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Messages - East Wind Photography

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Reviews / Re: Review - Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II
« on: June 25, 2013, 05:07:16 PM »
"For those who already own the older 600mm lens the decision becomes slightly more clouded. The new lens does not bring any real world sharpness advantages over the older version. The decreased weight and minimum focus distance however may just be worth the cost of the upgrade."

Really???  Pay another 6K just for some weight and closer focus?

He really missed the boat on the reasons to upgrade such as improved image stabilization and all but highly desired increase in AF accuracy with newer bodies like the 5D3 and 1DX due to closed loop AF system....and even with that is it still worth spending 6K to upgrade from the 600 F4L IS?  I could buy a couple more 5D3's or a 1DX with that 6K.

Software & Accessories / Re: How good is Reikan FoCal?
« on: June 25, 2013, 10:36:42 AM »
Now you feel my pain as well!!!  This happens for me with all of my lenses except my old (very old) 24-70 2.8L.  Major Analysis issues and it has gotten worse with each incremental version.

unfortunately, by the time I sent a message to Reikan it was past 5pm GMT yesterday, (they are closed for the weekend) so I'll have to wait till Monday.
to be fair their system was pretty quick in generating a ticket number for my problem so I'm pretty confident they'll get back to me.
Waiting on Reikan to contact me for the ticket they generated for my complaint on Friday ... so far my Ticket Status with Reikan shows as "Being Procesed" (refer to the attachment) ... will keep posting my experience with Reikan and how they resolve this problem ... hope it helps those who are considering FoCal.
Woke up very late today coz last night Qatar declared today as a public holiday, coz the Emir (ruler of the nation) handed over the power to his 33 year old son (I think it is brilliant to have youth leading the nation) hence the holiday and the cause to get up late ... anyway, back to the topic:
11 hours ago Reikan sent me an email (but I just saw it now, coz I woke up very late ... by the way, Reikan's website says 72 hours, I'm assuming that is business hours, for getting back to customer complaints ... they got back to me in abiut 24 business hours, as I only sent in the complaint at the end of their business week ... so I'd say Reikan's turn-around time is very good ) ... now, here is
Reikan's message:


Sorry to hear that - just let me ask you a couple more questions:

Can you confirm you installed mono 2.10.9 from the fo-cal website?

Are you using any form of usb extension cable, usb hub? Have you tried the camera in a different port?

I assume you get past the find and connect part of the connection?

many thanks

My Reply:


Thank you for your email.
Originally I installed the wrong Mono framework (version 3.10.12) and FoCal wold not allow me to run the program, it asked me to install the correct version ... so I uninstalled the wrong version (3.10.12) and installed the correct version (2.10.9) ... after this FoCal opened up and began the tests until I got the error messages.

Yes I was successful in getting past the "find and connect" part of the connection.

I used the USB cable that came with my Canon 5D MK III, I did not use any extensions ... I also tried 2 different USB cables just to be sure that it wasn't the fault of the cable. 

My MacBook Pro has 2 USB ports and I tried in both.

My first attempt was using the "Fully Automatic" mode ... heard a couple of shots being taken and in the info section it said "Defocusing Lens" and a few seconds later I got this error "LiveViewStae: Action timeout"

The I re-launched FoCal and tried the "Semi Automatic" mode ... heard a couple of shots being taken and a few seconds later, I get an error message 'DoPhaseDetectAF: Action timeout'

I ran the test 6 times (3 times on Fully Automatic mode & 3 times on Semi Automatic Mode), kept getting the same error messages every single time at about the same time.

Can't figure out what is causing these errors ... your assistance in resolving this issue is most appreciated.

Will keep you posted on further developments.
While I'm waiting for Reikan to get back, I decided to update to version 1.9.0M (which was released a few hours after I bought FoCal on 21 June 2013) ... after installation, I chose "Fully Automatic" Mode ... everything worked fine ... it took about 21 photos after that, I got a "Warning" saying: "Unexpected analysis results: adding more test photos..." ... after this it took more photos (38 in all) and gave me another message that the test yielded inconsistent results and if want to restart the test or quite (or something to that effect) ... I am assuming it might have something to do with me touching the camera to change AFMA values. I am going to rerun the test and re-post with an update. But the good news is that FoCal is working ... Yippee!
I have not informed Reikan that I updated to the newer version ... gonna do that after I re-start and complete at least one test.
I ran the test again with EF 50mm f/1.4 ... FoCal seemed to work fine, prompting me to change the AFMA values (which I did as per the prompts) but after 21 shots it said "Warning": "Unexpected analysis results: adding more test photos..."

