We’ve had loads of great feedback from users of FoCal 2.9 Beta 1 which has been incredibly useful (huge thanks!). Most users reported big stability and speed improvements over FoCal 2.6 and are getting great results. There have been some issues reported and we’ve worked to resolve many of these in this new FoCal 2.9 Beta 2 release.
The big things in this release are:
- This release is available to FoCal Plus users as well as Pro users (subject to being within active Included Updates Period on 1st October 2018).
- Fixes to Dark Mode on macOS, and addition of Dark Mode on Windows.
- Improvements to Aperture Sharpness test
- Changes to camera control locking
- Updated Lens Identification
It’s worth reading the sections below for details, and checking out the known issues. There’s also a detailed changelog available below. There’s also information on how to download this release and give feedback below.
FoCal Plus Support
We didn’t enable FoCal Plus support in the previous Beta version, but we’re very close to the final release and would like to Plus and Pro FoCal users to have access. If you’ve got a FoCal Plus license and want to give this new Beta a go, please do and send us any feedback using the feedback button as explained below.
Dark Mode Support – including Windows
FoCal 2.9 Beta 1 introduced Dark Mode support on macOS but we got the text and icon colours a bit wrong and some parts were tricky to read! This has been fixed so it’s much cleaner: We’ve also added the option to use a Dark Mode on Windows. Open the Preferences > Advanced tab and choose whether you’d like Light or Dark from the Appearance option: When you select Dark and restart, you’ll be using the new Dark theme: Note that on macOS, the selection of Light or Dark mode automatically matches the setting for macOS, so there’s no option within the FoCal application to change appearance – just change it within macOS System Preferences.
Change to Camera Controls Enable/Disable Operation
In FoCal 2.9 Beta 1 we introduced locking of the camera controls when connected to FoCal. This meant you could not use the controls on the camera to make adjustments unless FoCal explicitly allowed it (or you click the Enable Camera Controls icon at the bottom of the main screen – see below). We have improved this functionality so the controls are enabled for most of the time, and this fixes some issues where changes you made were ignored or reset when you tried to run a test. You should find adjusting camera settings much easier now.
Aperture Sharpness Test Improvements
We’ve made some tweaks to how the Aperture Sharpness test runs to give you useful information earlier in the test. Overlapped Capture & Analysis makes the test run faster (especially in Raw mode), but we’ve also added detection for Diffraction Compensation and Vignetting Correction being enabled on cameras which support this as it will degrade the result of the test. Furthermore, we also take shots in a different order to give you the comparison data and wide-open shot earlier in the test run.
Shutter Count Limitations
We often get asked to “re-implement” shutter count functionality, but in reality we didn’t take this away. This is only an issue with Canon cameras, and it’s to do with Canon’s evolution of how shutter count is reported.
For very early cameras (EOS-1D Mark III era), the DIGIC processor did not report shutter count at all, so we cannot give you the shutter count for these cameras.
After this, the shutter count was reported through the Canon interface software, but around the advent of the EOS 5D Mark III / EOS-1D X Canon made it more difficult to retrieve the shutter count. We worked around this in FoCal 2.6.5 on Mac and these FoCal 2.9 builds on Windows and can display the value for these cameras.
With the release of the EOS 5D Mark IV and subsequent cameras, Canon totally removed the shutter count reporting by the camera*, so we can no longer report the value for these cameras.
(* technically, we can still read the shutter count but it involves using some totally undocumented commands and poking around in the camera memory – something we are happy to do for our test cameras in the lab but not really happy to release publicly as there is some considerable risk associated with it!)
Lens Identification Updates
It’s been brilliant to receive reports of misidentified lenses from users via the new Report Incorrect link (see below) – thank you to everyone who’s reported lens mis-identification. We’ve updated our internal tables with the information and you should find they’re recognised correctly now. There are a very small number of lenses that cannot be resolved with information available (due to third-party manufacturers using incorrect values in their lenses). We have a solution to this which we’ll add in a upcoming release.
Message Boxes on macOS Sierra and older
There are some situations where message boxes cannot be dismissed on older versions of macOS (10.12 Sierra and earlier). This does not stop the use of FoCal, it just means you cannot close some message boxes so have to move them out the way and continue using FoCal. We’re working on a fix for this.
Report Save Crash (Mac)
We’ve had a few reports of FoCal crashing when you tried to save a report, but we have not been able to reproduce this issue on a number of Mac’s and a range of versions of macOS which makes it really difficult to fix! Some users have sent screenshots which give us a good idea of where the problem is, and we’ve improved some code around this area so hopefully this will resolve the issue.
