Can I use my PGD Tracker Kit on multiple cameras?
Yes, but the Tracker will need to be re-calibrated every time you change camera bodies. Small differences in the hot shoe geometries and the position of the hot shoe relative to the camera body translate to large errors of the reticle position relative to the lens axis.
You may get lucky, but confirm calibration with a different camera before shooting. Recalibration is easy and can be done in the field (just in case your buddy wants to try it!). Keep the hex wrench that comes with your sight in your gear bag. If you typically use two cameras in the field, consider getting two trackers and label them to the camera they are calibrated to. (We offer a discount for purchasing two or more kits at once).
Do I have to re-calibrate for different lenses on the same camera body?
No. There may be very small reticle position errors for different lenses, but recalibration is typically not required.
What are the pros and cons of calibrating the Tracker for “parallel” vs “on target”?
The “parallel” calibration only requires that you learn to place the reticle above the center of your subject - composition by your offset amount, typically about 5” for the typical DSLR. With some practice, it becomes easy to estimate the offset for close or far subjects.
Calibrating for a fixed distance “on target” might be preferable in a situation where you are shooting from a blind or other fixed location with your subjects at a fixed distance, perhaps a feeder for example. Then shooting with the reticle directly on your target, especially for small birds and a long lens, might require less mental calculation while shooting.
Is there a “quick and dirty” way to set up “parallel” sight calibration?
Yes! Virtually every 12 oz. soda can out there is 4 7/8” tall which is perfect for the typical DSLR. Set your can on something about camera height, (assuming the camera is on a tripod), about 150’, (50 paces), away. Place the center AF point on the bottom of the can, then adjust the reticle to the center of the top of the can. Done. For mirrorless camera users, try to find a can, (or other object), closer to your offset as described in the instructions.
Does it matter if I use a zoom telephoto versus a prime lens?
No. Fast prime lenses usually have the best AF performance, but zooms are more flexible for subjects close and far.
Can I leave the PGD Tracker on my camera?
Yes, BUT DON’T DO IT! The ESM-1 is designed to repeat its calibrated position and is easy to remove and mount. The ESM-1 can potentially exert more force on the hot shoe than it is designed to sustain if you drop the camera or lay it down so that the ESM-1 or Tracker touches other objects. Mount the Tracker when you are about to start shooting and remove it when the shoot is over.
The hot shoe is making small grooves in my ESM-1 mount adapter. Is that a problem?
No. The metal edges of the hot shoe will initially make small grooves in the high-performance engineering plastic used in the ESM-1 design. This increases the contact area of the adapter to the hot shoe and the rate of wear will stop. The thumb screw allows for the small changes in fit to maintain tightness while in use.