I clicked on OK and it took another 17 photos (total 38) then FoCal displayed the following message:
Poor Results
The result obtained from the camera and lens are not behaving as expected despite trying more testing. The overall result may be poor if you continue

Then I changed the lens to EF 40mm f/2.8 and ran the test (making sure the camera to chart distance is 2 meters i.e. 40 x 50x as per the FoCal Test Distance Chart instructions) ... this time the test ran for less than a minute and gave me the following error message:
Failed to download image from the camera

... when clicked on OK button, I got this message:
Could not get analysis information
 :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :(
Sent another message to Reikan, informing them that I updated to version 1.9.0M and pretty said exactly what I mentioned in those post ... hopefully they will have some solution.

Software & Accessories / Re: How good is Reikan FoCal?
« on: June 24, 2013, 03:32:44 PM »
I know you seem to have good results reading your posts over the last year or so.  I wish I had similar success.  FoCal seemed to be what was needed.  Perhaps your manual mode is the ticket and just manually removing the outliers as needed to fit the curve.  However the software should be able to do this automatically (at least the analysis part) which it does not seem to do well.

With the SpyderCal it is very easy (at least for me) to determine what is in focus and what is out of focus.  In 10 shots I would say 8 produce the same result and the other two maybe off by .25cm.  I ignore them and use the ones that are consistent to determine which way to move the AFMA adjustment.  I've also found that changing the brightness and using unsharp masking can help reveal the lines that are in focus and those that are not.  Example, using ACR you can hold the ALT key and move the masking slider to optimize your view of the infocus lines.

To be honest, looking at the Focal Target images is not easy for me to determine which ones are sharper, particularly when AFMA is maybe one or two from another.  I can discern that on my SpyderCal fairly easily hence my need to verify what FoCal is reporting (which for me is obviously wrong).

My frustration with the program is beyond words.  So I just keep putting out there that when you use FoCal, you still need a way to verify the AFMA such as with a spydercal.  Dont "trust" that FoCal has worked as expected.  You need to verify what it's produced and at that point you might as well just use SpyderCal or LensCal in the first place.

How do you verify your SpyderLensCal results?  Personally, I never found that 8-10 shots were enough with a LensAlign Pro.

As I said, I get equivalent results with FoCal and LensAlign when I do compare them, but the LensAlign is a lot more work.  Perhaps it's that digital image analysis (of microscopy images) was part of my day job for many years, but I know that a properly-written algorithm can pick the sharpest image from a group better than a human eye, particularly when the images are close. Gauging the edges of the DoF on the angled ruler was not always obvious (particular with slower lenses at longer distances).  I'll also take a quantitative analysis over a qualitative analysis any day of the week.

I'm honestly not sure why you're getting inconsistent results with the setup you describe.  But perhaps I am getting consistent results because of how I use FoCal - for image analysis only.  They do seem to have worked toward predictive algorithms with each release, so that fewer shots are required per test.  It may be that their algorithms aren't all that predictive - undersampling with a system that has both systematic and random error can easily lead to erroneous results.  Since I got the 1D X before there was any FoCal support, I was forced to use Manual Mode - and I found it easy and very robust. I still do it that way.  Granted...I know that I'm oversampling (a lot), but my curve fits are solid, and the conclusion is visually evident.  Before FoCal, I wrote a Matlab script to do a similar analysis - FoCal is easier, with a nice front end GUI (something I have no idea how to code), and it works on jpgs instead of requiring conversion to tifs.

