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REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
DatacolorSpyderLensCal Autofocus Calibration Aid
 
4.3

(based on 169 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (90)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (50)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (20)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (5)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (4)

91%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Easy to use (63)
  • Lightweight (47)
  • Reliable (29)
  • Durable (28)
  • Compact (16)

Cons

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

Best Uses

  • Portraits (11)
  • Studio (9)
  • Macro photography (8)
  • Travel (7)
  • Landscape/scenery (6)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Enthusiast (15), Professional (13), Semi-pro photographer (13), Photo enthusiast (11), Casual/ recreational (10)
    • Primary use:
    • Personal (19), Business (8)
    • Was this a gift?:
    • No (92)
    • 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 169 customers

Displaying reviews 1-20

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5.0

Spyder LensCal Calibration Tool

By Henry

from undisclosed

Verified Buyer

Comments about Datacolor SpyderLensCal Autofocus Calibration Aid:

A great little tool if you have a camera that can micro-focus it's lenses. I checked mine and believe it or not, they all seem to be perfect without the need to adjust them! :)

 
5.0

Sharp lenses

By D810

from Saint Augustine FL

Verified Buyer

Comments about Datacolor SpyderLensCal Autofocus Calibration Aid:

This is an essential equipment for any professional photographer. After calibrating my lenses pictures come so much clearer

 
5.0

Autofocus test

By Erik

from Wilmington, Delaware

Verified Buyer

Comments about Datacolor SpyderLensCal Autofocus Calibration Aid:

Useful tool for checking the accuracy of autofocus. However, making a line on a ruler and photographing it at a 45 degree angle works just as well.

 
5.0

I would but it again and highly recommend to photog's.

By Williamc

from undisclosed

Verified Buyer

Comments about Datacolor SpyderLensCal Autofocus Calibration Aid:

Purchased to calibrate my lenses to my camera. Works great like it is suppose to. Love the fact that I can do it myself without having to send everything to the factory and waiting. Plenty of tutorials on the internet if you need them.

 
4.0

I would probably by this product again.

By David

from undisclosed

Verified Buyer

Comments about Datacolor SpyderLensCal Autofocus Calibration Aid:

I used the product to check my autofocus on all my lenses with both my cameras. The product was simple to set up and place on a tripod. I ended up making minor adjustments on all lenses with both cameras. The only issue I can see with this and any such unit is whether the face of the unit was perfectly parallel with the front of my lenses. If not, my adjustments will be off slightly. You should see this in the large pattern on the front of the unit as it would be slightly blurry but sometimes you had to zoom in pretty close to check the scale and this causes the picture to not be perfectly sharp. All my lenses are zoom lenses and not primes which may or may not be an issue. I have yet to use my equipment to take pictures yet so I can't confirm the results.

 
4.0

Great Tool

By stevie

from Undisclosed

Comments about Datacolor SpyderLensCal Autofocus Calibration Aid:

It took me no time to set it up. I recommend using two tripods. I would like there to possibly be a software that takes some of the guess work out of using this tool. The scale on the right is clear to see. I think a combination of horizontal and vertical lines could help choose the right focus adjustment.

(1 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

 
3.0

This will work for you if you don't want to make your own.

By Bernimage

from Los Angeles, CA

Verified Buyer

Comments about Datacolor SpyderLensCal Autofocus Calibration Aid:

If I am using this focus checker correctly, all my Canon lenses are fine. If the number scale could be made larger, that would help checking the focus points. The tripod mount and level are a good feature. The unit is made of plastic and folds flat for easy storage. If this were priced at about $20-$25 then I would recommend it.

 
4.0

Works as promised

By Michael

from undisclosed

Verified Buyer

Comments about Datacolor SpyderLensCal Autofocus Calibration Aid:

Great well built product that provides consistent results. I used to use a tape measure laid out on the floor or sidewalk depending on the distance I wanted to test out ( 70/200mm ). Having the target in perfect alignment with the ruler I feel is better than just shooting the tape or ruler.

 
3.0

Works well but expensive

By Scott

from undisclosed

Verified Buyer

Comments about Datacolor SpyderLensCal Autofocus Calibration Aid:

Works as expected... I bought to take the place of clamping a yard stick to a 2x4 - placing on an e=angle and shooting a target at a specific spot... Much easier to use as you just set up and go...kind of small though for use with a large set up - 500mm w/convertors. ...And definitely expensive for what you get - plastic!

 
4.0

Works well if set up well.

By Tony

from Bronx New York

Verified Buyer

Comments about Datacolor SpyderLensCal Autofocus Calibration Aid:

Product works well but camera must be on same plane as target and parallel to target. Distance from target should be 25-50 times focal length and target must be well lit.

 
4.0

Handy Device

By Matt

from Dayton, OH

Verified Buyer

Comments about Datacolor SpyderLensCal Autofocus Calibration Aid:

Used to calibrate my prime lenses with a print out, but decided it best to get a professional device. While this device is nice, it's a hefty cost for a one time use/setup. Removing one star because of cost and wish the numbers corresponded to NIKON branch focus calibration numbers. Overall though, great purchase.

 
4.0

Good quality

By Bill in GA

from Hiawassee, GA

Verified Buyer

Comments about Datacolor SpyderLensCal Autofocus Calibration Aid:

I downloaded and printed some paper calibration charts because I didn't want to pay for this, but the paper ones are not nearly as good. This calibration aid is well-built plastic. It is a bit smaller than I was expecting, but works as described. If folds up flat for storage and then pops back up for use. If you're serious about lens calibration then you should seriously consider this aid. It will make the calibration process faster and easier.

