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Thread: Reikan FoCal - Automatic AF Micro adjustment software

  1. #11
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    I normally don't like paying for software, but like Bob I'm a bit doubtful of my own ability (but also patience and laziness plays a factor for me), my AFMA routine so far has been "these shots are all front-focussed! lets change the AFMA by 1 point and keep shooting".

    If the software can be downloaded and installed without needing a registration key though, I'd be willing to lend myself to Linux-installation-testing under Wine (as long as it supports XP, the newest DPP that is Vista&7-only doesn't work on my Wine...)
    An awful lot of electrons were terribly inconvenienced in the making of this post.
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  2. #12
    Senior Member qwRad's Avatar
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    Welcome to the forum from me also Rich! Always great to have direct input from the developer.

    I would also be interested about the time it takes to add a new body as neuro asked.

    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.

    Dr Croubie, the lease of the process (my laziness) was the major deciding factor for me and also as you say the doubts about my own ability (especially with a DIY test target setup) to correctly read and adjust the focus. When I get a laptop for loan from my sister I will calibrate the 70-200mm (needs a larger space than I can achieve with the camera tethered to my HTPC) and will post more thoughts about the software. I think the software asks the registration at the first start so you could theoretically test the installation and running (very limited, just the starting) of the software without needing to purchase.

  3. #13
    Senior Member bob williams's Avatar
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    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.
    Thanks qwRad for clarifying----I'll ammend the original post
    Bob

  4. #14
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    I just purchased this software as well. I just upgraded to the 7d and thought I should take advantage of the AFMA.

    First I did a little testing on my own with a printed focus target and quickly realized that it can be a very time-consuming and tedius process (for me at least). So I checked into different alignment products (ie. lensalign). About the same time I saw this posting about the software. Seemed like a much simpler process and very reasonably priced (especially compared to the other alignment systems) so I bought the Plus version (with the automatic option).

    Tried it out tonight and seemed to work quite well. I tried each lens a few times and got consistant results each time. However, I did have a bit of trouble getting my 50 1.4 to give consistant AFMA values. The software sometimes gave a warning that an unexpected result occured and more testing was required. I adjusted the software settings a bit (lower tolerance and higher number of shots) and it was able to narrow in on a AFMA value. When repeated a few times it gave similar results each time (varied from -3 to -7 I believe) and settled on a value of -5 which seemed to work well.

    For my 100 2.8 (non-L macro) it worked very well and consistantly gave an AFMA of -3. I also tested my EF-S 15-85 at both focal length extremes and my 70-200 F4 IS at both ends as well. Both gave consistant (and repeatable values) but the 15-85 had different values at each of the two focal lengths tested (not unexpected).

    Overall I am impressed with the software so far. This was just a first run at it and I'll probably fiddle around with it a bit more to see the different options (like semi-automatic mode). I'll also have to see how the adjustments pan out in real world shooting; especially the 50 1.4.

    Bob - I'd be interested to see how it works out for you.

    Stephen

  5. #15
    Senior Member bob williams's Avatar
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    Bob - I'd be interested to see how it works out for you.
    Stephen, I tried with my 50 1.2/7d this afternoon, but I couldn't get it to see the target---Im thinking I didn't have enough light on it---but even without that---it seemed to do a pretty good job of improving the AF. I will try in the sunlight tomorrow and give you a better review----for the moment, I'm thinking I like this software.
    Bob

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob williams View Post
    Im thinking I didn't have enough light on it
    Yeah, I noticed that you need a very bright setup as well. I had two 150W lamps pointed directly at the target from just ~3 ft away and that worked ok. It actually gives you the EV value when it runs the test too - I believe it was 7.6 for my tests. First when I tried the lamps wern't close enough I guess and the EV was just over 5 and the program actually told me it wasn't enough light for good results and recommended not to do the test.

    Stephen

  7. #17
    Senior Member conropl's Avatar
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    Well... I went and bought FoCal today. Previously I had set up a test rig for my 100-400L and after a fair amout of set up and testing I determined I needed a +5 at 400mm (unfortunatly I put all this effort into figuring out a testing scheme before John published his set up). So that lens was the one I started with when I got the FoCal loaded up. I did the fully automated test and it came up with a +5 adjustment (and it repeated several times). So it looks like it worked well on that.

