FoCal 2 for Mac – Test Release 3 now available!

We’re really excited to bring you the first version of Reikan FoCal 2 for Mac!

FoCal 2 for Mac - Test Release 3
image-8802

Headline Features

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

  • No Mono Framework Install – FoCal 2 for Mac is now a standalone application with no requirement to install any third party frameworks. Easier installation for users and it’s impossible to install an untested version of Mono!
  • Digital Signing and Easy Install – FoCal 2 for Mac is now fully digitally signed (some versions of FoCal 1.x required changes to gatekeeper settings) and the install is graphically guided (just drag and drop from the DMG file!).
  • Huge focus on reliability – A lot of the work on getting FoCal 2 for Mac ready has been in improving reliability and stability. Changes to the internal code structure, a new development tool chain and extensive pre-release testing (all tests passed with flying colours!),
  • Compare your results with other FoCal users – with FoCal 2, you can now compare the results of your tests with the results from thousands of other FoCal users to see how your equipment is really performing.
  • Review your previous tests – you can review the detailed results of previous tests you’ve run for comparison.  This includes most of the tests you’ve run with FoCal 1 as well.
  • 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.
  • Improved Reports – the reports are now more concise, grouping relevant information together and showing more information that matters.
  • Faster Results – get accurate results in less time with the new analysis algorithms in FoCal 2.
  • More Information – you can dig deeper into the performance of your camera and lens with the extra information such as Astigmatism Factor, as well as reviewing more details about each shot taken.
  • No need to select camera manufacturer – gone is the need to choose either Canon or Nikon – FoCal 2 can now seamlessly work with both manufacturers.
  • User Interface Improvements – the user interface is easier to understand, with new tabbed windows, more logical operation and comprehensive keyboard control.
  • Voice Prompts – FoCal 2 even talks to you! Calibrate any camera without needing to sit looking at the computer screen – any changes you might need to make at the camera are spoken out loud.
  • 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!

First things first…

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

You need a FoCal Pro license

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

Mac Only

We took the difficult decision to split development with FoCal 2, first with Windows (test release 1 and 2). This wasn’t the most popular decision and we understand why that is, what we can say is that we believe it will prove to be a good move for users. FoCal 2 Mac has benefited, we’ve been able to fully concentrate on the Mac specific functionality and made significant improvements in many areas that will benefit Mac users.

OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) or later

One of our goals with the Mac release of FoCal 2 was to make it the most stable and reliable version of FoCal possible. An updated development tool chain and extensive code restructuring means we have been able to make a lot of changes to how FoCal works internally. FoCal 2 Mac test release 3 is supported on OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) and OS X 10.10 (Yosemite). This has not been an easy decision and we didn’t make it lightly, we hope users will see it as a positive, enabling FoCal to move forward from a solid foundation as we move to offer support for El Capitan in future releases of FoCal.  Less than 3% of FoCal Mac users are running OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion) and we hope users will prefer a rock solid FoCal 2 running on Mavericks and Yosemite than something that’s potentially unstable running on Mountain Lion. Like all difficult decisions we definitely welcome user feedback! 🙂

What is a Test Release?

We’ve called these versions 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 for Mac - Send Feedback

Known Issues

At the time of release, there is a known issue which may cause a slight delay the first time a report is created.  The delay will depend on your system, but could be from 5 seconds to a few minutes (typically it will only be a few seconds), and for any subsequent reports created from the application there won’t be an extra delay.  We are waiting for an (imminent) update to a third party library which will resolve this issue.

How to get FoCal 2

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

No need to install the Mono Framework

For FoCal 1 there was a need for users to install a third party framework called Mono.  This involved downloading and installing files from another website before running FoCal and led to some confusion and unreliability as it wasn’t immediately clear which version should be used.

In FoCal 2, there’s no longer any need to do extra steps to install – just drag the FoCal application to your Applications folder.

FoCal 2 for Mac - Installation
image-8803

FoCal Data Subscription

In 2012, we added an option to upload results data from your tests back to Reikan and we’ve used this data to build results models for thousands of combinations of cameras and lenses.  This information is now delivered back to you in FoCal 2 via a FoCal Data Subscription.

