FoCal for Mac 1.7.0.250 Beta Released

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.

FoCal for Mac Canon 6D Support

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.

PredictedPredicted 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.

Support Status

The following table shows what is working for this version of FoCal (1.7.0.250)

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 beta@fo-cal.co.uk.  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.

About

Owner of Reikan Technology Ltd and primary developer of Reikan FoCal automatic lens calibrations software.

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6 comments on “FoCal for Mac 1.7.0.250 Beta Released
  1. Pablo says:

    Hi, I have a Mac and a Nikon D800.
    On the Mac version, is there a standard middle and pro versions or just one? I’m just wondering if I can get away with just buy the standard version and not the pro. I’m not planing on using a windows version or anything other than a D800.
    Thank you.

    • Rich says:

      Hi Pablo

      (This is more or less a repeat of an answer above)

      The only function that can’t be controlled by FoCal for the D800 is the change in AF Fine Tune– all other changes (e.g. exposure setup, defocusing, focus validation etc) can all be performed with this camera.

      FoCal Standard only offers the Semi Auto test which allows you to make modifications to AF Fine Tuneand see their effects, whereas FoCal Plus and Pro bring the Fully Automatic test. This will still control almost every aspect of the D800, you will just be prompted when the AF Fine Tune needs changing.

      I hope this helps

      Rich

  2. Kirk Fanning says:

    I use a Mac (running Mountain Lion) and have Canon 5D3. I see that with 5D3 it uses manual setting change mode. Given that, does it make sense to just purchase the Standard version ?

    • Rich says:

      Hi Kirk

      The only function that can’t be controlled by FoCal for the 5Dmk3 is the change in AF Microadjustment – all other changes (e.g. exposure setup, defocusing, focus validation etc) can all be performed with this camera.

      FoCal Standard only offers the Semi Auto test which allows you to make modifications to AF Microadjustment and see their effects, whereas FoCal Plus and Pro bring the Fully Automatic test. This will still control almost every aspect of the 5Dmk3, you will just be prompted when the AF Microadjustment needs changing.

      I hope this helps

      Rich

  3. AlenF says:

    Can someone from the U.S. purchase your product? If so how?

    • Rich says:

      Hi Alen

      We use PayPal for handling the transaction and FoCal has been sold into over 80 countries around the world (including many customers in the US). You do NOT need a PayPal account to purchase FoCal as they handle payment from most credit cards also.

      Rich

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