After way longer than we had originally hoped, we’re delighted to bring you the first version of Reikan FoCal 2!
To give you an idea of what’s new in FoCal 2, here’s a few of the most important features:
- Compare your results with other FoCal users – with FoCal 2, you can now compare the results of your tests with the results from thousands of other FoCal users to see how your equipment is really performing.
- Review your previous tests – you can review the detailed results of previous tests you’ve run for comparison. This includes most of the tests you’ve run with FoCal 1 as well.
- Improved Reports – the reports are now more concise, grouping relevant information together and showing more information that matters.
- Faster Results – get accurate results in less time with the new analysis algorithms in FoCal 2.
- More Information – you can dig deeper into the performance of your camera and lens with the extra information such as Astigmatism Factor, as well as reviewing more details about each shot taken.
- User Interface Improvements – the user interface is easier to understand, with new tabbed windows, more logical operation and comprehensive keyboard control.
- Voice Prompts – FoCal 2 even talks to you! Calibrate any camera without needing to sit looking at the computer screen – any changes you might need to make at the camera are spoken out loud.
- Free Upgrade – When fully released, FoCal 2 will be a free upgrade for all holders of a FoCal 1 license, so there’s nothing more to pay to get all these new features!
First things first…
There are a few points that we need to make clear to start with:
You need a FoCal Pro license
One of the benefits of having a FoCal Pro license is access to early software. The first Test Releases of FoCal 2 will only be available to users with a license for FoCal Pro.
The first few Test Releases of FoCal 2 will be for Windows only. Developing for both Windows and Mac computers at the same time significantly slows the process, so we have chosen Windows to finalise most of the FoCal 2 functionality. We will be releasing a version of FoCal 2 for the Mac which will include a lot of Mac specific improvements, but for now the releases will be Windows only. You can, of course, run the Windows release on a Mac using a virtualisation environment such as Parallels.
What is a Test Release?
We’ve called these first version of FoCal 2 “Test Releases”. The functionality that is present should be robust, but there are some features that will be introduced over the course of the Test Releases and isn’t yet enabled. There’s a detailed reference manual which describes the new features in FoCal 2 which is supplied in the download package (or you can download it here)
FoCal 2 contains some really cool and exciting new features and we want you to be able to reap the benefits of this extra functionality. We’d also love to hear back from you about any suggestions you might have or reports of any bugs. We’ve made this as easy as possible with a “Send Feeback” button in the About window – this will take you to the right place to submit feedback:
How to get FoCal 2
See the bottom of this post for how to download FoCal 2.
FoCal Data Subscription
In 2012, we added an option to upload results data from your tests back to Reikan and we’ve used this data to build results models for thousands of combinations of cameras and lenses. This information is now delivered back to you in FoCal 2 via a FoCal Data Subscription.
The data is used to show you how your results compare to the typical performance of other users with the same camera and lens. So rather than just getting a bunch of numbers for your results for tests like the Aperture Sharpness or Autofocus Consistency, you’ll be able to see if your lens is a potentially bad or stellar copy!
A new feature in FoCal 2 is the ability to review the results of previous tests run on your computer. This applies to tests run with FoCal 1 as well as FoCal 2 so from the first time you run FoCal 2 you should find you have a populated history already on your computer.
When you choose a test from the list and double click, you get to see the results as if the test had just run in FoCal 2:
This will include as much information as possible, but may not include all the features available within FoCal 2. For example tests run for FoCal 1.9.5 and later will have populated Astigmatism Factor, but tests run before FoCal 1.9.5 will have no results for this specific metric.
We’ve improved the report format, reducing a lot of wasted space and grouping together information such as shots at the same settings. We also show before and after images together in the report now where relevant, as well as all the chart information.
The FoCal Main Window
The main FoCal window has been redesigned using tabs to better organise the functionality of the software. You’ll see the tab concept used throughout the software – clicking on any of the title (Information, Calibration, Tools or Analysis below) will show a new page of options.
There are a number of buttons which are disabled in this version. They will be introduced over the course of the next Test Releases.
Target Setup – What’s New?
The basic operation of the Target Setup utility is the same, but we’ve added a new focus quality indicator to help you find perfect focus before using tests like the Aperture Sharpness test. The graph shows you the quality achieved after autofocus or manual focus operations and lets you adjust for the best possible quality.
The buttons and charts are colour coded as follows:
- green is Phase Detect autofocus
- blue is Contrast Detect autofocus
- purple is FoCal autofocus
- orange shows the effect of a focus step towards the camera (Near)
- red shows the effect of a focus step away from the camera (Far)
- yellow takes another sample and adds to the chart
Fully Automatic Calibration – What’s New?
