We’re pleased to announce the release of a new FoCal for Mac build. The headline feature of this build is support for the Canon 6D, but there are several other improvements too.
Updates and Fixes
The following is a list of the additions and fixes in this version of FoCal for Mac:
- Canon 6D support
- Peak focus determination is can now be Live or Predicted – see manual for details
- Peak determination at start of Aperture Sharpness test
- Improvements to the Diffraction Limited Aperture calculation (Aperture Sharpness test)
- Nikon lens name now correctly reported once test has run
- Fixes to some crashes when charts were clicked
- Fixes to the AF Consistency Report table
Canon 6D support
This version brings support for the Canon 6D in fully automated mode. Canon have returned to using the “old” style of storage for AF Microadjustment values, so FoCal can control this setting on the 6D. This means that you can click the Start button on the Fully Automatic Calibration and there is no user intervention required to get a result.
The 6D also continues the Canon trend of allowing setting of the AF Microadjustment for the Wide and Telephoto ends of a zoom lens, so FoCal takes this into account when calibrating.
Peak Determination Modes
Peak Determination was introduced in the last beta version – it uses a special algorithm to try to determine the best possible Quality of Focus value that can be achieved during the testing. There are now two possible modes which can be selected in the Preferences window:
Live – Live mode works by analysing LiveView images and determining the best lens position for the sharpest image. This works fairly well and within about 10 seconds, but there is some uncertainty with the final result.
Predicted – Predicted mode works by taking a series of shots (5), analysing and calculating the maximum Quality of Focus value. This takes a little longer and a few more shutter actuations but should give a better overall peak value.
In reality, both methods should get within about 5% of the best possible Quality of Focus value, and this is a useful measure to determine information about your lens and focus setup. This feature will be evolved to allow normalisation of the data, which brings the opportunity to make valid comparisons between different lenses, cameras and setups in the near future.
Diffraction Limited Aperture improvements
Calculation of the Diffraction Limited Aperture is quite complex and subject to a certain amount of guesswork. While it’s relatively easy to calculate the size of the Airy disc and determine how many pixels a point of light will spread over, the demosaicing algorithm used within the camera alters how this affects individual pixels in the images that FoCal works with.
We have slightly adjusted our calculation which brings it closer to more typically reported Diffraction Limited Apertures. It also better matches the point where the Aperture Sharpness test curve starts to level off (when moving from narrow to wider apertures).
Nikon Lens Name
Nikon cameras don’t report their lens name to FoCal initially, but report features of the lens (such as the minimum and maximum focal lengths and apertures, and whether they support VR etc). From this, we constructed a lens name to display and use in reports but this isn’t quite the name that the lens will be typically referred to.
FoCal now read the correct lens name once a test is underway and uses this to display in reports and on the screen. You will notice the lens name change once you start running a test.
The following table shows what is working for this version of FoCal (220.127.116.11)
|Operating System||Camera Manufacturer||Status|
|OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard)||Canon & Nikon||Fully functional|
|OS X 10.7 (Lion)||Canon & Nikon||Fully functional|
|OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion)||Canon & Nikon||Fully functional|
It’s still a beta?
Yes, although we hope to take the beta label off very soon. Each new beta for FoCal 1.7 has added or fixed significant functionality, so each one is a big change from the last version and as such we don’t want to remove the beta label until things have settled. Note that as of this version, FoCal for Windows is no longer a beta, but the Mac version is still in beta while a few Mac specific issues are resolved.
Please remember though that as a beta version there may be functionality that doesn’t work on some systems, and indeed in some cases the software may not run at all. Please let us know if this happens and we will investigate the problems. As is hopefully apparent, we do provide regular and comprehensive updates to FoCal to fix issues and add new functionality.
How do I get it?
This version is available to all license holders (FoCal Standard, FoCal Plus and FoCal Pro).
You can download it from the License Management System – you’ll see the link to the download near the bottom of the page once you log in.
The software is available as a disk image (DMG) file for OS X, containing the software itself, the target images and documentation in separate directories.
Installing on OS X (IMPORTANT!)
Please read the installation section of the manual if you don’t already have FoCal installed! FoCal uses the Mono framework, and this must be installed before you use FoCal. You only have to do this the very first time you install FoCal, so if you’re already using FoCal on your Mac then installation is just a case of copying FoCal to the Applications folder and running it.
Some versions of OS X give you a message and take you to the Mono download page, but most don’t give you much help – either a bouncing FoCal icon that quickly disappears, or an obscure “OS Error”. If you get either of these issues, you can resolve them with the steps in Section 2 (Installation) of the FoCal Manual which is in the Documents folder when you mount the DMG image.
There’s a new brief QuickStart guide available here which helps you get started.
What can I do to help?
Please download the software and give it a go. Let us know how you get on:
- If you spot any errors, please let us know
- If you can make the software misbehave, let us know what steps you take to make it happen
- If it works perfectly we’d love to hear too (good news it always nice!!)
You can contact us through the contact form (please use the Mac Beta option) or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. There’s likely to be quite a high volume of emails, so we can’t reply to everyone but every bit of information we receive will be read and used to make FoCal better, so please let us know how you get on.