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Mirrorless Cameras and Lens Calibration

We have seen a lot of information, some correct and some incorrect about mirrorless cameras and lens calibration. The other day we were incredibly excited to have the opportunity to calibrate one of the new flagship Nikon Z7 mirrorless cameras for a regular customer.

You might be thinking ‘hang on a minute, I thought you didn’t need to calibrate a mirrorless camera!’ and yes, it is true that with the majority of them don’t. This is because most mirrorless cameras use a different method in which focus calculations are done as in directly off the imaging sensor chip and not on a separate focusing sensor, unlike DSLR’s which do.

The fact that most mirrorless systems don’t have an ‘exclusive’ autofocus sensor does eliminate the need for AF Micro adjustments for the body to be done, but some mirrorless cameras such as the Sony A7 series and some Olympus models allow for Micro adjustments. This is in order to combat element displacement errors or when using lens adapters such as the Sigma MC-11 or the Metabones adapters.

The Nikon Z7 however is different, it uses the same auto focus system that that is found in the Nikon DSLR’s, which is Phase Detect AF Pixels.

mirrorless camera and lens calibration

Although the Nikon Z7 is not yet supported by Reikan’s Focal*, our preferred software calibration solution, we were able to calibrate the customers Nikon’s 300mm F4 PF and Z7 with an AF Micro adjustment result of +3. Even though the calculated AF fine tune value was not very high, at 300mm on full frame sensor it will make a considerable difference, especially wide open.

As we have previously mentioned this lens is one of Nikon’s most consistent and from our experience rarely needs any calibration, and if it does then this is to compensate for any front / back displacement of the sensor in the camera body.
Mirrorless cameras and lens calibration will continue to be a hot topic until more cameras like the Nikon Z7 are in use and problems with lenses need to be address.
If anybody has bought into the new Nikon Z7 system we strongly suggest that you get your lenses calibrated.

Note: for the purpose of the calibration JPEG images were taken at different AFMA values and input into Focal manually using the Analyse Files function which then analysed the images in order to calculate the final AFMA adjustment value.

* Support for the Z7 is to be included in a future release of the software.