Micro Fine Adjustment, Focus Peaking, and my FAVORITE MFA target

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Micro Fine Adjustment, Focus Peaking, and my FAVORITE MFA target
10 months ago

Hey, y'all - I thought I'd share the method I use to adjust the MFA on my A77 for all of my lenses.  This method has proved to be very fast, extremely accurate, and costs no more than about $0.02 in aluminum foil.

First, I selected settings that allow Focus Peaking with Auto Focus.  Two weeks ago that was difficult for me until I received valuable advice in a thread called "Focus Peaking - Possible Failure?"  Focus Peaking with Auto Focus is available only when selecting DMF in the menus.

With Focus Peaking with Auto Focus, I select Spot Focus and played with Peaking - Hi, Med, Lo to get the highest Peaking resolution possible (smaller margin of error).

As for a focusing target, I came upon this idea.  I went to the kitchen and got a piece of aluminum foil about 18 x 36 inches.   I crumpled the foil up in my hands to form a fairly tight ball, but not so tight that I couldn’t open it up again.   Opening the foil ball, I gently laid it flat again being careful to preserve all of the crinkles in the surface.  When I got it unfolded, the foil was about 14 x 30 inches with a million multi-faceted segments ranging from about 1/32 to 1/4 inches each.   I found that laying fairly flat (as opposed to any domes or bowl shaped areas) was important during the MFA adjustment.

I then placed the foil target horizontally and flat on the floor with the polished side up and illuminated by indirect daylight.  Viewing the target with my A77 at an extreme angle of about 60 degrees from the vertical, I was astonished at the power of these tools before my eyes.   Immediately visible was the green square of the Spot Focus Area and the actual area of focus indicated by the Focus Peaking.   From there it was simple and straightforward to adjust the MFA for each lens.   In normal viewing, each lens “sees” with its maximum aperture opening (shortest depth of field), and I adjusted MFA to put the green square in (or near by preference) the center of the Focus Peaking indicator.   Using camera on tripod is very helpful.

Using this method, I adjusted MFA for my 8-16mm, 16-80mm, 50/1.4, 60/2.0, 70-300USD, 85/1.4, & 500 ReflexAF.   The only change I made between lenses was the distance to the target, as was appropriate for the focal length.   The only issue I had is that my 8-16 and my 85/1.4 are both Sigma and the camera sees them as both the same lens.   Of the two, I chose the lens closest to being in focus and set it aside, adjusting MFA for the other.

A couple more comments:   I can’t quote the values of my adjustments without going back to the camera to verify – I didn’t take notes.   I can tell you this; every lens took some adjustment – none of them where perfect at zero, and some where in the area of +/- 8 0r 10!   For that reason, I believe MFA is very important to have (if not extremely so) and I am thrilled to own the Alpha 77, and the Mark II is in my very near future.   Also, the MFA adjustments I made have proved themselves accurate in images I’ve captured since.

As always, questions, comments, and critiques are welcome.


Sony Alpha 7 Sony SLT-A77
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