How to Calibrate a Camera Lens

You’ve probably noticed that when using autofocus, your photos don’t necessarily turn out as crisp as you’d like, even though you’re working with a high-end camera and lens. Most of the time we chalk this up to motion blur or the possibility that our autofocus selected a different point than we were aiming for, but there’s another explanation that’s all too frequent: your lens might not be properly calibrated to your camera body. With modern cameras, however, it’s an easy fix. Check out this short video from J.P. Morgan to learn more:

So while it’s true that most lenses don’t come automatically calibrated to your camera body, newer high-end cameras now offer an autofocus microadjustment feature that allows you to calibrate each lens separately, and then store that information in the camera so that your camera will remember each lens and adjust accordingly. And believe it or not, it’s actually much simpler than Morgan shows in his video above (at least when using the mighty handy SpyderLENSCAL device featured in the video).

How to Calibrate Your Lens

  1. Attach the lens you want to calibrate to your camera and set it up on a tripod at the distance showed in the video (this part of the video is all correct).
  2. In AP mode, set your aperture all the way open and focus on the little device in the middle of the right hand side of the SpyderLENSCAL template shown below.
  3. Take one photo (ideally with a trigger so you know you’re not getting motion blur).
  4. Use the ruler on the right to see where your focus is and then adjust your microadjustment to the amount above or below zero your focus point is. (This is where my technique is different than the video–you only need to take one photo, check the measurement of difference on the ruler, and then adjust your camera setting accordingly.)
  5. Take another photo to make sure the adjustment was correct. If it was incorrect, check the ruler and adjust accordingly.
  6. Check on each lens you use frequently.

Spyder LENSCAL for adjusting your autofocus

That’s it. Easy as pie. No need to take more than 2 to 4 shots for each lens. No matter what technique you use for calibration, it can really make a difference in the performance of your autofocus.

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