Looking Back: A Brief History of FoCal

FoCal 1.0 was launched on 2nd January 2012, and since then there has been 8 major updates (free of charge), bringing the automated support from 2 to 20 cameras (and growing!), further operating system support and new tests and improvements to the overall software.  We wanted to show how things have progressed over the last 14 months.

Reikan FoCal Progress Overview

FoCal 1.0

Cameras Supported: Canon EOS 5D Mark II and 7D

Reikan FoCal 1.0 Support

When released back in January 2012, FoCal was a groundbreaking product.  Able to completely take complete control of a camera connected via USB, it took a series of shots, downloaded to the computer, analysed and predicted the best setting for AF Microadjustment on the camera to give the sharpest shots with the camera/lens combination under test.  It still remains the only product capable of completely automating the calibration procedure.

Using statistical analysis to remove the effects of focus variation (which most people weren’t even aware of before FoCal launched!), the results are based on the most likely real-world conditions that would be experienced with this camera.  This took out all of the frustration of using manual methods and getting varying focus results even without changing any settings.

FoCal 1.0 supported Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 operating systems, and worked with the Canon EOS 5D Mark II and Canon EOS 7D cameras only.  It offered the Fully Automatic AF Microadjustment Calibration test, as well asSemi Automatic calibration and the Live View Target Setup utility to help you easily make sure that everything was just right for the test.

FoCal 1.1

Cameras Added: Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III and 50D

Reikan FoCal 1.1 Support

FoCal 1.1 was released 2 weeks after the first release, bringing support for the Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III and the Canon EOS 50D.

FoCal 1.2

Cameras Added: Canon EOS-1D Mark III and 1D Mark IV

Reikan FoCal 1.2 Support

The camera support continued to grow with FoCal 1.2 released in mid February 2012 and adding the Canon EOS-1D Mark III and 1D Mark IV, completing the support for Canon bodies with AF Microadjustment capability (available at the time).

FoCal 1.3

Cameras Added: Nikon D3, D3s, D300, D300s, D700 and D7000

Reikan FoCal 1.3 Support

FoCal 1.3 was a big release and came along in early March 2012, bringing with it Nikon support for the D3, D3s, D300, D300s, D700 and D7000, as well as 3 new tests: Focus Consistency, Aperture Sharpness and Dust Analysis.  It was also the first version which allowed running the test at different focus points.

FoCal 1.4

Cameras Added: Canon EOS 5D Mark III, Nikon D800/E and D3x

Reikan FoCal 1.4 Support

FoCal 1.4 was back to adding camera support, bringing control of the Canon EOS 5D Mark III, as well as the Nikon D800, D800E and D3x in April 2012.

FoCal 1.5

Cameras Added: Nikon D4

Reikan FoCal 1.5 Support

With reports on the internet about issues with the left-hand focus points on the Nikon D800 cameras, we developed the MultiPoint Focus Test (MPFT) which allowed automated testing of focus performance at multiple focus points.  Within a few minutes, you could see graphical results of the quality difference across the various focus points.  Testing strategies were developed for using the FoCal MultiPoint Focus Test (see here for an example) to clearly analyse the sensor array of the camera.

FoCal 1.5 brought this new MPFT test as well as support for the Nikon D4.

FoCal 1.6

Cameras Added: Canon EOS-1D X

Reikan FoCal 1.6 Support

FoCal 1.6 was relesed in August 2012 and contained a number of internal improvements to make the testing faster, more reliable and significantly improvemed the robustness of the analysis under varying environmental conditions.  We also added support for the Canon EOS-1D X.

FoCal 1.7

Cameras Added: Canon EOS 6D and Nikon D600

Reikan FoCal 1.7 Support

FoCal 1.7 brought support for Apple Mac computers during it’s extensive beta test period.  From September through to December we worked on building the Mac version and enhancing the functionality common to both the Windows and the Mac applications.  In December 2012, FoCal 1.7 was released for Windows to make the new features available (and support for the Canon EOS-6D and the Nikon D600)  although we hadn’t quite finished the Mac version at this time (so it stayed available as a beta).

FoCal 1.8

OS Added: Mac OS X 10.6, 10.7 and 10.8 and Windows 8

Reikan FoCal 1.8 Support

FoCal 1.8 brings us up to date.  Released at the end of February 2013, it represents the culmination of 14 months of intensive development since the first release.  FoCal 1.8 brought official support for Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard), OS X 10.7 (Lion) and OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion), as well as lots of internal improvements and the ability to use RAW data from the cameras for the best possible analysis results, as well as the new TurboCal test which calibrates Canon cameras in as little as 30 seconds!

FoCal 1.9…

It doesn’t stop there.  We have several very exciting projects in the pipeline which will extend the functionality of FoCal in new and exciting ways, as well as some new products which will make an appearance over the next few months.  And don’t forget, so far all of the updates above have been free to license holders and we’ll continue to run it with 1.x version updates being free.

We’ve had great fun developing FoCal and will continue to bring improvements over the coming months so stay tuned!

Interested in FoCal?

You can find information about the tests FoCal offers and how to purchase the software on the Version Comparison page.  If you want to get in touch, you can use our Feedback page.

 

 

 

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