We’ve been working really hard on the Mac version of FoCal 2, and while it’s not quite ready for release yet we wanted to show you how things are coming along.
There are loads of new features over what was available in FoCal 1. There’s more detail below, but here’s an idea of what’s coming:
- New main FoCal window making it easier to navigate tests.
- FoCal Data Subscription – compare your results with typical results from other FoCal users.
- History – review your previous results, even those from FoCal 1.
- File Mode – run calibration, aperture sharpness or focus consistency tests on files, even from cameras which can’t be controlled by FoCal.
- Target Setup – improvements for getting the best focus before starting tests
- Fully Automatic Calibration – lots of user interface and functionality improvements
- Aperture Sharpness – lots of user interface and functionality improvements
- AF Consistency – lots of user interface and functionality improvements
- Free Upgrade – when fully released, FoCal 2 will be a free upgrade for all holders of a FoCal 1 license, so there’s nothing more to pay to get all these new features
We’ve been working very hard on “unifying the codebase” – what this means is that we’ve reduced the differences between the Windows and Mac version of FoCal, meaning there shouldn’t be delays between future Windows and Mac releases, even with big features added.
We’ve also updated the user interface on the Mac to bring some of the features from Windows (e.g. tinted buttons and panels), and added support for Mac features like Retina displays.
On top of this, there’s been a big focus on reliability and ease of use, we expect that FoCal 2 will be more stable for all users and easier to use. We’re also hoping to make the installation easier – possibly even distributing through the App Store – but that depends on whether we can crack one particular problem we’re working on now.
Anyway, on to the details…
The Main FoCal Window
The main window has been redesigned to match the style of the Windows version of FoCal 2, with a tabbed layout to make access to the tools more intuitive:
FoCal Data Subscription
The FoCal Data Subscription gives you access to comparison data, meaning you can compare your results to typical results from other FoCal users. Our database had hundreds of thousands of test results in, and we process this information and send it back to the FoCal application so you can see whether your setup is behaving in a typical manner. This is more useful than absolute numbers – for instance, you might get a higher sharpness value from a $2000 Canon EF24-70mm f/2.8L Mark II than from a $100 Canon EF50mm f/1.8 lens, but by comparing with other users you might be able to see that you have a stellar copy of the cheap lens and a poor copy of the expensive lens!
The information is shown in the Compare tabs for the individual tests, and as a coloured overlay on the charts within the tests – there’s more details in the specific test sections below.
You will be able to review the history results for all the tests you’ve run on your computer – even from FoCal 1! You can review basic information about the test on the history window (shown below), and by clicking the Show Details button you can recreate the test window and look through all the details. You’ll also be able to save reports and/or CSV information about previous tests.
FoCal 2 brings File Mode to the Fully Automatic calibration, Aperture Sharpness and Focus Consistency tests. You can choose a set of files – even from cameras which can’t be controlled from FoCal – and run the images through the test. You’ll get all the same results as if you had the camera connected to FoCal, including comparison with other users and being able to look at the results at a later date from the history.
The Voice Prompt functionality on FoCal 2 for Windows has been very well received. Although it sounds a bit gimmicky, in combination with the camera hotkey it means you can completely calibrate any camera without even looking at the computer. This is a very valuable feature for quick calibration of cameras which run in User Assisted Mode (most Nikon cameras and some later Canon cameras).
The Target Setup utility has all the new FoCal 2 features added. The Focus Controls panel allows you to run automatic or manual focus operations:
To recap, the left-hand (larger) quality indicator shows the focus quality achieved over the last 20 operations. The colour of the bar corresponds to the buttons of the operations (e.g. green is phase detect autofocus, blue is contrast detect, orange is manual near focus, red is manual far focus and yellow is a reading update with no change). The right-hand indicator shows the current quality as compared to the previous results – in the example above the black bar on the right-hand indicator is right at the top giving confidence that the lens is focused very well on the target.
Fully Automatic Calibration
The Fully Automatic calibration tool has been fully updated to match the Windows features for FoCal 2.
Typical comparison data is shown on the charts with the green/blue/red areas indicating how your camera and lens compare to the typical results of other users.
And information about the comparison is shown in the Compare tab:
As you can see, there’s been a lot of work going in to FoCal 2 on the Mac. We still have more to do! If everything goes well, we are hoping to release a Test Release of FoCal 2 for the Mac around the end of this month, so not long to wait now. We can’t wait to get this out to you and let you play with all the new features!