Reikan FoCal 2 (Test Release 2) now available

We’re pleased to announce Reikan FoCal 2 TR2 – the second Test Release of FoCal 2.

Headline Features

To give you an idea of what’s new in FoCal 2 Test Release 2, here’s a few of the most important features:

  • A LOT of fixes and improvements – with over 250 significant internal updates, FoCal 2 TR 2 is more stable, more accurate and better looking that ever.
  • File Mode – you can now capture your own files and feed them in for Automatic Calibration, Autofocus Consistency and Aperture Sharpness.  This includes cameras and lenses that aren’t supported in tethered mode.
  • Nikon D7200 support – we’ve added support for the new D7200.

(See the bottom of this post for a detailed changelog)

First things first…

There are a few points that we need to make clear to start with:

Thank You!

We wanted to say a big thank you from all of us here for all your feedback!  We’ve had a lot of very useful feedback from users of FoCal 2, this has been essential in finding and fixing a number of the bugs present in Test Release 1 (and the positive feedback has been great to help keep our spirits up!).  We hope that if you raised an issue you’ll find it fixed in this new version, we encourage you to play with all the features and let us know if anything isn’t up to scratch so we can continue to improve.

You need a FoCal Pro license

One of the benefits of having a FoCal Pro license is access to early software.  The Test Releases of FoCal 2 will only be available to users with a license for FoCal Pro.

Windows Only

The first few Test Releases of FoCal 2 will be for Windows only.  Developing for both Windows and Mac computers at the same time significantly slows the process, so we have chosen Windows to finalise most of the FoCal 2 functionality.  We will be releasing a version of FoCal 2 for the Mac which will include a lot of Mac specific improvements, but for now the releases will be Windows only.  You can, of course, run the Windows release on a Mac using a virtualisation environment such as Parallels.

Mac Soon

The good news for Mac users is that much of  the development work that has gone into FoCal 2 on Windows is directly transferable to the Mac platform. This next phase we are focused on the Mac version of FoCal 2, we understand it’s important and it is very much high priority for our development team! 🙂

What is a Test Release?

We’ve called these first version of FoCal 2  “Test Releases”.  The functionality that is present should be robust, but there are some features that will be introduced over the course of the Test Releases and isn’t yet enabled.  There’s a detailed reference manual which describes the new features in FoCal 2 which is supplied in the download package (or you can download it here)

Giving Feedback

FoCal 2 contains some really cool and exciting new features and we want you to be able to reap the benefits of this extra functionality.  We’d also love to hear back from you about any suggestions you might have or reports of any bugs.  We’ve made this as easy as possible with a “Send Feeback” button in the About window – this will take you to the right place to submit feedback:

FoCal 2 Feedback Button
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FoCal 2

For details of the major differences between FoCal 1 and FoCal 2, you should read the release post for FoCal 2 Test Release 1.  This post is concerned mainly with updates between Test Release 1 and this release (Test Release 2).

See the bottom of this post for how to download FoCal 2.

Bug Fixes and Improvements

There have been a lot of changes made from the first Test Release of FoCal 1.  Most of these are “under the surface” – improvements in stability, test operations, results calculations and display and user interface operation, so things may not look hugely different from TR1.  We hope we’ve addressed most of the issues raised by users who reported feedback as well as improving various general aspects of FoCal.

A few important fixes worth mentioning are:

  • Significant improvements to how the Fully Automatic test handles data, especially at the end of the test, leading to more consistent and reliable calibrations.
  • A fix for a power-of-10 issue for some users (where settings like focal length or aperture could be reported multiplied by 10, 100 or 1000).
  • No more hiding messages!  When a message is shown, it should now always appear on top of the FoCal window so you’re not left wondering why the test has stopped and not being able to see the message.
  • Improvements to lens name decoding and raw processing for new cameras.

If you’re interested in more details, check out the changelog section at the bottom of this post.