The data is used to show you how your results compare to the typical performance of other users with the same camera and lens.  So rather than just getting a bunch of numbers for your results for tests like the Aperture Sharpness or Autofocus Consistency, you’ll be able to see if your lens is a potentially bad or stellar copy!

FoCal 2 for Mac - Automatic Autofocus Calibration

Results History

A new feature in FoCal 2 is the ability to review the results of previous tests run on your computer.  This applies to tests run with FoCal 1 as well as FoCal 2 so from the first time you run FoCal 2 you should find you have a populated history already on your computer.

FoCal 2 for Mac - Review historical tests

When you choose a test from the list and double click, you get to see the results as if the test had just run in FoCal 2:FoCal 2 for Mac - Aperture Sharpness from History

This will include as much information as possible, but may not include all the features available within FoCal 2.  For example tests run for FoCal 1.9.5 and later will have populated Astigmatism Factor but tests run before FoCal 1.9.5 will have no results for this specific metric.

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 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.

FoCal 2 for Mac - File Mode
image-8804

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!

Improved Reports

We’ve improved the report format and generation, reducing a lot of wasted space and grouping together information such as shots at the same settings.  We also show before and after images together in the report now where relevant, as well as all the chart information.

FoCal 2 for Mac - Improved Reports
image-8805

The FoCal Main Window

The main FoCal window has been redesigned using tabs to better organise the functionality of the software.  You’ll see the tab concept used throughout the software – clicking on any of the title (Information, Calibration, Tools or Analysis below) will show a new page of options.

FoCal 2 for Mac - Main Window
image-8806

Target Setup – What’s New?

The basic operation of the Target Setup utility is the same, but we’ve added a new focus quality indicator to help you find perfect focus before using tests like the Aperture Sharpness test.  The graph shows you the quality achieved after autofocus or manual focus operations and lets you adjust for the best possible quality.

FoCal 2 for Mac - Improved Target Setup

The buttons and charts are colour coded as follows:

  • green is Phase Detect autofocus
  • blue is Contrast Detect autofocus
  • purple is FoCal autofocus
  • orange shows the effect of a focus step towards the camera (Near)
  • red shows the effect of a focus step away from the camera (Far)
  • yellow takes another sample and adds to the chart

Fully Automatic Calibration – What’s New?

The Fully Automatic calibration test has been significantly redesigned.

First of all, the new tabbed layout better organises the information presented to you during the test.  The Settings tab lets you configure the test, while the Shot Info and Results tabs show information about individual shot measurements and the overall result of the test respectively.  The Compare tab shows you the comparison of your results with the typical behaviour of your camera/lens model, and the History tab lets you review your previous results for comparison.

FoCal 2 for Mac - Fully Automatic Autofocus Calibration

The calibration algorithm has been improved for both speed and accuracy, taking fewer shots to get a result.  It’s also better at detecting when a result won’t be found (for example if there’s excessive vibration or light level changes during a test).

FoCal 2 for Mac - Faster Results

Rather than just a single chart, there are now a number of charts for reviewing the test information, each with an overlay of typical results where applicable:

  • Lens Profile (1) – the sharpness across the AF Microadjustment / AF Fine Tune range
  • Historic Results (2) – shows how the current results compare to previous calibrations
  • Focus Consistency (3) – the consistency of focus for each tested point (requires the Test Point Consistency Level in the Settings to be set to something other than None)
  • Astigmatism Factor (4) – a value showing how the horizontal and vertical sharpness compare
  • Result Convergence (5) – how the result progressed as each shot was taken
  • Image Motion (6) – an indication of any movement of the image at the camera sensor as the test progresses

With a FoCal Data Subscription, many of the charts will have the red/blue/green overlay as shown below.  Red is used to indicate poorer performance than typically seen from other users, blue is used to show similar performance, and green to show better performance.

