We’re pleased to announce Reikan FoCal 2 TR2 – the second Test Release of FoCal 2.
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:
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.
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.
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)
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:
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.
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.
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!
We’ve added a couple of new charts which can provide some more information about your cameras and lenses.
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.
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.
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.
Test Release 2 is the first version of FoCal to bring Nikon D7200 support.
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.