Introducing FoCal Mobile!

We’re delighted to announce the imminent arrival of a new product: FoCal Mobile!

FoCal Mobile examples on iPhones

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).

Reikan FoCal Mobile connected to a Canon EOS 6D
FoCal Mobile connected to a Canon 6D

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…

Supported Devices

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.

Camera Connection

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:

Reikan FoCal Mobile connected to a Canon EOS 6D, showing the Apple Lightning to USB3 Camera Adapter.
iPhone with Apple Lightning to USB3 Camera Connection Kit

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.

USB-C iPad

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!)

Reikan FoCal Mobile running on an iPad with USB-C showing a direct connection to the camera
An iPad with USB-C can be connected with just a USB-C to USB adapter.

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:

A screenshot of FoCal Mobile showing the loading progress indicator
The FoCal Mobile connecting indicator

Once connected, you’ll see the available tools: Verify Setup, Check Autofocus System and Set Camera Time.

A screenshot of FoCal Mobile showing the tool options available
A camera connected to FoCal Mobile

Verify Setup

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.

FoCla Mobile screenshot showing Verify Setup
The FoCal Mobile Verify Setup tool

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.

AF System Check running in FoCal Mobile
Good results from an AF System Check

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.

A screenshot showing Set Camera Time utility in FoCal Mobile
FoCal Mobile Set Camera Time tool

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.

Help

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!

A composite of 5 phones showing various help screens from FoCal Mobile.
A selection of the help screens in FoCal Mobile

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.

What’s Next?

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!

37 comments on “Introducing FoCal Mobile!

    • Hi Rich,

      Thanks for your interest in FoCal Mobile πŸ™‚

      Right, it’s currently in beta stage, we’ve done a lot of testing and now we want to get feedback from users.

      Do subscribe to the list at Reikan FoCal Mobile Signup and we’ll be in touch soon!

      Best Regards,
      Dave

      Reply
    • Hi Alan,

      Thanks for your interest in FoCal Mobile πŸ™‚

      Right, it’s currently in beta stage, we’ve done a lot of testing and now we want to get feedback from users.

      Do subscribe to the list at Reikan FoCal Mobile Signup and we’ll be in touch soon!

      Best Regards,
      Dave

      Reply
  • Steve Barnard says:

    I am so excited about this new ability your team has developed. Your product has been an important tool in my photographic journey and I hope you will allow me this opportunity to participate in the beta test phase.

    Reply
    • Thanks Steve,

      Do sign up on the page linked above, it’s not numbers limited (or first come first served) – we want as many users as possible to give it a go and provide feedback πŸ™‚

      Best,
      Dave

      Reply
  • Kevin Michael Hall says:

    I think that this is a huge step forward that removes the need for laptops and a load more cables. Increases the mobility of the application immensely.
    So long as you have a target and a tripod, testing can be done anywhere very simply.
    A great step forwards.

    Reply
    • Hi Kevin,

      We’re excited, a lot of work (actually over more than a year!) to make it possible and Apple has already approved the app so it’s close!

      Best Regards,
      Dave

      Reply
  • You big tease !
    Apple only , geeze …….. was so ready for this.
    Please remember many of your users don’t pick our technology off trees !

    Reply
    • Hi Ken,

      Yes, it will happen and it will be available on Android.

      Do sign up to the email as that will be the place we send news when Android is available πŸ™‚

      Best Regards,
      Dave

      Reply
  • Sean Warner says:

    Pretty ridiculous to roll it out via iOS only. That is something that irrelevant companies do in this day and age. Hard pass.

    Reply
    • Hi Sean,

      I get you want it on the Android platform, a lot of work done behind the scenes actually makes it fairly straightforward to work on both platforms but we have to pick one.

      We did the same with desktop FoCal, Windows got the first release (there were lots of complaints!) but it’s now on both platforms and has been for many years – I don’t think most users mind so long as they understand it’s easier for us to focus on one platform at a time.

