Lens Focusing / How to Focus a Dashcamera lens ( Video tutorial )

niko

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There are cases where you might need/want to focus ( re-focus ) a dashcamera lens.

NB!
Any DIY may void a warranty. Act on your own risks !


There are few different ways for dashcam lens focusing ( DIY ). Each enthusiast has his own tricks.

Below is how I usually do.

It is more convenient to re-focus those dashcams which have an HDMI output.
In this case you can do re-focusing even at home, by connecting dashcam via hdmi cable to your big screen FullHD TV and aiming camera to outside ( for example garden or driveway ), put "spare" car numberplate or any other object to a certain / needed distance and do quite easy and quick focusing.

More hassle is if your dashcam has no hdmi output or has only AV ( analogue ) video output.

Depending on a dashcamera main housing / body, your first step is to get to the lens holder part and "remove" a glue which holds lens in place.

There are two ways:

1. to melt a glue by using a hot-air gun, or hair drier. Hair-drier has big "nozzle" and you may risk melting other parts of dashcamera body or mainboard components.

2. use needle or any other sharp tool to remove ( scrape away ) a glue. In this case be careful not to damage a lens thread.

Rest steps are in my videos.





LENS FOCUSING (1).jpg


LENS FOCUSING (2).jpg


LENS FOCUSING (3).jpg


LENS FOCUSING (4).jpg
 
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Gibson99

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i know hdmi will give you true 1080p to a full hd tv, but even using composite you can improve the focus. turn it till it looks good, then turn it more to knock it back out of focus, then go back to the 'middle' where it looks good, in between two equally bad focus settings. true, it might take a little longer than using hdmi + 1080p monitor, but it will still work.

also, your mirror seems to have something growing out of it. ;)

also also, your third video seems to be named "2/3" instead of "'3/3"
 
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niko

niko

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i know hdmi will give you true 1080p to a full hd tv, but even using composite you can improve the focus. turn it till it looks good, then turn it more to knock it back out of focus, then go back to the 'middle' where it looks good, in between two equally bad focus settings. true, it might take a little longer than using hdmi + 1080p monitor, but it will still work.

also, your mirror seems to have something growing out of it. ;)

also also, your third video seems to be named "2/3" instead of "'3/3"

Thanks, fixed 2/3 to 3/3.
Yeah, I tried to focus few dashcams which have an analogue AV same way as you described, but it does not always give full desired result. Not always what you see on big screen TV from analogue video signal, is fully matching perfect focus. Some time still need that 1mm lens extra turn. So, in-car adjusting-recording-checking footage is the best what I found for myself.
 

reverend

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Thinking about it it's a shame that dashcams don't have an image zoom function on their display - that way you could just zoom in onto a license plate and focus really easily off the display!

The first Panorama G I did I forgot to mark the factory settings - that was fun getting that one right again and it's marked now so I know where is the best picture :)

I had the same thing with focusing in the middle where sometimes you actually want to slightly shift the focal area back a tiny bit to defocus the windscreen.

Seriously the best upgrade I could get right now is a new windscreen minus 140k miles worth of stone chips :)
 

Gibson99

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Seriously the best upgrade I could get right now is a new windscreen minus 140k miles worth of stone chips :)

at that point it's just called sandblasted. my miata(mx5) could use a new one too - 185k miles - no cracks and only a few small actual chips, but about a zillion tiny "grand of sand" pits.
 

Gosha82

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How do you take the lens housing off, is it necessary to take the whole camera apart? From the first picture it looks like the lens housing is held by four screws from the incide of the camera.
 

Gosha82

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Thank you! I thought that this was another thread for Panorama X2, because this tutorial is presented on X2!
 

albertson

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Niko, thanks so much for this tutorial and encouragement to fix a de-focused cam.
Just in case you were worried what would be involved to do this, I wanted to share how I opened my old Panorama2 to tune the focus. My unit is very old and out of warranty.I doubt there are many that need this, but in case there are a few others, here was what I did.
1. Remove the cylinder mount. 4 screws on top of the cam
.1 Remove 4 screws.jpg
2. Carefully pry the top of the case open. It is a snap friction fit. Front and back halves separate apart.
Be careful of cable connection from cam sensor to circuit board. This acts as hinge between bottom halves.
2 open case.jpg
 

albertson

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3. Remove 4 screws to remove sensor from front of cam body. Tiny screws so use care to not lose them.
3 remove sensor board.jpg
4. Remove 2 screws to remove lens ring from front of cam body. This exposes the lens mount.
4 Remove lens ring.jpg
5. This is what it looks like. Now that the lens ring is removed.
5 all apart.jpg
 
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albertson

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6. While the cam is apart, use a sharp tool to gently scrape the glue that holds the thread fixed to the housing.
Be careful to not turn the lens, as you need to mark the original position of the lens to the cam body in step 8.

6 remove glue.jpg

7. Reassemble the cam. Leave the lens ring off from the body. Be careful to not rotate the lens.
7 reassemble.jpg

8. Mark the top of the lens frame and reference marks on the cam body.
Put the cam back into the car and park somewhere that has a good background for focus definition.
I used a brick building with signs to see how clear the rows, columns, sign lettering and other features were focused.
Same process that Niko teaches in his video above. Excellent explanation.
I made several short segments of video moving the lens one increment each time. Both to left and right sides. Used my voice to comment each segment position.
Back at my computer, I could see my cam was still out of focus with moving just a few marks.
I needed to add more marks to the left side of my cam and went back to the building to capture more video segments further to the left side.
Your adjustment distance is likely different from mine.
8 lens rotation.jpg


 

albertson

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9. Remaining steps are to add a glue to the area that you removed in step 6. You may need to disassemble the cam to do this.
My Panorama2 has the thread area exposed so I can re-glue without disassembly.
I chose to leave the lens ring off of the cam, as I like the look better this way. Slightly less "camera" look.
Hope these notes help you decide if you want to do this or not.
I think nearly all cams do not need this, as the focus is being carefully controlled after this issue was discovered.
 
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niko

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Below is quick "DIY-tool" which will help lens focusing, made from old eraser.
Usually when turning lens by holding lens with hands, on video can see your fingers.
Yes, you can turn lens by small 1-2mm steps and stopping each time on reference-marks to record small segment ( as I mentioned in my first post ), but if you try to turn lens in one go from first mark to the last one, then by holding lens there is a change that lens will be "covered" with fingers. so I have made this "tool" to make focusing smoother.

F1.jpg

F2.jpg
 

reverend

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I've gotten into a habit of dropping the lens out completely to get the glue off and then popping it back in so this first video starts way off.

I tweaked mine every so slightly after this video but gives an idea of how the different focus can make things on the windscreen look better or worse:

https://mega.co.nz/#!9cQ02Zia!BtASMkNHMGG8kp74QV1nmf0Xd46vc_eRbws85vzkHIk

And then a couple more videos after I tweaked it every so slightly.

https://mega.co.nz/#!NMAk3aAR!rhrfMJATebhcQOrYYFGQj3LTgZRNmNra54O1edIeERg
https://mega.co.nz/#!tcgABCQT!uJpJNinqEpx_7a2fCSyY3L4JbShQgLWQwnnnt1ncU1s
 
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