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.
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.
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
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|
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).