FoCal IQ – Brand New Camera Data!

For the last 8 years, users of FoCal have been uploading test results data to Reikan which we’ve been using to create our FoCal Comparison Data – a set of typical performance metrics which are fed back to FoCal users. This allows you to compare equipment with users of the same camera/lenses and see how your kit performs compared to other real-world users.

Front page of FoCal IQ website

In 2019, we launched the FoCal IQ website which compiles this data in a slightly different way. Rather than showing how a particular lens and camera combination performs, we built profiles of almost 500 lenses that we had enough data for and presented performance information about them.

It’s been a while coming, but we’ve now just added an early version of our Camera performance data to the site as well!

FoCal IQ Overview

While the website has been kept up to date with the latest analysis results, it’s been a while since we’ve posted anything about FoCal IQ, so rather than trying to cram everything in a single post we’ll split the information into a few sections. This first post serves as a basic overview of the site and how to use it – we’ll start digging into exactly what all the data means in the next post.

Getting Started

If you head over to the FoCal IQ website at www.focal-iq.com, you’ll be greeted with the updated front page showing the buttons for the Lens and the Camera database.

Front page of FoCal IQ website
The FoCal IQ Front Page

As the Camera section is new, we’ll focus on that for the examples, but the operation is the same in the Lens section.

Click the big Camera Database image, and you’ll head over to the FoCal IQ Camera Database page.

Scores and Metrics

Before delving into FoCal IQ, it’s worth understanding how we classify the data.

Within the detailed sections of the website, there are a number of metrics which are individual measurements about a certain aspect of a camera – for example the Median Adjustment, shown in focus adjustment units (we use the term focus adjustment units to mean AF Microadjustment units on Canon, AF Fine-Tune on Nikon etc).

An table showing examples of FoCal IQ metrics
Examples of FoCal IQ Metrics

We group together some metrics and from these we build a score which is a value between 0 and 100. A score of 0 means this feature is poor on this particular camera, and a score of 100 means this feature is excellent.

An example of a FoCal IQ score
Examples of a FoCal IQ Score

So all the scores you see can easily be understood: the lower the value, the poorer the behaviour.

Compound Scores

One final point on scores – in our analysis section, we create 6 separate scores, but some are grouped together for conciseness in the table. The Calibration score is the average of the Calibration Requirement and Calibration Range scores, and the Focus score is the average of the Focus Consistency and Focus Accuracy scores.

The Camera Database

On the Camera Database front page, you’ll see the big camera table. This has columns for the camera name and mount, the overall score, and then scores for Calibration, Focus, Stabilisation and Dust: 

A view of the FoCal IQ Camera Database main table
The FoCal IQ Camera Database Table

Cameras may appear more than once in the Camera column as the performance of various measurements can vary significantly by mount – for example on a Nikon Z mirrorless camera you could mount a native Z mount lens, or using the Nikon FTZ adapter, an F mount lens, so the Nikon Z cameras have 2 entries that will have different scores in the table.

Clicking the camera name or the score bar will take you to the Summary page for that camera, and clicking any other score bar will take you to the appropriate analysis results page. The coloured rectangles below show this – red will take you to the Summary page, yellow to the Calibration page, cyan to Focus, blue to Stabilisation and purple to Dust:

Highlighted view of where to click in order to get more information
Click at various points to jump to more details

Sorting

The default sort order for the table is that the camera with the best overall score is at the top of the list – you can see this is active by the small black arrow pointing upwards on the Score column.

Highlighted screenshot showing the sort column indicator
The column sort order is shown by the black arrow

To order by any column, simply click the heading. One click will sort in one direction (e.g. highest value at the top), and another click on the same column will swap to the other direction (e.g. lowest value at the top), and this will be indicated by the direction of the black arrow. The order is remembered by the browser, so when you next visit the site your settings will be the same as when you left.

Getting Help

Screenshot with highlights showing the help icon
Click the “?” icon anywhere to get more help

Help is available for various aspects of the site through the blue “?” icons, for example if you want to find more information about what the different score values represent, you can hit the ? next to any of the score names on the title row of the table to be taken to the help.

