Focus Pyramid Assembly Video
Focus Pyramid Basic Usage, Tips & Tricks
No matter how complex some make it sound, lens calibration is not rocket science!
So relax, follow these simply directions and start making sharper images today!
- Place Focus Pyramid on a flat surface
- Place camera on a Tri-Pod at an average distance from the target
- When determining distance, some say anywhere between 25 to 50 times the focal distance to the target. We believe the best distance to set your autofocus is at a distance which you normally use the lens. Example: 70-200mm lens used mainly for portraits
- In this case, simply set your lens to 180mm and place at your normal portrait distance away from the subject (target) say 3-4ft, which you use the lens
When in doubt, try and fill the frame with the Focus Pyramid
- Align camera directly with the center of the Focus Pyramid (use bubble level if available)
- For optimum results the base of the Focus Pyramid should be square with the camera lens/sensor
- Set camera to the manufacture’s preferred ISO (example 100, 160, 200)
- Set lens aperture wide open (example: 1.2, 1.4, 2.8, 3.2 etc)
- Set lens to it’s longest focal distance or preferably to a distance which you normally use the lens
- Set camera to One Shot, Center Weighted Focus (NOT AI or SERVO)
- Place your AF Box squarely over the blue square and black line
Quick Tip: If the blue rectangle transforms into a blue square, your camera is properly level to the center of the pyramid.
- Make sure lens is set to AF (autofocus)
- Set Camera to Av (+0 to +1) Exposure Compensation (the pyramid should be well lit but not over exposed as you will need to be able to see the fine details on the chart)
- Use your camera’s built-in timer to take a shot to eliminate camera shake (recommended LARGE .JPG instead of RAW as you will not need to process)
- FOCUS NINJA TECHNIQUE: * Try tethering, if available, instead of having to zoom in on camera back or download the image into you computer * – Time Saver!
- Load images into computer and review baseline uncalibrated image (ZOOM IN 200% – 500%) taking note of focus location
- Return to camera and take 4 additional shots setting your AF Compensation to +15, +5, -15 and -5 (This will assist you in determining the amount of front or back focus compensation required to calibrate the lens). Take additional test shots to dial in autofocus compensate perfectly.
- Since the method of setting custom autofocus micro adjustments vary from camera to camera we suggest consulting your manual or contacting the manufacture regarding the process
- HINT: It’s easier to see which line is in focus by checking which opposing lines are out of focus (see below images depicting this)
- Example: If +5 and +25 are slightly blurry and +10 and +20 are more clear; most likely in the center of the two at +15 is where your clearest focus point would be. This would indicate an extreme back focus problem)
- Adjust autofocus compensation until focus aligns DEAD CENTER of the center black line (see below for tips)
- Follow this simple procedure for each lens in your kit
Here’s an easy way to find focus ” without looking for it “.
These images are from a Canon 24-70mm 2.8L which you can see from the original image has a plagued by a bit of back focus. This means every time I would focus on a models eyes, her ears would be perfectly in focus while her eye where alway a bit soft. BUT NOT ANYMORE! When looking at the first image you can imagine her ears being where the +5 is and the 0 of black line would be where her eyes were.
Lens Calibration is greatly beneficial to “Fast Glass” 4.0f and below. To make finding focus easy we suggest NOT looking for the EXACT point of focus but two equally out of focus locations on the Focus Pyramid. Simply dividing these two locations in half will get you there every time!
That’s It! We at Focus Pyramid thank you and wish you sharper images!