FoCal 2.2 – Add Full Canon 80D and 1DX Mark II, More Comparison Data and Internal Improvements

FoCal 2.2 is here! Following hotly after last months 2.1 Nikon release it’s the turn of Canon. Full support for the two new Canon EOS-1D X Mark II and EOS 80D cameras. Really useful FoCal Comparison Data has been added to key FoCal graphs and improvements to speed and reliability in some key areas.

Reikan FoCal 2.2

FoCal 2.2 Key Features

  • Full Canon EOS 80D and EOS-1D X Mark II support added – calibrate these cameras automatically from FoCal.
  • Directly compare “Peak” quality values in Fully Auto Calibration and AF Consistency – the FoCal Comparison Database is used to help further evaluate your camera and lens ultimate performance.
  • Improvements to camera interfaces on Mac – useful speed and reliability enhancements for both Canon and Nikon cameras.
  • Faster and more reliable processing of images internally – lots of small improvements in the way we extract data from image files.

There’s more detail on all these points below:

80D and 1D X Mark II Support Added

This release brings full support for the two new Canon cameras, the 80D and the 1D X Mark II and FoCal automates as much as possible during calibration.

The 80D runs in Hands Free mode – calibration is completely automatic with no input from the user during the process. The 1D X Mark II runs in User Assisted mode, it’s automatic, and users will be prompted a few times to change the AF Microadjustment during a calibration.

In adding the support for these cameras we’ve been able to improve other aspects of Canon camera support across both Windows and Mac platforms.  One specific change, we’ve resolved how the 7D Mark II works within FoCal to match the capabilities of the camera. It’s no longer possible to attempt phase detect autofocus within Target Setup or use the TurboCal or MultiPoint Focus Test with this camera. These capabilities match those of all following Canon cameras – 5DS/R, 80D and 1D X Mark II.

Directly compare “Peak” quality values

FoCal users have been uploading calibration and test results for over 4 years, the database contains literally tens of millions of data points across tens of thousands of camera and lens combinations.  Starting from FoCal 2.0, FoCal Pro users started to benefit from information showing how their camera and lens compares to other FoCal users.

With FoCal 2.2 the range of data available is extended, we’ve added “Peak QoF ranges” (the range of typical quality of all combined users) to the Fully Auto calibration “Lens Profile” chart, and the AF Consistency Test “Quality of Focus” charts.

FoCal Fully Automatic Calibration Typical Peak Quality Indicator
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FoCal Fully Automatic Calibration Typical Peak Quality Indicator

 

FoCal AF Consistency Typical Peak Quality Indicator
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FoCal AF Consistency Typical Peak Quality Indicator

As with all FoCal Comparison Data, display of compared results from other users takes the form of a red/blue/green overlay.  The blue area indicates the point is within the typical range of results from other users (i.e. any points in this area neither poor or excellent), the red area is within the poorer end and the green area indicates it’s better than average.

It’s important to note the new feature on the Fully Auto Lens Profile and AF Consistency Quality of Focus charts indicate the typical peak quality from others users as below.

  • In the Fully Automatic Calibration chart, only compare the best results you obtained with the coloured bands.  In the Lens Profile example above, the best point at an AF Microadjustment of -12 is the only relevant point when comparing to the coloured bands, this point just peeks into the green “above average” area.
  • For the Fully Automatic Calibration, you should only compare the values for completed tests with a Good or Excellent curve fit, otherwise your data may not be particularly representative of the real capabilities of your camera and lens.
  • For the AF Consistency test, the results are only relevant if your lens AF Microdjustment/Fine Tune is calibrated correctly, otherwise you’re not getting the best focus from your lens.  You can use the AF Consistency test and the blue band as an indication of whether your lens is currently behaving about as well as most other users, ideally you’d want to run a Fully Automatic calibration to make sure you get the very best from your camera and lens.

Camera Interface Improvements (Mac)

In FoCal 2.2 we’ve made a number of significant internal changes to the way FoCal communicates with both Nikon and Canon cameras – building on top of the work done in FoCal 2.1.

FoCal 2.2 is much, much, more efficient and faster with more reliable control of both Canon and Nikon cameras on the Mac. We’ve also made a few changes to the way camera interfaces start which means the software will start up faster.

Faster Image Processing

In FoCal 2.1 we changed the way FoCal processes image metadata for some cameras, specifically Canon cameras which support both Wide and Telephoto AF Microadjustment.

We’ve further enhanced this area and made significant changes which speed up the image processing by more than 40 times!  Not only does this shave time off the image processing itself but increases overall reliability of the image capture as well.

Temporary removal of Canon Raw processing

In their latest libraries, Canon have removed (or, technically, they’ve broken!) part of the processing for raw images.  This caused unreliability in FoCal 2.1 for some users who had chosen the non-default raw image capture mode.

We understand the problem and it will take quite a work-round to solve. As a result it’s not something we could quickly add within FoCal 2.2 and we’ve taken the step to disable raw mode on Canon for automated tests. Note users can still use File Mode for complete analysis of raw files if required.

