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REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
DatacolorSpyderLensCal Autofocus Calibration Aid
 
4.3

(based on 156 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (85)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (44)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (18)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (5)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (4)

92%

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 156 customers

Displaying reviews 1-20

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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.

 
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.

 
4.0

Works fine for what it is

By Tater

from Montana

Verified Buyer

Comments about Datacolor SpyderLensCal Autofocus Calibration Aid:

Works fine, but a little costly for what it is.

 
4.0

Solid but ...

By Kemo

from Tampa

Verified Buyer

Comments about Datacolor SpyderLensCal Autofocus Calibration Aid:

The unit is well made and simple to use; but overpriced. The instructions included are terrible (a card written in ten ... yep ten ... languages) but a visit to the SpyderLensCal web site fixes that. I've done the three prime lenses I own with success... one lens being seriously "short" in focus.

 
5.0

Get sharp focus!

By SteveSNH

from New Hampshire USA

Verified Buyer

Comments about Datacolor SpyderLensCal Autofocus Calibration Aid:

An excellent calibration tool to fine tune focus of your camera. A must for serious photographers.

 
5.0

Works Perfect!

By Bradley

from Undisclosed

Site Member

Comments about Datacolor SpyderLensCal Autofocus Calibration Aid:

I had no issues setting this up, nor using the product.  Works as described.  The product does not come with instructions, only pictures of the product in use on the packaging.  Go to the manufacture website and the instructions are available for download.  I can't say enough about B&H.  They always get my order shipped ASAP and have never had a problem.  Thank you!

(0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
4.0

Worth the setup =]

By JaimeChanPhoto

from Los Angeles, CA

Verified Buyer

Comments about Datacolor SpyderLensCal Autofocus Calibration Aid:

• I bought this AF calibration aid to ensure that my lenses are at their best.

• What I like about this calibration aid is the mechanics behind the process. This will help you make sure you're getting your money's worth with your lenses. Especially if you're using top class lenses, this should be a purchase you're planning to make. It is a portable and very precise to use. I would recommend shooting tethered with full-quality previews enabled as you do for best results. For zooms, you only need to test based on the extreme ends of each zoom (at 24mm and at 70mm for a 24-70 lens), and only as is for primes.

• What I don't like about this calibration aid? It can be a little cumbersome and tedious to really get all of it leveled between the target and the camera using tripods, but definitely worth it once you see results. I find the shooting process can eventually become fun/relaxing actually. It would be cool & convenient to see a built in setup where you can just mount them by tripod mount into exact placement.

• Overall? I feel a lot more secure about my lens and my future lens purchases, especially when sometimes you can get a backfocused/frontfocused copy.

(2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Works Well

By Bruce

from Spokane, WA

Verified Buyer

Comments about Datacolor SpyderLensCal Autofocus Calibration Aid:

Before purchasing the LensCal, I tried to micro-adjust my lenses using a black/white/grey card and a ruler. After using the LensCal I discovered my homemade setup was not nearly as accurate as the LenCal. Recommend using the LensCal in B&W mode rather than color to better distinguish which line is darker. Instructions do not say what increment each of the lines on the scale represent. For my camera the large numbers seem to correspond to 10 notches on the camera adjustment setting. It takes a little bit of time to set up and a few iterations to get a lens dialed in but I think it is work the effort.

(0 of 7 customers found this review helpful)

 
4.0

Works as advertised

By Dmrsn1

from Florida

Comments about Datacolor SpyderLensCal Autofocus Calibration Aid:

I have not had much time to use it but it looks to be high quality and should work well.

(4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

 
2.0

Not That Easy

By Mo Bo

from Bethesda, MD

Verified Buyer

Comments about Datacolor SpyderLensCal Autofocus Calibration Aid:

This product is not that easy to setup specially if you mount it on a tripod. Getting the target and camera to be parallel to each other is difficult and crucial. Other problem I had was for the recommend target distance I could hardly see any changes to make proper decision about front or back focusing so I had to move in closer. Support from LensCal is mediocre too. Price of this product for what it can do (if you can do it) is high.

 
5.0

Easy to use

By JFH

from Midwest

Comments about Datacolor SpyderLensCal Autofocus Calibration Aid:

Well built, easy to use.

 
4.0

Great cal tool once you review how to use it

By Jim

from Wisc

Verified Buyer

Comments about Datacolor SpyderLensCal Autofocus Calibration Aid:

No instruction other than picture on back of carton. Had to look up on Internet. Many conflicting ways to calibrate. Finally figured how to use it out. It does what it is supposed to do once you figure out how to use it

 
5.0

Handy tool!

By Jon G

from Lancaster Co PA

Comments about Datacolor SpyderLensCal Autofocus Calibration Aid:

Works nicely to adjust camera to lens focus

(3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

 
4.0

Well Made & Easy to Use

By SteveR

from Rochester, NY

About Me Casual/ Recreational

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Durable
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • High price

Best Uses

    Comments about Datacolor SpyderLensCal Autofocus Calibration Aid:

    I used this lens calibration on all of my lenses and found a few that really needed some fine tuning. The LensCal is well made, easy to set up and easy to use. I decided to go with this one over the cardboard style ones for longevity. However, there is no reason that this tool has to be priced so high. I struggled with the decision to purchase it simply due to its high price. That is the only reason I couldn't give it 5 stars.

    • Was this a gift?:
    • No

    (0 of 7 customers found this review helpful)

     
    1.0

    Did not help at all

    By Lucie

    from Ontario, Canada

    About Me Avid Adventurer

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

      Cons

      • Don't Know How It Works

      Best Uses

        Comments about Datacolor SpyderLensCal Autofocus Calibration Aid:

        I wanted to calibrate my Canon EOS 100-400mm and try to follow the basic instructions, but I cannot see any difference on the chart in terms of focus. Perhaps I did not understand how it works but right now my feeling is that it was a total waste of money. If someone can help me understand the problem, please let me know.

        • Was this a gift?:
        • No

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