I have worked for years now trying to get perfect tack sharp focus in my images. I have had several big eye opening moments that have incrementally improved my focus.
1.) Don't use continuous autofocus with focus and recompose (this should have been a no-brainer, and it was once I THOUGHT about it).
2.) Don't use really slow shutter speeds when you are handholding a big camera, or at least don't expect sharpness when you do.
3.) Toggling my focus points, which was much easier once I got away from the XT where doing that required me to hit a lot more buttons than it does on my 5DM2
And my most recent one?
4.) It's not always me, sometimes it is the gear. I stumbled on this one when some one posted a link to this article, on a photoboard I visit. Being an engineer the tolerances/calibration argument really struck me as a valid point. I was enchanted to find out for the first time ever I have a camera that can help me with this!
Next step, how do I use this function? Of course I started with reading the manual but I wanted to see how others had done it and their results. A couple of the articles I found that made a good reference:
Camera AF Microadjustment - for free
Jeffrey’s Autofocus Test Chart
Canon 5D Tips:Custom Function: Autofocus Micro Adjustment
I made myself a focus tester by printing out one of the focus test charts, and taping it on a mutilated cardboard box that would keep it always at 45 degrees when placed on a flat surface. I also added a flat focusing chart for testing the sharpness of the focus after the adjustment.
The main lens that I thought would benefit from an autofocus adjustment (and so far the only one I have really adjusted by much) is my 50mm 1.2L. You might remember the focus test I did back when I purchased it. I was marginally happy at the time, at least compared to the refurbished one, but over the past 6+ months of use, I haven't been happy with the sharpness of the images, especially when compared to my other lenses.
I decided my methodology would be to just adjust the numbers until I found a setting that I liked, live with it for a few weeks and readjust as needed. I started with an adjustment of +2, eventually went up to +7 and now I am pretty happy at +8.
All shots below were taken with the 5DM2, 50mm 1.2L at f/1.2, ss 1/200, ISO 400, and yes I did it handheld. When I buy my fancy new tripod at the end of this month I might try it again to see if my results are any different.
What are your thoughts? Anyone plan to try this on their lenses?
Having lived with the adjustment on the 50mm for a while now, I am much happier with the lens than I was before the adjustment, but it is still a weaker lens than several of my others, and yet it is my most expensive lens. Not one I would really recommend to others.