My setup is pretty simple - I leave a target taped to the basement wall (I've got enough room down there for up to a 300mm lens; outdoors I tape a target to the fence), set up the camera on a stable tripod, align as best I can (using the camera's level and my eyeball alignment), and shoot two shots per even AFMA value over |10| (defocused in opposite directions) and three shots from -10 to +10 (two defocused opposite then one without defocusing).  Setup takes less than 5 minutes, taking the 83 shots per test takes about 10 minutes.  It's quite obvious what the correct result should be, based on the curve. In the software, I can click on any point on the plot and see the image from which the data point was derived.  What's to verify?

Software & Accessories / Re: How good is Reikan FoCal?
« on: June 23, 2013, 11:25:16 PM »
You probably could have saved some time by just testing -10 to 10.  If your AF is off my more than that you would notice it on every shot, likely even with the lens stopped down.

Using a SpyderCal, I can get a lens AFMAd in about 10 to 15 minutes..less if it's closer to zero.  The SPydercal or LensCal uses a slanted ruler so once you are on the ruler, you know which way to go to make your adjustment.  Very quick and very precice...though you have to review the shots on your computer screen, not on the back of the camera.  That's what takes most of the time, dumping the shots down.  The last lens I did, I used an Eye-Fi card and setup outside then just came inside to review on the big screen.

I manually AFMA... maybe I'm way off, but I think I got pretty dang close.  I initially took readings at -20 through +20 in increments of five (both wide and tele), found the zone I thought looked best by comparing in lightroom... then I took a sample of 7 spots in increments of 1.

It took about 3 hours for two lenses... but I like to think of it as fun hours rather than work and toil. 

And my results... +3 for both wide and tele for my 24-105 and  +2 wide and +4 zoom for my 70-200 mkii. 

Evidently I'm productive without sports.

Software & Accessories / Re: How good is Reikan FoCal?
« on: June 23, 2013, 11:18:21 PM »
I did not contact them as I was able to AFMA all of my lenses with Spydercal in fewer exposures and less time than it would take to get everything set up with Focal, including lights, targets, steady mount, reshoots because of camera movement when manually setting AFMA on the 5D3, etc.

Most of my frustration with the software is that everything has to be rock solid and super stable through out the test.  I even fabricated wooden V-blocks to support the lenses on a concrete floor so shot to shot the camera would not move...not even an earthquake would move the lens.

It was much MUCH easier to use the spydercal and just take maybe 8 to 10 shots using a tripod and cable release.  The software pretty much needs ideal conditions to conduct it's analysis and given that it still does not provide decent enough results.  I get plot points all over the place and most of the time the software just gives up.  I take 8 to 10 shots with the spydercal and AF is consistently dead on.  So it's not the lenses, it's not the camera (I've used two, 5DIII and a 7D which I've sold), it's not the setup I am using and I am confident NOTHING is moving between shots.  I've given it the full sun for lighting, I've used Tungsten Halogen lamps.  I've tried three different computers, XP, Win7 32bit and win7 64 bit.  I've done most of the tests indoors except the long tele's which need a football field and I've wasted hours trying to appease the software into submission in all cases (though I had reasonable success with my old 24-70 2.8L which is the oldest of my lenses!)

At this point I'm not going to waste more time calling them as it's easier and faster to do the calibration with a SpyderCal.  I have tried each new version since 1.4 but no real improvement.  TurboCal does seem to produce a result every time but it's inconsistent from one test to the next and none of the results were even close to the manually calculated AFMA using the SpyderCal.

My frustration with the program is beyond words.  So I just keep putting out there that when you use FoCal, you still need a way to verify the AFMA such as with a spydercal.  Dont "trust" that FoCal has worked as expected.  You need to verify what it's produced and at that point you might as well just use SpyderCal or LensCal in the first place.

When you AFMA your lenses with FoCal you never know if it's going to be correct or not.  Even with very adequate lighting EV14+ I could not get consistent results that would equal what I got with using SpyderCal.

Sorry to hear that!  I do have to say, though, that you seem to be in the minority. 

Personally, I get consistent results, that match a manual estimate with a LensAlign Pro, even with the 1.9 beta version (although I will say that v1.8 crashed frequently for me under Mac OS X 10.6, 10.7 and 10.8, whereas v1.9b seems stable). 

What suggestions for your inconsistent results were offered by Reikan support, when you contacted them?

Software & Accessories / Re: How good is Reikan FoCal?
« on: June 23, 2013, 05:08:47 PM »
I would spend the money on a SpyderCal or LensCal AFMA target setup.  I've used FoCal since Version 1.2 and after 1.4 the program has been flaky and  have not been able to get it to produce consistent and correct results.  I've resulted to using a SpyderCal target (Small target with a slanted ruler) that folds up and can fit in your camera bag.  With the SpyderCal I now have my lenses AF spot on and you can verify your AFMA from time to time and in different lighting conditions.  AFMA will be different depending on whether you Cal in Tungsten or Daylight.  I prefer Daylight as that is what I shoot the most in.

When you AFMA your lenses with FoCal you never know if it's going to be correct or not.  Even with very adequate lighting EV14+ I could not get consistent results that would equal what I got with using SpyderCal.


I have been thinking of purchasing the Reikan FoCal software for AFMA and have gone through various threads here  on this aspect but am still confused.

How good is it? Does it really solve your problems of AFMA?

Is there anything that you need to especially take care of when you use this software to ensure that you make the best use of it - i mean anything which is not mentioned by the Reikan guys?

Your thoughts on this ...

Cheers ... JR

Lenses / Re: AFMA - Is is really necessary?
« on: June 20, 2013, 01:55:00 PM »
I hope you find it hassle free.  For me it has been more work and disappointment (see my post below).  My SpyderCal has been a much better investment in time and $$$.

Mine is a Canon TC so all good.  :)

Hopefully FoCal will take the hassle out of calibrating my lenses - will do all 3 of mine and the 70-200 with the TC.

Lenses / Re: AFMA - Is is really necessary?
« on: June 20, 2013, 11:28:14 AM »
I think thats only true if it's a canon TC.  Will it save say a Canon lens and Kenko TC combo?

Anyone know if I add my 1.4 TC to my 70-200 will the camera store separate AFMA data from it than when I use the 70-20 on it's own?

Yes, a lens + TC is treated as a unique 'lens' for AFMA value storage.

Lenses / Re: AFMA - Is is really necessary?
« on: June 20, 2013, 09:16:25 AM »
One of the problems with doing that is that the moire patterns you sometimes get (not sensor moire but from the screen on the camera) on the older models can give you a false interpretation of the results.  I have tried very carefully to use the rear screen to eval AF points and then find later after downloading to the PC that it was off.  The only thing I can come up with is that the screen DPI even at actual magnification, alters the image slightly enough to make AFMA determination risky (yes I made sure all of the in camera alterations were disabled).  5D3 and 1DX are much better but it's still easier to find the exact AF point on a larger computer screen.

You really need to take the time to evaluate it correctly...sometimes requires going out back and taking 12 shots then coming in to eval, make some tweaks, go back out for another 12 and repeat until you have it nailed down.  Anything else and you are simply guessing and unless your AFMA is already way off, it's probably best left at disabled.

I am semi-pro and use a 5D mark III body and I have recently upgraded my Mk 1 lenses to the 24-70mm f2.8L II and 70-200mm f2.8L II.

I have never bothered with any AFMA and the mark II lenses do look sharp - even in 100% crops, but it has always niggled in my mind that they "could" benefit from some AFMA.

Should I be doing it and, without buying a calibration kit, what is the easiest way to do AFMA?

I have heard a method where you tether the camera to a PC and use the EOS tool to do it - this looks reasonably easy.

yes^yes unless you are really lucky

sometiems just aiming at a crack in the pavement and adjusting works

sometimes just aim at a player and adjust until grass centers around their feet as you like

1D X Sample Images / Re: Any Thing shot with a 1Dx
« on: June 19, 2013, 11:14:48 PM »
It's got to be CR tinkering with the JPG files as this too seems a bit oversharpened to me compared to what we should see with just a RAW image.  Otherwise both are excellent.

Just ran out quickly to see what the 200-400 could do with the moon.

