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DatacolorSpyderLensCal Autofocus Calibration Aid
 
4.3

(based on 93 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (48)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (27)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (14)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (2)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (2)

92%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Easy to use (53)
  • Lightweight (36)
  • Reliable (26)
  • Durable (19)
  • Compact (16)

Cons

  • Poor instructions/manual (3)
  • Pricey / poor value (3)
  • Small viewing area (3)

Best Uses

  • Portraits (10)
  • Macro photography (8)
  • Studio (8)
  • Travel (7)
  • Landscape/scenery (6)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Enthusiast (13), Semi-pro photographer (13), Photo enthusiast (11), Professional (10), Pro photographer (10)
    • Primary use:
    • Personal (19), Business (8)
    • Was this a gift?:
    • No (56)
    • Computer Platform:
    • Mac (3)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

Make sure to adjust correctly

When I bought this aid the highest liked positive feedback was someone who said he saw remarkable improvements in the number of photos that were in great focus. The result was he deleted much...Read complete review

When I bought this aid the highest liked positive feedback was someone who said he saw remarkable improvements in the number of photos that were in great focus. The result was he deleted much fewer photos. I have the exact same experience.I largely do wildlife photography and birds are challenging subjects to capture in photos. Getting proper focus on the first shot may be your only chance to get that bird. When I used this aid I found my 70D was focussing my 400mm prime lens 3 stops in front of the subject. After making the adjustment I'm amazed that focus is almost always right now and even with smaller birds at distances greater than 60 feet. I now have a confidence in my camera that it will focus properly on first try.The important thing I found out is that this aid needs to be used properly. Looking at other instructions the obvious things were - keeping target and camera at same level and square with aperture open all the way. What they tell you wrongly is to move the camera at a distance of 25x-50x the focal length of the lens. When I used 25x on my 400mm lens I first did the adjustment at 30 feet (just over 9 meters). I could barely tell the lens was out of adjustment using the slanted ruler on the aid and it seemed setting the microadjustment to +2 optimized it. Then when I tested this setting at 15 feet/4.5 meters (much closer to the minimum focusing distance of this lens) I could see it still was off slightly. The setting of +3 put it right on and there was no question since the depth of field was much easier to see at this closer distance.So my recommendation is to keep the camera slightly beyond the minumum focusing distance of the lens. This will narrow your depth of field making it much easier to see how you need to optimize focus. From further distances it is not so apparent and your adjustment settings become more approximate.Some people remarked they did not like the plastic construction of this aid. After I figured out how to open it up and set it, I like this construction and it suffices very well for this task. This has to be more rugged than the cardboard alternative I have seen.

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

Good tool but not for everybody

SpyderLensCal is a good tool if you can get around the sales pitch, find the basic instructions and have a basic knowledge of technical photography. If you own one of the few cameras that...Read complete review

SpyderLensCal is a good tool if you can get around the sales pitch, find the basic instructions and have a basic knowledge of technical photography. If you own one of the few cameras that have the capability of lens to film plane adjustments and if you work a lot on location were you bump and bang your gear constantly, it can be very useful. If you are an average weekend shooter, this tool is not for you, unless you like to play with toys. The pros: Once the pieces are in the correct place the correction process is quick, straight forward and accurate! The cons: The equipment comes with no manual, you have to download it from their web site, then the link to the manual doesn't work, your best bet is to Google SpyderLensCal, this will take you to the site where you can download a printable manual. The video is nothing but a sales pitch, telling you how "easy" it's to calibrate your lens, you will not miss anything by skipping it. Your best choice for camera to target support is a long table or any long surface that will keep your target and camera on the same plane, if you have "plenty of time" in your hands, you can use two tripods or a tripod and a light stand. Follow the basic instructions to focus on the target according to the lens that you are calibrating, then, you have to use the most important tool, (not included in the kit) "a tape measure". To fine tune your focusing you have to measure the minimum distance of the lens in use from the film plane (marked in your camera body) to the focusing plane of the target (the vertical face) with a tolerance error of no more than 0.25" in. After this, everything else is peachy. I would have given this tool a higher score, but the lack of proper instructions and the deceiving "anybody can do it" took some of the bang from it. I will recommend this instrument to people that have a good technical grasp of lens to camera relation. Definitively not for amateurs or photographers with no knowledge on the subject, at list, until you read a few things before diving in to it.

Reviewed by 93 customers

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5.0

The best for calibrating your lenses

By The old man

from Wears Valley, TN

About Me Hobbyist/Enthusiast

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Durable
  • Easy To Use

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Landscape Photography
    • Macro Photography
    • Portraits
    • Studio

    Comments about Datacolor SpyderLensCal Autofocus Calibration Aid:

    Proper setup is the key, must be same height, same plane, etc. Take your time and it works. Can be used with any type of lens, but your camera must be capable of "fine focus adjustments".