“No response received from server” issue (Mac)
This message indicates a problem communicating with the camera on Mac. It’s been a bit difficult to reliably reproduce this issue, although it’s clearly seen with the Canon EOS-1D Mark III camera and we’ve worked to resolve this particular cause. The communication should be improved but we’re still investigating this to try and find a way to reliably reproduce and fix this issue.
Overlapped Capture and Analysis Issue
There is an issue where if you incorrectly set the AF Microadjustment / Fine Tune value when instructed by FoCal and then set it correctly, you will be asked another time to set it to the correct value (even though you now have). If you just click OK for this second request, the test will continue without issue. You may also see a similar issue if a warning is shown during AF Consistency or Aperture Sharpness testing. We are working on a fix for this issue.
File Mode Limitations
FoCal Pro users should be able to run tests using File Mode on cameras that are not able to be controlled by FoCal (e.g. Sony A7 series cameras), but there is a little more development to be done to get this functionality up to the level of FoCal 2.6. For now, you may find File Mode operates correctly with other cameras, but we would recommend using FoCal 2.6.x to analyse these if you need to.
Getting this Release
This release is available to all FoCal users (FoCal Plus, Pro and Commercial/Non-Profit) who were within their Included Updates Period as of 1st October 2018. You can get the software in one of two ways:
- Go to the About > Update Check option in the software, and making sure the Update Channel is set to Alpha or Beta (FoCal 2.9 onwards). From here you can hit the Download button to get the software.
- By logging in to the LMS at lms.fo-cal.co.uk. You should see a “Pre-Release Downloads” section – click this to view the available downloads.
It’s worth just checking the pre-release software FAQ to make sure you know type of software you’re getting.
Beta releases are close to Stable releases of FoCal but will benefit from wider testing with real users. We would love for users to try out this Beta release and let us know what you think!
We’ve added a Send Feedback button in the About panel of the application. Any bug reports, feature improvement, suggestions and general thoughts are very welcome.
Please do use the Send Feedback button in the software to send information back to us. This ensures the feedback is sent to the right place and that we have the right information about the release being tested.
We will read all the comments you send us, but please note that for pre-release software these are NOT handled as support requests and we won’t necessarily be able to reply or follow up.
We are going to be pretty active with pre-release updates during this period, so please send feedback and there should be a new version with fixes/improvements along soon.
For those that download, use and provide feedback – thank you very much for your support with FoCal. This sort of user testing and feedback really is invaluable – it helps us to focus on the things that are important to you, and make sure we deliver high quality software to everyone.
If you’re interested in the details, the following is a list of the major changes between FoCal 2.9 Beta 1 and Beta 2:
- Fixes for Dark Mode UI on Mac
- Addition of Dark Mode UI on Windows
- Update to internal camera definitions to ensure correct display of information such as Diffraction Limited Aperture for all cameras.
- Shutter count hidden in Cam/Info panel for cameras which do not support it.
- Camera temperature hidden in Cam/Info panel for cameras which do not support it.
- Fix to re-enable ability to right-click on chart points to ignore them in calculations.
- Fix to stop shutter-count warning being shown prematurely
- Updates to Canon and Nikon lens identification tables.
- Minor adjustment to target distance calculations to stop odd jumps in distance requirement. Note there is no significant difference to the recommended distance.
- Fixed crash on startup of Aperture Sharpness test with Canon 5D Mark IV and potentially other later Canon cameras.
- Improvements to message requesting a manual change to AE mode.
- Added defocus method to Shot Info panel for each shot. This will reflect the defocus method used for each shot independently of the test settings.
- Fix to stop a warning to cover the eyepiece for mirrorless cameras (this is both unnecessary and can also stop you being able to use the menu on the camera when required)
- Improved picture and icon display quality on Windows
- Fix to some window settings for Target Distance Tool and Dust Analysis on Mac.
- Change to locking of camera controls – details below.
- Fix to Z7 AE mode determination
- Fix to “D1B2” error being reported for some Canon cameras
- Fix to stop focal length being interpreted as x10 the real focal length for some users
- Fixes and testing of FoCal Plus operation – now enabled
- Fix to stop erroneous test failure during long shots – e.g. narrow aperture Aperture Sharpness / Dust Analysis test shots taking 30s.
- Added a warning if image is very dark for Dust Analysis test
- General improvements to Canon lens recognition
- Fix to properly interpret diffraction compensation / vignette correction setting on appropriate Nikon cameras
- Improvements to Nikon camera interface code
- Fix to lens identification for Nikon Z cameras using the FTZ mount adapter
- Modification to focus drive for Nikon cameras. Improves reliability and speed of operation.
- Fix to operation with Nikon D700
- Stability improvements during File Mode initialisation
- Fix to stop crash on Windows when Target Setup was offered as an option after a test failure.