Firstly and importantly, a huge thanks to all FoCal users who have tried out the test releases and provided feedback via the ticket system. Your comments, suggestions and help have enabled us to massively improve FoCal. Thank you very much for your support!
FoCal 2.0 is ready for prime time, we’re excited to release FoCal 2.0 to users and believe it’s the most stable, easiest to use and provides the most accurate calibrations of any version of FoCal to date. Development and testing have put in a huge amount of time to re-write and re-design much of the underlying software as well as updates to the user interface to make FoCal more user friendly.
A host a new features and enhancements to existing features mean that FoCal 2.0 is the most comprehensive way to test and calibrate autofocus on modern Canon and Nikon dSLRs available.
FoCal 2 Headline Features
- 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. Pro only feature, this area is one we expect to expand on in future FoCal releases.
- 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. Pro only feature
- Improved Reports – the reports are now more concise, grouping relevant information together and showing more information that matters. Pro only feature
- Faster Results – get accurate results in less time with the new analysis algorithms in FoCal 2. FoCal Plus and Focal Pro both benefit from the same improved Automatic Focus Calibration processing.
- More Information – dig deeper into the performance of your camera and lens with extra information, as well as reviewing more details about each shot taken. FoCal Plus inherits the “Lens Profile” graph display from Focal Pro to make it easier for users to understand what’s happening during the calibration process. FoCal Pro has the following extra information available during calibration, Historic Results, Focus Consistency, Astigmatism Factor, Result Convergence and Image Motion.
- Target Optimisation Added to FoCal Plus – previously a FoCal Pro only feature we’ve extended this option to work in FoCal Plus. FoCal will compensate for slight camera movement during a test, helping ensure the same target region is analysed for each test shot.
- 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, changes you might need to make at the camera are spoken out loud.
- Free Upgrade – FoCal 2.0 is a free upgrade for all FoCal 1 license holders, so there’s nothing more to pay to get all these new features!
FoCal 2 Mac Specific Improvements
- 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 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.
- No need to select camera manufacturer – gone is the need to choose between Canon and Nikon before connecting a camera.
Things You Should Know…
There are a few things to be aware of for FoCal 2.0:
If you’ve run the FoCal 2 Test Releases on Windows…
If you’ve tried out the Test Releases of FoCal 2 on Windows, we strongly recommend that you uninstall your version of FoCal 2 before installing this final release. This is just a precaution for the transition from Test Release to Final Release to ensure everything runs smoothly.
Recent OS Support
FoCal 2.0 Mac is supported on OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) and OS X 10.10 (Yosemite) but not currently supported on OS X 10.11 (El Capitan). This is something we are working to address and will be releasing a 2.0 maintenance release on Mac that adds El Capitan support.
FoCal 2.0 Windows is fully supported on Windows 10, this OS was released early within the development phase and changes made to FoCal to include this OS (FoCal on Windows supports Windows 7 and later).
Thank you again to all the users of the test releases for help in improving FoCal. It’s been brilliant to see many early FoCal users return and also hear from new users in areas we’re doing well and areas we can improve. As always your comments are very much welcomed and great for the blog and facebook, anything that may require investigation please raise a support ticket in the normal way.
One of the changes from previous versions of FoCal to help speed up development and ensure more thoroughly tested releases was to make more of the user interface similar between Mac and Windows. This has enabled us to combine the user manual, much of the functionality has always been similar but presented on the user interface differently. With more commonality we’ve been able to provide one manual that combines the Mac and Windows versions of FoCal 2.0 with the small number of differences noted as required.
Just Some of the New Features
The FoCal Main Window
The main FoCal window has been redesigned using tabs to aid usability. You’ll see the tab concept used throughout the software, clicking on any of the titles (Information, Calibration, Tools or Analysis) will show a new page of options.
We’ve added a new focus quality indicator to help you find perfect focus before using tests like the Aperture Sharpness test (Pro only). The graph shows you the quality achieved after autofocus or manual focus operations and lets you adjust for the best possible quality.
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
We’ve added a number of new charts which provide more information about your cameras and lenses.
Lens Profile Added to FoCal Plus
The Lens Profile chart is one of the most useful graphs FoCal provides, it shows how the image quality changes as the AF Microadjustment value changes. The orange line represents how the sharpness is expected to change through all values, so the highest point on this line corresponds to the best predicted AF Microadjustment value. Adding this feature for FoCal Plus users gives a greater understanding of how the calibration is progressing and a greater feel for the quality of the calibration result.
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 (FoCal Pro only)
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 (FoCal Pro only)
The history window shows 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 (FoCal Pro only). The CSV saving has been re-implemented and improved FoCal 2.0 across the tests too.
Changes from Test Release 4.1
The following changes have been made since Test Release 4.1:
– FIX: Fixed an issue where an occasional crash occurred on Windows with Canon cameras
– FIX: Fail to focus warning sometimes shown on Target Setup startup for Canon cameras
– FIX: Fixed an issue where the 1Dmk3 could not be opened with FoCal for some users
– FIX: Fixed an issue where the Quit menu was disabled on Mac after a test was run
– FIX: Fix to allow usernames to be used for Commercial/Non-Profit Licenses
– FIX: Fix to stop an error being produced on Mac when Raw Image Capture Mode was used in conjunction with Target Optimisation
– FIX: Leave the AFMA value at the correct value at the end of UAM camera calibration.
– FIX: (Mac) Show report-not-saved warning on window close after test run
– FIX: 1Dmk3 and 1Dsmk3 camera communication issues
– FIX: (Mac) Target Setup would not start with 1Dmk4 for some users
– MOD: Only show settings that need changing in pre-test validation step – simplified test setup
– MOD: Improvements to 1Dmk3 control
– MOD: Clearer information messages if there is a problem connecting to a camera
– MOD: Properly handle the case where Live View is manually enabled before a test is started
– MOD: Reduction of unnecessary information messages
– MOD: Inform the user early in a test if they are not at the W or T end of the zoom range.
– MOD: Better handling of initial test setup when non-electronic lens is on camera
How do I get FoCal 2?
FoCal 2.0 is available for ALL FoCal license holders running the Windows (Windows 7 and newer) and Mac (OS X 10.9 and OS X 10.10) operating systems.
The installation package contains the software, target images and a reference manual (also available on the Documents Download page).
Download FoCal 2.0 by logging in to the LMS at lms.fo-cal.co.uk. You will see a download link to the software.