    • Was this a gift?:
    • No

    Share this review

     
    5.0

    I now have my lenses calibrated

    By Graphicsguy

    from Linclon, CA

    About Me Semi-Professional

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Easy To Use

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Everyday use

      Comments about Datacolor SpyderLensCal Autofocus Calibration Aid:

      This device allowed me to calibrate two lenses I have been having focusing issues with.

      Thanks for the prompt service on getting the calibrator to me so quickly.

      • Was this a gift?:
      • No

      Share this review

       
      4.0

      Works well

      By Mark

      from New Hampshire

      About Me Semi-Professional

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Easy To Use
      • Lightweight

      Cons

      • A bit expensive

      Best Uses

        Comments about Datacolor SpyderLensCal Autofocus Calibration Aid:

        Directions are better from YouTube. Works well and is easy to use.

        • Was this a gift?:
        • No

        Share this review

         
        4.0

        Does it job well.

        By Jim the Writer

        from Los Osos, CA

        About Me Semi-Professional

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Durable
        • Easy To Use
        • Lightweight

        Cons

          Best Uses

            Comments about Datacolor SpyderLensCal Autofocus Calibration Aid:

            Yes, it's a bit expensive, but very well designed and made of plastic and metal, not cardboard as is some of the competition.
            I am frequently reviewing a new camera body , and possibly a lens or two, so I need to ensure accuracy of all those components before I make any determinations. Serves my purpose quite well.

            • Was this a gift?:
            • No

            Share this review

             
            5.0

            Very easy to use!

            By Mariusz G.

            from Chicago

            About Me Hobbyist/Enthusiast

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Easy To Use
            • Lightweight
            • Reliable

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Everyday use
              • Home
              • Portraits
              • Studio

              Comments about Datacolor SpyderLensCal Autofocus Calibration Aid:

              I was a little afraid to buy it after reading some of the reviews, but it's totally worth to spend the money. Yes, the device looks very cheap, but it does what is supposed to. It's worth to pay for the concept and functionality.I did't have any problem getting all my lenses sharpness right in the middle. Takes about 7-8 minutes after little experimenting. Just have to make sure that your camera and the SpyderLensCal are perfectly in line. I used tripod and lower ISO, also my aperture was wide open. Take couple shots and look at them in which direction you need to correct the camera, take couple more to see if the focus is moving in right way... Keep going until you are satisfy with the results.
              Must have for everyone who likes to have sharpness where it belongs.

              • Was this a gift?:
              • No

              Share this review

               
              5.0

              I should have bought this years ago.

              By Jim

              from Fremont, Ca.

              About Me Semi-Professional

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

              • Durable
              • Easy To Use
              • Lightweight
              • Reliable

              Cons

                Best Uses

                  Comments about Datacolor SpyderLensCal Autofocus Calibration Aid:

                  Not wanting to spend on a focusing aid, I only made more work for myself and spent too much time calibrating all my Canon camera's.Set up the SpyderLensCal and in minutes per camera, calibrated them all. I trust the calibration too, because the visual checks after the calibration were repeatable. I think the best part of this product is the main target, making sure the camera is focusing at a specific spot each time.

                  • Was this a gift?:
                  • No

                  Share this review

                   
                  5.0

                  Great tool

                  By Sky the blue

                  from Los Angeles, CA

                  About Me Hobbyist/Enthusiast

                  Verified Buyer

                  Pros

                  • Easy To Use
                  • Lightweight

                  Cons

                    Best Uses

                    • Macro Photography
                    • Portraits

                    Comments about Datacolor SpyderLensCal Autofocus Calibration Aid:

                    I used it to calibrate my 18-200 nikor lens with my nikon D300. It's a great tool and the fact that is collapsible, it fits in my bags very easy.

                    • Was this a gift?:
                    • No

                    Share this review

                     
                    4.0

                    Little over priced for what is

                    By Jhwsfla

                    from Orlando

                    About Me Hobbyist/Enthusiast

                    Verified Buyer

                    Pros

                    • Durable

                    Cons

                      Best Uses

                        Comments about Datacolor SpyderLensCal Autofocus Calibration Aid:

                        Works and need two tripods to get it. Folds up nice but with longer lens need lots of room to do it

                        • Was this a gift?:
                        • No

                        Share this review

                         
                        5.0

                        Works great!