    I did 3 other lenses today also, and the big supprise was my 100mm L Macro... it showed it needed a +19 (very supprised). I think I need to do some more testing up close to see if that still holds true with less than a foot focus depth. I have some real sharp photos up close and I do not want to screw that up.

    Edit:
    By the way, the lighting does matter. I ended up putting a couple halegen lights from the garage on the target, and that worked fine.

    Pat
    Last edited by conropl; 01-07-2012 at 08:32 PM. Reason: Added lighting comment
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  8. #18
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    Just a question, more about the AFMA itself than the software, but seeing as there's a lot of people AFMAing at the moment there might be a few people who can answer:
    What is the (rough) correlation you're getting between AFMA +/- values, and the distance of front/back focussing? Is it something like 1mm for 1 'value', or 1cm, or 1 inch? Of course this is going to depend on camera/lens/aperture, and especially focal length, but i'm just curious as to how 'sensitive' the AFMA system is as a whole (maybe best answered by those with a lensalign or similar with a diagonal-ruler).
    (I'm going to be building myself a rig of sorts within a few weeks, then there's a lot of lenses to be tested...)
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  9. #19
    Senior Member conropl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Croubie View Post
    Just a question, more about the AFMA itself than the software, but seeing as there's a lot of people AFMAing at the moment there might be a few people who can answer:
    What is the (rough) correlation you're getting between AFMA +/- values, and the distance of front/back focussing? Is it something like 1mm for 1 'value', or 1cm, or 1 inch? Of course this is going to depend on camera/lens/aperture, and especially focal length, but i'm just curious as to how 'sensitive' the AFMA system is as a whole (maybe best answered by those with a lensalign or similar with a diagonal-ruler).
    (I'm going to be building myself a rig of sorts within a few weeks, then there's a lot of lenses to be tested...)
    According to the 7D manual:
    "The adjustment amount of one step varies depending on the maximum apeture of the lens."
    5DS R, 1D X, 7D, Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6, 24mm f/1.4L II, 16-35mm f/4L IS, 24-105mm f/4L, 50mm f/1.8, 100mm Macro f/2.8L, 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II, 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L, 580EX-II
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  10. #20
    Senior Member bob williams's Avatar
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    Well, I spent a good part of the afternoon with the FoCal software and all of my lenses. Overall, I am impressed and believe that this software is considerably better than my eyes when looking at images of focus charts and rulers. I did finally get the software to see my target---It was a lighting issue. I ran at least 3 fully automatic tests/adjustments on all of my lenses and discovered the following:

    I ran at least 3 tests on each lens at approximately 50 times the focal length as recommended.

    1. On the short lenses (50 1.2L/100 2.8L macro/10-22) The software performed very well--Easy target ID and consistant adjustments on each lens with the following results:

    50 1.2---+8
    100 2.8----+6
    10-22 @ 22--+4

    With my two long lenses (500L and 100-400 L), I had a little more difficulty and will have to re-run the tests tomorrow. When testing these lenses, the software kept giving me an "inconsistant results" error and suggested that this might be due to vibration, camera, or lens problem or "something else" --which wasn't real helpful. I did manage to narrow down an adjustment after several attempts, but my confidence is low so I will re-try in the am on these two lenses.

    Some issues I noticed with the software:

    1. The red/green target adjustment indicators are very difficult to see (of course I am red/green color blind-so that may be a factor) I would suggest to the author that he decrease the transparency on the target indicators to make them easier to see.

    2. After testing two lenses, I rec'd an error on the third lens telling me to set the camera to single point AF---It was, and I did---checked it and rechecked it and it still gave me the same error. I finally realized that the AF was turned off on the lens. Once that was corrected, the software worked fine---Something you may want to note if you use the software---maybe the author can fix this in the next revision.

    As I said before, I am impressed with this software and am confident it will provide better AFMA than me trying to visually adjust. When I get a chance, I will set up my homemade target and ruler and see how they compare.

    I am very happy with this purchase.
    Last edited by bob williams; 01-08-2012 at 01:03 AM.
    Bob

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