FoCal 1.8 Beta Released: Native OSX Nikon Support and LMS Integration

We’re pleased to announce the first beta release of FoCal 1.8 for both Windows and Mac, which brings a completely new way of communicating with Nikon cameras on Mac computers, a huge improvement to the licensing system and several general use bug fixes.

Updates and Fixes

The following is a list of the additions and fixes in this version of FoCal:

Mac

  • Completely reworked Nikon interface for much improved detection success and reliability during operation.

Both Platforms

  • New license managament integrated into FoCal
  • Various user interface and operational bug fixes

New Nikon Interface (Mac)

The original method of communications used with Nikon cameras on OS X was reliable on about 95% of systems, but did involve a “fight” with the Operating System on connection which on some systems meant that Nikon cameras could not be detected.

The new method is much more integrated with the Mac Operating System and has proven to be completely reliable in all our testing, as well as somewhat more efficient leading to smoother Live View video and slightly faster data transfers.

There is still some question over whether USB3 is properly supported by OS X (i.e. the Mac Operating System itself and not FoCal), so if you are using a D800 and have any unreliability when using USB3 we would recommend changing to a MicroUSB (USB2) cable or using a USB2 port as described int he manual.

New License Management (Windows and Mac)

License Management in FoCal has been significantly improved by allowing the software itself to communicate with the License Management System server and update the license as necessary:

FoCal Integrated LMS

It will detect if the connected camera is not licensed and offer to update your license.  You can also change the serial numbers on your license directly from within FoCal.  And for first-time users, all you need to do on startup is enter your email address and transaction ID and FoCal will download and apply your license automatically.

Support Status

Mac

The following table shows what is working for this version of FoCal:

Operating System Camera Manufacturer Status
OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) Canon & Nikon Fully functional
OS X 10.7 (Lion) Canon & Nikon Fully functional
OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion) Canon & Nikon Fully functional

Windows

The following table shows what should be working for this version of FoCal:

Operating System Camera Manufacturer Status
Windows XP Canon only Fully functional
Windows Vista Canon & Nikon Fully functional
Windows 7 Canon & Nikon Fully functional
Windows 8 Nikon appears to work, but is not yet validated by Reikan. Untested at Reikan but reported to work

What’s meant by Beta?

This beta software is almost ready for a “General Availability” release, but we want to get feedback from current users before making it a general availability release.

Please remember though that as a beta version there may be functionality that doesn’t work on some systems, and indeed in some cases the software may not run at all.  Please let us know if this happens and we will investigate the problems.  As is hopefully apparent, we do provide regular and comprehensive updates to FoCal to fix issues and add new functionality.

How do I get it?

This version is available to all license holders (FoCal Standard, FoCal Plus and FoCal Pro).

You can download it from the License Management System – you’ll see the link to the download near the bottom of the page once you log in.

MAC: The software is available as a disk image (DMG) file for OS X, containing the software itself, the target images and documentation in separate directories.

WINDOWS: The software is available as a ZIP file, which contains the software, the target images and the documentation in separate directories.

Installing on OS X (IMPORTANT!)

Please read the installation section of the manual if you don’t already have FoCal installed!  FoCal uses the Mono framework, and this must be installed before you use FoCal.  You only have to do this the very first time you install FoCal, so if you’re already using FoCal on your Mac then installation is just a case of copying FoCal to the Applications folder and running it.

You should download the Mono framework from www.fo-cal.co.uk/mono as this will obtain the correct version (2.10.9).  Any other version may cause problems with FoCal.

Some versions of OS X give you a message and take you to the Mono download page, but most don’t give you much help – either a bouncing FoCal icon that quickly disappears, or an obscure “OS Error”.  If you get either of these issues, you can resolve them with the steps in Section 2 (Installation) of the FoCal Manual which is in the Documents folder when you mount the DMG image.

QuickStart Guides

There are short guides available which help you through the installation, connection and first use of the software available for Windows and for Mac on the Document Downloads page.

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 or Windows Beta option as appropriate) or by emailing beta@fo-cal.co.uk.  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.

 

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