File Mode

When FoCal runs in it’s normal “tethered mode”, the software takes control of the camera and makes it very easy for you to calibrate or analyse your equipment.  Up until very recently however, Canon and Nikon are the only 2 major manufacturers which offer the tools and information to control their cameras from a computer.

In FoCal 1, if you wanted to determine an AF Microadjustment value for a camera that can’t be controlled by FoCal you could take shots yourself and use the Manual Mode test.

For FoCal 2 TR2 we’ve redesigned this functionality and now allow you to feed files you capture yourself into the Fully Automatic Calibration test, the Autofocus Consistency test and the Aperture Sharpness test.  The tests run as if they were connected to a camera, allowing you to interact with the test as it runs and check out all the information available.  Your results are also added to the history database so you can review them later.

Reikan FoCal 2 TR2 File Mode

So if you want to calibrate a Sony 70-400 using an LA-EA4 on a Sony A7 camera, or check out the aperture sharpness results for a completely manual vintage Zuiko Jupiter 8 lens, you can do it easily now with File Mode!

New Charts

We’ve added a couple of new charts which can provide some more information about your cameras and lenses.

Image Motion

The Image Motion chart is available in Fully Auto Calibration, AF Consistency and Aperture Sharpness, and shows how the captured image moves on the sensor as the test is run.  This can give feedback about environmental upsets (e.g. shutter vibration, tripod movement etc) as well as lens element issues which can cause the image to shift as the internal elements are moved.

Reikan FoCal 2 TR2 Image Motion Chart
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Corner Brightness Profile

The Corner Brightness Profile chart is available for the Aperture Sharpness test and gives an idea of how the brightness in the corner of the images changes as the aperture changes.

Reikan FoCal 2 TR2 Corner Brightness Profile Chart

Improved Results History

The history window now shows some basic details about previously run tests without having to open the test window, and you can also save the PDF report and/or CSV information from the test here too.  The CSV saving has been re-implemented and improved for Test Release 2 across the tests too.

Reikan FoCal 2 - History Improvements
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D7200 Support

Test Release 2 is the first version of FoCal to bring Nikon D7200 support.

Changelog

Click below to show the changelog details between FoCal 2 Test Release 1 and this version.  This is not a complete list of all changes but shows more information about this update.

How do I get FoCal 2?

FoCal 2 TR2 (Test Release 2) is available for FoCal Pro license holders running the Windows operating system (this can be on a PC or a Mac with a virtualisation environment such as Parallels).

FoCal 2 installs alongside FoCal 1 so once installed you can choose to start up either version at any time.  The software installation for FoCal 2 is the same as previous versions, and the installation package contains the software, target images and a reference manual (also available here) which includes details of the different areas between FoCal 1 and FoCal 2.  Any functionality that is the same in both versions is documented in the FoCal 1 manual.

You can download FoCal 2 TR2 by logging in to the LMS at lms.fo-cal.co.uk.  If you are a FoCal Pro user, you will see a download link to the software.

33 comments on “Reikan FoCal 2 (Test Release 2) now available

    • Hi Landov,

      Very soon, the code is done final testing over the weekend and then it’s out (early next week!) 🙂

      Best Regards,
      Dave

      Reply
  • Mark Haly says:

    I wish Canon would add the function to the EOS 5D Mark III and EOS-1D X so that we could finally have automatic calibration! 🙁

    Reply
    • Hi Chris,

      Now FoCal TR2 is out and most all the new functionality for FoCal 2 is in place our attention turns to FoCal V2 on Mac. I can’t give an exact date but it is at the top of our list, the main development we’re working on from this point onwards.

      Best Regards,
      Dave

      Reply
  • I do have FoCal 1 but I switched to the Mac platform a couple of years ago because of color calibration issues with Windows 7. I am very interested in a Mac version of version 2. Looking forward to the news about that upgrade and will share the information with many photography friends when it happens.

    Reply
  • I have lost my registration number. I would like very much to try this again now that you have it more user friendly. After I purchased it I never used it once as I could not figure it out. I use a Nikon D810 is it included in the camera lineup?

