Saturday, April 1, 2017
Sony Diaries #994: (The magic of) Micro Adjust
There's nothing more frustrating than a heretofore sharp lens that's not quite all there on a different body. It's also frustrating that a lens that should be sharp is unsharp to varying degrees on different bodies. Since the bulk of my lenses are legacy lenses (Minolta AF) that are 20-30 years old, I started to doubt my skills as an informed buyer on Kijiji and Craigslist. At one point, I just thought my eyes were starting to deceive me.
On my first wedding of the season, the shots on my Tamron 28-75F2.8 were not as sharp on my second a99 body as it was on my first a99 body. Was it time to junk this lens?
A few weeks ago, I was so lucky to find a Minolta 50F1.4 AF on Kijiji. A cursory check on my a99 showed a sharp lens at f2.8, some CA, and generally low contrast. CA and contrast can be remedied in post (or even in-camera) but sharpness can't be (clarity sliders and unsharp masks are akin to putting on cologne without taking a shower first).
The price was irresistible ($100 versus $550 for a Sony 50F1.4, $1150 for a Sigma 50F1.4ART). Plus it's rare for a Minolta 50F1.4 to come on the local market. At the very least, the F1.4 means faster focusing in low light, even if the taking aperture would be at 2.8.
I come home and the lens turns out to be even more unsharp on my a77II than it is on the a99. I love shooting wide-open for shallow depth-of-field but shallow DOF will reveal focusing errors. A lens may focus precisely but not necessarily accurately. A lens may focus a mm or more forward, or backward. A shallow DOF will reveal this right away. I want precision and accuracy. Even on a cheap lens. Then I remembered the idea of micro adjusting lenses.
Micro adjustment allows us to make a correction for every lens when paired with any camera body so that a compensation is automatically applied; compensation will vary depending on the camera body used.
To jump to my conclusion, my $100 Minolta 50F1.4 is razor-sharp at F1.4, on the spot/plane that I focus on. On the following photos, I focused on "9902". Taken with the same lens on 2 bodies, APS-C and Full Frame.
1/100@F1.4, Sony A77II. Compensation: -20 (yikes!)
1/100@F1.4, Sony A99. Compensation: -8 (huge difference with the A77II's -20).
My methodology, adapted from several sources available online, will be up on a future blog post. Micro adjustment is only available on some, not all, of the newer cameras. the Sony a99 was introduced about 5 years ago. I have since micro adjusted all my lenses which has led to a major difference in sharpness. Micro adjustment is particularly important with fast lenses and macro lenses (slow lenses but typically shot wide-open and very close to the subject resulting in very shallow DOF).
Well, not really. It's just a joke (the sign changes on regular basis) by the owner of this establishment who fixes washers and dryers...
Kamal and Lamis' wedding on June 30th, in London, ON. This is the first wedding in years that I have attended as a guest. Througho...
a65 (a77 would be too big for this setup), HVLF43AM Flash (the 58AM would be too big for this setup), ThinkTank's CB Junior bracke...
by Mary, of non-Filipina heritage, using a cookbook recipe for adobo . March 23rd. Recipe by www.pepper.ph . In addition to the recipe,...
It's been an intense relationship and it will soon be over. It's not the Oly, (here's goes the proverbial...) it's me. A mon...
It seems to me that quite a few high quality video studios come from the Philippines. Lightshapers Photography Studios is one of them. They...
There has never been a free lunch with high ISO's. Using high ISOs (ISO1600 and higher) meant putting up with noise/grain, colour shift...
Fell in love with the 60D, sold my 5D2. I was an early advocate of full frame (FF) sensors (I had one of the first 5D1s in Canada, Oct 2005....
The twilight mode on the a65 has to be one of the most under-rated feature on this revolutionary feature-laden camera. Both photos shot ha...