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Author Topic: How good is Reikan FoCal?  (Read 17912 times)

J.R.

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How good is Reikan FoCal?
« on: February 22, 2013, 01:25:51 PM »
Hi,

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
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How good is Reikan FoCal?
« on: February 22, 2013, 01:25:51 PM »

robbymack

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Re: How good is Reikan FoCal?
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2013, 01:42:55 PM »
It's good, but it requires lots of light to work well, ideally outside on a cloudless day.

Drizzt321

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Re: How good is Reikan FoCal?
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2013, 02:02:37 PM »
Also on the 5D3, it unfortunately goes to semi-automatic mode where I have to manually change the AFMA settings because Canon for some strange reason left that out of the official SDK. Works for the 6D, but not 5D3/1DX. Every time I've put in a support request saying "it's not there, fix it!" I get a response saying "the SDK is what it is, we'll take it under advisement". Which more or less, to me, says screw you, we don't give a crap.
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Viggo

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Re: How good is Reikan FoCal?
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2013, 02:57:27 PM »
It think Reikan had some if the best customer service and they update and work in new features almost every week.

So what if it's semi automatic, are you incapable of touching a button without moving the camera three inches forward ?

The software needs 10 ev to work optimally and I found that the flickering lights if fluorescent makes the results front focus. Bulbs I haven't tried, I used daylight and it works absolutely flawless. I have spent so many hours tryi g to afma my lenses with other remedies and found it to be pretty much useless for consistency.

All my lenses and two cameras done in an hour or so and never worry about it again makes completely worth it. It is to my broad experience with this, THE tool to use.
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Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: How good is Reikan FoCal?
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2013, 03:12:07 PM »
FoCal will not solve AFMA issues if you have a bad lens or camera.  It has various levels of accuracy, those who want the best accuracy need to set it to take 10 shots or so at each AFMA setting.  Some use a quick and dirty setting of 2 or 3 shots, and lens variations from shot to shot may not give the best setting.
 
A big potential improvement is now in beta testing, it does not close the shutter for each shot, and sounds like a major improvement.  I posted a article about it, but no one has responded.
http://www.canonrumors.com/forum/index.php?topic=13059.0
 
Also note that Focal 2 is in the pipeline, and may be out in several months.  A upgrade fee will almost certainly be levied, so buy it now and get some use out of it before the price goes up.
 
There is no solution for fully automatic AFMA for the 5D MK III or 1D X, and Canon is not upgrading the SDK.  This is one of those things where a lot of users making their wishes known to Canon would help.

Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: How good is Reikan FoCal?
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2013, 03:51:41 PM »


Mt Spokane, thanks for the link, actually I have read your input in FoCal threads before, aren't you a Beta tester or something? Anyway it was the Mac compatibility issues that stopped me buying it last time I looked, if I do get it I suspect I'll wait until v2. Also, do you know if they do a club license type arrangement? I am pretty active in a club and have talked about the club getting a license and then having a calibration day, but that wouldn't work with the current body serial number based setup.
They purposely limit the number of cameras that can be licensed to keep people from abusing their license and sharing passwords, or at least they limit it.
 
As to a group license, I'd ask them about the possibility, I don't know if they allow that or not, but I've seen some oblique posts hinting at something like that. 
 
I do not beta test, but pro licenses do have access to beta versions, and can test them, so I was just passing along the info to someone who might want to try out the beta. 

Dylan777

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Re: How good is Reikan FoCal?
« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2013, 04:14:28 PM »
It works great on my 16-35 f2.8 II and 50L.

Make sure you have decent tripod
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Re: How good is Reikan FoCal?
« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2013, 04:14:28 PM »

Viggo

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Re: How good is Reikan FoCal?
« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2013, 04:17:41 PM »
"So what if it's semi automatic, are you incapable of touching a button without moving the camera three inches forward ?"

No, are you incapable of answering a simple question without belittling people?

I mentioned a specific point because, when I have looked on their site, although it says my cameras are not fully automatic, I don't know, and they didn't clearly lay out (though they might now) what, exactly, that means.

It would be nice if a user could actually take the time to explain that rather than belittle me.

My own personal experience with AFMA on my bodies and my lenses in actual real world shooting, well it hasn't made a blind bit of difference. I have taken the time to push the buttons, all of them, myself, to get the optimum settings manually using Northern Lights interference pattern technique, but if I then switch off AFMA I see no difference in actual output. Maybe I am lucky, I'd happily try FoCal, but my impressions for my gear so far have been I don't need to.

Mt Spokane, thanks for the link, actually I have read your input in FoCal threads before, aren't you a Beta tester or something? Anyway it was the Mac compatibility issues that stopped me buying it last time I looked, if I do get it I suspect I'll wait until v2. Also, do you know if they do a club license type arrangement? I am pretty active in a club and have talked about the club getting a license and then having a calibration day, but that wouldn't work with the current body serial number based setup.

I forgot to quote, it wasn't an answer to your comment but to Drizz321's comment. Yelling and complaining about Reikan is no point when the canon SDK is the issue, as they've stated very clear. Sorry for
The misunderstanding.
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iMagic

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Re: How good is Reikan FoCal?
« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2013, 05:07:16 PM »
Take focal with a grain of salt. I have two bodies a mark ii and mark iii 5d. I went through all of my lenses and noticed a pattern of 2 afma between the bodies. So i expected that difference between all the lenses. It worked on the 70-200 ii, the 85mm ii, the 24mm ii. It did not work well on the 50mm L or the 16-35 mm ii. For those lenses i used a moire pattern chart with zooming in. That technique worked and produced again the expected 2 afma difference between the bodies. I spent a lot of time and care on the focal setups but for some lenses it did not work properly.

East Wind Photography

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Re: How good is Reikan FoCal?
« Reply #9 on: February 22, 2013, 05:08:44 PM »
FoCal is the next best thing to doing it manually with something like a Lensalign or LensCal.  Focal is not perfect though and in my opinion was better around version 1.4.  I still need to use a 3D target to tune in the settings.

pierceography

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Re: How good is Reikan FoCal?
« Reply #10 on: February 22, 2013, 06:06:09 PM »
Also on the 5D3, it unfortunately goes to semi-automatic mode where I have to manually change the AFMA settings because Canon for some strange reason left that out of the official SDK. Works for the 6D, but not 5D3/1DX. Every time I've put in a support request saying "it's not there, fix it!" I get a response saying "the SDK is what it is, we'll take it under advisement". Which more or less, to me, says screw you, we don't give a crap.

Seeing as how Canon requires any USB communication to run through their SDK, your opinion of "screw you, we don't give a crap" seems rather obtuse.  If the SDK (from Canon) doesn't support certain functionality, and there is no other method of communication with the camera, how is this Reikan's fault?

I thought it would be a great idea to write an iOS app which would allow you to tether your phone (via connector port <-> USB) to your Canon SLR (who really wants to lug a laptop with them for tethered shooting in the field?).  That is, until I realized Canon doesn't offer an iOS SDK, and trying to reverse engineer their API would be a nightmare.

So yeah, I can't blame Reikan at all for not being able to support functions that aren't included in Canon's SDK.
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Drizzt321

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Re: How good is Reikan FoCal?
« Reply #11 on: February 22, 2013, 06:19:54 PM »
"So what if it's semi automatic, are you incapable of touching a button without moving the camera three inches forward ?"

No, are you incapable of answering a simple question without belittling people?

I mentioned a specific point because, when I have looked on their site, although it says my cameras are not fully automatic, I don't know, and they didn't clearly lay out (though they might now) what, exactly, that means.

It would be nice if a user could actually take the time to explain that rather than belittle me.

My own personal experience with AFMA on my bodies and my lenses in actual real world shooting, well it hasn't made a blind bit of difference. I have taken the time to push the buttons, all of them, myself, to get the optimum settings manually using Northern Lights interference pattern technique, but if I then switch off AFMA I see no difference in actual output. Maybe I am lucky, I'd happily try FoCal, but my impressions for my gear so far have been I don't need to.

Mt Spokane, thanks for the link, actually I have read your input in FoCal threads before, aren't you a Beta tester or something? Anyway it was the Mac compatibility issues that stopped me buying it last time I looked, if I do get it I suspect I'll wait until v2. Also, do you know if they do a club license type arrangement? I am pretty active in a club and have talked about the club getting a license and then having a calibration day, but that wouldn't work with the current body serial number based setup.

I forgot to quote, it wasn't an answer to your comment but to Drizz321's comment. Yelling and complaining about Reikan is no point when the canon SDK is the issue, as they've stated very clear. Sorry for
The misunderstanding.

Perhaps I should have clarified, it was Canon that I contacted/yelled at. I know Reikan is at the mercy of Canon in this area, and it's very unfortunate that Canon doesn't have this for the 5D3/1DX.
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spinworkxroy

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Re: How good is Reikan FoCal?
« Reply #12 on: February 22, 2013, 09:24:39 PM »
Reikan is a hit and miss for me but it's still a fantastic software to use.

it works really well on my 5D3 with any lens i put on it. I use Focal to calibrate all my lenses and it does help a little...However, on a Nikon D7k, somehow the software will not get a good result on it..Keeps giving me errors in inconsistency..I'm not sure if it's the camera or the software because NO lens will work on it...

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Re: How good is Reikan FoCal?
« Reply #12 on: February 22, 2013, 09:24:39 PM »

RMC33

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Re: How good is Reikan FoCal?
« Reply #13 on: February 22, 2013, 11:42:35 PM »
I get good results with all my bodies... but 50mm lenses for some reason HATE me. My 50 1.4 is a -15 on my mk2 and -11 on my 5d3 (@ f/2). The CPS 50 f/1.2 I have is a -18 on my Mk2 and -14 on my MK3 (@ f/2).

 All my other lenses (200 f/2, 400 f/2.8 70-200 mkII 24-70 MkI 100 IS macro) are within +-5.

The $115 I paid for the pro version (should have got the middle one) has paid for it's self in better images a few times over now.

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Re: How good is Reikan FoCal?
« Reply #14 on: February 23, 2013, 05:58:03 PM »
I like FoCal very much.  It has helped me with various cameras and lenses.

Yesterday I made some pics with my 50/1.4 on a 6D body (before adjustment) and they were not sharp.  Today I ran that body and lens through FoCal and discovered that the lens needed a +17 adjustment.  What a difference!  It's like having a new lens. 

However, FoCal is still in development and seems a bit unstable.  I've had it shut down unexpectedly a number of times.  Also, it is supposed to support the 6D but I could not get it to work in the fully automatic mode without forcing the Manual Settings Change (MSC).  Before I set it to MSC, FoCal would run through the whole test automatically, but it seems it wasn't actually adjusting the AFMA setting.  The analysis graph showed pretty much the same results from -20 to +20, which made no sense at all.  After setting it to MSC, I ran through the automatic test but with manual AFMA adjustments and the graph showed the proper curve with a peak around +17.  It took some effort, but now I have a good result and it really makes a difference in the pics.

That said, I do wish that Canon would update the old design of the 50/1.4 to one that is more precise & consistent in focusing.  The older designs seem to be the least consistent.

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Re: How good is Reikan FoCal?
« Reply #14 on: February 23, 2013, 05:58:03 PM »