    Thanks

    Monte Comeau
    Salmo, BC Canada

    Reply
    • Hi Mark,

      Mac Platform version of FoCal 2 is going to get a lot of attention, we know it’s important and we have put our best people on it 🙂

      Best Regards,
      Dave

      Reply
  • Why is this version only for the “pro license”? Get the “plus license” user no update? Must they live with the bug´s inside the “plus license” version?

    Reply
    • Hi André,

      FoCal 2 is currently at ‘test release’, which means it is not fully released. The next steps on the plan are the Mac platform release for FoCal 2 (also a test release). Once FoCal 2 is fully released on both platforms it will be available in both “Pro” and “Plus” variants.

      Best Regards,
      Dave

      Reply
  • Jacques says:

    … et toujours pas de documentation en français… vous ne voulez pas vendre en France? Les utilisateurs français, comme moi, ont beaucoup de difficultés à utiliser toutes les fonctions de FOCAL PRO… quel dommage…!!!
    Jacques

    … And still no documentation in French … you do not want to sell in France? French users, like me, have many difficulties to use all the functions of FOCAL PRO … which damage … !!!
    Jacques

    Reply
    • Hi Jacques,

      It’s not a question of whether we’d like to provide FoCal in more languages more of a logistics thing. Ignoring the ‘one time’ cost of development and translation of website and documentation there would be an ongoing cost of offering support in multiple languages.

      It’s something we’ve considered in the past, at this time there are no plans to offer multiple languages but we don’t rule out what might be possible in the future.

      Best Regards,
      Dave

      Reply
  • Matthias Hestermann says:

    As far as I can see, there’s also still no fully automatic calibration on the Canon EOS 7D Mark II. When can I expect to get this feature? Thanks in advance and best regards

    Matthias

    Reply
    • Hi Matthias,

      It’s a good question and one we get asked fairly often, you’ll have to forgive the somewhat standardised response below:

      FoCal does support automatic calibration of the Canon EOS 7D Mark II. That said the control of the AF micro adjustment setting on this camera (and certain others) is not possible from a computer. The features that can be controlled are dictated by the camera manufacturer, they decide which adjustments to the camera can be made programmatically.

      What this means in reality is that FoCal does the calibration (determining which and how many AF fine tune points are need to be tested to obtain a calibration result) and other things like setting mirror lockup and defocusing between each test shot. It also analyses each image for sharpness / detail and plots it on a graph to determine the best AF fine tune value. During this process a number of AF fine tune adjustments need to be set on the camera and they have to be input by the user (so it’s “user assisted” in that sense).

      What we’ve done for version 2 of FoCal is several things to make this user assisted part of the process easier (with voice prompts and the camera HotKey functionality) and also require less steps of AFMA adjustment to gain a high level of accuracy for the calibration. The result is that the process is fully automatic (i.e. the exact same calibration we can run on “hands free” cameras) but some user assistance to input the AF micro adjust values is required.

      What we’d love to do is to is to persuade the camera manufacturer to implement the function in their software so we can use it to automatically change the AFMA value, we haven’t given up and actually have some ideas on how we can go about this. When/if that might occur I can’t put a time frame on but we don’t rule it out, at this point we’ll do everything we can to make the “user assisted” case as easy as possible.

      Best Regards,
      Dave

      Reply
  • Is the new Nikon D810A supported?
    Thank you! I’m eagerly awaiting the completion of the Mac version!

    Reply
    • Hi David,

      Sorry for the delay, blog comments are difficult to keep track of (ticket system will get a quicker response!). The D810A is an interesting camera, looking it seems that Nikon has not yet released their updated interface software. Generally once Nikon releases an update it will take us around a month or so to get the changes into FoCal (sometimes it can be quicker depending!).

      Best Regards,
      Dave

      Reply
    • Hi Michel,

      D800 is supported as “user assisted” (see the response above to Matthias as the D800 and Canon EOS 7D Mark II have exactly the same level of support).

