Calibrating a Sigma 150-600S on a D4S (Reikan FoCal)

Started Sep 11, 2016 | Discussions
rob_b Contributing Member • Posts: 884
Calibrating a Sigma 150-600S on a D4S (Reikan FoCal)

OK, I tried this for the first time today:

D4S, coupled to my macbook (USB) semiautomatic mode (I needed to enter the MFA values)

This

Target (just visible) provided by FoCal, about 15m away, max I'd expect to get a decent shot of a smallish bird . I had to wait for the sun to move and not part illuminate the target!

Software was quite easy to fathom, and once the target was acquired and focus fixed, I first tried it on the 150-600 at f6.3. I did the test at 1600ISO (to be realistic) and ended up with a recommended value of between +7 and +9:

Each symbol is a shot taken , quite a broad plateau around MFA of 8.

It was interesting to watch the process of optimisation - as a scientist - i found it very satisfying. I also felt that the lens was working well at this value afterwards, though no shots yet that really confirm that.

I then added the TC1401, giving me 850mm fl. This was a different story:

with a 1.4 TC in place, could not find an optimal.

So, two tings leave me..

1. Maybe I should send the TC back and ask for a replacement? It clearly shifts focus a lot. Although the system is now focusing at 'f9' the D4S never failed to acquire a focus though.

2. I thought 'aha! If I set the default MFA to +8, then the addition of the TC should give me a leeway to +28. But, when I optimized with the default of 7 dialed in a) the lens alone still optimized at +8 (??) and the TC+ still failed to optimise at +20.

Does this make sense?

Lastly, I was pretty impressed by the software and the wealth of information it gives you. I'm hoping this will translate into sharper pictures/more feather detail in our upcoming Florida trip. Anyone else have experience of this system?

Rob

was the set up:

-- hide signature --

See my wildlife pics on http://rjbwild.smugmug.com

 rob_b's gear list:rob_b's gear list
Nikon D850
Nikon D4S
If you believe there are incorrect tags, please send us this post using our feedback form.
1elementin7groups
1elementin7groups Veteran Member • Posts: 3,003
Re: Calibrating a Sigma 150-600S on a D4S (Reikan FoCal)

I MFA'd my Sigma 150-600 S on a D500 a few weeks ago using Reikan. Easy but time consuming. I also have the Sigma dock and supposedly there is a factor of 1:2 for adjusting: if Nikon says 5, Sigma should be set to 10.

I had previously did the MFA on my D810. Sad that the dock will not allow you to MFA for two bodies. So I had to drop out the adjustment for my D810 in favor of the D500.

My adjustments are as follows:

600mm at infinity +13; 600mm at 50 feet +14; 600mm at 20 feet +11
400mm at 20 feet +3; 400mm at 50 feet +4; 400mm at 80 feet +2
250mm at 20 feet +12; 250mm at 50 feet +2; 250mm at 80 feet +4
150mm at 20 feet +11; 150mm at 50 feet +11; 150mm at 80 feet +11

Kind of all over the board. I even ran some of the tests twice to make sure (250mm was ran twice, same results).

Problem with the dock is that it max's out at +/-20 on the scale. So anything over 10 on the scale get's thrown out with the dock. You could use the dock and the camera to adjust or just the camera. But the dock allows for all the four different focal lengths. I just adjusted those values from Reikan/Nikon to +20 on the dock, even though it should be more.

Results: it seems super sharp to me!

As far as your TC-1401: I would take it and use it and see what real use results and images look like. Some users swear that it is sharp. Perhaps yours is off?

Dave

-- hide signature --
 1elementin7groups's gear list:1elementin7groups's gear list
Sony a9 Nikon D850 Sony a7R IV Nikon AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D +17 more
D500 001
D500 001 Contributing Member • Posts: 644
Re: Calibrating a Sigma 150-600S on a D4S (Reikan FoCal)

Hello Rob:

The dock will rock! Do you have the dock? It allows fine tune correction at 16 points. Four focal lengths times four focus distances. Plus, it allows adjustments to the OS (optical stabilization) and focusing speed in different areas (focusing distances).

First thing to do is, attach the dock to the lens and open the Sigma software on your computer. Now you will be able to see where your focal lengths and focus distances will be needed for running the FoCal software. Next, close the Sigma software and remove the dock from the lens. Mount the lens to the body and proceed to the FoCal fine tune program.

The body fine tune would be set to zero for the first run through of FoCal. test at all of the points that you saw in the Sigma software. Make note of all required values, multiply by 2 and transfer to the lens through the dock. If all values are drastically in one direction, the body fine tune can then be moved to facilitate the trend and rerun FoCal.

-- hide signature --

Enjoy the good light while ya can............

 D500 001's gear list:D500 001's gear list
Nikon D5500 Nikon D500 Sigma 105mm F2.8 EX DG Macro Nikon AF-Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8D ED Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4 DC Macro OS HSM | C +4 more
OP rob_b Contributing Member • Posts: 884
Re: Calibrating a Sigma 150-600S on a D4S (Reikan FoCal)

Thanks all, yes, I have a dock, and will develop the MFA approach further

rob

-- hide signature --

See my wildlife pics on http://rjbwild.smugmug.com

 rob_b's gear list:rob_b's gear list
Nikon D850
OP rob_b Contributing Member • Posts: 884
UPDATE Calibrating a Sigma 150-600S on a D4S (Reikan FoCal)

Thanks for the advice here. This is what I did-

Repeat the MFA from scratch, at 15m and 6m, and 1600 ISO (fairly typical for my birding exercises). I did not bother with 2.5m and don't see how to do 'infinity' (more later). I only optimized at 600mm - LR tells me that these types of lenses spent most of their time fully extended.