FoCal 2 for Mac - More Charts - Astigmatism Factor
image-8807

The Compare tab shows a text interpretation of your data compared to the average data.  This is still a bit experimental and we’ll be extending this functionality through the FoCal 2 test releases

FoCal 2 for Mac - Comparison with Typical results
image-8808

The History tab shows you the results of other tests you’ve run with the same camera and lens, back even before you started using FoCal 2.  With this information, you can quickly find out the best wide and telephoto values for your camera and see whether the results have changed over time.

FoCal 2 for Mac - Review previous tests

Aperture Sharpness – What’s New?

Again, the look of the Aperture Sharpness test has been changed in the same was as the Fully Automatic calibration window:

FoCal 2 for Mac - Aperture Sharpness

There are a number of charts you can view:

  • Aperture Sharpness Profile (1) – the sharpness across the AF Microadjustment / AF Fine Tune range
  • Astigmatism Factor (2) – a value showing how the horizontal and vertical sharpness compare
  • ADS Difference (3) – the difference between your test data and the typical data for this camera/lens combination (requires a FoCal Data Subscription)
  • Image Motion (4) – an indication of any movement of the image at the camera sensor as the test progresses.
  • Corner Brightness Profile (5) – an indication of how the image brightness at the corners changes across the aperture range.

FoCal 2 for Mac - Corner Brightness Profile (Vignetting)
image-8809

Autofocus Consistency – What’s New?

The tabs are present in the Focus Consistency test too, and operate in the same way as Fully Auto and Aperture Sharpness, bringing easier access and better organisation to the information.  The AFMA Range option in this test has been removed and will be handed in a future version via a new dedicated AFMA Range test.

We’ve also added an option to measure the focus error for each point after the shot is taken (the focus error is the difference between the focus achieved by the camera autofocus and the best possible quality that could be achieved through manually focussing), and this information can then be displayed in the charts.

FoCal 2 for Mac - Autofocus Consistency

Even more charts for this test!

  • Quality of Focus (1) – the sharpness across the AF Microadjustment / AF Fine Tune range
  • Result Progression (2) – how the final result calculation has changed as the test has run
  • Astigmatism Factor (3) – a value showing how the horizontal and vertical sharpness compare
  • Absolute Focus Error (4) – the difference between the autofocus shot quality and the best possible quality
  • Percentage Focus Error (5) – the difference between the autofocus shot quality and the best possible quality as a percentage
  • Focus Position Error (6) – the autofocus position error in either lens drive motor units or AF Microadjustment units if the data is available.
  • Image Motion (7) – an indication of any movement of the image at the camera sensor as the test progresses.

And with the FoCal Data subscription, you can even quantify the approximate focus error in AF Microadjustment units!  From the example below, we can see that the focus would be better offset by about 4 or 5 AF Microadjustment units on average, so it’s worth running the Fully Automatic calibration on this lens.

Reikan FoCal 2 for Mac - Focus Consistency Position Error

Camera Time Check

FoCal 2 will now inform you if the time of your camera clock is significantly different compared to the time on your computer.  This can be very useful in catching daylight saving time changes and keeping your camera time correct.

FoCal 2 for Mac - Camera Clock Mismatch

How do I get FoCal 2?

FoCal 2 TR3 (Test Release 3) is available for FoCal Pro license holders running the Mac OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) or 10.10 (Yosemite) operating systems.

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 during the Test Release phase.

You can download FoCal 2 TR3 by logging in to the LMS at lms.fo-cal.co.uk.  As long as you have a FoCal Pro license, you will see a download link to the software.

32 comments on “FoCal 2 for Mac – Test Release 3 now available!

  • No version for Windows…???

    Don’t worry: Just a little something for all the Mac user comments that kept asking the same in reverse during the Windows version tests… ;-))

    Reply
    • Hi Unlis,

      It’s not a Canon/Nikon thing, it’s dependant on what is possible as provided by the camera manufacturers (see also answer is relation to Andy’s question below).

      Best Regards,
      Dave

      Reply
    • Hi Andy,

      It’s a question we get asked quite often so forgive the somewhat standard reply!

      The automated control of the AF Microadjustment setting on the 5D3 is not possible from a computer. The features that can be controlled are dictated by the camera manufacturer, they expose the ability to make these changes through a documented interface which FoCal uses to make all the necessary adjustments to the camera.