Raw mode is not the FoCal default for a reason, aside from making calibrations and tests take longer with the extra data transfer it offers no advantage for vast majority of FoCal users. In normal use, JPEG images should be used and allow for very accurate calibration and test results.  Raw is there as an option but could only ever possibly add advantages in very unusual cases (e.g. analysis of camera performance under mono-chromatic lighting).

We like to give users the option and want to allow raw file image capture. We will work on adding raw capture back with support provided in an upcoming release.

macOS Sierra Support Status

macOS Sierra is the upcoming Mac Operating System set to supersede OS X 10.11 El Capitan, we’re already taking a look at how it performs prior to it’s public release.

As it stands, FoCal 2.2 will not control any cameras when running the most current beta of Sierra. This is expected, FoCal sits on top of interface libraries supplied by Canon and Nikon and they themselves aren’t ready in some areas.

There will be a fully working version of FoCal for Sierra, exact timescale is hard to predict but we expect this to happen soon after the full public release of macOS Sierra.

Software Support Status

Mac

The following table shows the support for FoCal for Mac:

Operating System Camera Manufacturer Status
OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) Canon & Nikon Fully functional
OS X 10.10 (Yosemite) Canon & Nikon Fully functional
OS X 10.11 (El Capitan) Canon & Nikon Fully functional
OS X 10.12 (Sierra Unreleased) Canon & Nikon No Support in 2.2

Windows

The following table shows the support for FoCal for Windows:

Operating System Camera Manufacturer Status
Windows 7 Canon & Nikon Fully functional
Windows 8/8.1 Canon & Nikon Fully functional
Windows 10 Canon & Nikon Fully functional

How do I get FoCal 2.2?

Download FoCal 2.2 by logging in to the LMS at lms.fo-cal.co.uk.  Once logged in, you will see a download link to the software.

FoCal 2.2 is available for Windows (Windows 7 and newer) and Mac (OS X 10.9 – 10.11) operating systems, for users who are still within their Included Updates Period today (11th August 2016).  If your Included Updates Period has expired, you can purchase another 12 months by logging in to the LMS at lms.fo-cal.co.uk.

If you don’t own FoCal, you can purchase the software as a download or boxed product, as well as Focal Hard Targets from the store.

The installation package contains the software, target images and a reference manual (also available on the Documents Download page).

26 comments on “FoCal 2.2 – Add Full Canon 80D and 1DX Mark II, More Comparison Data and Internal Improvements

  • Hello,

    “Raw mode is not the FoCal default for a reason, aside from making calibrations and tests take longer with the extra data transfer it offers no advantage for vast majority of FoCal users. In normal use, JPEG images should be used and allow for very accurate calibration and test results. Raw is there as an option but could only ever possibly add advantages in very unusual cases (e.g. analysis of camera performance under mono-chromatic lighting).”

    Really? I am a little Bit confused- in the Raikan Manual you give contradictory information (7.2 How does FoCal’s RGB Analysis work? and 27.2.11 Image Capture Mode).

    In my opinion, it make’s sense to use RAW- otherwise you will measure the work/influence from the camera jpg engine as well(as you also have described in the chapter 27.2.11).

    Reply
    • Hi Stefan,

      We need to update the doc 🙂

      The 7.2 part you referenced says raw will be default, actually JPEG is the default and has been for quite a considerable time. The 27.2.11 is a little out of date, it mentions 1.7 and 1.8 (and 1.8 was released in March 2013!) and talks about the option to analyse raw. Before that there was no raw option at all.

      Theory and practice don’t always match up. What we’ve found, past the theory, is that JPEG works extremely well for calibration and we can still analyse the colour channels without issue. Yes the camera can apply transformations to JPEG we can’t undo but actually it doesn’t change the result at all (except in very extreme situations to do with mono-chromatic lighting).

      Best Regards,
      Dave

      Reply
    • Hi,

      It varies, we’ve re-written the way cameras are handled within FoCal now with 2.1 and 2.2 so I can say it’s quicker than before (in general).

      Development is somewhat a journey into the unknown as Nikon/Canon own the interface and can and do make unusual decisions. Rough estimate is generally within a month or two if the interface has been released and the camera is *generally available* (we have to be able to get hold of the camera to develop with).

      Best Regards,
      Dave

      Reply
  • I am getting repeated and reliable crashes with 2.2 and a Canon 1DX mk II, with Focal running on the latest fully patched version of OSX. Runs fine with a Canon 5 DS.

    Reply
    • Hi Andrew,

      It’s not something we’re seeing in general (we already have seen a good amount of completed tests through with the 1DX mk II from users). Might be best to raise a ticket and we can investigate. First thing to check is the USB connection, try removing extension leads / hubs etc and try connecting direct using a short USB cable. It sounds unlikely but we have seen occasional issues in this way on previous releases. The USB protocol is not well designed against missing data and cable issues can lead to strange behaviour.

