FoCal 3.2 Beta – Nikon Z9 Support!

We’re delighted to announce the release of Reikan FoCal 3.2 Beta!

This release brings support for the Nikon Z9, improvements to camera communication and control for many other cameras and some general bug fixes.

What’s New?

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

Headline Features

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

The Release Notes contain a comprehensive list of changes.

Support for the Nikon Z9

The big feature addition for this release is support for the hugely impressive Nikon Z9 camera.

The Nikon Z9

The Z9 is a professional level mirrorless camera sporting the Nikon Z-mount.

It is capable of 30fps shooting of full-size JPEGs, or 20fps Raw images, capturing 45.7 million pixels per shot.

20fps raw capture is astounding!

Adding support for the Nikon Z9 to FoCal has been a little more complex than for previous Nikon cameras as Nikon have made several internal upgrades, opening up the opportunity for better control of data and custom functionality within the cameras. It’s also given us the opportunity to improve the communications and control for all other Nikon cameras, and make the low-level control of all cameras more stable.

The Nikon Z9, being controlled by FoCal

Despite being a mirrorless camera – and therefore using just a single sensor for both image capture and autofocus – it still offers the ability to Fine-Tune the autofocus system.

With mirrorless cameras, there’s no longer a need to calibrate for any differences in optimal focus between the discrete autofocus sensor and separate image sensor (which is required for DSLR), but you can still use AF Fine-Tune to calibrate for lens mount, optical, and physical drive issues that may be present in the overall camera-and-lens autofocus system.

AF Fine-Tune is an option on the Nikon Z9, allowing full calibration with FoCal

Despite the improvements in the communications protocol with the Z9, it’s still not possible to automatically control AF Fine-Tune of the camera from the computer, so like other Nikon cameras you’ll still need to make a few occasional adjustments during some tests as instructed by the software. However, we are in active communication with Nikon at present about the possibility of being able to control this setting, so watch this space!

Like all new Nikon cameras since the D780, the Z9 includes support for calibration of both the Wide and Telephoto ends of zoom lenses.

The Nikon Z9 supports AF Fine-Tune at both Wide and Tele ends of zoom lenses

There’s a subtle difference in this camera compared to previous Nikon offerings, related to accepting AF Fine-Tune settings changes. After the first time you set an AF Fine-Tune value for a lens, you will be asked to confirm the change:

The Z9 asks for confirmation when overwriting AF Fine-Tune values

When using FoCal, it’s important to make sure you click OK on the camera at this point, otherwise the value will not be changed (don’t worry, FoCal will notice the error and you’ll be asked to make the change again, so there’s no risk of getting incorrect results).

Supported FoCal Tools

The Nikon Z9 can be used with all FoCal tools except Calibration Check (which is not available for any mirrorless cameras yet).

With FoCal, you can:

  • Tune out any optical or mechanical issues between you camera and lens that could be reducing the quality of your images using the Focus Calibration.
  • Measure the sharpness profile of your lens across the aperture range with Aperture Sharpness.
  • Check the consistency and reliability of your lenses with Focus Consistency.
  • Quantify the dust on your sensor with Dust Analaysis.
  • Use MultiTest to build a 2-dimensional profile of your lens behaviour across focus and aperture:
MultiTest running on the Nikon Z9
  • And use Stabilisation Test to measure the performance of the stabilisation systems built into the camera and lenses
Stabilisation test on the Nikon Z9

Thanks to Nikon Europe, we’ve managed to get hold of the Z9 for development and testing and have run a comprehensive suite of validation tests as well as a lot of final testing running tools in FoCal.

Operating System Support

The following are supported Operating Systems:

Windows (64-bit)

Mac

  • macOS Monterey (12.x)
  • macOS Big Sur (11.x)
  • 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 helps make each release better than the last. Lots of the functionality in FoCal is implemented following 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!

Get Reikan FoCal 3.2 Beta

Download FoCal 3.2 Beta 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 3.2 Beta is available to all users that are within their Included Updates Period as of 4th March 2022. You can get the software as below:

  • By logging in to the FoCal Account system via lms.fo-cal.co.uk.
  • Go to the About > Update Check option in the software. From here you can hit the Download button to get the software.

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.

Reikan FoCal on Social Media

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2 comments on “FoCal 3.2 Beta – Nikon Z9 Support!

    • Thanks Bryce,

      Great to know things are working for you and thank you also for trying out the pre-Beta releases, allowed us a get a head start for when our Z9 arrived 🙂

      Many Thanks!
      Dave

      Reply

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