Do you know about focusing micro-adjustment on your camera body?

For a while now I’ve been thinking that the Canon 24-105 f/4L IS lens I use with my 5D Mk II was focusing a little soft. There were shots I had taken that when viewing them on my PC at 100% just didn’t seem to be as sharp and in focus a they should be.

I had put it down to my eye-sight but I recently purchased a Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 lens and following a recent trip to Africa where I took pictures with both lenses I must say I’m incredibly impressed with the sharpness I’m getting from the Sigma – even when I had a 2x converter stuck on as well to take it up to a 400mm.

So I posted in a Canon DSLR group to see if others had the same problem with that lens. Many indicated their lens was sharp but some people also pointed me towards focusing micro-adjustment. As I shoot with a 5D Mk II this is available on my body and allows me to set it by lens.

After following some of the online guides and doing some real time shots things are sharp again and I’m happy! You can see the difference in the two images below (click for a larger version).

I focused on a sign across the street. Apart from cropping both photos are straight out of the camera. Both were taken on a tripod with a remote release to minimize any shake and the only amend between the two shots was to alter the focusing micro-adjustment. Quite a difference!

So if you’re having a problem with sharpness on your camera lens look in your manual for focusing micro-adjustment options and see if this can correct it.


  • A.Barlow 2011 Sep 16 / 22:49

    It’s funny how you see this focus issue more in L lenses than non L lenses. At least that’s the only time I have ever noticed it. My 70-300L has a very mild rear focusing issue as well. Now, to decide if I want to send it out for calibration.

  • John Curd 2011 Oct 09 / 16:43

    Interesting stuff, Nick, but a little weird. I recently returned a 7D because it seemed softer than my trusty old 40D, now you’ve got me wondering.

    I can’t help but think that, at these prices and level of equipment, one really shouldn’t have to jump through such hoops to make relatively expensive equipment function as it should. Why, I wonder?

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