April 28, 2016

Shots Always Blurry? You Might Have to Calibrate Your Lens (Here's How)

Do your images come out blurry every time you shoot? Don't worry, your camera isn't broken. The problem might simply be that your lens just isn't properly calibrated.

"Uh — what do you mean calibrated?" Well, to put it (very) simply, when a DSLR's auto focus software isn't adjusted correctly for the specific lens you're working with, you end up with shots that are out of focus. But guess what — Jay P. Morgan of The Slanted Lens walks you through how to calibrate your lens step-by-step in this tutorial:

It might feel like kind of a rip-off to drop a ton of money on a lens that won't focus every time, but consider the alternative — dropping several more tons of money on a lens that will focus every time. According to professional camera repair technician Wes Kauffman, camera and lens manufacturers essentially build imperfect camera/lens calibration into their products on purpose. Here's why:

Manufacturing relies on producing a high quality product, not a perfect product. Could Canon and Nikon produce perfectly matched cameras and lenses? Yes, but none of us could afford them. So in order to keep cost down they manufacture equipment to fall within "Allowable Tolerances." In other words if a lens back focuses just a little, or a camera front focuses a tiny bit that is ok, because the amount of time and money it would take to get things perfect is just not worth it.

So yeah, calibrating your lens might be a pain in the neck sometimes, but it's saving you a ton of money on lens costs.     

Your Comment

9 Comments

Autofocus? I thought this was a filmmaking blog.

April 28, 2016 at 10:30AM, Edited April 28, 10:30AM

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As nasty as the thought is, some videographers DO use autofocus.

expand your mind man, expaaaannnddddd

April 28, 2016 at 11:21AM, Edited April 28, 11:21AM

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Face detect autofocus is the shit.

April 28, 2016 at 8:15PM

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Steven Bailey
Writer/Director/Composer
945

Real "Videographers"? Doubt it...

April 29, 2016 at 9:07AM

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ANGELO SANDE
Independent Movie Maker
88

What are you talking about? "Real videographers" What does that even mean?

That an entirely different discussion too, what defines one videographer from the other, is one truer than the other?

What a stupid comment to make.

Just because you might use auto focus on a shot doesn't detract from your so called "videographer status"

Just because a photographer does or doesn't use auto focus does that make them any less or more of a photographer?

Just because a painter uses a particular type of paint or brush, does that add or take away from their work and them being a painter?

May 3, 2016 at 8:17AM

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Suppose you shoot video with your DSLR.

You're out location scouting, just general "drive bys" for the moment. Is it quicker to set your properly adjusted camera/lens on Auto and get a decent picture and rush to the next potential.... OR ... have to manually focus your shots every time?

Or suppose you are shooting the "Behind-the-Scenes" footage AND shooting stills AND shooting continuity. Lots of "non-cinematic" reasons to have accurate autofocus on a set.

April 28, 2016 at 6:50PM

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Robert W.
187

Link bait...why are you posting photography tips now? This site gets worse and worse everyday...

April 28, 2016 at 3:54PM, Edited April 28, 3:54PM

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This "funny" guy should be in Butterfly Circus as a Main Clown!...

April 29, 2016 at 9:05AM

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ANGELO SANDE
Independent Movie Maker
88

Too bad most Canon cameras don't have the micro adjustment option.
The 50D had it, but they skipped in the 60D.

If you have a Canon 5D mkII or III this is useful info, even if you don't use autofocus and never shot stills, because it is about making sure the focal point is spot on on the sensor, instead of almost spot on.
If it is not spot on, it is like having bad eyes: it doesn't matter whether you focus on close or far objects: the image is never really sharp. For human eyes a solution is lensen or glasses, since it is pretty hard to change the distance between the lens and the back of the eyes.
In a DSLR with micro adjustments enabled, your lens won't need glasses, because you can adjust the distance between the lens and the sensor. Being able to do it yourself saves you a lot of time, because you won't have to send your camera to a service center and maybe even part with it for a few weeks.

June 4, 2016 at 7:57PM

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WalterBrokx
Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer
9119