FoCal 2020 Release Candidate: 64-bit Windows and more…

Reikan FoCal 2020 Release Candidate will hopefully be our last public pre-release build before FoCal 2020 is released as General Availability (Stable). It contains a number of fixes and improvements following testing in our lab and by users of the previous beta versions.

Reikan FoCal 2020 Release Candidate initialisation screen

This release is very close to what will be the first full release of FoCal 2020 – please do give it whirl and send us some feedback as it really helps!

Thank you!

Again, we’ll start with a thank you because the feedback we get from our users who run the pre-release versions is so important to both fixing issues that don’t surface during our internal testing, and for providing great suggestions for improvements and new features.

We’ve addressed pretty much all the raised issues, so do give this version a go and check that things are working as they should for you!

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 Reikan FoCal 2020 Beta 2 are generally about getting all the little bugs fixed ready for the final release, but we have fixed a few more major issues found.

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

The Release Notes contain the comprehensive list of changes.

A quick note about Nikon Z 5, Z 6, Z 7 and Z 50 cameras

Nikon have fixed the AF Fine Tune issue on the Nikon Z cameras! Kudos to them for reporting the issue and getting it fixed quickly.

Nikon Z 7 showing AF Fine Tune menu

We’ve added a warning in the software (along with a link to the information post) which shows if you’re using a camera with the affected firmware, so you won’t get hit with unexpected strange behaviour.

You should make sure you’re using firmware 3.12 or later on the Z 6/Z 7 and 2.02 or later on the Z 50 then you won’t run into any issues.

64-bit Windows

During our final release testing of any version of FoCal we run a lot of tests, but when we’re at Release Candidate stage we turn this up to 11! During recent testing we found a memory issue on Windows which could cause tests to stop with a “Failed to get shot information” error during the test, which was particularly annoying if the test had been running for 30 minutes!

To be clear – to reproduce this issue we needed to run tests which took over 300 shots with high-megapixel cameras like the D850, generally on older machines with limited processing power and memory.

We’ve fixed the issue in two ways. First we added some code to better clear up memory when dealing with huge chuncks of data, and we’ve also made the whole of FoCal – including the camera connection interface and the raw processor – into a 64-bit application.

FoCal for Windows is now a 64-bit application

As a 64-bit application, FoCal should be more stable for long running operations and potentially quicker in some areas, but other than that you shouldn’t really notice much difference. We’ve successfully run tests lasting for several hours and taking hundreds of shots on 5 year old mid-spec machines with the new build.

Note that if you’re running FoCal on a 32-bit machine and need a 32-bit version, please give us a shout through the Support page and we can supply this version, although we do not officially support the 32-bit version.

macOS 11 – Big Sur

On the Mac side of things, we’ve tested FoCal against the latest macOS 11 “Big Sur” Beta release (Beta 10, 20A5395g) and no issues have surfaced.

Reikan FoCal running on macOS 11 Big Sur
Reikan FoCal 2020 RC running on macOS 11 “Big Sur”

We will hold off running really thorough testing until Big Sur is actually released, but we’re confident that FoCal 2020 will run without issue on the latest macOS. Usually, if any issues occur after a big macOS update it’s around the area of camera control and this seems to be working perfectly on Big Sur.

Other Changes

We’ve improved some less well-used features like:

  • CSV output of numerical data when saving the report (so you can post-process the Reikan FoCal data in your own way if desired).
Reikan FoCal CSV output for an Aperture Sharpness test
CSV output from an Aperture Sharpness test
  • Minor improvements to camera control
  • Improvements to File Mode

What’s left to do?

We have a couple of minor issues to address in this release (see Known Issues in the Release Notes), and the documentation (manual, online help) needs to be brought up to date for FoCal 2020 as screenshots etc are still mostly related to FoCal 2.x.

We’ll wait a little time for reports of any issues from our pre-release users, but assuming things are working well we hope to have the final, stable version of Reikan FoCal 2020 available to everyone very soon.

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 (64-bit)

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

Mac

  • macOS Big Sur will be supported (no issues found on the latest Big Sur Beta 10 release)
  • 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. This will open a dedicated contact form so we can make sure we capture all your feedback:

Reikan FoCal Send Feedback option
Please use the Send Feedback button to give us feedback about pre-release versions

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 Reikan FoCal 2020 RC

Download FoCal 2020 RC 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 RC is available to all 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.

Reikan FoCal on Social Media

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4 comments on “FoCal 2020 Release Candidate: 64-bit Windows and more…

  • have you any experience with running it on Mac OS El Capitan – would it still work (I am using an i7 mid2011 hardware-upgraded MacBookPro 8.2) ?
    Many thanks
    Aviv

    Reply
    • Hi Aviv,

      Sorry to say FoCal 2020 will not work on OS X 10.11 El Capitan. Earlier FoCal 2.x releases (2.13 is the latest) will run on El Capitan.

      The development platform for FoCal 2020 releases is not supported on macOS prior to 10.12 Sierra. As such the installation prerequisite requires 10.12 Sierra (it will not install at all on OS X 10.11 El Capitan).

      Best Regards,
      Dave

      Reply
  • Settimo Lo Nigro says:

    Buongiorno.
    Ho letto su vari forum che le fotocamere mirrorless, a differenza delle reflex, non soffrono di front/back focus, in quanto la messa a fuoco avviene direttamente sul sensore d’immagine.
    Se così fosse, gli utenti di Nikon Z6/Z7, Z6ii/Z7ii, non dovrebbero avere la necessità di usare FoCal.
    Qual’è il vostro parere?
    Grazie
    Saluti

    Reply

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