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Author Topic: Is FoCal worth ~$150?  (Read 15709 times)

Old Shooter

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Re: Is FoCal worth ~$150?
« Reply #30 on: October 07, 2014, 11:09:59 PM »
FoCal has recently added hard targets to their store... If you don't want to fool around with printing and mounting a target, you can order them ready-to-go from them...

I have had the Pro version ever since I bought my 5DIII... There are several features that make the Pro version handy... As Neuro said, I think the aperture sharpness test is the bomb and I now have optimum aperture recorded for all of my lenses... I don't know if the 6D will let you store two values like the 5DIII, but when you're working with a zoom it is really nice...

If you buy, read every page of every document! It is not the most logical flow of user information - but all of it plays into the end result...
5DIII, XSi, A2, 10s (x2), 20-35L, 24-70L II, 28-70L, 70-200L, 70-200L IS II, 85L II, 135L, 40 Pancake, 50 Macro, 100 Macro, 135 Soft-Focus, Crappy EF-S Kit Lens, 430EX II, Metz 45 CL-4, Metz 60 CT-4 (x2), White Lightnings, and lots of other junk...

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Re: Is FoCal worth ~$150?
« Reply #30 on: October 07, 2014, 11:09:59 PM »

pwp

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Re: Is FoCal worth ~$150?
« Reply #31 on: October 07, 2014, 11:13:57 PM »
Where is the $150 price coming from? I'm seeing FoCal Pro at the Reikan website for £69.95. http://www.reikan.co.uk/focalweb/index.php/versions/focal-pro/

Converted to USD https://www.google.com.au/#q=70+pounds+to+dollars I'm seeing $112.48

Am I missing something here?

-pw

horshack

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Re: Is FoCal worth ~$150?
« Reply #32 on: October 07, 2014, 11:53:34 PM »
you can also try Magic Lantern's free dot_tune module which also automatically adjusts afma. Opinions are divided abut how precise it is, but for me (using a 6d) it's working just fine.

Do you know if dot_tune will tell me if my 60D is out of whack?  I'm very much aware that the 60D does not support AFMA, but it would be nice to have it call to my attention how far out of tune it is.

Feel free to tell me to RTFM (or just try it), which I'd planned to do.

Thanks.

You can use an abridged version of the DotTune process to see if your 60D+lens is out of calibration (ie, would require AFMA if there was support for it). To do this, perform the initial steps of the DotTune process, including setting up a target, focusing on the target in Live View, and then exiting Live View and do a single viewfinder AF confirmation check and see if you get a solid green confirmation. If the confirmation waivers then your 60D+lens combo would benefit from AFMA (again, if AFMA was supported).

dcm

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Re: Is FoCal worth ~$150?
« Reply #33 on: October 08, 2014, 03:24:50 AM »
If you have to ask, then you likely would benefit from it.  If you were already sure your lenses were their sharpest with your body by some method you were using, you probably wouldn't be asking.   If you get some OOF shots and wonder whether its the camera, lens, or AFMA then it might be worth checking out.

FoCal is most beneficial for fast and/or long lenses where you have a narrow DOF.  As an engineer I appreciate the statistical approach and quantitative experimental method that you can dial up or down depending on the certainty you want in the results to trade off shutter count.  I could do it all myself qualitatively or use other tools, but I value my time and use FoCal so I can focus on other things. 

I have a pair of 6Ds with zoom lenses ranging from 8mm to 600mm, some fast primes, and both tele extenders.  It is fully automated with the 6D and lets you set two values (wide/tele) for your zooms and separate values with extenders.  The addition of the second body made me appreciate it even more since there were differences in the AFMA between the bodies.  FoCal can help you ensure you are getting the most from your expensive glass and give you some additional insights, like the sharpest f stops for each lens, performance of autofocus points, etc.
Shooting with Canon since 1982 - 1DX2, M5, some lenses

keithcooper

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Re: Is FoCal worth ~$150?
« Reply #34 on: October 08, 2014, 05:06:12 AM »
FoCal has recently added hard targets to their store... If you don't want to fool around with printing and mounting a target, you can order them ready-to-go from them...

Once again, I doff my cap to their marketing efforts ;-)

Jamesy

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Re: Is FoCal worth ~$150?
« Reply #35 on: October 08, 2014, 06:04:06 AM »
I have owned FocalPro for a couple of years and it seems to work well. That said, the Dot Tune method is free and worthy of investigation - although I have not tried it. No need to put ML on your camera.