      Best Regards,
      Dave

      Reply
  • Hey Dave,
    I just bought a new license so I could download version 2.2.
    I am not able to show shutter count on Canon 7D Mark II when I run Tools: Camera Info. It says “Unavailable”. It did not work in version 2.1 either. Any ideas?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hi Ron,

      It’s not working for a number of Canon cameras. There is an issue with retrieving shutter count on the 2.0 code base, we hoped to resolve it already but it’s a bit more tricky than we thought(!)

      As background, Canon provides a software interface that we use to communicate with the cameras. Earlier versions of FoCal use earlier versions of this interface but we have to use newer versions that adds support for newer cameras.

      Unfortunately Canon changed how this shutter count information was provided and therefore it’s not working currently. Going back to earlier versions of FoCal do allow access to this information and that’s a work-round of sorts.

      We think there’s a way to still retrieve the shutter count with the newer versions of Canons interface but this is not officially supported by Canon (there is no documentation!).

      Sorry it’s not working currently but I hope at least that explains the situation.

      One of the things with 2.2 was a lot more streamlining of the way we interact with the Canon interface. We are going to revisit this, no promises but it should be possible.

      Best Regards,
      Dave

      Reply
  • Should I use this software for each lens with the same camera? If so, does that mean that I have to make micro adjustments each time I change my lens?

    Reply
    • Hi Shane,

      Process is as you say to calibrate each lens (and depending on camera each zoom lens twice). The neat thing is the camera records this adjustment against each specific lens and even each lens and tele converter. The camera knows which lens is attached so whenever a lens is on the camera it’s automatically got the right adjustment applied.

      Best Regards,
      Dave

      Reply
  • Having a problem D/L’ng Focal 2.2 for Mac. Tried twice and my Mac Pro says the dmg is not recognized?!?

    Reply
    • Hi Steve,

      I don’t think this is a general problem, we’ve not had any other reports of such an issue and it’s downloading and recognised when I try it here. Not sure what might be happening, you could try an alternate browser and/or making sure any type of anti-virus / adblocker / firewall software is turned off that could possibly be corrupting the download?

      If you’re still seeing issues could you raise a ticket and we can look at it.

      Thanks,
      Dave

      Reply
      • Dave, thanks for the reply… I, unfortunately, went out of town the next morning and have just gotten back. When I try it today, same browser, same link, etc… It works just fine… I don’t allow auto updates on anything (I’m an old, cranky, retired Info Sec Architect, so I trust NOTHING! :)). Guess I just wasn’t holding my head just right! Oh Well, c’est la vie!

        Reply
        • Hi Steve,

          Not sure what might have caused that, glad it’s working for you and thanks for letting us know 🙂

          Best Regards,
          Dave

          Reply
    • Hi Jon,

      I think the answer is yes (see also response to Ron above). I agree it’s useful feature and changes actually in 2.2 should mean we are closer! 🙂

      Best Regards,
      Dave

      Reply
  • walterreynolds says:

    Hello. As a registered user, how do I download the latest version of the software. The start-up screen indicates a new version is available but I cannot figure out where the latest version resides

    Reply
    • Hi Walter,

      Blog post gives details, section above towards the end titled “How do I get FoCal 2.2?” should give you the information.

      Best Regards,
      Dave

      Reply
  • Miguel Pereira says:

    Hi, having some problem to calibrate my 1DX II, getting a point of focus error (lack of confirmation) with One Shot – Single point AF on

    ERROR
    A shot was taken but no focus points reported focus confirmation. You should ensure you are using single point AF mode and that you have an appropriate focus point selected on the camera.

    Reply
    • Hi Miguel,

      Normally it’s best to raise any issues via the support system rather than blog comments. I will reply here as a couple of users have reported this same issue.

      The “shot was taken but no focus points reported focus confirmation” issue we’ve been looking at and think we know why it happens.

      Both the 7D mark II and the 1DX mark II will report this in some cases depending on camera settings.

      Setting is on the camera menu (red) under Lens aberration > Distortion correction

      Turn the distortion setting so it’s off / disabled.

      We’re going to change the message so it suggests to turn off Distortion correction in the next release.

      Best Regards,
      Dave

      Reply
  • Thanks for the update which adds 80D support! Is there any update regarding macOS Sierra support? I’ve been running macOS Sierra since the pubic beta became available, and I’m excited to calibrate my new 80D.

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hi Dave,

      We are looking to support Sierra for macOS and have already investigated what changes might be needed. Unfortunately past experience has shown trying to keep up with the beta release cycle is bit like trying to hit a moving target. Our general approach is to hold off until the formal release of the new OS and then finalise changes to FoCal. Trying to do it the other way round can cause more problems than it solves(!) 🙂

      Best Regards,
      Dave

      Reply
  • Fo Cal Pro works fine with my 5D Mark III but keeps crashing with various errors with my 1DX. How do I fix this issue?

    Reply

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