SIGMA 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM | Contemporary

Started Nov 25, 2016 | Discussions
GremlinStar New Member • Posts: 14
SIGMA 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM | Contemporary

Hello, guys,

I have just purchased the above lens to use with my Canon EOS 1-Dx. The camera has the focus micro adjustment possibility in the menu - but I have chosen to use the Sigma dock to fine tune this lens. So far I have managed to find out that my camera/lens combination back focuses a little. From a distance of 15 meters I have made some shots at my focus card, and adjusted the lens to:

-7 for 600 mm focal length

-4 for 400 mm.

-3 for 250 mm.

-3 for 150 mm. - so far so good - at this distance the lens is now very close to spot on.

However - Sigma advises to use a distance of only 2,6 meters and 6,0 meters for the two other distances to calibrate from - and for infinity. The 2,6 meters seems to be a little od, for this long lens...and what distance to shoot from when calibrating for the infinity?

Could someone advise me to - from their own experience - what distances to choose best, and what distance to shoot from when filling in the values in the infinity row in the Sigma PRO calibrating software?

Thanks in advance

David Burren Regular Member • Posts: 391
Re: SIGMA 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM | Contemporary

This has been discussed in the Third Party Lens forum a few times. I have two Sigma zooms and one prime.

The 150-600mm Contemporary lens has 4 distances at which the focus can(should) be adjusted. They are 2.8m (not 2.6 - that's the Sports version), 6m, 15m, and "infinity". To find out what these distances are for any lens, look in the Focus Setting page of the Sigma software when the lens is connected via USB and you will see at the top of the table a representation of the focus scale with 4 red marks on it (at the centre of each column). With some lenses there aren't numbers at each point, but if you adjust the lens via manual focus to be at that position you'll find out how far it is. To minimise the work of tuning each point, I do all the measurements first and then update all 16 settings in one go (otherwise adjacent settings can confuse measurements if your tested distance is slightly different from the lens's actual adjustment distance).

As for "infinity", my method is to go to a nearby archery range which has the targets set up downrange standing above fairly flat (and short) grass. I take test shots at various in-camera adjustment values (multiple shots at each setting to avoid errors) and feed them through the Find Edges filter in Photoshop. This makes the in-focus band of grass stand out.

On the last lens I adjusted (the 150-600 C as it happens) I actually did the testing from the opposite end of the field (across two intervening fields shooting the back of the targets which are covered in graffiti). This gave me a distance of around 200m!

I calibrated the lens with and without the 1.4x TC (the lens has different internal adjustments for each case) using one camera, and then once the lens is adjusted I have that camera set to 0 internally, and do a traditional AF adjustment on my other camera(s).

toosas
toosas Regular Member • Posts: 131
Re: SIGMA 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM | Contemporary

David Burren wrote:

To minimise the work of tuning each point, I do all the measurements first and then update all 16 settings in one go (otherwise adjacent settings can confuse measurements if your tested distance is slightly different from the lens's actual adjustment distance).

Please, could you expand on this?

 toosas's gear list:toosas's gear list
Canon EOS 6D Canon EOS 5DS R Olympus OM-D E-M10 III Sony a7R III Sony a7 III +15 more
David Burren Regular Member • Posts: 391
Re: SIGMA 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM | Contemporary

toosas wrote:

David Burren wrote:

To minimise the work of tuning each point, I do all the measurements first and then update all 16 settings in one go (otherwise adjacent settings can confuse measurements if your tested distance is slightly different from the lens's actual adjustment distance).

Please, could you expand on this?

See if this helps:

https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/58589249

OP GremlinStar New Member • Posts: 14
Re: SIGMA 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM | Contemporary

Hi David, Thanks for the link to this great explanation about how to understand at perform the micro adjustment in the lens - and camera.

One thing I cannot figure out is how and when to use the two in camera possible settings - wide end and tele end. If I want to do all the test shooting before I dial in the values in the lens, I will have to do it in the camera as you suggest - but when to use the wide end tweeker and when to use the tele end tweeker in the camera.

One could say: Use the wide end for 150 mm. and 250 mm. and use the tele end for the 400 mm. and the 600 mm.

And how about the 2,8 m. 6,0 m. 15 m. range and the infinity range? Does these have any influence on how to use the in cameras wide or tele end tweeker

David Burren Regular Member • Posts: 391
Re: SIGMA 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM | Contemporary

GremlinStar wrote:

One thing I cannot figure out is how and when to use the two in camera possible settings - wide end and tele end. If I want to do all the test shooting before I dial in the values in the lens, I will have to do it in the camera as you suggest - but when to use the wide end tweeker and when to use the tele end tweeker in the camera.

