FoCal 2020: Beta 1

Hot on the heels of the very first FoCal 2020 release, we’re delighted to announce the first Beta release of FoCal 2020 with over 200 fixes and improvements!

FoCal 2020 Beta 1

This release brings usability and stability improvements, fixes some outstanding issues and brings beta support for lots of extra cameras to FoCal.

Thank you!

First things first – we want to say a massive thanks to all those users who tried out the FoCal 2020 Alpha! We’ve had a great amount of feedback with lots of observations and suggestions for improvements and a lot of positive support.

If you did try out the Alpha do give this new Beta release a go, we’ve implemented most all of the suggestions received. We hope this release is both clearer and more intuitive to use and fixes issues you’ve raised.

What’s New?

[If you’re not interested in the details and just want to grab the release download info is here]

The changes since FoCal 2020 Alpha 1 are more about fixing issues raised, implementing improvements suggested by users who tried the Alpha release and finishing any features that weren’t complete.

For a recap of the operation, you can check out the FoCal 2020 overview video.

The Release Notes contain the comprehensive list of around 200 fixes, here’s some of the headlines:

  • FoCal Comparison Data is back!
  • Beta Support for Nikon Z5
  • Beta Support for lots of Canon cameras
  • New Raw Processor
  • Improvements to File Mode
  • Windows side-by-side install

FoCal Comparison Data is back!

We’ve re-implemented the detailed information about how your equipment compares to other users in the Typical tab of each test. Data is present for Calibration, Aperture Sharpness and Autofocus Consistency, and we will be bringing comparison information for further tests and more detailed analysis in future updates.

FoCal 2020 Beta Typical Tab

New Raw Processor

This was actually included in FoCal 2020 Alpha 1, but we forgot to mention it in the blog post!

The new raw processor brings support for Canon CR3 files (allowing raw operation on the EOS-R, EOS-RP, 90D, 250D, 1D X Mark III and any future Canon cameras).

It is also faster than our previous implementation, has better colour processing and is will be better supported going forwards.

Beta Support for Nikon Z5 (and Nikon D6)

Z5 Front

We’ve added support for the new Nikon Z5. The camera is not yet available so we’ve implemented the support using the Nikon published documentation. If you test with a Z5, please let us know how you get on!

Nikon D6 Beta support was added in 2.14 Beta, but has been improved through FoCal 2020 Alpha and 2020 Beta. We are still waiting to test against a D6 in order to “tick off” the support, but users have been successfully and reliabily calibrating with FoCal and the D6.

Beta Support for lots of Canon Cameras

For FoCal 2.6.5 on the Mac and FoCal 2.9 on Windows, we fundamentally changed the way we talked to Canon cameras. Since then, we’ve added support for many more cameras support AF Microadjustment but have also had internal development support for other cameras.

Canon Cameras in Beta - FoCal 2020 Beta 1

The Canon EOS R was the first camera we officially supported which does not have AF Microadjustment, and we’ve just added beta support for a whole batch of other Canon cameras.

You will be able to run Target Setup, Calibration Check, AF Consistency, Aperture Sharpness and Dust Analysis on most of these cameras, and we’re hoping to bring MultiTest to them in a future release, as well as more new tools.

Here’s an example of the Calibration Check results on a Canon EOS 1300D:

FoCal 2020 - CalCheck on Canon EOS 1300D

The support is in beta – we’ve tested against a number of these cameras and had good results, and others we’ve enabled based on similarity of internal hardware and software to other cameras with proven support.

Please do let us know how you get on with these – any feedback about support on these cameras would be useful.

Improvements to File Mode

Our goal for FoCal is to bring as much functionality as possible to the widest range of cameras. Where we can control cameras, we will be adding support, but there are a large number of cameras that don’t have any ability to be controlled from the computer, and for these the FoCal tools will be available in File Mode.

We’ve added fixes to the support for Pentax and Sony SLT cameras in this release, and also added the ability to specify custom properties for the files – e.g. the aperture for manual lenses, the focus adjustment values for files that don’t contain this information etc.

The online help section is available here, but it’s work in progress at the time of publishing this blog post so may not be fully complete.

Windows side-by-side install

We made a bit of a mistake in the Alpha release installer which meant it overwrote your current FoCal 2.x install – this meant you couldn’t install FoCal 2.x and new FoCal 2020 alongside each other.

We’ve fixed this, so now you can have both on your system at the same time. If you installed the Alpha, you’ll need to uninstall it, and then reinstall both FoCal 2.13 and FoCal 2020, but from then on you will be able to install/uninstall each version independently.

Operating System Support

The updates to our development tools and certain components we’re using mean we’ve bumped up the requirements for Operating System versions over FoCal 2.x releases.

The following are supported Operating Systems:

Windows

  • Windows 10
  • Windows 8.1
  • Windows Server 2012
  • Windows 7
  • Windows Server 2008 R2_SP1

Mac

  • macOS Catalina (10.15)
  • macOS Mojave (10.14)
  • macOS High Sierra (10.13)
  • macOS Sierra (10.12)

More details…

There are more details in the changelog on the release notes for this release.

Giving Feedback

We would love you to try out this new release of FoCal and let us know what you think – good and bad. It’s feedback from users that help make each release better than the last. Lots of the functionality in FoCal 2020 is implemented on suggestions from users – don’t be afraid to propose improvements and new ideas!

If you have any feedback, please use the Send Feedback button in the Help > Help menu (Note: this has been fixed for Mac in the Beta release of FoCal 2020). This will open a dedicated contact form so we can make sure we capture all your feedback:

FoCal 2020 Beta - Giving Feedback

Thank you!

Thank you to all our users past and present who’ve used FoCal for their calibrations. An extra special thank you to everyone who’s got in touch with feedback, a lot changes are driven directly from what you tell us!

How do I get FoCal 2020 Beta 1

Download FoCal 2020 Beta 1 for Windows or macOS by logging in to the account system via lms.fo-cal.co.uk. Once logged in, you will see a download link to the software.

FoCal 2020 Beta 1 is available to all Pro/Commercial users that are within their Included Updates Period as of 17th August 2020. You can get the software as below:

  • By logging in to the FoCal Account system via lms.fo-cal.co.uk.  Near the top you’ll see “Click here to Show or Hide Pre-Release Downloads” – click to view the available downloads.

If the above does not apply to you, you can purchase 12 months of updates by logging in to the account system via lms.fo-cal.co.uk and going to the Included Updates Period section.

If you’re not yet a FoCal user, you can purchase the software as a download or boxed product, as well as Focal Hard Targets from the FoCal Online Store.

It’s worth just checking the pre-release software FAQ to make sure you understand the type of software you’re getting.

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