Lens Repair and Micro Adjustment

I’ve had a particularly bad experience with a Canon 50mm f/1.4 lens which has led me down the road of trying to understand the lens micro adjustment features on the new high-end Canon Cameras.

A page of info on Micro Focus

Shortly after I bought my Digital Rebel XT (also know as the 350D outside the US), I purchased the Canon 50mm f/1.4 lens. I’ll admit when I bought the lens I didn’t understand crop factor and before the XT I’d never owned an SLR (digital or otherwise) with an autofocus feature. I’d always used a late 1970’s vintage Canon AE-1 (I still miss the split screen focus).

So when I purchased the 50mm, I really should have purchased a 35mm (actual 50mm field of view on the 1.6 crop). And I started taking pictures, but they always seemed like they had a soft focus. I blamed this on me. I thought I needed practice. Also, I found myself using this lens quite infrequently because the focal length was not what I had anticipated and eventually bought a 35mm which sees a lot of action on the XT body.

So I stored the 50mm away in a safe place know that one day I’ll buy a full-frame camera and this lens will be a favorite at that time. And that day came on January 6, 2009 when my Canon 5D Mark II arrived.

The first lens I popped on was my trusted 24-70 f/2.8 L. Sweet, sweet images poured out. Then my 100 mm macro – even sweeter. And the 70-200mm f/4 was no slouch in the line up. I knew that the camera was working wonderfully. Then I pulled out the 50mm and ugg – soft and out of focus. Time to visit the camera store. I knew it was not me or the camera.

I brought it to the camera store and within 30 seconds they call out from the back, “When did you purchase this lens?”. I replied: “About 3 years ago”. They go on to tell me that the lens is calibrated for a film back. Huh???

Well, no matter why the problem, then lens was totally out of calibration so it is now at the Canon shop getting a rebuild and I am stuck with the repair bill. I chalk my experience up to getting a bad copy of the lens combined with my inexperience to realize such before my warranty had expired. If I had dealt with the problem immediately, I would be singing the praises of Canon’s customer service. Since I decided that I was the problem and not Canon and waited 3 years until I got a full frame camera and knew better, I am now stuck. Alas.

Hopefully soon I will be able to get some beauties with a new found 50mm prime. I will keep you posted.

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