 
5.0

Good lens cakibration device.

By Al

from undisclosed

Verified Buyer

Comments about Datacolor SpyderLensCal Autofocus Calibration Aid:

I noticed one of my lenses wasn't as sharp as it should be. I purchased the lens calibration and discovered the auto focus was indeed off. The Spyder lens cal is made of hard plastic. You have to use a little force to snap the ruler in place to get it to sit at the zero mark. If precision focusing is important this is a good device to check your lens.

 
5.0

Excellent quality. Buy it once type of device.

By Stephen

from undisclosed

Verified Buyer

Comments about Datacolor SpyderLensCal Autofocus Calibration Aid:

It works, is tough and folds up flat.

 
5.0

MICRO ADJUSTMENT TO YOUR CANON LENSES

By Enrique

from undisclosed

Verified Buyer

Comments about Datacolor SpyderLensCal Autofocus Calibration Aid:

This is a must if you think your Canon lenses are not tack sharp. Simple to use once you get the hang of it. This will not ensure all of your images are tack sharp but it will definitely give you up to 90% more keepers. The SpyderLensCal can also be used with Canon lenses using the micro adjustment setting in the camera if your camera has this feature like the Canon 5D Mark III and IV.

(2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

 
4.0

Good tool but requires some adjustment

By Anthony

from undisclosed

Verified Buyer

Comments about Datacolor SpyderLensCal Autofocus Calibration Aid:

I purchased this product to help address front focusing issues I had with a Sigma 18-35 lens. Previously I had made my own focus tool and found that the lens really benefited from calibration so I decided to buy something more production quality. From the reviews I read, the LensCal was better because its made of hard plastic with a Tripod adjustment - I agree. I had read some complaints about the size of the lenscal and I also agree however I cannot say the competitor products are any better.
After spending an hour with this equipment, I had some success but mostly failures.
With my 18-35 on a D500, minimum focus distance the photos were nearly impossible to use. I could not adequately differentiate the very fine graduated lines of the ruler to determine which were in focus and which were not. This may have been due to the camera. Comparing against my focus tool, my ruler lines were considerably thicker and spaced further apart. So I overlaid my ruler on the lenscal. This worked much better, now I could clearly see lines in focus and lines out of focus. I was able to successfully calibrate using my ruler on the lenscal.
One issue that I also may have uncovered, is the focus area moved between different calibratiojns since it is not a point but rather an area. I had to be careful when comparing before an after pictures to comparing how the individual pictures compared to their specific focus area.
I can say for certain that using the lenscal, my ruler, I was able to reprogram the Sigma lens using the Sigma dock and the results are quite substantial. With my Nikon 28-70 and 85 lenses I had to use the camera AF adjustment. Fortunately the 85 was as good as I could hope. Unfortunately the 28-70 was a mixed bag where the calibration for 28 was opposite the 70 and since my D500 only allows one value I ended up back at 0. I've uploaded the photo I used for the ruler (printed on high quality paper and then cut to fit on LensCal ruler)

(0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
1.0

seems like hype

By Daniel

from Undisclosed

See all my reviews

Site Member

Comments about Datacolor SpyderLensCal Autofocus Calibration Aid:

So after trying the other methods i found on you tube i decide to try this out... When i first opened the package i realized, with great disappointment....Its plastic? For the price i figured that it would have at least been made out of some sort of metal... Its not the issue of it being plastic, Its the price...
 So i figured i would try it out anyway.. I just found it very difficult to zero in on my center point.
 I used my old method and it is much easier to find my center focus point.... Plus it was just a piece of paper that i printed off line and taped it to a clip board and done..

 
5.0

Why did I wait so long?

By Marlo

from Undisclosed

See all my reviews

Site Member

Comments about Datacolor SpyderLensCal Autofocus Calibration Aid:

I have suspected that my Canon 600mm f/4L IS II USM had some focus issues on my 7D MK ii.  But, I just let it go. 

I finally decided to buy the SpyderLensCal and immediately found out that the lens was back focusing.  I corrected this for the bare 600mm and also for when I have the 1.4x III Teleconverter attached.  

I'm very happy with the results.

 
4.0

Very good, but with a few limitations

By Mikey

from California

Verified Buyer

Comments about Datacolor SpyderLensCal Autofocus Calibration Aid:

Went back-and-forth regarding this product vs. competitors.
Pros: materials, ease of assembly, usability from short camera-to-target distances
Cons: not easy to ensure camera is centered on target tangentially, smaller size, not usable at long distances for microfocus adjustments for lenses like Sigma Art series that have 4 calibration distances

Overall a good product within its capabilities.

 
4.0

Small but helpful

By Ralph

from Undisclosed

Comments about Datacolor SpyderLensCal Autofocus Calibration Aid:

The unit is small but it does help dial in your lense. Would be nicer if larger as it does take time to get ideal focus. Well constructed and well supported. Directions no very helpful but a ton of info on YouTube. If you have 3 or more lens and camera supports fine/micro adjustments this is a affordable purchase. I do have more keepers on both telephoto and my micro shots, especially on nature shots.
I recommend it if ultra sharpness is important for your photography.

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