FoCal 1.9.7 Released – Nikon Mirror Lockup & More

We’re delighted to announce the release of Reikan FoCal 1.9.7 for Windows and Mac.  This version adds Mirror Lockup functionality to Nikon cameras and fixes some important bugs.

FoCal 1.9.7 - with Nikon Mirror Lockup
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Fixes and Improvements

The following is a list of the changes since the release of FoCal 1.9.6:

New features:

  • NEW: Mirror lockup mode now available on Nikon cameras

Fixes:

  • FIX: (Mac) Fix for “Object Reference” or “Object Disposed” errors which sometimes occured on Mac when in Raw processing mode
  • FIX: Properly handle Auto ISO state on Nikon cameras
  • FIX: Fixed “Failed to start Live View” error which occasionally occured on Nikon cameras, generally on Mac
  • FIX: Fixed an issue where during MSC mode with Nikon cameras you could get an light level change warning
  • FIX: Fixed an issue where AF Fine Tune setting may have been erroneously changed on D300, D700, D3 and D3X during MSC Mode
  • FIX: (Windows) Fixed an issue where the lowest ISO (e.g. L1.0) could may be silently selected when the Settings form was opened
  • FIX: (Mac) Fixed the camera icon on the main FoCal window when using the Nikon D610

Modifications:

  • Additional functionality added to support the new Large Hard Target, which is available from the store.

Nikon Mirror Lockup

Mirror lockup is the process of lifting the mirror a short time before opening the shutter when taking a shot.  Normally, when you press the shutter button the mirror lifts and immediately after the shutter is opened.  The mirror is quite a big object, and the lifting can cause the whole camera to vibrate slightly, so introducing a delay between lifting the mirror and opening the shutter means the vibration can settle before the image is captured.  This should improve the reliability and accuracy of FoCal’s analysis on Nikon cameras.

Mirror lockup functionality has been available on most Canon cameras since FoCal was launched back in 2011, but we’ve always had trouble getting it to work on Nikon cameras.  A significant change in the way we talk to Nikon cameras was made in FoCal 1.9.5, and we’ve since been able to get mirror lockup working properly.

The implementation on Nikon is a little more limited than on Canon.  For Canon cameras, you can change the Mirror Lockup Delay setting in the Settings/Preferencese and the camera will action the specified time.  Nikon cameras from the D7000 and older have a fixed delay so the time between the mirror lift and the shutter firing will not necessarily be the time you specified in FoCal.  Newer Nikon cameras have a little more flexibility but cannot have a delay longer than 3 seconds.

Nikon Fixes

FoCal didn’t previously handle Auto ISO on Nikon cameras – if it was enabled, it could cause problems during the analysis.  This has now been fixed (we disable Auto ISO at the start of tests and restore the state after the test has run).

There’s been a bug which affects some users where Live View fails to start during Target Setup or Semi Automatic testing.  Again, this was a problem we couldn’t recreate in the lab, but we identified a problem in the code which starts Live View on Nikon cameras and have fixed this.  A test build was sent to a few customers and the problem appears to have been fixed.

There was a bug where the metering mode could swap from spot metering to the selected camera metering mode in the middle of a test.  Depending on the lighting around the target, this could have triggered a light level change warning and would make the test results less reliable.  This problem has been fixed.

While the D300, D700, D3 and D3X only work in MSC mode, it is possible to change the AF Fine Tune values from the computer.  However, the cameras don’t properly respond to the messages and pick wrong values for AF Fine Tune (hence the reason they now work in MSC mode).  Due to an issue introduced in FoCal 1.9.5, there is a chance that the AF Fine Tune values would be erroneously changed during MSC mode operation, resulting in an “incorrect AF Fine Tune value” message being shown during the test.  This problem has now been fixed.

Mac Fixes

The main issue we’ve fixed on the Mac is to do with an “Object Reference…” or “Object Disposed…” type error appearing during Raw processing.  This has been a very difficult problem to track down as it only frequently affects certain computers, and we’ve only been able to recreate it 3 times in the lab during the last weeks of investigation.  However, we did find a very tiny bug which could have serious stability consequences in the raw processing code and we’ve fixed that.  We haven’t been able to recreate the “Object Reference/Disposed” bug since the fix was put in, and we’ve run a lot of tests on the Mac with several different cameras.  Please do let us know if you still see this problem however!

Software Support Status

Mac

The following table shows the support for FoCal for Mac:

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
OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) Canon & Nikon Fully functional

Windows

The following table shows the support for FoCal for Windows:

Operating System Camera Manufacturer Status
Windows Vista Canon & Nikon Fully functional
Windows 7 Canon & Nikon Fully functional
Windows 8 Canon & Nikon Fully functional
Windows 8.1 Canon & Nikon Fully functional

We no longer officially support Windows XP as this operating system is no longer supported by Microsoft.  However, we haven’t stopped the software working on Windows XP, so you should find that it still works OK if you are using this operating system, but we cannot fix any issues that might arise only on Windows XP.

Additional Information

The following is additional information specific to this release:

Known Issues

We’re not aware of any known issues with this release.

Other Information

  • The Testing Guide is somewhat out of date and we are planning a rewrite shortly.  The general concepts are still very valid, but the operational information towards the end of the guide relates to older versions of FoCal.
  • The File Camera functionality in FoCal is no longer being maintained.  We don’t believe there are many users of this feature and we will be re-implementing the ability to run tests on files in a much more user friendly way shortly.
  • The version number of the Target Image files has been updated – this is purely to update the copyright text at the bottom of the target and there is no need to reprint the newer targets for analysis.

How do I get it?

If you already have a license for FoCal, you can download the software at no extra cost from the License Management System – you’ll see the link to the download once you log in.

If you don’t own FoCal, you can purchase FoCal Standard, FoCal Plus or FoCal Pro from the store.

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!):

FoCal for Mac uses the Mono framework and this must be installed before using FoCal.  Please see this post for complete information on how to ensure your Mac is set up correctly to run FoCal.  If you do not follow these instructions, FoCal will NOT operate correctly!

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.

6 comments on “FoCal 1.9.7 Released – Nikon Mirror Lockup & More

  • Thanks for the updated software – is there information somewhere about how to apply the update, if not, can you please tell me what to do to update my Focal (v9)
    Thanks

    Reply
    • Hi Ken. You need to log in to the License Management System at lms.fo-cal.co.uk – from there you can download the software. For Windows, download the ZIP file, extract the software and run the setup.exe file. For Mac, download the DMG file, open it and drag the FoCal icon to the Applications icon to copy it to your machine.

      Reply
  • Thomas Rubach says:

    Seeing as the versions/revisions creep up towards V2.0 here’s my question: Will V2.0 be available to owners of the 1.9.7 at no extra cost?

    Cheers!

    Thomas

    Reply
  • Thank you for the update. This version resolved the crash issues I was having before with my D800e and MacBook Pro Retina. This version seems much more stable.

    Reply

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