Monday, December 29, 2008

Lens Align - Calibrate Your Lens the Way You Like It

Honorable mention to Lighting Mods blog been posted has one of The Top 100 Photography Blogs on the Tips & Learning category place 52 right below the Strobist blog.

Thank you for the mention as it truly represents and rewards months of hard work and lots of bumps in the middle. This was also an inspiration to maintain and keep going the Lighting Mods blog.

Hope you all have a wonderful New Year's Day!!

You can follow all other brilliant sites and blogs about photography matters at the Photography Colleges blog.

And since this will be the last post of 2008 I also would like to share with you this great piece of equipment that could make your dreams come true regarding the lens focusing problems you may have...

It's called LensAlign Focus Calibration System and comes from the same guys who build the so acclaimed WhiBal the White Balance Calibration Card.

What does this thing do, you may ask?

LensAlign is a focus calibration system that allows you to determine if any of your body/lens combination's suffer from back or front focus. LensAlign is the only solution that allows fast, accurate, and repeatable results that confirm and/or calibrated auto-focus of all of your lens/body combination.

Note: LensAlign can test and display back/front focus on almost all cameras. However, auto-focus calibration requires that the camera body has an AF micro-adjustment feature.

Cameras with micro-adjustment currently include:

* Canon 1D MarkIV, 1D MarkIII, 1DsMkIII, 5DII, 50D
* Nikon D3s, D3, D3x, D300, D700
* Sony A900
* Pentax K20

And since I do own one of these complete packages I can tell you that it's worth every penny and you will always have your lens calibrated the way you want them.

You can find more full details and reviews on the links below:

* Imaging Resource

* Jeffrey Friedl (Creator of The AutoFocus Test Chart in 2007)
* (Adam Jay)
* Luminous Landscape
* Lens Align Documentation and Videos

Press Release

RawWorkflow unveils LensAlign™ for managing back and front focus issues

The remarkable LensAlign Focus Calibration System from provides a unique and precision tool for testing cameras for front or back-focus problems when using “fast glass” (lenses with aperture openings of f4 or larger). Owners of today’s sophisticated DSLRs and modern lenses are quite aware of the potential front/back focus problem but, prior to LensAlign, have lacked access to a proper testing methodology. Without confirmation of proper AF operation, a purchaser of new or used equipment has no idea if it is working to its full potential. With LensAlign, a new lens purchase can be verified on one or more camera bodies from the photographer’s arsenal.

Release of LensAlign also coincides with the camera makers’ subtle but real acknowledgement of back/front focus problems. Beginning with Canon Mark III Series 1 cameras, almost all professional and enthusiast DSLRs are now equipped with an AF Microadjustment function that allows the camera body or individual lenses to be calibrated and focus problem neutralized. Yet to date no official calibration procedures have been announced by any of the leading camera makers. The release of LensAlign provides camera makers with a universal reference upon which to base at least one calibration procedure. Although LensAlign is not yet officially endorsed by manufacturer, Canon US and other camera makers have been kept in the loop during its development, and their feedback was implemented within its innovative design.

“In conceiving LensAlign, it occurred to me that there was no good way to communicate the range of focus problems that were being widely reported,” offers founder Michael Tapes. “Photographers could post test images, but they lack a common reference from which the performance of the camera or lens could be judged. I hope that LensAlign becomes that common reference, allowing specific camera/lens combinations to be profiled for their auto-focus performance. We plan to create a database of LensAlign images from camera/lens combinations so that a perspective buyer or new owner can compare the results that they get from their equipment against a profile of performance images stored in our database. Since there is no specific specification parameter for auto-focus, the best way to determine if equipment is offering its full potential is to compare it with identical camera/lens combinations being used by others.”

LensAlign will be available in two different configurations. The first is LensAlign Pro, which will ship Dec 16, while the portable and less expensive LensAlign Lite, will ship around January 10. Both models are comprised of a focus target and a companion depth-of-field ruler, together with a novel, custom-designed sighting system that ensures accurate parallelism between the LensAlign focus target and camera sensor/film plane. Having set up the camera and LensAlign using the sighting mechanism – all of which is explained in the accompanying video tutorials – the user takes an image of the target and ruler. Any front/back focus anomalies will be instantly revealed on resultant image of the angled ruler scale.

“If the focus is spot-on,” Tapes explains, “the ruler's zero mark will be in perfect focus, with proper depth of field in front and rear of the mark. But, if the auto or manual focus system is off, then the ruler markings will show this instantly, either in front of or in back of the target plane - the ‘0-ruler’ marking). The entire process is easy to perform, accurate, and is entirely repeatable.

“Even photographers who focus manually can benefit from the regular use of LensAlign,” Tapes considers. “While not as complex as the AF system, manual focusing of DSLRs or rangefinder cameras utilizes a separate light path than the capture, which is the primary cause of the focusing problem.”

LensAlign ships with a companion DVD tutorial series and is available on-line from for $179.00 (Pro), The Pro Plus with a Long Ruler for $249.00 and $79.95 (Lite) and they also have the Long Ruler sold separately for $99.00, plus shipping. Because of the portable nature of the LensAlign Lite design, it is well suited for international purchase and is shipped in a Flat Rate postal envelope to minimize shipping costs outside of the US.


LightningPaul said...

Many thanks for sharing this. Probably I'll consider buying it when I'll upgrade my Nikon D200 to a D300 or D400.

Happy New Year to you and your family.

Skavoovie said...

Congrats on the nomination/award. How about a link to the site for those of us not familiar with that list?

Rui M Leal said...

Skavoovie here goes the link.

And thanks for the comment.

Mr. said...

is this really a 139$-two-cardboard-sheets-set? O_o


Gordo said...

good post. FYI, the olympus e-620 and e-30 both offer lens af adjustment.

Calibration said...

Thank you for the info. It sounds pretty user friendly. I guess I’ll pick one up for fun. thank uCalibration