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Thread: Reikan FoCal - Automatic AF Micro adjustment software

  1. #1
    Senior Member qwRad's Avatar
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    Reikan FoCal - Automatic AF Micro adjustment software

    Hi, if this is the wrong area of the forum I apologize and this should be moved to the proper place, thanks!

    I just wanted to ask if someone else has any experience with this product: http://www.reikan.co.uk/focal/

    I have purchased a copy of the Plus version with fully automatic adjustment and it seems excellent so far. It's an interesting product and makes AFMA much easier and faster compared to doing all the work yourself. I have so far calibrated my EF-S 15-85mm (at the long end), Sigma 30mm f/1.4 and EF 85mm f/1.8 with the software. It's quite fun to watch the automatic mode work it's magic.

    I have just changed my 7D body for a brand new one (got a good deal with 15-85 and sold the old body) but the adjustments seem to be pretty similar to the ones I made for my old body. On the old 7D I determined that both the EF 85mm and the 30mm Sigma front focus using the DYI guide and tips by neuroanatomist, thank you for the excellent guide! The values I set for the old body were +10 for the Sigma and +8 for the 85mm. The values that the FoCal automatic adjustment came up with (for the new 7D body) are +9 for the Sigma 30mm and +6 for the EF 85mm and +2 for the EF-S 15-85mm.

    So overall my first impressions are pretty positive. I setup the test by taping the target on a wall (printed on normal paper, no gloss) and set up my camera on a tripod as well as possible. The software also has a target check that tells you when your setup is good enough and even shows a tip about improving lighting if it thinks the EV is too low.
    Last edited by qwRad; 01-04-2012 at 11:48 AM.

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    Major design flaw, it is not MAC compatible.
    I found this quote on their site interesting:
    “FoCal has taken hundreds of hours of development, during which time thousands of shots have been taken and analyzed, and a number of cameras and lenses have been profiled all to get the best possible results from the software.”
    That doesn’t sound like much testing, since I have thousands of shots just getting my camera set using lensalign.
    This seems like a very good tool if it will work, and fairly priced. Unfortunately no 1D IV version yet so it may be a while before I get to try it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HDNitehawk View Post

    That doesn’t sound like much testing, since I have thousands of shots just getting my camera set using lensalign.
    .
    I was considering getting a Lens Align but if it takes thousands of shots to adjust a lens I wouldn't consider it. This really surprises me.

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    Senior Member qwRad's Avatar
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    Yeah the MAC compatibility is an issue at the moment but they have promised to develop a MAC version too in the near future. The fair (in my opinion too) price was a major attraction for me in addition to the ease of use compared to a lensalaign or DYI setup. I might upgrade to the Pro version based on the upcoming features but would like to get more feedback from other users before I make a decision. For me there was maybe 20-50 (rough estimate, will record precise number when I use the tool again) shots per lens per one fully automatic calibration. Don't know if that's enough or too little but the results seem good to me.

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    Senior Member neuroanatomist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HDNitehawk View Post
    Major design flaw, it is not MAC compatible.
    +1! Also, on CR a user reported trying it with a Parallels VM, and it didn't work. Still, it sounds like a very nice tool, and I will probably get it at some point (would have already if they had a Mac version!). I still have my work PC laptop (even though I'm mostly Mac since I use the MacBook Air as a work computer, I keep the PC connected at work for Remote Desktop Connection, which is better than a local VM) - I can always install FoCal on that.

    Currently, I've got my lenses working as I want them, so there's no need. If I get another lens, that will be when I try it out (and I'll then compare to my LensAlign calibrations, too). But, I'll most likely be getting a 1D X as my next purchase, and one nice thing about the LensAlign is that you don't have to wait for the developer to write new code to support a new camera body...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joel Eade View Post
    I was considering getting a Lens Align but if it takes thousands of shots to adjust a lens I wouldn't consider it. This really surprises me.
    Joel

    It depends on how obsessive you are.

    Honestly it isn't that bad, because how I evolved in to using it I don’t fuss over specific pictures. I do a group and do a quick scan of the pictures, maybe less than a few seconds looking at each frame to determine where it hit. I go through them on full screen view, pick a number on the outside edges of the DOF front and back then scan them and mark them with stars, like one for front focus, two for on and three for back. I use Adobe Bridge and just look at the number count to see the averages.