An example of the scores help page
An example of the help information

Note that the help is a work in progress at the moment, so it gives a basic overview but if you want further information let us know and we’ll expand the details.

Filtering

Swapping the sort order of the columns can show interesting information about all the cameras, but often you want to just look at how specific cameras behave, and you can narrow down the selection with the filter options.

Above the table, click the Click to show/hide the filter options text to open the filter controls:

A screenshot showing the filter panel
The FoCal IQ Camera filter options

Here, you can limit the contents of the list through various options. You can specify the manufacturer, mount type, camera type, sensor format and filter by various features of the camera. 

The list will show the results as you click, and above the filter you’ll see the count of how many cameras are being shown, so tick away and see what’s left:

Some options chosen in the filter panel
Filtering by Z mount APS-C cameras gives one result – the Nikon Z50

When any filter options are enabled which hide some of the table, the Reset Filters button is shown above the table. Click this to return everything to empty and show the whole table.

You can also enter text into the filter controls – this filters on the camera name, so for example entering “R5” will show the results for the Canon EOS R5 camera.

Text entered into the filter panel
Filtering by text – “R5” returns the EOS R5 with data for EF and RF mounts

If you select options which doesn’t match any cameras (e.g. RF mount APS-H cameras), you will see an empty table and some text – click the show all text or the Reset Filters button (highlighted below) to reset the filter and show everything again.

No results for filtering - highlighted options on how to reset the filter
Click either of the highlighted areas to reset the filter

Again, the filter setup is remembered by the browser, so next time you visit it will be how you left it.

Comparing

With a whole list of performance data for cameras or lenses available, you’ll probably want to compare the results of a select few. To do that, you just use the “+” icon in the Camera column to add to the compare panel, e.g.

The comparison panel
Adding cameras to the compare panel

You can remove the camera from the comparison panel with the Remove button, shown below:

Removing from the comparison
Remove cameras from the compare panel with the Remove button

When you’re happy with the selection, hit the View Comparison button and you’ll see the comparison screen:

FoCal IQ Camera Database comparison page showing 3 columns of results
The FoCal IQ Camera Database Comparison page

You’ll see the overall score, summary chart and the metrics for each set of measurements (including the details such as Calibration being split into Requirement and Range). Click any of the blue entries to jump to the appropriate content.

The Camera Data

The information for each camera is split into 4 main tabs:

  • Summary
  • Specifications
  • Analysis
  • Usage

Summary

The summary page shows you an overview of the performance of the camera, with either a radar or bar chart depending on the number of scores available for the camera.

FoCal IQ summary page for a camera
Camera Summary page example

The table shows the individual scores for the analysis results, and you can jump in by clicking any of the score names.

Within the FoCal application, cameras that have FoCal IQ data will have a small button added to their name (as of FoCal 3.2 MR1) – click this to jump straight into the Summary information page for the camera.

Specifications

The specifications page shows information contained within the FoCal Camera Database which is built into the FoCal application. This is used to enhance results from tests by knowing extra information about the cameras such as pixel size and autofocus features.

FoCal IQ specifications page example
Camera Specifications page example

Usage

The Usage page shows information about how often the type of camera has been used by FoCal users, and can show trends in usage, especially for older cameras.

FoCal IQ Usage page example
Camera Usage page example

This tab also contains information about the firmware versions seen in use by FoCal users, and metrics about the shutter count values (if available).

Analysis

The Analysis page is the big one, containing all the processed results data in a number of tabs:

  • Calibration Requirement: the general focus adjustment calibration requirement for  the camera.
  • Calibration Range: the range of adjustment values typically seen with this camera
  • Focus Consistency: how consistently the autofocus of the camera behaves
  • Focus Accuracy: how accurately the autofocus system operates
  • Stabilisation: information about how the stabilisation system of the camera performs
  • Dust: a view on sensor dust and hot-pixels
FoCal IQ Analysis page example
Camera Analysis page example

Next time…

That’s all for now, the next post in this series will look in more detail at the analysis data available for individual cameras, and what all the metrics and scores mean.

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