RawWorkflow has announced its new LensAlign Focus Calibration System for testing for focus issues on lens/camera combinations. LensAlign comes with a focus target, depth-of-field ruler, and custom sighting system to help ensure that the camera is evenly aligned with the test target. The system is available in two versions: the LensAlign Pro at $140 and the portable LensAlign Lite for $80.
LensAlign is for lenses that are f4.0 or faster, which eliminates most consumer zoom lenses. Testing for focus issues on a lens is only beneficial if you can then input that error correction data back into the camera. Only some cameras have the capability to make corrections, known as AF micro-adjustment. They are: the Canon 1D MKIII, 1DS MKIII, 5D MKII, and the 50D, the Nikon D3, D3X, D300, D700, the Sony A900, and the Pentax K20D. The number of lens that you can enter data for on a particular camera body varies per model from only one to more than 20. Check what sort of AF adjustment your specific make and model offers.
As well designed and built as today's advanced DSLRs and lenses are, sometimes the focus can be slightly off with a specific lens and camera combination, they need to be calibrated to work perfectly together. It depends on how exacting your needs and tastes are. Lenses and bodies can always be sent to the manufacturer to be calibrated for a fee.
Now before you get scared that all of your lenses are of whack, most cameras and lenses are fine for most people. However, if you have a DSLR that has the capability for AF micro-adjustment and you do very critical work or just have a very critical eye, this is worth looking at as an alternative to sending your body and all of your lenses for calibration.
Stay tuned for a hands-on report of RawWorkflow's LensAlign.