    How many times have we seen someone post three pictures and think there lens is front focusing? Honestly if I do a group of 40 pictures there maybe four or five in a row that front focus slightly then the rest go behind. What I have found is the cameras AF system is not at all as accurate and consistent as we would hope. I think it is more accurate and faster to quickly review a thousand shots than it is to over analyze 40. I can do a lens in less than an hour, it doesn’t take that long.

    I like the idea of this software. Tested with 1000's of shots seems to be kind of light for testing a new product.
    Last edited by HDNitehawk; 01-04-2012 at 04:43 PM.

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    Hi

    I'm Rich - the author of the FoCal software. I'm guessing the forum rules are very strict about any kind of promotion, so I hope I'm not overstepping any mark by replying here.

    I just wanted to clarify the "thousand of shots" comment in the FAQ mentioned above. When I started, each attempt took 41 shots (for obvious reasons), then I started honing the prediction algorithm and fine tuning which points were taken to drop the numbers. My guess is that I probably ran 20-30 tests a day when I was working with this.

    However, so as not to wear the shutter out completely, I did a lot of UI and image analysis development with a simulated mode which used around 1000 captured images to simulate various situations.

    Add to my testing the worldwide beta test (over 1000 people downloaded the public betas, and the closed betas involved around 60 people), I would say that my comment of "thousands" is a bit of an underestimate

    I've updated the FAQ to reflect this.

    Oh, and for the Mac version - it's definitely in the pipeline!

    Rich

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    Quote Originally Posted by Reikanphoto View Post
    Hi

    I'm Rich - the author of the FoCal software. I'm guessing the forum rules are very strict about any kind of promotion, so I hope I'm not overstepping any mark by replying here.

    Rich
    Rich

    Welcome to the forums. I would think you are not breaking any rules here, provided you don't try and sell us Viagra. In fact I think any time we can get a developer / manufacture on the forums it is a good thing.

    Thanks for the clarification. There is another question that pops in my head. What lenses have you tested, or does this software just work with any lens regardless? For me I would be just as interested and likely to be using something like this on my 500mm as well as my 24mm.

    As a user of the 1D IV, until you get a release for that body I will not be able to try it. Any word on when you think the releases for the other bodies will be?

    Rick

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    Senior Member neuroanatomist's Avatar
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    Second the welcome, Rich. We're glad to have you here!

    Allow me to add a couple of followup timing questions to Rick's. Any idea when you'll have a Mac version available? Also, do you yet have a sense of the time frame for adding a body, i.e. once you get a 1D X in your hands, how long might it take to release a version of FoCal for that camera?

    Thanks!

    John

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    Senior Member bob williams's Avatar
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    Considering my doubts about my personal ability to accurately assess the performance of my lenses and af system, this looked like the right solution for me. So, I bit on this one and purchased the software. I haven't had a chance to start the adjustment process yet, but I thought I would give you an update on what I have discovered so far.

    1. The purchase process was very easy and I paid $57.00 in USD
    2. I ordered at about 6:30 am and had rec'd my download link and key code at 11:07 am
    3. Install was smooth and without issue. (Windows 7)
    4. The registration process was easy---simple cut and paste code from email to software
    5. Now--here is the kicker---the software is only licensed for one camera body (by serial number) and it only looks for that camera body when opened. So, for me, its no big deal, I only have the one 7D; but for those with more than one body with af adjustment, this might be an issue.

    EDIT: qwRad clarrified #5 for me, Thanks qwRad:
    Bob, about your point number 5. Up to five bodies are supported. You just have to register all of the serial numbers. Check the bottom of the purchase page on the website for more info. This was a major factor to my decision of buying the software since I will most likely get a full frame camera at some point in the future (5D3 where are you!?!?!) to supplement my 7D.
    That's as far as I have gotten with it so far---stay tuned, I will write more when I go through the adjustment process.

    @Rich--thanks for your feedback and welcome to the forums---I really look forward to trying your software out.
    Last edited by bob williams; 01-06-2012 at 12:22 PM.
    Bob

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