      Best Regards,
      Dave

      Reply
  • This product, at least when it arrives on android will be extremely useful. i calibrate currently either in my bedroom where conditions are crowded the range of lenses i can do limited and light levels generally too poor or outside wherte in have to struggle with my laptop as it needs mains power as its battery life sucks. i worked on the wifi plug in for reikan and provided feedback. please count me in

    Reply
    • Hi Julian,

      Thank you for your interest in FoCal Mobile.

      We’re going to take the development through the first time with iOS but an Android version will follow shortly afterwards.

      Do subscribe to the list at Reikan FoCal Mobile Signup as we will use it for news of the Android release.

      Best Regards,
      Dave

      Reply
    • Hi Chris,

      Thank you for your interest in FoCal Mobile.

      We’re going to take the development through the first time with iOS but an Android version will follow shortly afterwards.

      Do subscribe to the list at Reikan FoCal Mobile Signup as we will use it for news of the Android release.

      Best Regards,
      Dave

      Reply
  • Casey Balvert says:

    Wow. I love this. I only have a iMac and it was cumbersome to calibrate my lenses. To make the process this portable is a game changer. So looking forward to this new app.

    Reply
    • Hi Eric,

      Thanks for your interest in FoCal Mobile πŸ™‚

      Right, it’s currently in beta stage, we’ve done a lot of testing and now we want to get feedback from users.

      Do subscribe to the list at Reikan FoCal Mobile Signup and we’ll be in touch soon!

      Best Regards,
      Dave

      Reply
  • Would love to be part of the beta testing as I think I would be able to test your program with my equipment. I feel this could be a game changer for me as it’s problematic for me to use focal and my 400mm lens. I could use this app outside with better lighting and more realistic space to do the proper dialing of my focus.

    Reply
    • Hi James,

      Thanks for your interest in FoCal Mobile πŸ™‚

      Right, it’s currently in beta stage, we’ve done a lot of testing and now we want to get feedback from users.

      Do subscribe to the list at Reikan FoCal Mobile Signup and we’ll be in touch soon!

      Best Regards,
      Dave

      Reply
  • Great idea, I’m on Android but I’m patient. I just hope that the subscription will include both desktop and mobile versions because if you have to pay a second time then it will be without me.
    Cordially.

    Reply
  • Robert Weissburg says:

    I’d be happy to be in the Android beta ( I presume you’ll have one for us). Sounds very useful for “in-the-field” checks.

    Reply
    • Hi Steve,

      Thanks for your interest in FoCal Mobile, we knew we’d disappoint some whichever way we went, Android will happen soon!

      Best,
      Dave

      Reply
  • Have to wait, impatiently for the Android version. This may be the most important addition to any photographer’s bag. Very exciting.

    Reply
  • Thanks for considering me for the Beta test! I am particularly interested in trying the product on my iPad with the Retina display. The higher definition of the display leads me to think I may have even more accurate focus adjustments. Glad to report results on all of my Nikon lenses. I am shooting with a Nikon D850. – Jim E.

    Reply
    • James,

      The first beta has been sized for iPhones (to keep the development as simple as possible). It will load up and work on an iPad but likely will only take up part of the screen.

      iPad version will follow shortly and agree it will be nice to have a high res display πŸ™‚

      Best Regards,
      Dave

      Reply
  • Hi,
    Looks great πŸ™‚
    will this be a standalone product … and will this then also have 2 levels .. standard and pro..
    or will this be included is the PC versions in an update …

    Reply
    • Hi Olav

      All good questions and are ones we need to come up with answers for! πŸ™‚

      Right now it’s somewhat fluid, there’s been a lot of work to get things working on mobile and how that pays for itself and ongoing development we need to make sure it is sustainable in terms of revenue. Obvious perhaps but that’s why we don’t yet have a details.

      Best,
      Dave

      Reply

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