      What this means in reality is that FoCal does the calibration (determining which and how many AF fine tune points are needed for the calibration result) and other things like setting mirror lockup and defocusing between each 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).

      We have looked at other possibilities. Firstly, we can use custom firmware to make the change, but on discussion with a group of customers it was deemed that people are unlikely to want to reflash their firmware in order to calibrate the camera. We have also investigated undocumented control of the camera, but any solution arrived at through this method could be potentially risky and may not work well.

      We continue to try to get the camera manufacturers to add this functionality and we’ve got some ideas on how to go about this so it’s not yet a done deal(!). In the shorter term we’ve worked on making the “user assisted” part of the process easier (less AFMA steps required and “Voice Prompt”) and this is happening with FoCal V2.

      Best Regards,
      Dave

      Reply
  • Hi,

    Running for the first time Focal PRO on MAC, I’m unable to get the shutter count of my 6D’s…
    Is it normal ?
    Best regards,
    Gérard

    Reply
    • Hi Gérard,

      Shutter count on certain Canon cameras is not able to be shown currently but it is something we hope to be able to have working by the full release. This is subject to change though, Canon have changed quite drastically how they encode this information but is it something users find useful and we do want to be able to offer this feature if possible.

      Best Regards,
      Dave

      Reply
  • Thanks Dave,

    By the way, it seems (if I remember well) that the previous versions were working for the shutter count…
    I can say that because I was very surprised to know the amount of shoots already done with my 2 x 6D…!
    Unfortunatly, I didnt keep the reports.

    Best regards,
    Gérard

    Reply
    • Hi Gérard,

      As far as I can recall the shutter count info display stopped in FoCal 1.9.11. It’s do to with the way Canon has changed how they encode this data on their interface, we think it’s possible to restore the function and hope to have it working again by the full release of FoCal 2.

      Best Regards,
      Dave

      Reply
    • Hi Will,

      Not yet(!) We’re picking up our 5DS tomorrow and that will be one of the tasks for next week going forward. We want to get the 5DS/5DSR working on Mac and Windows (FoCal 2 code base only at least to start).

      Best Regards,
      Dave

      Reply
  • Thomas S. says:

    This is quite the release! It’s really turned my opinion around about FoCal, from a infuriatingly buggy bit of amateur software with some good algorithms, to a solid Mac OS X application that I can recommend to all of my fellow photographers. The Test 3 release is far more stable and user-friendly than any previous release I have used.

    Great work guys!

    Reply
    • Hi Thomas. Thanks very much for your positive feedback! We’ve been working really hard on improving the usability and stability of FoCal and it’s great to hear that you’re seeing real improvements. We’ll release the final version of FoCal 2.0 soon and then we’ve got lots more exciting things to add to FoCal.

      Rich

      Reply
  • Hi, think I’m being a bit dim here, but how do I download version 2? Can’t seem to find a link.

    Cheers.

    Reply
    • Hi Andy,

      I think it might be that you don’t have a FoCal Pro version (FoCal Plus and FoCal Standard users won’t see the link).

      It’s been a tradition with FoCal to offer test releases only to FoCal Pro users (going back to very early releases). It’s a fringe benefit of owning FoCal Pro and more generally it helps move the development along quicker to have a reduced sub-set of users trialling the software who are generally more experienced (understand there will be a large number of very experienced FoCal users who use Plus and Standard and vice versa!).

      The planned date for full rollout of FoCal 2.0 to all FoCal users / full release is a moving target as during development we are learning about any potential issues. If I had to mention a date is it likely sometime in August or possibly September but that is very much subject to change and re-estimation as we move through the test release phase.

      Best Regards,
      Dave

      Reply
  • Hi Dave,

    I must say it was worth the wait. Haven’t tried all of it, but first impressions are simply brilliant! It feels very, very stable and it looks much better than before. Will try more this weekend. So far no complications and you clearly cared about a lot of details. Thank you very, very much.

    Usually after posts in this tone follows half a dozen feature requests. Sorry to disappoint you ? There’s more in it than I was hoping for, but the best part are speed, reliabilty and design. And the funniest part is a german voice (on my Mac) reading the English voice over ?