Check out the extensive thread here:
http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1187247

Twenty minute How-to video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zE50jCUPhM


Marsu42

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Re: Is FoCal worth ~$150?
« Reply #36 on: October 08, 2014, 06:05:14 AM »
Am I missing something here?

Checking facts isn't fair game, this is a rumor website :-> !

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Re: Is FoCal worth ~$150?
« Reply #36 on: October 08, 2014, 06:05:14 AM »

Canon1

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Re: Is FoCal worth ~$150?
« Reply #37 on: October 08, 2014, 08:03:01 AM »
Actually, one thing worth mentioning is that FoCal does let you know when your gear is not operating properly.  You will get errors during the test, or you will get a completed test that rather than showing a nice bell curve of IQ throughout the AFMA range it will look like buck shot scatter.  When this type of thing happens you know you have something wrong with your gear that no AFMA setting will cure. 

While this is rare, it has happened to me before.  I had a 300 f2.8IS that worked perfectly for a couple of years. (I originally and successfully calibrated it with FoCal when I bought it).  I then had a suspicion that I was having some problems.  Not as many images were achieving the tack sharp focus I had enjoyed.  So, I ran it on FoCal and got testing consistency errors along with huge variability across the AFMA range.  I sent the lens in to canon and they had to replace an IS motor.  FoCal confirmed it for me.

Another instance was with my 5DIII.  I have two of these bodies, and immediately when I purchased them I ran them through FoCal with my lenses.  Originally they were within about 5% of IQ of each other at optimal AFMA on any given lens.  After over a year I began to suspect that one of the bodies was having some trouble.  Totally gut instinct... it wasn't like one just stopped working.  So, again I ran both bodies through FoCal and sure enough, the body had a problem.  Instead of being within 5% of each other, there was over 30% IQ loss on the body in question.   I sent it in to canon and they "fixed" it.  When I got it back, I ran the test again, and Canon had done absolutely nothing to fix the actual problem.  So I sent it back, this time with all the FoCal printouts. A few days later my camera came back with some hardware work and it was fixed.

FoCal is an excellent tool for calibrating AFMA, but it is also an excellent tool at helping to diagnose when there are problems with your gear.  Is it worth $150 to me?  At least....

Max Rockbin

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Re: Is FoCal worth ~$150?
« Reply #38 on: October 14, 2014, 08:34:20 PM »
Googling around for AFMA on my 70D, I ran across a method by Arash Hazeghi that uses the Canon EOS Utility to determine micro-adjustment.   It doesn't work with every camera, but if your camera can trigger autofocus via the remote control in the utility, it's probably your best AFMA option, and VERY worth trying before you lay out $ on the FoCal thingy.    This method is probably about as easy.  You won't get a lot of graphs, but you won't get a 150 page manual to go with your $150 outlay either. 

Check out this video
https://www.youtube.com/watch?annotation_id=annotation_3056917861&feature=iv&src_vid=Pjef8w5I7VY&v=E9fqWcgtHWA

Or the site of the author of the technique:
http://arihazeghiphotography.com/MA-web/

It's really much simpler and much less time consuming than other techniques.  People who've used it found the results very repeatable, which apparently isn't true of some other methods.
I tried it on a couple of my lenses and then tried repeating it.  I got exactly the same result (which - lucky me - was a very minor adjustment).

AcutancePhotography

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Re: Is FoCal worth ~$150?
« Reply #39 on: October 15, 2014, 07:23:58 AM »

I sent it in to canon and they "fixed" it.  When I got it back, I ran the test again, and Canon had done absolutely nothing to fix the actual problem.  So I sent it back, this time with all the FoCal printouts. A few days later my camera came back with some hardware work and it was fixed.

Yikes!  Some service huh?  I hope they did not charge you for the first "fix".
I shoot with a Camera Obscura with an optical device attached that refracts and transmits light

Canon1

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Re: Is FoCal worth ~$150?
« Reply #40 on: October 15, 2014, 07:44:00 AM »

I sent it in to canon and they "fixed" it.  When I got it back, I ran the test again, and Canon had done absolutely nothing to fix the actual problem.  So I sent it back, this time with all the FoCal printouts. A few days later my camera came back with some hardware work and it was fixed.

Yikes!  Some service huh?  I hope they did not charge you for the first "fix".

No charge. I was several months outside of warranty too... So kudos to canon. :-)

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Re: Is FoCal worth ~$150?
« Reply #40 on: October 15, 2014, 07:44:00 AM »