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Tips & Tricks

An Inexpensive Way to Calibrate Focus on Your DSLR For Sharper Images | AF Fine Tune

By Hanssie on November 14th 2014

We spend thousands upon thousands of our hard-earned money to get the newest and greatest cameras and the fastest glass, so we want it to do exactly what we want it to do, especially during the critical moments you’re trying to capture.

Unfortunately and frustratingly, at times, we find that our camera’s focus is off for no apparent reason. This might mean that your camera and certain lenses aren’t playing together nicely and it is time for a tune up. With the new cameras and their gigantic sensors, calibration is becoming more of a necessity because when your focus is off, it becomes quite obvious. Luckily, most of the newer model DSLRs allow you to be able to recalibrate your focus so that your focus point is always spot on.



The last time I went in to the service center and had my camera and lenses calibrated, I ended up not only having to pay for it, but also having to leave my camera for a week or so, but this method is free, quick and can be done using a few simple household items. In the following video, John Greengo shows us how to recalibrate on a Nikon D810 using the AF fine tune feature. You can do this with other camera manufacturers as well, just look for the AF Microadjustment feature.

What You Need

  • A target to focus on
  • a ruler or other measuring device

*If you’re fastidious about your gear being precisely calibrated all the time, you might consider investing in this LensAlign Focus Calibration Tool * 


Watch How to Recalibrate Focus on Your DSLR

Focus calibration doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult, try this method out and see if you can save yourself some money.

[Via CreativeLive]

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Terms: #Back-Focus

Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at Follow her on Instagram

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Fabio Viero

    Reikan Focal does all of this automatically and it’s not really expensive. Sure it’s not as cheap as doing it with the household items from the article, but it’s a very cost effective tool.

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  2. Austin Swenson

    I believe that each camera automatically saves a profile for each lens it connects to to automatically tune it to where you calibrated it the last time as well, so it’s super helpful to know how to do this on your own as well.

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  3. Hannes Nitzsche

    this is great! I’ve been planning to hand my kit in for an adjustment… you guys just saved me quite a bit of cash! Cheers :D

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  4. Gareth Roughley

    I Will be trying this right away

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  5. J D

    Awesome. Thanks for this. I want to do mine and I will certainly give this a go.

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    • J D

      Just spent a few hours doing all my lenses and bodies. I found it much easier than using a Lens Align tool which I had used previously to less than stellar results. I have also spent hours scouring the web looking and trying other AF alignment techniques but nothing that I found convinced me to keep those settings. I was curious to see what the results would be with this method.

      This blows Lens Align out of the water IMO. Lenses that Lens Align told me were out by as much as +/- 15 were only out +/- 2-3 with this method. That went across the whole line up of bodies and lenses. I am not sure if I just didn’t set up the Lens Align correctly or what but to pay nearly $90 for a tool that (if I set it up correctly) gave me flawed results. I’m sorry but a Canon 5d3 and 70-200 f.28II should not be adjusted to -19.

      I am glad that I tried this and I am going to keep the settings active to test on real world subjects to see if they are as accurate as the test leaves me to believe.

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  6. Jamie Hosmer

    Definitely going to give this a whirl.

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  7. robert raymer

    Very timely. I was just noticing that I was having trouble nailing focus using ND filters and large apertures so I ran my lenses through a few tests. Definitely time to recalibrate again. Then I need to retest with the ND filters. I may end up looking the idea of calibrating the lenses with and without the filters and saving presets for each.

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  8. Al cu


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