                        By Tim S

                        from Macon, GA

                        About Me Semi-Professional

                        Verified Buyer

                        Pros

                        • Durable
                        • Easy To Use
                        • Lightweight
                        • Reliable

                        Cons

                          Best Uses

                          • Landscape Photography
                          • Portraits
                          • Studio

                          Comments about Datacolor SpyderLensCal Autofocus Calibration Aid:

                          I located a video by Matt Granger that gave specific instructions on distance from lens to the target. I made adjustments based on focus and my Nikon 85 1.8 is sharp tack!

                          • Was this a gift?:
                          • No

                          Share this review

                           
                          4.0

                          Good concept, hard to execute

                          By Ninety-nine

                          from Wilmington, DE

                          About Me Professional

                          Verified Buyer

                          Pros

                          • Easy To Use
                          • Lightweight

                          Cons

                            Best Uses

                              Comments about Datacolor SpyderLensCal Autofocus Calibration Aid:

                              It's not really the fault of the device, which is pretty easy to set up and use, but it's hard to tell which incredibly fine line is the sharpest when you look at it on your monitor. Still, it's better than the book and ruler I was trying to use before I bought this. My camera/lens combos are now sharper than they were so I'd say it was worth it.

                              • Was this a gift?:
                              • No

                              Share this review

                               
                              5.0

                              Sturdy and folds flat when not in use

                              By Jared - Identity Crisis Studio

                              from Seattle

                              About Me Professional

                              Verified Buyer

                              Pros

                              • Durable
                              • Easy To Use
                              • Lightweight
                              • Reliable

                              Cons

                                Best Uses

                                • Everyday use
                                • Landscape Photography
                                • Macro Photography
                                • Studio

                                Comments about Datacolor SpyderLensCal Autofocus Calibration Aid:

                                I like how this is designed. There is a 1/4-20 thread on the bottom, so you can attach it to a tripod.

                                It folds flat when not in use, and when assembled, it's solid.

                                • Was this a gift?:
                                • No

                                Share this review

                                (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

                                 
                                5.0

                                Make sure to adjust correctly

                                By KVogelPhoto

                                from Gaithersburg, MD

                                About Me Hobbyist/Enthusiast

                                Verified Reviewer

                                Pros

                                  Cons

                                    Best Uses

                                      Comments about Datacolor SpyderLensCal Autofocus Calibration Aid:

                                      When I bought this aid the highest liked positive feedback was someone who said he saw remarkable improvements in the number of photos that were in great focus. The result was he deleted much fewer photos. I have the exact same experience.I largely do wildlife photography and birds are challenging subjects to capture in photos. Getting proper focus on the first shot may be your only chance to get that bird. When I used this aid I found my 70D was focussing my 400mm prime lens 3 stops in front of the subject. After making the adjustment I'm amazed that focus is almost always right now and even with smaller birds at distances greater than 60 feet. I now have a confidence in my camera that it will focus properly on first try.The important thing I found out is that this aid needs to be used properly. Looking at other instructions the obvious things were - keeping target and camera at same level and square with aperture open all the way. What they tell you wrongly is to move the camera at a distance of 25x-50x the focal length of the lens. When I used 25x on my 400mm lens I first did the adjustment at 30 feet (just over 9 meters). I could barely tell the lens was out of adjustment using the slanted ruler on the aid and it seemed setting the microadjustment to +2 optimized it. Then when I tested this setting at 15 feet/4.5 meters (much closer to the minimum focusing distance of this lens) I could see it still was off slightly. The setting of +3 put it right on and there was no question since the depth of field was much easier to see at this closer distance.So my recommendation is to keep the camera slightly beyond the minumum focusing distance of the lens. This will narrow your depth of field making it much easier to see how you need to optimize focus. From further distances it is not so apparent and your adjustment settings become more approximate.Some people remarked they did not like the plastic construction of this aid. After I figured out how to open it up and set it, I like this construction and it suffices very well for this task. This has to be more rugged than the cardboard alternative I have seen.

                                      • Was this a gift?:
                                      • No

                                      Share this review

                                       
                                      5.0

                                      Very Helpful! Images are sharp again!

                                      By Hawkins

                                      from Louisiana

                                      About Me Professional

                                      Verified Buyer

                                      Pros

                                        Cons

                                          Best Uses

                                          • Macro Photography
                                          • Portraits

                                          Comments about Datacolor SpyderLensCal Autofocus Calibration Aid:

                                          I used this tool with my Nikon D610 and Nikon 105 2.8 Micro. I had noticed that at 2.8 my focus was off after a portrait shoot. I then used the Spyder to fine tune the focus and everything is sharp again! I did the test on all my Nikon lenses and made the adjustments. I found that my older lenses needed to be adjusted more than my newer lenses. I am very glad that I purchased this and would recommend it to everyone!

