We’re delighted to announce the first beta release of FoCal automatic lens calibration and testing software for OS X to run on Apple Mac computers.
What is this software?
FoCal is a software package originally intended for fully automatic AF Microadjustment calibration, but has grown to include features like the ability to check autofocus consistency, finding the sharpest aperture of your lenses, checking your sensor for dust and other tools.
FoCal was first made available on Windows in January 2012 supporting just the Canon 5Dmk2 and 7D, and has since gone through 6 versions adding more tests and support for all Canon and Nikon cameras that allow AF Microadjustment or AF Fine Tune (almost 20 cameras in total).
Today’s release is the first public release of FoCal for the Apple Macintosh computers running OS X.
What do you mean by Beta?
This is NOT the final version of the software – there are a few features missing, and there will most likely be some issues ranging from installation to use of FoCal. We are releasing this version so that people can try out FoCal and give us feedback, so we can improve the software. The software will run for a limited time – there will be a new release available before expiration of this version (either a new beta or the final release).
This first version (126.96.36.199) contains the following features:
- Target Setup utility
- Fully Automatic AF Microadjustment Calibration
- Aperture Sharpness Test
- AF Consistency Test
- MultiPoint Focus Test
- Support for Canon cameras
What this means is that you can fully run AF microadjustment on all support Canon cameras (1Dmk3, 1Dsmk3, 1Dmk4, 1D X, 5Dmk2, 5Dmk3, 7D and 50D), as well as all the other tests listed above. The features in this version are fully functional, and we have been using it at Reikan to calibrate many lenses across a wide range of cameras for the last few weeks.
What’s not present (yet)?
The following features are not yet present:
- Semi Automatic test
- Manual Mode test
- Dust Analysis test
- Report Generation
- Support for Nikon cameras
The reason we have chosen to not include the functions above is to be able to release the software as a beta as soon as possible. All the time that people can test and give us feedback about the general operation of FoCal on the Mac, we can be fixing and improving any issues that may arise while at the same time working on the additional features above. Most of the functionality missing is user interface additions, so all testing in the field will also be testing the required underlying software for all the above tests.
So, why is Nikon missing? Again, it’s purely a time issue. The software development kit available from Canon fits very neatly into the OSX version of FoCal, whereas the Nikon interface requires some work, and rather than delaying the release of a functional and useful piece of software we thought we’d release without Nikon support. We know there are going to be some upset Nikon users, but please bear with us – we will have Nikon support as soon as we can.
Are there any known problems?
At present, the Canon interface files don’t work on Mountain Lion (OS X 10.8), so you need Lion (10.7) to run FoCal. The Canon website indicates that they will support Mountain Lion in early October, and we think that there won’t be any change needed to FoCal in order to run.
How do I get it?
As with all our beta releases, we give FoCal Pro license holders the chance to get early access to the software, so you will need a FoCal Pro license in order to use this software. There is no extra charge for the Mac version, so if you already have a FoCal Pro license then you have everything you need to get the software and to get going.
You can download it from the License Management System – you’ll see the link to the download at the bottom of the page once you log in (as long as you have a FoCal Pro license).
The software is available as a disk image (DMG) file, and contains the target images and documentation. Note that the manual is an early release – it’s OSX specific but there are still some screenshots of the Windows version and some of the text may be slightly incorrect, but it contains all the information you need to use FoCal and we’ll be improving it along with the software over the next few weeks.
What can I do to help?
Please download the software and give it a go. Let us know how you get on:
- If you spot any errors, please let us know
- If you can make the software misbehave, let us know what steps you take to make it happen
- If it works perfectly we’d love to hear too (good news it always nice!!)
You can contact us through the contact form (please use the Mac Beta option). There’s likely to be quite a high volume of emails, so we can’t reply to everyone but every bit of information we receive will be read and used to make FoCal better, so please let us know how you get on.
What about the Windows version?
Don’t worry Windows users – you haven’t been forgotten! Part of the reason why it’s taken a while to get the Mac version to this stage is that we’re developing in a way that allows us to use the same code between both the Windows and the OSX version. This means that improvements in one version will automatically end up in the other with no extra effort on our part.
We’ve fixed quite a few small issues that were present in FoCal 1.6 in the core code, as well as improving the way that tests are managed for both Windows and OSX. When FoCal for Mac is released, we’ll also be releasing the new Windows version at the same time (and possibly a Windows beta before that for FoCal Pro users).