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Author Topic: Focal Plus vs Pro? Which do you recommend?  (Read 4235 times)

RGF

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Focal Plus vs Pro? Which do you recommend?
« on: May 03, 2013, 11:39:24 PM »
Hi

I am considering buying Focal for my 5DM3 and soon (I hope) new 1Dx.  Lens range from 14mm through 500MM IS original version, plus zoom, ....

As I look at the difference between Plus and Pro I notice that Pro adds bells and whistles (save charts, watch analysis as it progresses), plus some unspecified tools "more control over the camera setup, ... and the addition of several other tests: Aperture Sharpness, AF Consistency, Dust Analysis and the MultiPoint Focus Test."

Does these add with MicroFocus adjustments or more diagnostics about the lens.  Since I have had the lens for a while, I can not exchange them for better copies at the local camera store.  Do the additional tests help or are they simply expensive bells and whistles.

Thanks

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Focal Plus vs Pro? Which do you recommend?
« on: May 03, 2013, 11:39:24 PM »

rpt

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Re: Focal Plus vs Pro? Which do you recommend?
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2013, 11:44:11 PM »
Hi

I am considering buying Focal for my 5DM3 and soon (I hope) new 1Dx.  Lens range from 14mm through 500MM IS original version, plus zoom, ....

As I look at the difference between Plus and Pro I notice that Pro adds bells and whistles (save charts, watch analysis as it progresses), plus some unspecified tools "more control over the camera setup, ... and the addition of several other tests: Aperture Sharpness, AF Consistency, Dust Analysis and the MultiPoint Focus Test."

Does these add with MicroFocus adjustments or more diagnostics about the lens.  Since I have had the lens for a while, I can not exchange them for better copies at the local camera store.  Do the additional tests help or are they simply expensive bells and whistles.

Thanks
I asked the same question many months back and ended up buying the pro. The charting helps me understand how the lens is doing at various settings. I have not yet used some of the other features. If I can locate the thread I will repost. I am sure Mt Spokane and neuro will chime in. Their comments were helpful. I think briansquibb commented too.

neuroanatomist

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Re: Focal Plus vs Pro? Which do you recommend?
« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2013, 08:44:02 AM »
I'd get the Pro version.  You're 5DIII is likely under warranty, you're buying a 1D X.  The multipoint test can reveal issues with the camera's AF system.  Even if your lenses are fine, different lenses have peak sharpness at different apertures - that info may (or may not) help.  I figure if you're spending thousands on gear, a few bucks on software to get the most from that gear is money well spent.
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Efka76

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Re: Focal Plus vs Pro? Which do you recommend?
« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2013, 09:29:03 AM »
Neuro, very good comment. Straight to the point!
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Re: Focal Plus vs Pro? Which do you recommend?
« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2013, 09:39:03 AM »
...  Lens range from 14mm through 500MM IS original version, plus zoom, ....

According to version comparison testing of > 400mm focal length is only feature of the Pro version.

I bought the Pro version this week ...
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Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: Focal Plus vs Pro? Which do you recommend?
« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2013, 11:28:20 AM »
I have the Pro version, and use the extra features it provides.

neuroanatomist

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Re: Focal Plus vs Pro? Which do you recommend?
« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2013, 12:05:27 PM »
...  Lens range from 14mm through 500MM IS original version, plus zoom, ....

According to version comparison testing of > 400mm focal length is only feature of the Pro version.

Interesting...  I didn't notice that before, good catch.  I wonder if that restriction applies to Manual Mode, too.  It does pull the focal length from the EXIF, so the Plus version could refuse to do the analysis.  That's about an artificial as restrictions get. 
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Re: Focal Plus vs Pro? Which do you recommend?
« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2013, 12:05:27 PM »

Ripley

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Re: Focal Plus vs Pro? Which do you recommend?
« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2013, 05:28:38 PM »
I'd get the Pro version.  You're 5DIII is likely under warranty, you're buying a 1D X.  The multipoint test can reveal issues with the camera's AF system.  Even if your lenses are fine, different lenses have peak sharpness at different apertures - that info may (or may not) help.  I figure if you're spending thousands on gear, a few bucks on software to get the most from that gear is money well spent.

Good advice and I would like to stress the value of the Aperture Sharpness test. It's good to understand your lenses strengths and weaknesses so you know what to avoid and what to exploit. For example, I was a little surprised to see the results of my 24-105L. 24mm: good at f4, best at f/5, then tapered off from there. 105mm: horrible at f4, best at f/8, then tapered off from there. Good to know! So I'm opening up a bit more wide and stopping down a bit more zoomed and the images are looking great, better, and I know exactly why.