Again, I found the FoCal software easy to use.

The Nikon  MFA values of +7 and +8 (identical to my previous values). Both high quality values. Frankly, I doubt +7 or +8 are discriminable - the curve is shallow at the top.

I then went to the dock (not guilty, yr honour!). I applied those two values to the lens as +16 ^m), +15 (15m) + 14 (inf) with mild extrapolation. I have yet to decide what to do at 2.6m.

If this is correct, then repeating the MFA with FoCal should now tell me the lenses are 'perfect'. And indeed, it did. Recommended an MFA of 0. So, no adjustments for the camera, the lens now tuned to the body (a second hand D4S). And, early portents are good.

Now, the TC1401 -

With the lens optimized, I added the TC1401. Bizarre! It is exactly the same as last time. Now, the lens + TC is certainly not as bad as this would suggest, and it makes me think that the optimisation is really struggling with the TC (at f9 effective) although it grabbed focus well enough. To be fair, FoCal warned me I was pushing my luck at 850mm for a 600mm lens!

I decided that I will take the advice here, and just see what I think about the TC with no additional adjustments.

Optimised lens, with the TC1401 added

So, here are two shots (maybe 10-15% crops of the full frame) post MFA, WITH the TC. I don't think there is much wrong with the optimised lens, but with no additional MFA.

I'm pretty happy now that the system is as good as I can get it. I'll use this system for my 70-200 2.8 (Nikon) next, but I can see the appeal of the Sigma dock system now. Be interesting to see if N and C follow suit.

Rob

Substantial (10%) crop, my local model.

This was my attempt to reach infinity (and beyond). Looks OK to me.

-- hide signature --

See my wildlife pics on http://rjbwild.smugmug.com

 rob_b's gear list:rob_b's gear list
Nikon D850
MacroFuji Regular Member • Posts: 236
Re: UPDATE Calibrating a Sigma 150-600S on a D4S (Reikan FoCal)

The TC1401 has a separate set of MFA when attached..With the TC1401 attached it ignores the lens MFA adjustments. You need to do the MFA with the TC1401 attached.

-- hide signature --
 MacroFuji's gear list:MacroFuji's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DC-G9 Panasonic Leica 100-400mm F4.0-6.3 ASPH Panasonic Leica 12-60mm F2.8-4.0 ASPH
D500 001
D500 001 Contributing Member • Posts: 644
Re: UPDATE Calibrating a Sigma 150-600S on a D4S (Reikan FoCal)

MacroFuji wrote:

The TC1401 has a separate set of MFA when attached..With the TC1401 attached it ignores the lens MFA adjustments. You need to do the MFA with the TC1401 attached.

Rob, Your images are looking pretty good. Did you run the aperture test? If so, what is the sharpest aperture with and without the converter? When we get some clear skies here, I will be doing a run through with and without the converter.

As MacroFuji has stated, the body sees the lens with adapter as another entity. See numbers 05 and 06 in the image below.

-- hide signature --

Enjoy the good light while ya can............

 D500 001's gear list:D500 001's gear list
Nikon D5500 Nikon D500 Sigma 105mm F2.8 EX DG Macro Nikon AF-Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8D ED Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4 DC Macro OS HSM | C +4 more
OP rob_b Contributing Member • Posts: 884
Re: UPDATE Calibrating a Sigma 150-600S on a D4S (Reikan FoCal)

Yes, I got that. I wasn't persuaded that FoCal was handling the TC properly though. For the quality of image, the graph makes no sense.

I guess it doesn't mean that I can optimize manually. Just got to like the FoCal approach.

-- hide signature --

See my wildlife pics on http://rjbwild.smugmug.com

 rob_b's gear list:rob_b's gear list
Nikon D850
MARCOP60 New Member • Posts: 17
Re: Calibrating a Sigma 150-600S on a D4S (Reikan FoCal)

1elementin7groups wrote:

I MFA'd my Sigma 150-600 S on a D500 a few weeks ago using Reikan. Easy but time consuming. I also have the Sigma dock and supposedly there is a factor of 1:2 for adjusting: if Nikon says 5, Sigma should be set to 10.

I had previously did the MFA on my D810. Sad that the dock will not allow you to MFA for two bodies. So I had to drop out the adjustment for my D810 in favor of the D500.

My adjustments are as follows:

600mm at infinity +13; 600mm at 50 feet +14; 600mm at 20 feet +11
400mm at 20 feet +3; 400mm at 50 feet +4; 400mm at 80 feet +2
250mm at 20 feet +12; 250mm at 50 feet +2; 250mm at 80 feet +4
150mm at 20 feet +11; 150mm at 50 feet +11; 150mm at 80 feet +11

Kind of all over the board. I even ran some of the tests twice to make sure (250mm was ran twice, same results).

Problem with the dock is that it max's out at +/-20 on the scale. So anything over 10 on the scale get's thrown out with the dock. You could use the dock and the camera to adjust or just the camera. But the dock allows for all the four different focal lengths. I just adjusted those values from Reikan/Nikon to +20 on the dock, even though it should be more.

Results: it seems super sharp to me!

As far as your TC-1401: I would take it and use it and see what real use results and images look like. Some users swear that it is sharp. Perhaps yours is off?

Dave

Thank you for the interesting post. I have one question. How do you calibrate at infinity with Reikan? I have it  and cannot find a way. Guess estimates? Thanks Marco

 MARCOP60's gear list:MARCOP60's gear list
Nikon D800E Nikon D500 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm F4G ED VR +1 more
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads