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Thread: Reikan FoCal - Automatic AF Micro adjustment software

  1. #31
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    Bob;

    Do you have access to another body you could test your 500 with? If you are concerned that there could be a problem with your camera or lens (or the combination) then running the FoCal program using a different body could eliminate one potential factor. Just a thought.

    Stephen

  2. #32
    Senior Member bob williams's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NFLD Stephen View Post
    Bob;

    Do you have access to another body you could test your 500 with? If you are concerned that there could be a problem with your camera or lens (or the combination) then running the FoCal program using a different body could eliminate one potential factor. Just a thought.

    Stephen
    Unfortunately, I do not. But I do have a friend visiting this weekend and he owns a 500, maybe I can try his lens and see what happens. Since my camera seemed to worked perfectly with the shorter lenses, I doubt that the camera is the problem, unless it has something to do with the combo.
    Bob

  3. #33
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    Bob

    Of course I don't have the software and am just living vicariously through you on this one. Since I have the 500mm I have some thoughts and these might be obvious to you, I know it is easy for me to overlook the easy stuff. On the 500mm I am sure you turned IS off. It also has the switch that changes from close distance to long. I would probably use the one that does the whole range but I wonder if this option creates a problem. There is the switch that saves your focus point; I would assume you had it turned off. The AF stop buttons on the lens, it’s been a while I do not remember if the 7D had the option or not to program theses, I would think if it does it should be set to AF stop which is default. In the 7D's settings for the AF system I would make sure it is set to the original default, not an expanded point option or something similar. Make sure your CPL is not in the lens. Lens hood on to keep stray light out.

    I doubt it is your camera or lens, since you are using them now and they work fine.

    I know these are obvious things, but if all the variables are removed from your equipment then the software may be the problem.


    I am really hoping this one works out Bob. I like the idea of clicking the mouse and letting technology calibrate the camera. I think it is silly in today’s world of technology we buy an $8000 camera and lens set up and we have to calibrate it with cereal boxes, yardsticks, plumb bobs and tape measures.

  4. #34
    Senior Member bob williams's Avatar
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    @HD, I went through all of these things (several times) checking and rechecking. And..The software will tell you if you need to turn something on or off or it will automatically change to settings that it needs

    I think it is silly in today’s world of technology we buy an $8000 camera and lens set up and we have to calibrate it with cereal boxes, yardsticks, plumb bobs and tape measures.
    I concur, thats why I was so enthusiastic about this software---but, Lets remember that this is the first public release, So i am sure that there are bugs that need to be worked out---I am still happy with the software---after all, it worked like a charm on my 50 1.2 and this lens is known to have some tricky focus issues. One thing I have thought about that be could affecting this:

    When you have a long lens set up on a stable platform i.e. tripod, cabinet top etc, and go to live view X10, you can actually see the focus fade in and out ever so slightly---like there are heat waves rolling in front of the lens. This is much more noticable on long lenses than it is on the shorter ones. I am wondering if the software is having a hard time dealing with this? Just a thought.

    I would love to know if others are having this problem with the software? or is it just me
    Bob

  5. #35
    Senior Member neuroanatomist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by neuroanatomist View Post
    After reading another forum post indicating it works in an XP virtual machine, I think I'll try EOS utility on the VM to see if it connects to the camera (suggested on FoCal's website), and if it does, I'll buy and try.
    Quote Originally Posted by HDNitehawk View Post
    John; I was hoping you would. I am curious how the software results will compare with the settings you arrived at with the lensalign.
    I installed EOS Utility on my Parallels VM (WinXP) using the manual registry fix and the downloaded 'updater'. Connected the 7D and it worked just fine with EOS Utility running in the virtual environment for tethered shooting, etc. So...I just ordered the Pro version of FoCal, and hopefully I'll have a chance to give it a try this weekend.

    The clincher for me was the last item on Reikan's purchase page: "If you purchase a license for the PC version now, it will work with the Mac version also when it's released."

  6. #36
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    John: That’s great. I have laptops that run windows at work I could use. My mac pro and imac's at home all have bootcamp and windows 7. I am assuming I could load this program on multiple machines, that the only thing that limits the license is the serial numbers of the cameras. If that is the case for me the mac capability is just an annoyance and not a deal breaker.

    I am real interested in your results. So far with Bob's results it is only a little promising, and looks disappointing for my longest most important lens.

  7. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by HDNitehawk View Post
    I am assuming I could load this program on multiple machines, that the only thing that limits the license is the serial numbers of the cameras.
    That's right. You just download the software and you can install on as many computers as you like...I currently have it on three.

    Stephen

  8. #38
    Senior Member bob williams's Avatar
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    I am real interested in your results. So far with Bob's results it is only a little promising, and looks disappointing for my longest most important lens.
    HD, Don't give up yet---I just rec'd an email from Reikan that is asking me to run another set of tests and record the results so he can analyze. The problem may be something I am doing wrong or something wrong with my Lens/camera---as soon as I get a chance to run the tests and hand them off to Reikan---I'll update you and let all know what the problem is.
    Bob

  9. #39
    Senior Member bob williams's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob williams View Post
    HD, Don't give up yet---I just rec'd an email from Reikan that is asking me to run another set of tests and record the results so he can analyze. The problem may be something I am doing wrong or something wrong with my Lens/camera---as soon as I get a chance to run the tests and hand them off to Reikan---I'll update you and let all know what the problem is.
    HD and ALL, I uploaded and installed the newest version of FoCal (1.1.0.40)---this version seemed to work much better.

    My testing parameters:

    1. Canon 7D/EF 500L 4.0 IS
    2. Target was set up inside my house at a measured distance of 28 feet (the software estimated this at 10 Meters)---when the weather improves, I will set up outside and run the test at the recommended 25 meters.
    3. The software did validate the large target and provided "satisfactory testing environment" results
    4. I ran 15 runs and only rec'd the "inconsistent results" message on four of those runs and it only occurred once on each one of those as opposed to 5 or 6 times on earlier tests
    My test results were as follows:

    on 6 runs, the software recommended +2
    on 4 runs, the software recommended +1
    on 4 runs, the software recommended +3
    on 1 run, the software recommended 0 (zero)

    The software seemed to give me more consistent results if I zeroed the AFMA between runs which is where I got the +3's (four in a row)

    Overall, I am much happier with the new version of the software and confidant of my settings--I chose to stick with the +3 AFMA. I will also be sending the test log to Reikan for evaluation. The new version made a huge of difference. Hopefully someone else can test it with a long lens and echo my impressions.
    Bob

  10. #40
    Senior Member neuroanatomist's Avatar
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    Over the long weekend, I had the opportunity to run a series of tests with FoCal (Pro version). I'm running it on a 17" MacBook Pro (Core i5, 8 GB RAM) with the software installed on a Parallels vitrual machine running XP SP3, allocated one physical core (2 virtual cores) and 3 GB of RAM. I started with v1.0, and v1.1 was released over the weekend, so I updated mid-stream (no meaningful differences for me with the update).

    My overall impression is very good, with a couple of caveats. The software is easy to use, although there were several random crashes (7 over a two day period). So far, I have tested 7 lenses on my 5DII (I may try a few on the 7D this evening). There are still a few bugs in the software, for example, it sometimes reports that the current adjustment is optimal, when looking at the detailed analysis data shows that a different one is best (supposed to be fixed in the next release). Also, while the testing was very straightforward with f/2.8 lenses and an f/4 lens, faster lenses gave it some trouble, sometimes resulting in a 'inconsistent results obtained so far' message (although allowing it to continue anyway often generated an excellent curve fit). It does have trouble estimating the distance (with the 5DII, at least), and I'm wondering if that's Canon's 'fault' or FoCal's? I know from the EXIF that Canon reports out two relevant values, 'focus distance upper' and 'focus distance lower' (not sure what these mean, if they define the DoF, or are confidence intervals, etc.). But for example, with the 135L it warned that the recommended distance is 6.8 m, and suggested that I was testing at ~8.1 m. Now, I'm pretty sure that 135mm x 50 = 6.75 m, and that converts to 266 inches, and I'm also pretty sure that I know how to use a tape measure - I doubt that I've managed to mis-measure by 4.5 feet! I'm not bothered by it, but it's worth noting. (If it is, in fact, Canon's 'fault' I wonder what that says about the distance information transmitted for E-TTL II flash metering…)

    Setup was straightforward - the target search tool did a good job with most lenses/distances that I tested, although sometimes not, particularly with longer lenses at longer distances. The time taken for a test run was very short - even increasing the mirror lockup to 2 s (default is 1 s), test runs took less than 3 minutes. My setup consisted of the target taped to a wall, lit by three 150 W-equivalent gooseneck lamps pointed at the target from about 2' distance. The FoCal documentation recommends at least 10 EV, although it states that down to 5 EV will work; my lighting setup gave between 11 and 13 EV depending on lens and distance. Camera on tripod, with hotshoe bubble level to square it to the wall.

