What is lens calibration?
Lens calibration, also known as autofocus calibration, is a method of fine-tuning where the focus point falls in your image when you are autofocusing. Theoretically, autofocus should always produce sharp images, with your chosen subject in focus. However, in a DSLR camera an autofocused image requires clear communication between the lens (which lets in the light), the camera’s autofocus chip (which determines when the image is in focus), and the camera’s sensor (which creates the image).
This leaves room for images to appear in focus in the viewfinder, only to be out of focus when they’re actually produced. And it can happen at any focal length.
“That’s the worst thing,” says photographer Felipe Silva. “Say you’re shooting a client’s wedding, you use autofocus, and your image is focused on the back of their ear instead of their eye. Your camera can tell you that it’s focused, but when you zoom in really close, you can see that it’s a little bit off.”
“It’s like a miscommunication between camera and lens,” says photographer Jason Weingart. “And lens calibration corrects how ‘off’ the lens is.”
What causes unexpected blur?
How often should you calibrate your lenses?
Do you need to calibrate a mirrorless camera?
Lens calibration is not needed with a mirrorless camera and lens. This is because mirrorless cameras do not use an autofocus chip. Instead, the camera’s sensor does both the focusing and the imaging, so there is no room for miscommunication.
How to calibrate your lens.
Lens calibration tools and setup.
Follow these steps for perfectly calibrated lenses.
1. Let there be light.
2. Keep it steady.
3. Take aim.
4. Open your lens.
5. Set your shutter speed.
6. Take your shot.
7. Fine-tune your focus.
8. Try and try again.
Differences between camera brands.
Tips for successful calibration.
Review your images as you calibrate with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom.
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