FoCal “QuickCal” Test Preview

There’s a new tool coming to FoCal!  It’s called the QuickCal Test, and it speeds up calibration for all cameras, especially with cameras that you have to manually change the AF Microadjustment/Fine Tune values (those that run in MSC mode).

FoCal QuickCal Preview

What’s different?

The QuickCal test has been made possible due to the accuracy of the mathematics we use to model the behaviour of the complete AF system.  What this means in practice is that we can use two different ways of calibrating the camera and lens in the same test – one method is fast but can’t be used on it’s own as it doesn’t give you all the information you need, but combined with a few known points we can use our model to fill in the blanks and get a calibration value!

How quick is QuickCal?

Here’s the comparison times for a calibration of a Canon 1D Mark IV with 24-70mm f/2.8L lens at 70mm:

  • Fully Automatic Calibration: 3 minutes 40 seconds
  • QuickCal: 1 minute 10 seconds

That’s 70% quicker! Both obtaining exactly the same result of +3.

The camera above can take fully advantage of the Fully Automatic test without any user interaction, but what about a camera that has to run in MSC mode? (where you have to manually change a setting during the test).  Let’s take an example:

  • Fully Automatic Calibration: 5 minutes 15 seconds
  • QuickCal: 1 minute 30 seconds

What’s more, the QuickCal test required just 2 changes of the AF Microadjustment value on the camera, compared to between 10 and 15 for the Fully Automatic calibration!

When can I have it?!

The screenshot you see above is pretty complete (Windows only right now as it’s easier for us to develop on Windows, but it will be available in the next Mac release).  The test runs how it should, properly applies the settings, creates reports etc., and we’ve tested it on good range of Canon and Nikon cameras and lenses.  We have more testing to do under varying test conditions to make sure it behaves as expected.

Assuming no big problems, we hope to have this released within the next 2 weeks for both Windows and Mac.

What else is going on?

We’re working really hard on the Mac Nikon interface, and have had good success with the in-built way of communicating with cameras.  We hope to have this integrated into the next release in a couple of weeks and it should end any Nikon issues on OS X.

We’ve also been working on several user interface enhancements, general usability improvements and lots of little bug fixes as well.  The keen eyed among you may have noticed some slight changes in the window above – the addition of the information on the title bar shows whether the camera settings have been changed, and whether they’re restored correctly.

The next version of FoCal is going to be the best one so far!