I also use this feedback for the AFMA testing as well. I test aperture sharpness first, then AFMA test at the sharpest aperture. It stands to reason that I should get the most accurate results at the sharpest apertures, plus those are the apertures I'll be trying to shoot around anyways. Is anyone else aware of a flaw in this logic or testing methodology? (edit: this is not exactly best practice, read through this thread for more info)

One last thing, at the time of this writing I can't recommend the software for Mac. I had nothing but problems with it and it made for one very frustrating evening. I now run it on a windows 7 VM without issue. Just aheads up!
« Last Edit: May 07, 2013, 02:25:18 PM by Ripley »
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neuroanatomist

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Re: Focal Plus vs Pro? Which do you recommend?
« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2013, 05:33:32 PM »
I also use this feedback for the AFMA testing as well. I test aperture sharpness first, then AFMA test at the sharpest aperture. It stands to reason that I should get the most accurate results at the sharpest apertures, plus those are the apertures I'll be trying to shoot around anyways. Is anyone else aware of a flaw in this logic or testing methodology?

Big flaw...  The camera will always perform AF with the lens wide open, regardless of the selected aperture. The lens is stopped down to the selected aperture just before the shutter opens.

 
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Ripley

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Re: Focal Plus vs Pro? Which do you recommend?
« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2013, 06:23:34 PM »
I also use this feedback for the AFMA testing as well. I test aperture sharpness first, then AFMA test at the sharpest aperture. It stands to reason that I should get the most accurate results at the sharpest apertures, plus those are the apertures I'll be trying to shoot around anyways. Is anyone else aware of a flaw in this logic or testing methodology?

Big flaw...  The camera will always perform AF with the lens wide open, regardless of the selected aperture. The lens is stopped down to the selected aperture just before the shutter opens.

My AFMA test results differ between wide open and stopped down to the sharpest aperture, why?
« Last Edit: May 04, 2013, 06:25:20 PM by Ripley »
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neuroanatomist

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Re: Focal Plus vs Pro? Which do you recommend?
« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2013, 06:47:30 PM »
My AFMA test results differ between wide open and stopped down to the sharpest aperture, why?

Possibly focus shift (with some lenses, stopping down shifts the focal plane). 
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RGF

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Re: Focal Plus vs Pro? Which do you recommend?
« Reply #11 on: May 05, 2013, 01:22:46 AM »
My AFMA test results differ between wide open and stopped down to the sharpest aperture, why?

Possibly focus shift (with some lenses, stopping down shifts the focal plane).

Seriously??  Never heard of that before.  Will be interesting to see if I can spurious results when I test my lens.

RGF

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Re: Focal Plus vs Pro? Which do you recommend?
« Reply #12 on: May 05, 2013, 01:26:42 AM »
I'd get the Pro version.  You're 5DIII is likely under warranty, you're buying a 1D X.  The multipoint test can reveal issues with the camera's AF system.  Even if your lenses are fine, different lenses have peak sharpness at different apertures - that info may (or may not) help.  I figure if you're spending thousands on gear, a few bucks on software to get the most from that gear is money well spent.

All for more information - if it is useful and is used.  Extra data that is not used can be distracting and wasteful. 




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Re: Focal Plus vs Pro? Which do you recommend?
« Reply #12 on: May 05, 2013, 01:26:42 AM »

neuroanatomist

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Re: Focal Plus vs Pro? Which do you recommend?
« Reply #13 on: May 05, 2013, 06:45:59 AM »
My AFMA test results differ between wide open and stopped down to the sharpest aperture, why?

Possibly focus shift (with some lenses, stopping down shifts the focal plane).

Seriously??  Never heard of that before.  Will be interesting to see if I can spurious results when I test my lens.

The 50L is notorious for it, for example.
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RGF

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Re: Focal Plus vs Pro? Which do you recommend?
« Reply #14 on: May 07, 2013, 12:20:20 AM »
My AFMA test results differ between wide open and stopped down to the sharpest aperture, why?

Possibly focus shift (with some lenses, stopping down shifts the focal plane).

Seriously??  Never heard of that before.  Will be interesting to see if I can spurious results when I test my lens.

The 50L is notorious for it, for example.

How do you focus with the lens?  Rely upon DOF to hold the focus sharp?

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Re: Focal Plus vs Pro? Which do you recommend?
« Reply #14 on: May 07, 2013, 12:20:20 AM »