The Fully Automatic calibration test has been significantly redesigned.
First of all, the new tabbed layout better organises the information presented to you during the test. The Settings tab lets you configure the test, while the Shot Info and Results tabs show information about individual shot measurements and the overall result of the test respectively. The Typical tab shows you the comparison of your results with the typical behaviour of your camera/lens model, and the History tab lets you review your previous results for comparison.
The calibration algorithm has been improved for both speed and accuracy, taking fewer shots to get a result. It’s also better at detecting when a result won’t be found (for example if there’s excessive vibration or light level changes during a test).
Rather than just a single chart, there are now a number of charts for reviewing the test information, each with an overlay of typical results where applicable:
- Lens Profile (1) – the sharpness across the AF Microadjustment / AF Fine Tune range
- Focus Consistency (2) – the consistency of focus for each tested point (requires the Test Point Consistency Level in the Settings to be set to something other than None)
- Astigmatism Factor (3) – a value showing how the horizontal and vertical sharpness compare
- ADS Difference (4) – the difference between your test data and the typical data for this camera/lens combination (requires a FoCal Data Subscription)
- Result Convergence (5) – how the result progressed as each shot was taken
With a FoCal Data Subscription, many of the charts will have the red/blue/green overlay as shown below. The blue area below shows the typical results from the FoCal Data, so you can see this lens is nicely within typical limits of behaviour.
The Typical tab shows a text interpretation of your data compared to the average data. This is still a bit experimental and we’ll be extending this functionality through the FoCal 2 test releases
The History tab shows you the results of other tests you’ve run with the same camera and lens, back even before you started using FoCal 2. With this information, you can quickly find out the best wide and telephoto values for your camera and see whether the results have changed over time.
Aperture Sharpness – What’s New?
Again, the look of the Aperture Sharpness test has been changed in the same was as the Fully Automatic calibration window:
There are a number of charts you can view:
- Aperture Sharpness Profile (1) – the sharpness across the AF Microadjustment / AF Fine Tune range
- Astigmatism Factor (2) – a value showing how the horizontal and vertical sharpness compare
- ADS Difference (3) – the difference between your test data and the typical data for this camera/lens combination (requires a FoCal Data Subscription)
Autofocus Consistency – What’s New?
The tabs are present in the AF Consistency test too, and operate in the same way as Fully Auto and Aperture Sharpness, bringing easier access and better organisation to the information. The AFMA Range option in this test has been removed and will be handed in a future version via a new dedicated AFMA Range test.
We’ve also added an option to measure the focus error for each point after the shot is taken (the focus error is the difference between the focus achieved by the camera autofocus and the best possible quality that could be achieved through manually focussing), and this information can then be displayed in the charts.
Even more charts for this test!
- Quality of Focus (1) – the sharpness across the AF Microadjustment / AF Fine Tune range
- Result Progression (2) – how the final result calculation has changed as the test has run
- Astigmatism Factor (3) – a value showing how the horizontal and vertical sharpness compare
- Absolute Focus Error (4) – the difference between the autofocus shot quality and the best possible quality
- Percentage Focus Error (5) – the difference between the autofocus shot quality and the best possible quality as a percentage
- Focus Position Error (6) – the autofocus position error in either lens drive motor units or AF Microadjustment units if the data is available.
And with the FoCal Data subscription, you can even quantify the approximate focus error in AF Microadjustment units! From the example below, we can see that the focus would be better offset by about 4 or 5 AF Microadjustment units on average, so it’s worth running the Fully Automatic calibration on this lens.
Camera Time Check
FoCal 2 will now inform you if the time of your camera clock is significantly different compared to the time on your PC. This can be very useful in catching daylight saving time changes and keeping your camera time correct.
How do I get FoCal 2?
FoCal 2 TR1 (Test Release 1) is available for FoCal Pro license holders running the Windows operating system (this can be on a PC or a Mac with a virtualisation environment such as Parallels).
FoCal 2 installs alongside FoCal 1 so once installed you can choose to start up either version at any time. The software installation for FoCal 2 is the same as previous versions, and the installation package contains the software, target images and a reference manual (also available here) which includes details of the different areas between FoCal 1 and FoCal 2. Any functionality that is the same in both versions is documented in the FoCal 1 manual.
You can download FoCal 2 TR1 by logging in to the LMS at lms.fo-cal.co.uk. If you are a FoCal Pro user, you will see a download link to the software.