                                          Share this review

                                           
                                          4.0

                                          Very Useful but Overpriced Tool

                                          By Fred

                                          from Portales, New Mexico

                                          About Me Professional

                                          Verified Buyer

                                          Pros

                                          • Easy To Use
                                          • Lightweight
                                          • Reliable

                                          Cons

                                            Best Uses

                                              Comments about Datacolor SpyderLensCal Autofocus Calibration Aid:

                                              I used this tool to calibrate/recalibrate lenses for my D700/D800/D810 cameras. I used the instructions which were too breezy, so I found a demo on You-Tube that gave a bit more depth. The results seemed consistent from camera to camera and tied in with the results I had achieved with other methods. While over-priced for what it is, it is most likely a lifetime purchase that I will share with others when I do workshops, so the cost will level out over time.

                                              • Was this a gift?:
                                              • No

                                              Share this review

                                              (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                                               
                                              2.0

                                              Hard to ensure perfect alignment

                                              By John

                                              from Sacramento, CA

                                              About Me Hobbyist/Enthusiast

                                              Verified Buyer

                                              Pros

                                                Cons

                                                  Best Uses

                                                    Comments about Datacolor SpyderLensCal Autofocus Calibration Aid:

                                                    I found it difficult to ensure that the camera focal plane and the calibration aid were perfectly parallel to each other. Without the camera and the calibration device being perfectly parallel to each other I wouldn't think you would get an accurate calibration. I think if you want to ensure your camera and lens are perfectly calibrated to each other I would have them professionally calibrated.

                                                    • Was this a gift?:
                                                    • No

                                                    Share this review

                                                     
                                                    5.0

                                                    Simple, but good

                                                    By Stuart B.

                                                    from Greenwich, CT

                                                    About Me Hobbyist/Enthusiast

                                                    Verified Buyer

                                                    Pros

                                                    • Easy To Use
                                                    • Lightweight

                                                    Cons

                                                      Best Uses

                                                      • Macro Photography
                                                      • Portraits

                                                      Comments about Datacolor SpyderLensCal Autofocus Calibration Aid:

                                                      The design works fairly well. I wish there was a more affirmative clicking into position at the point where the vertical and diagonal pieces intersect.

                                                      • Was this a gift?:
                                                      • No

                                                      Share this review

                                                       
                                                      4.0

                                                      Does the job

                                                      By Eric

                                                      from CT

                                                      Comments about Datacolor SpyderLensCal Autofocus Calibration Aid:

                                                      Does what it is intended to do. Could use better instructions and quite pricy for some plastic. Not many cheaper options out there.

                                                      Share this review

                                                      (0 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                                                       
                                                      1.0

                                                      Pretty flimsy for the price.

                                                      By CookieMonstersNemesis

                                                      from Ontario.

                                                      Comments about Datacolor SpyderLensCal Autofocus Calibration Aid:

                                                      Doesn't seem to snap together and therefore doesn't sit straight. I found this lens calibrator to be more of a gimmic product. The instructions are pretty vague, too so you're best to search YouTube videos online to really understand how to use it. May not be the same for everyone, but I found the results of the calibration to be no different. Images are still a little soft.

                                                      Share this review

                                                      (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                                                       
                                                      5.0

                                                      Simple and easy to use.

                                                      By Kaseyk13

                                                      from New London, Ohio

                                                      About Me Professional

                                                      Verified Buyer

                                                      Pros

                                                      • Durable
                                                      • Easy To Use
                                                      • Lightweight
                                                      • My Photos Are Sharper Now
                                                      • Reliable

                                                      Cons

                                                      • None

                                                      Best Uses

                                                      • One Time Calibration

                                                      Comments about Datacolor SpyderLensCal Autofocus Calibration Aid:

                                                      I didn't even know my lens was front focusing until comparing shots from my 7d to my wife's 5d mkII. It's so easy use. My DIY project wasn't cutting it as far as being consistent. It's not cheap but not too expensive for the time it saves.

                                                      • Was this a gift?:
                                                      • No

                                                      Share this review

                                                      (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                                                       
                                                      4.0

                                                      Good for primes

                                                      By unclemikey

                                                      from Richmond VA

                                                      About Me Professional

                                                      Verified Buyer

                                                      Pros

                                                      • Easy To Use
                                                      • Lightweight
                                                      • Reliable

                                                      Cons

                                                        Best Uses

                                                        • Calibrating lenses

                                                        Comments about Datacolor SpyderLensCal Autofocus Calibration Aid:

                                                        Unit is easy to use and set up. Wish there was some way to calibrate zooms efficiently. All my prime lenses are now calibrated and I'm satisfied with the product but it does seem expensive for some plastic parts.

                                                        • Was this a gift?:
                                                        • No

                                                        Share this review

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