FoCal is now available for computers running Windows and OSX with the following requirements:
The Mac version is currently available as a first release – it can be downloaded when you purchase a FoCal license (note that a license for FoCal allows use on both Windows and Mac).
The recommended minimum specification of computer is:
- Core 2 Duo at 2GHz or above (or equivalent)
- At least 2GB RAM (>3GB recommended)
- A screen size of at least 1024×768 (although at least 1280×1024 is recommended)
- Windows: Windows XP SP3 (or Windows XP 64 bit SP2) or later (note this software will not work on Windows XP SP2 or earlier, or any Windows XP MCE edition, Reduced edition or Tablet PC edition)
- Mac: OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard), OS X 10.7 (Lion) or OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion)
- Nikon cameras will NOT work on Windows XP due to lack of operating system support.
Some of the image analysis algorithms are quite computationally intensive, and although FoCal will run with a slower machine, operations such as Target Setup may run very slowly.
At present the software supports the following cameras:
- Canon EOS 1D Mark III (Some limitations: see here)
- Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III (Some limitations: see here)
- Canon EOS 1D Mark IV
- Canon EOS-1D X – now supported in Manual Setting Change (MSC) mode
- Canon EOS 5D Mark II
- Canon EOS 5D Mark III – now supported in Manual Setting Change (MSC) mode
- Canon EOS 6D
- Canon EOS 7D
- Canon EOS 50D
(Note that Nikon cameras will NOT work on Windows XP)
In order to ensure correct, reliable and safe operation with a camera, the software is validated with each camera model before release.
Unfortunately, Nikon and Canon have crippled the computer interface with regards to AF Microadjustment/Fine Tune on several of their cameras, so these are supported in MSC (Manual Setting Change) mode (see here) which requires a small amount of prompted user intervention (note that it’s only 1 setting that is prompted for changing, and all features of FoCal Plus and Pro still work with MSC mode cameras). Whilst this means some tests cannot be run unattended, you still benefit from the AF consistency validation, statistical analysis and prediction of FoCal Plus and FoCal Pro, and can complete a Fully Automatic AF Fine Tune test in less then 4 minutes typically.
Certain cameras have had their PC interface crippled such that FoCal cannot completely automate the AF Microadjustment/AF Fine Tune calibration. Manual Setting Change mode allows you to still calibrate these cameras and run all the other tests in as quick and easy way as possible.
MSC mode works by showing an on-screen prompt at any point where the AF Microadjustment/AF Fine Tune setting needs to be changed, telling you which value to specify on the camera. FoCal enables the camera menu system so you can quickly and carefully adjust the setting on the camera, click OK on the FoCal prompt and the test will continue.
In real terms, this changes the time taken for a fully automatic calibration from 1-2 minutes up to about 3-4 minutes – still a very quick time for AF validation, statistical analysis and prediction of the best real-world settings to apply to the camera!
In MSC mode, the only difference is that you are prompted when the AF Microadjustment/AF Fine Tune setting should be changed – all other features (e.g. analysis information, report generation etc) are still available. And any tests that don’t require change of AF Microadjustment/AF Fine Tune will run automatically as normal.
It’s important to realise that while MSC mode is slightly less automated, you still benefit from the critical features of FoCal – the AF consistency analysis for each microadjustment value in order to determine what’s likely to be a suitable real-world example of focusing, the statistical analysis across the tested range and the prediction based on our analysed lens performance to give you the best value for your setup. And by best, we mean the one that works outside shooting what you love, not inside shooting test targets!
MSC only affects some tests – The Target Setup utility and the Aperture Sharpness, AF Consistency and Dust Analysis tests are completely unaffected and run completely automated.
If you’re concerned that there’s no benefit to having FoCal Plus or FoCal Pro for MSC mode cameras, see this FAQ point here
Manual Mode (Offline Image Analysis)
Manual Mode allows analysis of images captured by you and then supplied to the software. Currently, there is support for Canon and Nikon cameras that support AF Microadjustment/AF Fine Tune
The Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III was first released in August 2007, and is quite an old camera. As such, it does not support all of the SDK functions the later cameras support. In FoCal 1.1, you could not use the Semi Automatic test with this camera, but from FoCal 1.2 onwards we are pleased to announce that it is available!
The other changes with the 1Ds Mark III – which also apply to the 1D Mark III – still stand: for each test point in the Fully Automatic test, 2 shutter actuations are required. Also, mirror lockup CANNOT be used during the test.
You should be aware that mirror vibration can cause problems with shutter speeds between about 1/4s and 1/250s (these figures are approximate), so you may find the results more variable between these limits.
Please be aware of these limitations before purchasing FoCal for the Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III or the Canon EOS-1D Mark III