    (I put that comment as well in the announcement section under my not-so-pleased-comment and your patient reply, but since it’s waiting for moderation quite some time, I thought, it’s better placed here anyway)

    Reply
    • Hi Joachim,

      (will re-post response also 🙂 )

      Thank you for your positive comments, it’s great to hear from users and gain confidence we are moving in a good direction. Version 2 is looking really good and great news you are seeing good improvements 🙂

      A lot of changes (both ‘under the hood’ and with the user interface) and a rigorous testing schedule prior to release. We wanted to give users something really cool and very stable and it looks like we are much closer to that now.

      Version 2 Mac will give us a good foundation. There are more things we want to do, both to make FoCal easier to use and more intuitive (especially for those getting started) as well as new features that provide greater insight to individual lens/AF system performance.

      We’re excited about what might be possible in the future and FoCal V2 Mac will give us a great place to begin 😉

      Best Regards,
      Dave

      Reply
      • Thanks for your response. There are a lot more functions in FoCal I’m just about to try some of them like the best aperture and reliability of focus points. In comparison to LensAlign I still find, LensAlign takes more time to set up and run the test fully manually. But the results are often closer to what I need in the field – in my subjective memory, but I need to re-test the 300/4 PF E before I say something wrong.

        That makes me wonder, if my targets – although printed on matte paper with a high class laser printer and in size of A3 – are really up to what FoCal needs? If the LED-light, although powerful enough, is the proper light source? There’s also the alignment to the target: I’m orientating on the wooden tiles of the floor and measure the distance from floor to the center of the target pinned to the wall. Which I try to come close to with the center of the bubbled camera. The whole setting could easily be some centimeters off. How much does that changed the result?

        Reply
        • Hi Joachim,

          In general target print quality is not massively critical and target angle / target height again is also not massively critical.

          Printing the target A3 generally isn’t needed so my thought would be along the lines of target size or rather apparent size / relation to distance. Another possible factor, especially with longer lenses is potential for camera shake / shot vibration to influence results.

          One of the neat things about FoCal Pro is it’s ability to save PDF reports which can be sent over (raise a standard ticket and we can reply, from that point a PDF can be attached). Being able to see a report can often give a really good idea of what might be happening.

          Do go ahead and raise a support ticket, happy to take a look at the results and make any suggestions.

          Best Regards,
          Dave

          Reply
    • Hi Will,

      A lot of the code in FoCal has the possibility to run or be easily ported to iOS but some of the functions not quite so straight forward to port across. It’s an area that’s got lots of potential and very interesting, no firm plans currently but it is something we do think about 🙂

      Best Regards,
      Dave

      Reply
  • Anton Yeranossian says:

    Good morning
    I have purchased the software but it didn’t work with my Canon Mark 5D camera, now I have Canon 5DsR and lake to know if the software will automatically calibrate my camera and lenses?
    Please let me know
    Thank you
    Anton

    Reply
    • Hi Anton,

      5Dsr support is ‘coming soon’, very likely it will be supported in the next release due within the next week or two (current estimates!).

      Best Regards,
      Dave

      Reply
    • Hi Gareth,

      Thank you for your interest in purchasing FoCal.

      You can buy FoCal though the web store online (press FoCal Store at the top right) and buy either the download version and print your own targets or we can supply targets if you prefer. It’s also possible to buy “boxed FoCal” which contains a pre-printed target.

      If you get stuck please raise a support ticket https://blog.reikanfocal.com/contact-support/ and we should be able to help.

      Best Regards,
      Dave

      Reply
  • Mark Williams says:

    I’ve been using TR3 and TR4 on Yosemite (10.10.5) and it’s been a whole difference experience, with 1.9.11M I was seeing occasional crashes but I’ve yet to see any problems at all with multiple calibration runs 🙂

    Reply
  • Ioannis Georgiadis says:

    Do you have any release date of the El Capitan compatible version?
    (The software runs on El Capitan, but will not connect with/recognize my Camera, a Nikon D800E)
    Can I use the software on a Mac and a Windows computer with the same lisence?

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.