Understanding Autofocus Adjustment Concepts

1 - Why aren't my pictures as sharp as I expect them to be?

"It seems to me the more expensive the equipment I buy, the less sharp my pictures appear to be."  This is a common complaint, and in many cases it is true. This can be due to several potential reasons.

  • The higher your camera resolution the more you can see the shortcomings of your lens and shooting technique.
  • The more resolved your display monitor and the larger and better your prints, the more you will see the flaws within your photographs.
  • The better your camera body and lens combination the more you will notice out of focus shot as referenced to very sharp shots.

2 - Your lens and camera have just met for the first time.

Despite the advances in today's photographic equipment, even the latest high level DSLR cameras are manufactured to meet a price point. Because of this there are manufacturing tolerances in each piece of equipment that is built.  These deviations exist in all modern products, however there are serious implications when it comes to cameras and lenses.

Camera bodies are tested with an ideal laboratory reference lens, while lenses are tested with an ideal laboratory reference body.  But the bodies and lenses we all purchase, are not quite as perfect as the Laboratory reference versions. So every lens fits nicely on every body, but the complex autofocus system, which requires both body and to be matched, does not perform as well as we would like. The results or pictures that are not as sharp as they can be.

3 - It's like fitting a new pair of glasses.

When you purchase a new pair of prescription eyeglasses from an optician, you go to the store to pick them up. Now the eyeglasses were designed and tested around an ideal reference human head. But perhaps your head is not the perfect ideal reference. So when you put on your glasses for the first time you will notice that they do not fit perfectly. This means that they will not be as comfortable as they can be and you will not be able to see you as well as you can see.

The optician is required to make adjustments to your eyeglasses to that they are matched perfectly to your head and face. Even though the eyeglasses were designed to fit on on a human head with two ears and nose, they need to be fine tuned or micro adjusted in order to achieve optimum performance and comfort. Just the same as your lens has to be matched to your camera body.

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