Using True Parallel Alignment (sighting system) best practices

Here is a rundown of best practices to make the alignment of LensAlign quick and painless. This applies to both MklI and Pro systems. Although the following 2 documents are outdated, you may find them helpful:

User Manual - Outdated but helpful

Sighting Quick Start - Outdated but helpful

 

  • These tips assume that Live View is active and that the focus of the lens is being adjusted manually so that the rear target dot and front sighting port can be viewed as needed. Stopping the lens down to f8 will make the task easier, but it is not required (note that live view does not always allow the lens to be stopped down).
  • Best if LensAlign is mounted on a tripod or light stand. The *stand* does not have to be very strong. An inexpensive video tripod works quite well. Table top mounting is also OK but this will make the process take longer since you will not be able to easily adjust the LensAlign using back-sighting.
  • Back-sighting is very easy as long as there is light on the camera. This will allow you to see the reflection of the light in the camera lens to aid in alignment. Looking through the rear LensAlign Sighting Port (Main Target), you should first *locate* the camera *name (Canon, Nikon, etc.)*. This will orient you to where the lens is. The *name* is easy to find because it is white and stands out from the black camera.
  • Back-sighting can be used in 2 ways. The first is to make a very rough alignment of LensAlign to the camera and then fine-tune the adjustment by moving the camera. The second is to fine tune the alignment during back-sighting by adjusting the LensAlign. This will minimize or eliminate the need to move the camera for adjustment.
  • It does not matter whether you align the camera and LensAlign using back-sighting or camera position or both. Any method is OK as long as the rear target **dot** becomes centered in the sighting port on the Front Focus Target of LensAlign, and the center of the camera frame is also centered on the Front Focus Target sighting port. (The camera center focus point should be aimed at the center LensAlign sighting port.)
  • Note that only the center dot has to be centered,when using the main sighting port, and *only* the right Macro sighting port when using it. It is not possible or necessary to align both dots (the closer the test distance the more divergent they will be).
  • To attain proper alignment when adjusting the camera position, use the concept of *Drag-The-Dot (DTD)*. This means if the rear *dot* is too far to the *left*, DTD to the *right* by moving the camera to the *right*. If the dot is too low, reposition the camera higher to Drag-The-Dot higher. Imagine that the camera and the dot are connected so that if you move the camera right, the dot is dragged to the right.
  • When adjusting the camera position, adjust one axis at a time. Do not try to center the dot in both directions at once, unless you like to be frustrated. First center the dot vertically, and then horizontally. Remember after each camera movement to realign the center of the camera frame to the LensAlign focus point. When moving the camera using DTD, you will physically *move* the camera left or right by repositioning the tripod; and up and down using the camera tripod center post or the leg height, or the height of the LensAlign tripod. When realigning the center of the camera frame (center focus point) to the sighting port of LensAlign, you will pan or tilt the camera, keeping it's tripod position fixed.
  • * The end goal is to have the rear dot centered within the sighting port, *along with* the sighting port being centered within the camera frame. *Both* must be set to ensure an accurate and repeatable measurement.

This is much easier to do than to explain.

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