      Best Regards,
      Dave

      Reply
    • Hi Son,

      Thanks for your interest in FoCal, at the moment 5DS-R is not yet supported. It will be added soon 🙂

      Best Regards,
      Dave

      Reply
    • Hi Anar,

      Yes, the focus peak determination option no longer exists in FoCal 2. As new features are added in FoCal 2 some functions conflict with how the new testing routines are written. I’m curious how and why you use this function in FoCal 1.x?

      Best Regards,
      Dave

      Reply
  • Hello,

    I don’t own FoCal right now, I use another product. A few questions about the release of version 2, plus a comment:

    1. If I buy Version 1.9 of FoCal, would I get a free upgrade to Version 2? Does that apply to all versions? Is there a 1:1 map, such as Pro->Pro?

    2. If a purchase now will not include a free upgrade, when can I buy Version 2? I obviously would prefer not to pay twice for FoCal, as I do already have a working product.

    3. If I purchase a version 1.9 Pro license, I take it that I could just start using Version 2? That would allow me to skip the need to learn the a new tool later after the official release.

    My comment:

    I have a certification as a 6 Sigma Black Belt in Quality/ Customer Service techniques. I think it is about equivalent to a degree in statistics, I’m not sure whether it would be a bachelor’s or master’s level here in the USA. We have to complete 3 projects with savings of $100,000+ to become certified. I also taught approximately 150+ Six Sigma “Green Belt” students and certified them.

    It looks like you follow the concepts and terminology of Statistical Process Control. I am eager to work with the tools, and would love to see data Lens/ Camera Information Tool data on newer cameras.

    One of the projects that I have been working on lately is the shot to shot variance for a number of cameras. For example, my Nikon D5300 with a Sigma 17-50 2.8 OS, at 50 mm, is both more accurate and more precise than my Sony A6000, with either the Sony 50 1.8 or Sony FE 28-70 at 50mm. Of course neither of those cameras offer micro adjust, but “theory” would lead most to assume that the on-sensor AF would be more accurate and show less variation.

    I have also tested a Canon 7DII, and just started yesterday with a Nikon D750. Unfortunately, I sold a Sony A7II before I had a chance to test that thoroughly. It would be interesting to see data on the AF capabilities of the new Sony A7RII with Sony FE mount, A mount, and Canon EF mount lenses. Sorry, long post …

    Thanks! Good luck.

    Reply
    • Hi Michael,

      Thank you for your interest in using FoCal. What and how long the licence lasts for (in terms of how long you will get updates) is a good question. It’s one that we are going to clarify very soon, what I will say is that buying FoCal ‘early’ has never (and likely will never) be a negative 🙂

      More specifically, having FoCal 1.x Pro will map 1:1 to having FoCal 2.0 Pro (no charge for this) and yes buying FoCal Pro now will give access to FoCal 2.0 test release (and indeed FoCal 2.0 full release) and yes I would recommend skipping FoCal 1.x releases at this stage and going straight to the ‘test release’. We had to call them something but the ‘test releases’ are very much working, reliable and very usable with lots of improvements from 1.x.

      It’s a lot of fun for us to hear from users with such diverse and interesting backgrounds, FoCal appeals to users who just want to calibrate their camera/lens combinations easily and quickly and also those who have a slightly geeky (in a good way!) interest in how these things work at a very detailed level (we share that interest!).

      I’m not going to pre-announce too much detail but the statistical side of what we’re learning from the data captured by 1000’s of camera and lens calibrations is data we will be sharing and talking about on the blog 🙂

      Best Regards,
      Dave

      Reply
  • Perfect Dave, thank you very much!

    That is a wonderful answer. I will go ahead and buy a Pro version. Although I won’t be able to actually use it until Monday. I have spent all of the past week testing cameras, while everything else in the “real world” has been ignored: washing dishes, washing clothes, paying bills, picking up prescriptions, etc. 🙂

    I see so many people talking about auto focus on different cameras, but I very rarely see any data, it is all anecdotal. I think you will have a great tool to share with your customers if you can clearly articulate the capabilities of different cameras, in terms of accuracy and variation (precision.)

