Installing a Focus Confirmation Chip

Samyang has been knocking it out of the park recently with their fast manual focus primes.  I decided to install a focus confirmation chip into one of these stellar kits of glass, the Samyang 14mm f2.8 IF ED UMC for Canon.

Samyang's lenses (also rebranded as Pro Optic, Rokinon, Bower, and a few others) come without any electrical connections to talk to the camera, except those Samyang offer with Nikon mounts which do come with focus confirmation chips already installed.  This means that for Canon users there is no reaffirming beep when focus is achieved nor is accurate EXIF data being written to each image file when using Samyang lenses.  Both problems can be solved by installing one of the many available focus confirmation chips.  After reviewing the options I settled on the EMF AF Confirm Chip from eBay seller "big_is" for price and volume of positive experiences.  Installing an AF confirmation chip, what's the worst that can happen?  I'm out $10?  No!  There are worse things...

The chip arrived a week after ordering, coming in a nondescript white box with the seller's website printed on the side.  Inside was the chip, packed in a small resealable baggie, and a placement tool.  And that's it.  Per the instructions found on the product page I contacted the seller and within the hour the PDF manual was waiting in my inbox. 

The manual mentions very little about physically placing and installing the chip.  Nothing about recommended techniques, suggested affixing aids, or anything of the sort.  In fact, apart from "Install the chip onto your lens," there is NOTHING that evens mentions this critical step.

There was also no mention of exactly how to use the included placement tool.  The plastic placement tool has a nib that hangs off one end.  Place this nib into the lens' locking divot like so:

Notice the communication points show through the cutout on the tool.  Use the tool on another lens you have that already has these communication points and note their placement within the cutout.  I'd recommend using keyed guides, the metal flanges used to orient the lens for mounting, on the outer rim of the mount for reference.  On Canon lenses the points are in two tiered groups of connection points.  The group on the lower tier has two points, one about twice the size of the other.  On the upper tier there can be anywhere from 5 to 8 identical points.  Notice that on your exemplar lens, looking down the keyed mount guide "splits" the second (from the left) of the upper tier connection points.  Use this as your reference for placing the focus chip into the placement tool.

I flipped over the Samyang and a Canon 100mm f2.8L IS Macro I had handy and compared the two.  It was obvious that the Samyang's rear baffle was recessed further down and I would have to elevate the confirmation chip.  I decided to use hot glue to affix the chip since hot glue was easy to manipulate and removeable should I misstep.  After placing the chip into the warm glue I massaged it into place and checked it with the placement tool.  So far so good.

Without a confirmation chip the Samyang would return no aperture value in the display window.  After waiting long enough for the glue to dry I mounted the lens and checked the display for an aperture value.  Nothing.  I dismounted the lens and checked the leads only to find the the first lead inside the camera was depressed and it wasn't popping back out!  Cue the Psycho music!  I quickly mounted another lens onto the camera and everything seemed to be working normally, but the lead was still stuck down in the camera.

It turns out the placing of the chip into the glue pushed some up far enough so that when the connection leads inside the camera moved across them the first lead picked up some of the gunk and it traveled down into the shaft causing the lead to stick.*

Foregoing hot glue, I opted instead to use double-sided 3M tape.  To raise the chip I cut a shim out of an old credit card, using the chip as a stencil.  I made a tape-shim-tape-chip sandwhich and placed the chip on the baffle and remounted the lens. 

Notice the two tiers of connection points.

Success.  The camera displayed a default f5.6 value and it was time to program the chip.  For that you can follow the included instructions. 

Also, don't forget to try a lens profile for the Samyang 14mm to correct for that wicked distortion!




*The apparently unnecessary pin later worked itself free and I did not have to send the camera in, thankfully.  I was walking around the Houston Zoo on a very hot day and I'm sure the heat helped loosen the glue that was holding the lead captive.  Right outside the orangutan exhibit my camera returned a Err99 and locked up.  After a bit of panic it dawned on me to check the camera's lens connection points.  Sure enough, the stuck lead was now free and in the process caused a communication error with the camera.  After removing and reinserting the battery all was kosher again.  There was a silver lining in it all.  In my hysteria I must have entertained the big fella because he kept staring right at me so that I was able to get his photograph.  If you're familiar with the male orangutan at the Houston Zoo you know he doesn't pay anyone any mind and couldn't care less about posing for the camera.  Except that day.

Canon 5D III, 70-200mm f2.8L IS II, 2X III extender (400mm f5.6)