One could say: Use the wide end for 150 mm. and 250 mm. and use the tele end for the 400 mm. and the 600 mm.

At each of 150, 250, 400, and 600 you want to work out the best value for that point. The easiest way I've found is to start off with the lens set to whatever it's set to (all zeros if it's new, or the previous values if you're re-calibrating the lens for some reason) and then adjust the camera to find the best value.

Instead of using the separate wide+tele adjustments it's best to set them to the same value. In fact, during the testing I tell the camera to just use one value for everything (and set it back to per-lens for normal use afterwards). If you're using software like Reikan's FoCal to do the calibration it will warn you if you're at a "mid-zoom" setting and then tell you to set BOTH the wide and tele numbers to the same value. But I just set the global value: it's much easier.

Then at the end when I'm putting the numbers into the lens if the body indicated +5 at a particular point I add that to the existing in-lens value (so if it was +3 already it would become +8). Ideally when you've finished the lens you can test the points again and it should show 0 as the best in-body value throughout. However it probably won't: I generally don't bother changing the lens if the in-body value was -1 or +1, otherwise you can end up in a never-ending cycle of tweaking it back and forth.

Have I answered your question?

Again, remember to set the camera back to the per-lens setting (usually at 0,0) when you've finished so that all your other lenses get their appropriate values too.

And how about the 2,8 m. 6,0 m. 15 m. range and the infinity range? Does these have any influence on how to use the in cameras wide or tele end tweeker

Nope. Do the tests again at each of those distances so you can work out the best values to put into the lens. When you're shooting the focus distance is ignored by the camera when deciding on AF adjustments, but the lens will know what values to scale between.

OP GremlinStar New Member • Posts: 14
Re: SIGMA 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM | Contemporary

Thanks a lot David,

I think you have answered my question - however I need a little more time to consume all the info, all this with Sigma calibration is new to me. I live in Denmark, and the winter is dark and grey, no light during the daytime for doing the calibration properly. But today - after waiting several days the sun was shining and I was out to make my first try. It took me almost a full day, and at the afternoon I managed to get the images below - this is my result so far. Distance to the ducks was about 100 meters. Pics are 100% and 50% crops  to show the sharpness the best way.

Now I'll read your reply, and do a recalibrating as soon as possible - I'm not fully satisfied yes - I have a very little back focus at certain zoom/distances - but probably not more than a click or two! Thanks again for your great help!

600 mm. ISO 800 1/600 f.6,3

600 mm. ISO 800 1/1600 f.6,3

600 mm. ISO 800 1/600 f. 6,3

David Burren Regular Member • Posts: 391
Re: SIGMA 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM | Contemporary

GremlinStar wrote:

I live in Denmark, and the winter is dark and grey, no light during the daytime for doing the calibration properly.

I have some worklights I can use to illuminate focus targets at one end of my house, and I can fit in up to 16 m by putting the camera down the end of the hallway. But the "infinity" tests always have to be done outdoors. Mind you, if you go down this path do be careful about the lighting you use: for example many LED light sources both flicker and have strange spectrums that can cause the cameras' AF sensors to be slightly "off".

But today - after waiting several days the sun was shining and I was out to make my first try. It took me almost a full day, and at the afternoon I managed to get the images below - this is my result so far. Distance to the ducks was about 100 meters. Pics are 100% and 50% crops to show the sharpness the best way.

These images look good, but photographs of moving targets like this are not good to use for calibrating focus. There will be multiple factors at play: using AI Servo and not One Shot, your long-lens technique keeping the focus tracking the right part of the subject, not using an AF Area Selection Mode that might be silently switching to a nearby AF point without you noticing, even using Tracking Sensitivity/etc settings (as found in the AF Cases) that aren't too "jittery" for the occasion, etc.

I've found it's easier to get the lens calibrated in static conditions, and then I know that the remaining issues are probably related to the above and my own techniques (which I've obviously been improving over the years). When someone shows me their own images in these sorts of conditions it's hard to offer useful analysis without knowing about those other variables.

Typical birds though: doing their best to face away from you.

Now I'll read your reply, and do a recalibrating as soon as possible - I'm not fully satisfied yes - I have a very little back focus at certain zoom/distances - but probably not more than a click or two!

With my 150-600mm C most of the adjustments were quite small, except at the 150mm end of the zoom where I got down to around -10.
With the addition of the TC-1401 teleconverter the adjustments did get a lot larger though.

Good luck!

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