FoCal 2.4 is here! Lots of work with Canon’s 5D Mark IV camera, Dual Pixel Raw functionality is now part of FoCal. In addition, we’ve totally re-designed and re-written target setup, it’s much easier and faster to use and guides the user through the process. We’ve been busy working on Sierra support, it’s not a done deal yet sadly (at least on Canon), more details below.
FoCal 2.4 Key Changes
- 5D Mark IV Dual Pixel Raw analysis – FoCal decodes and displays data based on Dual Pixel Raw analysis
- Target Setup Complete Re-design – Easier and quicker target setup with more guidance for users
- FoCal goes Imperial – US users will appreciate the option for distances in feet & inches
- macOS Sierra support for Nikon – We’re half way there, Canon support planned next release (details below)
Enhancements and Fixes:
- Nikon lens drive is faster and more accurate
- Big improvement to accuracy of target distance estimate used in FoCal
- AF Consistency test now determines approx peak quality for test points comparison
- LiveView analysis functions improved
- Improvements to Comparison Data quality
- Improved File Mode operation for cameras with wide and telephoto adjustment
- File Mode selection now includes both Raw and JPEG by default
- Charts are easier to read in PDF reports
- Improvements to Aperture Sharpness report
- Chart point selection markers improved and implemented in all appropriate charts
- Tab graphics display quality improved (Windows)
- Improved target searching to detect target in a wider range of situations
- Updated metadata processor
- Improvements to 5D Mark IV raw processing
- Voice prompts changed to be clearer
- Target Setup now ensures Live View images are at correct aperture
- Fixes relating to 1D Mark III and 1Ds Mark III connection
- Improvements to formatting of some text results fields
- Fix to stop occasional display of large fractional values on y axis of charts
- Canon interface changes to improve reliability of startup on Mac systems
- Fixed Mirror Lockup issue on 1D3 and 1Ds3 in some situations
- Improvements to in-memory metadata parsing
- Target detection calculations work in more situations
- Fixed 50D zoom state issue when Live View AF Mode set to Face Detect
- Fixed focus point checking in Canon raw mode
- Fixed an issue autofocus occasionally used at incorrect times on certain Nikons
- Improved handling of downloaded images from Canon cameras with certain lenses
- Better information relating to focus failures under certain conditions
- Improved Live View startup procedure on Nikon cameras
- Is FoCal Safe?: A small number of Windows anti-virus products initially flagged the FoCal 2.4 download. FoCal is safe to use and we have reported these false positives. Avast, Kaspersky and Norton were notified and have now added FoCal to their whitelist and removed any blocks (updated 15th December).
- Focus Consistency: With certain Nikon cameras FoCal 2.4 will do two focus operations for each point during a Focus Consistency test. This can lead to better focusing results than a single focus operation. If comparing with previous Focus Consistency results please bear this in mind. It is the intention to return to a single focus operation in the next release.
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Dual Pixel Raw Analysis
The 5D Mark IV is the first camera to bring the ability to process the data from it’s Dual Pixel sensor. We spoke on the blog about the possibilities this could bring here and here, and FoCal 2.4 brings some of this functionality to FoCal.
Enable Dual Pixel Raw on your 5D Mark IV, choose Raw as the Image Capture Mode in FoCal and run a test to take advantage of this extra analysis.
Within the Fully Automatic Calibration test, FoCal now reports the calculated AF Microadjustment value as determined by Dual Pixel analysis. This is still experimental so it’s just shown for information, but it can be used as supplementary information for the FoCal results to ensure you have the right calibration values.
Here’s an example, the black line shows the FoCal calibration result and the pink area shows the result of dual-pixel raw analysis. Both the calibration result and dual-pixel raw analysis are very close (less than 1 AF Microadjustment unit difference) so we can be very confident of the calibration result.
The AF Consistency test uses the Dual Pixel data to determine the focus offset at each point. Not only can this give you an idea of the distance and direction that the camera’s focus is out by for each shot, but can give you an immediate view as to whether your camera is calibrated well or not – if your phase-detect test shots are a long was from the Dual Pixel “Perfect Focus”, you know you need to calibrate!
Aperture Sharpness uses the Dual Pixel data to show your initial focus offset at the start of the test, and also helps you gain an insight into the focus shift exhibited by your lens – that’s the shift in focus point that happens purely by closing down the aperture.
There’s more work to do in the Dual Pixel analysis area, but to do that we need to analyse lots of test results. We’re hoping to be able to start to integrating Dual Pixel analysis into the actual results calculations, and also use it to very quickly profile your lenses.
New Target Setup
With the release of FoCal 2.4, the Target Setup utility has been completely overhauled to be easier and faster to use. It’s an area that has caused confusion in the past and now the process is more guided with straight forward text to explain any issues that might need correcting.
To begin, click “Start”. FoCal will focus, take a shot and then provide results in the Check panel. You will also see a live image from the camera in the large panel so you can easily move the camera to ensure the target is lined up correctly.
The Check panel gives straight forward information about the test conditions for the user to correct if needed. There are different levels of conditions that will be notified to the user.
|Warning: Condition that should be corrected before running tests|
|Advisory: Condition that is unusual and should be checked to ensure it is intended|
|Untested: Not all settings can be checked. Check these manually|
|OK: Checks passed without issue|
Clicking entries in the right hand panel opens each one to reveal more information. In the example below Target Setup Advises the target distance is not ideal. Information that includes the suggested target distance is provided based on the focal length of the lens (and with FoCal 2.4 you can change to display this information in Feet & Inches in Preferences > Tests (tab))
We’re interested in user feedback on the newly designed Target Setup, we hope it will make FoCal easier to use. If you love it let us know, if not still let us know! 🙂
macOS Sierra Support Status
We’ve made progress in this area but not as much as we’d like or expected at this stage. All supported Nikon dSLR cameras are fully working with macOS Sierra with this 2.4 release.
Canon unfortunately is a different story, we thought Apple were moving to roll back some of the changes they made when they released their 10.12.2 update, indeed some users found they could get up and going with Canon cameras even with FoCal 2.3. However this is far from consistent or reliable and not something we would even suggest will work at this stage.
After much effort trying to work-round the problem with Sierra and Canon it has come back to waiting for Canon to update their interface libraries. Canon’s basic position is they aren’t yet ready to support Sierra, through various channels we think this will happen later this month or early next. Canon’s official position is provided on their OS compatibility page
As it stands, FoCal 2.4 is working and supported for Nikon dSLR cameras with Sierra but will not control any Canon cameras when running on Sierra based systems.
We will provide an update as soon as Canon is able to release their updated software libraries (hopefully soon!)
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)||Canon||Not Supported|
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 2.4?
Download FoCal 2.4 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 2.4 is available for Windows (Windows 7 and newer) and Mac (OS X 10.9 – 10.11 with 10.12 support for Nikon only) operating systems, for users who are still within their Included Updates Period today (7th December 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 FoCal store.
The installation package contains the software, target images and a reference manual (also available on the Documents Download page).