    So, how has it worked out so far? Comparing the results to what I obtained manually using the LensAlign Pro for the same lens/focal length/distance, the results were very similar - spot on for fast primes, and within 1-2 units for slower zooms (where there are usually a couple of values that yield good results due to the deeper DoF). If I tested like I have with the LensAlign, the whole process would be much faster with FoCal. It takes me about 45 minutes to calibrate a lens manually (one distance/focal length, 30 minutes for setup, image capture, and tear down, and 15 minutes for comparisons); the same process with FoCal would probably take less than 10 minutes.

    The advantage of FoCal is that it simplifies the procedure to the point where it's simple to test multiple distances and for a zoom lens, multiple focal lengths. Any particular adjustment you make is applicable for that focal length and that distance, and may not be optimal at other distances or zoom settings. With the exception of the 1D X, we're limited to applying a single adjustment value per lens - that means making the best compromise. The more data you have to help judge the best compromise, the better. Also, the 'best' adjustment may change over time, either due to a change in shooting habits, or a change in the camera itself (late last year, I mentioned that I dropped my 5DII a couple of times on an outing - I retested the AFMAs with the LensAlign after that, and found that for each of my lenses, the value that came out was systematically shifted 7-9 units negative from where it had been).

    I tested at 50x the focal length (recommended by Canon and FoCal), 25x the focal length (recommended by LensAlign), and for the 100L Macro, I also tested near the MFD using the small focus target. Without moving furniture around, the longest line-of-sight inside my house is ~35 feet, so I didn't test anything longer than 200mm (for which I'd set up outside, but daytime temps over the weekend were down in the single digits!). For zoom lenses, I chose focal lengths loosely based on the zoom ratio, e.g. 3 points for a 2-3x zoom and 4 points for a 4x zoom.

    Here are the tabulated results for the lenses I've tested so far, along with the AFMA value I selected for each lens.

    Lens Focal length 50x AFMA 25x AFMA Selected AFMA
    EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM 16mm -5 -3 -3
    24mm -1 -2
    35mm -3 0
    EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM 24mm -3 0 -1
    50mm -1 0
    85mm -3 0
    105mm -2 -1
    EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM 70mm -7 -7 -6
    135mm -8 -5
    200mm -8 -3
    EF 35mm f/1.4L USM 35mm -6 -11 -9
    EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM 85mm -10 -9 -9
    EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM 100mm -1 -2 -1
    ~MFD: 2 or 0 or -1
    EF 135mm f/2L USM 135mm -10 -12 -11



    Several observations occurred to me when looking over the data. First, distance matters - in some cases, testing at 25x vs 50x makes a 5-unit difference in the optimal AFMA, which is more than half of the depth of focus for the lens at max aperture, i.e. will be noticeable in real-world shots. For zoom lenses, different focal lengths give different results, and the progression is not necessarily linear nor unidirectional for a given lens (so, I wonder how the 1D X will handle the two values for a zoom). I selecting an AFMA, I considered both the results at the different distances in terms of DoF for a given focal length, and also the distances which I commonly shoot for those lenses. For example, the value I chose for the 35L is biased toward the closer distance, since that's where DoF will be thinner; I picked the value for the 85L (even though there wasn't much difference) based on the fact that I usually shoot that lens at about 7-8 feet for portraits, which is ~25x the focal length.

    Other notable findings not evident from the data were that the testing was quite consistent. Borrowing concepts for assay validation from work, I checked intra-run and inter-run variability, and both were quite low - repeating the same same lens/focal length/distance several times in succession yielded the same value (±1 for f/2.8-f/4 lenses), and re-testing after tear down and re-setup the next day yielded the same results. One exception was testing the 100L near the MFD, which gave more variable results; not a real problem since I almost always manually focus for macro anyway. One other interesting observation concerned the target itself - for the first lens I tested, I decided to repeat the LensAlign manual method on the spot for a direct comparison to FoCal. After the manual test, on a lark I connected the camera to my Mac and ran Focal with the camera pointed at the LensAlign. FoCal reported the same adjustment as it had with that lens using the printed FoCal target (which was the same as the manual value, too). Finally, the developer is quite responsive, as we've seen already from posts by Bob and others - good support is a critical part of new software!

    I'll follow up once I have some data from the 7D and/or longer lenses.
    Last edited by neuroanatomist; 01-18-2012 at 05:38 PM.

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