We’re delighted to announce the imminent arrival of a new product: FoCal Mobile!
We’ve hinted at the development of this little beauty for a few years, and now we’ve finally managed to get everything in place to offer the functionality of FoCal on mobile devices!
First things first…
There are a few things to get out the way first:
- This app is available on iOS only (for now – see below).
- We’re going to be opening a beta test phase which you’ll need to be invited to.
- If you’re interested, see below for how to add your name to the list.
Why iOS Only?
My gut feeling is that something like 50% of FoCal users will be asking this question first!
The answer is pretty simple really: FoCal Mobile is a big development, and it makes sense to target a single platform for the initial phases. Through prior development, we already had camera communications working on iOS devices, so that’s the platform we chose. There is also far less variability in iOS devices from a feature support perspective, making development a little easier in some ways.
But fear not, Android users! Once FoCal Mobile for iOS is released, we’ll be straight on to support for Android, and it shouldn’t take too long.
So, what’s FoCal Mobile then?
FoCal Mobile is a subset of FoCal functionality, running on your iOS mobile device.
Connection to the camera is via USB, so it works with every camera that we support – all the way back to the Nikon D700 and Canon EOS-1D Mark III from 2007, through to the latest cameras like the Nikon Z9 (which, despite being mirrorless, still supports AF Fine Tune).
For this first release, we’re offering the following functionality:
- Connect to your camera over USB and get Camera and Lens information
- A Verify Setup tool which, like Target Setup in desktop FoCal, checks everything is all ready for testing
- An Autofocus System Check which is based on Calibration Check on the desktop version.
- A Set Camera Time utility, for synchronising your camera clock to your phone time – great if you use multiple cameras for shooting and need the clocks exactly the same!
We’ve worked on making the app as easy as possible to use, with loads of guidance and help for both established and new users.
Let’s take a look at the details…
FoCal Mobile will work on any iPhone or iPad running at least iOS 13 (released back in 2019).
Right now, the app is “iPhone only” – this means that when you run on an iPad, it will run in the middle of the screen.
FoCal Mobile will control all cameras that can run Calibration Check on FoCal desktop, so all that have Calibration Check ticked on this page.
Just like the desktop version of FoCal, Mobile connected to your camera using a USB cable. Depending on your device, you may need an extra adapter:
iPhone / Lightning iPad
If your device has an Apple Lightning connector, you’ll need the Apple Lightning to USB3 Camera Adapter. This plugs into the Lightning port of the phone or iPad and offers the standard USB socket for you to plug a cable to your camera:
Note that while you can get third party adapters which allow you to connect USB devices to the Lightning port, we’ve had mixed success with samples in the lab – some work perfectly and some don’t work at all.
If you’ve got an iPad with a USB-C connector, you can just connect a cable directly between your camera and iPad. If you don’t have a USB-C cable for your particular camera, you can use any basic USB-C to USB adapter (as shown in the photo below) to connect (you’ll have loads of these lying around if you have a Mac!)
Connecting in FoCal
Connecting to the camera in the app is the same as FoCal desktop, only a bit fancier! Here’s a view of the progress through camera connection, giving a clearer view of what’s going on:
Once connected, you’ll see the available tools: Verify Setup, Check Autofocus System and Set Camera Time.
Verify Setup does a one-shot check of the camera and lens settings and the target position, reporting the results back. Unlike desktop FoCal, this runs a single check each time you hit the Check button, showing you a still image (that you can zoom in on) which can help if the target isn’t in position.
The Check Results panel shows you if there are any issues, and tapping on an entry expands for more information.
Autofocus System Check
The Autofocus System Check measures the performance of your autofocus system in a similar way to Calibration Check, using FoCal-AF to get a best-quality measurement which can be compared to a standard autofocus shot.
Each result is shown with a score, which ranges from 0 (poor) to 100 (excellent), so above you can see that the Focus System State is in good health (with a score of 78 putting it in the green area), and the confidence of the result is also good.
Scrolling down the screen shows the crop image which you can slide over to compare, and further down is some information about the test – the camera, lens, various settings etc.
Set Camera Time
This last utility is a handy one that was added to desktop FoCal a few releases back – it allows you to synchronise the time on your camera with the time on your device.
Particularly useful if you use multiple cameras for shooting, e.g. at a wedding or other event, this tool ensures that your camera clocks are all perfectly synchronised so all images are in order when you import after the event.
We’ve tried to make FoCal Mobile as easy to use as possible, with lots of help messages (which you can swipe to dismiss), and help pages with information and interactive help accessible from the ? icon on the top bar. Hopefully everything is explained, but let us know if we can improve things!
How do I get FoCal Mobile?
All you need is an iOS device (iPhone or iPad) running at least iOS 13, and to be a FoCal Pro user within your Included Updates Period (one of the perk’s of FoCal Pro is access to all pre-release builds).
To get news about FoCal Mobile and receive your invite to the beta release, sign up here and we’ll be in touch very shortly
Thank you to everyone who signs up! Beta testing is really important – we do a lot of internal testing to get things working as best we can, but there are a lot of cameras, devices, options and test methods out there that we can’t test. Getting feedback on whether things are working or not, or how they can be improved, is vital.
This first public beta of FoCal Mobile has deliberately been kept fairly limited. The next steps are to add full calibration of cameras, and then further analysis details including comparison data and reviewing historical tests.
FoCal Mobile is not supposed to replace FoCal Pro on the desktop, so it’s not likely to ever have the full suite of tests, but we want you to have the power to test and calibrate your camera right there in your pocket.
Let us know how you get on!