-focus calibration for DSLRs with adjustable settings.

    It's hard to say without testing it first, but this could work. Thanks for posting this idea.
    Rob Bye
    Winnipeg, Canada
    D7100, D300,
    Sigma 150-600/5-6.3, Nikon 70-200/2.8 VR II

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    John P's Avatar

    Re: Simple auto-focus calibration for DSLRs with adjustable settings.

    Great post!
    This should help some people.

  4. #4
    Senior Member

    Re: Simple auto-focus calibration for DSLRs with adjustable settings.

    Blade... How far should the camera be away from the target?
    Bob

    Nikon D750, D7100,
    Nikon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR AF-S DX, Nikon 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED AF-S DX, Nikkor 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR, Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G Lens
    Tamron 18-200mm F/3.5-6.3 (IF) MACRO, Tamron SP 70-200MM f/2.8 DI VC, Tamron 24-70mm f 2.8 Di VC
    Yonguno 565EX flash


    My wife would kill me if she knew how much I really spent on my gear.

  5. #5
    Senior Member

    Re: Simple auto-focus calibration for DSLRs with adjustable settings.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Rules View Post
    Blade... How far should the camera be away from the target?
    Good question. Reikan says somewhere between 25-50 times the focal length of the lens. That means for a 200mm lens, you would have to be a minimum of 16 feet away. I would say do it at whatever distance you normally use each lens. The important thing is to make sure you are close enough to see the extremely fine focus on whatever target image you use. For my target, I generally put up a book with a busy front cover or a back cover that is covered in small quotations.

    But you can download Reikan's main target for free, here:

    http://s449182328.websitehome.co.uk/...rget_5r2ns.pdf
    Thanks/Like Bob Rules Thanks/liked this post
     

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Challenge Team
    Pretzel's Avatar

    Re: Simple auto-focus calibration for DSLRs with adjustable settings.

    Interesting... I'll have to give this a shot and see what my camera thinks.
    My current "regular" photo thread: Pretzel and the Gypsy King

    Meum est cum belli labor.



    • PAPA BEAST - D750, and the BEAST JUNIOR - D7100 (D3100 went to her...)
    • Nikkor 18-55 VR, 24-120 F4 VR, 50mm 1.8G, 70-300 VR, Sigma 105mm OS Macro, Raynox DCR 250
    • SB-700 AF Speedlight, Manfrotto 055XPro3, LowePro AW202 Sling Bag; GoPro Hero5 Black
    • LR and Photoshop CC, Perfect Photo Suite 10
    • Drive and Imagination

  7. #7
    Senior Member

    Re: Simple auto-focus calibration for DSLRs with adjustable settings.

    I ended up doing this test on my tamron 70 -200. I tested at 70mm, 140mm and 200mm. At 70mm, my adjustment was +5. Is that good or bad? When I moved to 140 and 200, I did not need to make any further adjustments. The focus stayed locked in.

    I also learned that my Targus tripod was a piece of crap. I never understood what everyone meant by sturdy until my rig kept drifting off the target. Needless to say, I will be in the market for a new tripod. I think I have my eye on the mefoto globetrotter.
    Last edited by Bob Rules; 04-09-2015 at 04:26 PM.
    Bob

    Nikon D750, D7100,
    Nikon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR AF-S DX, Nikon 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED AF-S DX, Nikkor 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR, Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G Lens
    Tamron 18-200mm F/3.5-6.3 (IF) MACRO, Tamron SP 70-200MM f/2.8 DI VC, Tamron 24-70mm f 2.8 Di VC
    Yonguno 565EX flash


    My wife would kill me if she knew how much I really spent on my gear.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    J-see's Avatar

    Re: Simple auto-focus calibration for DSLRs with adjustable settings.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Rules View Post
    I ended up doing this test on my tamron 70 -200. I tested at 70mm, 140mm and 200mm. At 70mm, my adjustment was +5. Is that good or bad? When I moved to 140 and 200, I did not need to make any further adjustments. The focus stayed locked in.

    I also learned that my Targus tripod was a piece of crap. I never understood what everyone meant by sturdy until my rig kept drifting off the target. Needless to say, I will be in the market for a new tripod. I think I have my eye on the mefoto globetrotter.
    It doesn't matter much how high the adjustment is as long as your lens will still focus at infinity. If you're closing in too much at +20 you might run into problems and better have the lens adjusted at the manufacturer.

    You can only adjust it at one focal length. The AF fine-tune stores only one setting for one lens. Just make sure you got all dots since a lens can give a focus lock for a range of settings. Of that range you have to pick the middle.

  9. #9
    Matt Krei
    10 Gauge's Avatar

    Re: Simple auto-focus calibration for DSLRs with adjustable settings.

    This is an interesting way to adjust the AF fine tune. Thank you for this @Blade Canyon, I'm going to give this a shot with my lenses over the weekend and see what results we come up with. Cheers.
    Thanks/Like Danno Thanks/liked this post
     
    Nikon D750
    *
    Tamron SP 24-70mm /2.8 DI VC USD
    *Nikon AF-S 50mm
    /1.8 G
    *Nikon AF 85mm
    /1.4 D
    *Tokina AT-X 100mm
    /2.8 PRO D Macro
    *Sigma 150‑600mm
    /5‑6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary
    ---------------------------------------------------------------
    *3 x Yongnuo YN568EX Flashes + YN-622N Remotes

  10. #10
    Matt Krei
    10 Gauge's Avatar

    Re: Simple auto-focus calibration for DSLRs with adjustable settings.

    Simple auto-focus calibration for DSLRs with adjustable settings.
    Just FYI, this person has an awesome video for what he has coined the "Dot Tune" method of AF Fine Tune adjusting, which is the same method as the OP has suggested.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zE50jCUPhM
    Thanks/Like Love Nikon, wornish, Camera Fun, Danno, Friggs Thanks/liked this post
     
    Nikon D750
    *
    Tamron SP 24-70mm /2.8 DI VC USD
    *Nikon AF-S 50mm
    /1.8 G
    *Nikon AF 85mm
    /1.4 D
    *Tokina AT-X 100mm
    /2.8 PRO D Macro
    *Sigma 150‑600mm
    /5‑6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary
    ---------------------------------------------------------------
    *3 x Yongnuo YN568EX Flashes + YN-622N Remotes





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