    If you are looking for some publicity, you might get your hands on a Sony A7RII and test the auto focus capabilities of that system. Both with native Sony FE mount lenses, and with Sony A mount and Canon EF mount via adapters. So many people are waiting to see how that camera performs! Unfortunately, I can’t afford to buy one just to test with right now.

    I can see by the tools and graphs you have developed that you truly understand process capability and analysis. It is a pleasure to see what you have developed! Congratulations on creating such a great tool. And thank you for getting back to me on this older blog post.

    I am looking forward to getting to know the Version 2.x tools. Existing to see clearly what these cam,eras and lenses can do! (in a nerdy way. 🙂

    Cheers! And thanks again.

    Best,
    Michael T. Murphy

    Reply
    • Hi Michael,

      There’s potential value for users (and photographers in general) if we can determine and communicate useful information about how cameras/lenses work in the real world, totally agree 🙂

      Best Regards,
      Dave

      Reply
      • Dave, I think that you might extend the usefulness of your tool even to cameras that do not allow micro adjust.

        I have been testing the 10 shot AF consistency of my cameras and lenses, like the Sony A6000 and Nikon D5300. It has been quite informative.

        Despite the “theory” that on sensor Phase Detect and/or Contrast Detect for mirrorless is much more accurate than DSLR AF, I found the opposite in my case. I could share some examples if you like. I don’t see a way to post images here?

        +++

        Also, I have some feedback on the color coding of the “Target Setup” screen. I think that it is not too intuitive to use “green” for Phase Detect AF. The first time taht I saw green or yellow in the Target Setup histogram, I thought taht it referred to the QUALITY of the AF, not the METHOD.

        In fact, I think that it might be a nice upgrade to show the quality of the target AF in color on that screen, rather than the color coding of teh method. Or at least to repsresnt the method (Phase Detect, Contrast Detect) differentkly. After all, the main point of that screen is to get a good quality AF.

        Feel free to email me if you have a question. I can also submit that as feedback if it is easier to capture that way.

        Thanks!

        Reply
        • Hi Michael,

          Extending the analysis to more cameras is a good idea and while I can’t pre-announce too much it is something we’re considering 🙂

          Would be interested in your testing (the methodology / general thoughts especially). If you raise a ticket I can reply and at that point you can attach images / files.

          The chart colouring feedback is useful but it will get lost on the comments section, within FoCal 2 test release under “About” there’s a send feedback button. If you could use that it will be seen by the guys working on FoCal 2.

          I can see what you’re saying about the nature of the task, i.e. it doesn’t matter how you got there as the goal is simply to get the best focus. Having said that I think the other thing FoCal does (somewhat unstated goal) is to show users how well their cameras really work and being able to see the difference between manually moving he lens (near+far buttons or indeed moving the focus ring) in comparison to contrast and phase detect is interesting.

          Best Regards,
          Dave

          Reply
  • James Bavin says:

    Hi
    I have Focal 2 and I have a problem, in that, with a combination of my Nikon D7100 and my new Sigma 17-50mm f2.8, when I run the software in full auto mode it keeps telling me to switch the OS off, even when it is switched off and will not allow the programme to continue. It has not done this on any of my other lenses Nikon Sigma and Tokina, is there any way this can be fixed?

    Reply
    • Hi James,

      Really it’s best to raise technical questions via the support form, will include response below:

      Optical Stabilisation or OS (Image Stabilisation, Vibration Reduction etc) should be turned off when using a lens on a tripod, FoCal checks for this and puts up a message to ensure this setting is turned off.

      A small number of 3rd party lens mis-report their OS status. The camera is telling FoCal that OS / vibration reduction is engaged and FoCal has no way for FoCal to know that is not the case!

      The way we deal with this from FoCal’s point of view is to allow to user to tell FoCal to ignore what the camera is reporting. The setting is in Preferences > Tests (tab) > Ignore image stabilisation setting (checkbox). If you check that checkbox FoCal will ignore what the camera reports for it’s OS status.

      Best Regards,
      Dave

      Reply

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