Looks a lot like mine ~ 500 f/4 II + 1.4 TC. Prepping for the super moon this weekend, have the penthouse on the 17th floor all to myself, 5d3 and 1Dx + 500 f/4 II 2x mkIII TC and 17 TS-E.

Lenses / Re: AFMA - Is is really necessary?
« on: June 19, 2013, 11:10:19 PM »
And some are more sensitive in cross or X pattern.  This is good in theory but the target should be better defined and quite a bit larger than the ladder itself to prevent the camera from weighing on it.  Otherwise it's just as good or better than Focal. 

The latest version 1.8.1 failed on all of my lenses (5-15, 100L 70-200L II, 300 2.8L 600F4L and the latter 3 with and without 1.4XIII and 2XIII extenders) but ironically the older 24-70L.  After letting focal do a quick cal as well as a full call on all of my lenses, a check with my spydercal revealed that focal had incorrectly calculated the AFMA on all but the 24-70.

This is quite disappointing as I would have expected an improvement in later versions and instead it has gone the other way.  1.4 seemed to give the best results.

Another interesting thing that happened with 1.8.1 when calibrating my 70-200 2.8L IS II is that on the 200 end at AFMA -20, focal gave it a higher result than at 0.  The images were garbage compared to the same with AFMA 0.  Even with removing those test points the AFMA calculation was considerably off.  Again using the SpyderCal, -3 put the AF dead on 8 out of 8 shots.

To answer the OP question, yes AFMA matters if your lenses are not already dead sharp at 0 AFMA.  And you would never know if you dont test them.  Software and dot tune are not ideal. Both seem problematic to me and the only sure way to verify everything is to use SPyderCal or LensCal type device, homemade or not.

Then again, there's the cheap-o DIY version
A 2x8, a step ladder, and any kind of target (in this case, a cardboard box) - see setup.
I take a few photos, manual defocusing before using AF, and estimate the number of inches front or back focusing. Adjust the micro adjust and repeat.
But ... where is the camera actually trying to focus?  You can't tell by the red box, because the aF area is larger, and it makes a difference based on exactly where the camera focused.  A Camera sensor tends to grab horizontal lines in preference to vertical, and that can have a effect.
There can be lots of gotchas that can lead to wrong conclusions, or they could be right ones, the problem is in knowing which is which.

1D X Sample Images / Re: Any Thing shot with a 1Dx
« on: June 19, 2013, 10:36:41 PM »
Just ran out quickly to see what the 200-400 could do with the moon.

Nice..but seems to have too much sharpening applied.  Might just be CR jpg translation.

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: Worth getting an SD card for 5D3?
« on: June 12, 2013, 09:45:36 PM »
I've never had an issue using the SD card in the 5DIII other than you are limited to 6 or 7 frame bursts in RAW mode....compared to 13 or 14 with the CF card.

Thanks for all the replies peeps. You've helped a lot in making my decision.

The question I have left, however, is whether anyone would trust ONLY an SD card? (For slower shootion situations of course.)

It's just that I will be running my MkII and MkIII side by side for a while, and can only afford to get an SD. So that'll have to go int the MkIII, and the CF stay in the MkII for the time being.

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: Worth getting an SD card for 5D3?
« on: June 11, 2013, 02:10:26 PM »
The best use for the SD card is writing two copies of an image to both cards at the same time.  Useful if you are a wedding or event photographer and want two copies.  It slows down the number of shots in drive mode before it has to buffer but if that is not important for the shoot then you can write to both cards.  Otherwise you can set it to write to the CF card first and fail over to the SD card when it's full.  That setting wont hinder your write speed.

I use an Eye-Fi card in mine (now that the new firmware fixes all of the crashing).  I can enable the wi-fi piece on wedding shoots and let the family see the images on my ipad (compressed jpg) and still write the full raw to the CF card.

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: focusing screen dilemma resolved
« on: June 07, 2013, 07:25:51 PM »
There is also no means to adjust exposure via firmware.  Changing focusing screens will affect the exposure on 5d3 for sure.  In other models you either have a micro exposure adjustment or a selector for available canon focus screens.

Though I guess you could just be lucky and get one that is close to the original in light transmission and hope you don't drop a screw or two into the camera.

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