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How Do I Know If My Lens Needs Calibrating?

How do I know if my lens requires calibration?  

Whether you have a new camera/lens, or have one you have been using the same one for a  while, there’s a possibility your equipment may be in need of calibration.  

When reviewing a captured image (s) you may find that the image(s) is not quite crisp or sharp.  Or, perhaps the lens is not performing as well as you had hoped. Whilst this is far from ideal, it  is a common problem and one that is easily solved when you know how (or know the right  people to solve it for you).  

What does calibration mean?  

Essentially, calibration refers to adjusting the manufacturing tolerances of a camera and lens  and how they work together. Manufacturing tolerances tend to vary and this can effect the end  result as in your captured image. 

These manufacturing tolerances can resulting in the camera and lens combination focusing in  front or behind of where you are attempting to focus 

If you are unsure of whether you need calibration, there are a number of things to consider.  Here are a few questions to ask yourself:  

  • Was the correct focus point (s) used? 
  • Was the choice of focus point selection left to the camera? 
  • Did you observe the minimum shutter speed rule? 
  • Was your choice of shutter speed sufficient to prevent image blur / movement? If your Lens has stabilization, was this used? 
  • Are you using a filter with your lens, if so is it a branded / quality filter? 

Often one or more of the above can be a contributing or a major factor to images that look soft.  Therefore, before blaming your equipment, check the following: 

Focus Point 

Physically check the auto focus options you are currently using and ensure that the camera is  set to the mode in which you choose the focus point. With most DSLR cameras from Canon and  Nikon it is possible to view the chosen focus point on playback. If in AUTO AREA, the camera  will choose the appropriate focus point (s) and often focus on a subject closer to the camera  than the required subject i.e. if capturing a portrait, the camera will focus on the nose as  opposed to the subject’s eye.  

Shutter Speed 

Did your chosen shutter speed match the focal length of the lens i.e. Using a 300 mm lens your  MINIMUM shutter speed to prevent camera shake should be 1/300th of a second. If your 

camera has a crop factor, then this should be applied for the minimum shutter speed rule. i.e.  Canon 1.6 x at 300 mm = 1/460th of a second (the nearest being 1/500th) or Nikon 1.5 x at 300  mm = 1/450th. If the lens used has a stabilizer function this will allow and additional 2-3 stops,  so a slower shutter speed can be used. Stabilizer functions are denoted by IS (image  stabilization) for Canon SLR lenses, VR (Vibration Reduction) for Nikon SLR lenses and OS  (Optical Stabilisation) for Sigma SLR lenses.  

Lens Stabilisation 

If your lens has a stabilisation mode was this switched on?, if your camera is mounted to a  tripod, this should be switched off.  


It is a known fact that using a budget filter can have a marked effect on the final result. If you  intend using a filter on your lens, the quality of the filter should match the optical quality of the  lens it is used on. If you suspect the filter is the reason for the lack of sharpness in your images  and you have adhered to the previous points, then attempt to take a test shot without the filter  in order to make a comparison.  

If you have tried all the above and results are still the same  

Then calibration of your SLR lens (s) to your DSLR camera is the next option.  To book in for an appointment  

Come to our studio and have you camera calibrated click here.  

Or, let us book a courier for you.  

Whether you have a new camera/lens, or have one you have been using for a while, there’s a  possibility you may be in need of calibration.