Luminous Landscape Forum

Equipment & Techniques => Cameras, Lenses and Shooting gear => Topic started by: bobkeenan on May 29, 2012, 01:05:38 AM

Title: My Review of the Reikan Focal Pro Lens Microadjustment System
Post by: bobkeenan on May 29, 2012, 01:05:38 AM
I like my shots to be sharp.  When I put a focus point on a target I want and expect to have it be in focus.  So over the past couple of years I have tried a number of methods.

I wrote a post in my blog, about a year and half ago, talking about all of the ones I tried.  You can see it here:

http://www.bobkeenanphoto.com/micro-adjustment-auto-focus-on-lenses-review-and-tutorial/

I really liked the LensAlign system.  I still do but then I came across the Reikan FoCal system.  I bought the Pro version and wow it is neat.   I believe it provides a much more reliable MA adjustment.  So I wrote a new blog about it, comparing it to the LensAlign system, discussing pros/cons, and providing some tips fro getting a good calibration on the FoCal system.  It can be found here:

http://www.bobkeenanphoto.com/a-new-way-to-microadjust-dslr-lenses-focal-by-reikan/
Title: Re: My Review of the Reikan Focal Pro Lens Microadjustment System
Post by: Ellis Vener on May 29, 2012, 01:29:58 AM
Based on your review, I'll pass.
Title: Re: My Review of the Reikan Focal Pro Lens Microadjustment System
Post by: bobkeenan on May 29, 2012, 01:32:54 AM
That was fast.

Why the pass...  I am just curious.
Title: Re: My Review of the Reikan Focal Pro Lens Microadjustment System
Post by: jrsforums on May 29, 2012, 09:39:28 AM
Based on your review, I'll pass.

Regardless of the review....I would suggest you give Focal a look, Ellis.

It is quite an advance for camera/lens combo "tuning" (AFMA). Not only will it take judgement (usually poor) out of the adjustment process, it will also give you a good idea of the consistency of he combo...plus other analysis.

John
Title: Re: My Review of the Reikan Focal Pro Lens Microadjustment System
Post by: Ellis Vener on May 30, 2012, 08:55:15 AM
Beyond making sure your camera is focusing where you think it should be focusing, can any of those analysis tools actually make you a better photographer or make your photographers better in any meaningful way? People spend far too much time measurbating already and then arguing about their findings as it is.

Make pictures, not measurements.
Title: Re: My Review of the Reikan Focal Pro Lens Microadjustment System
Post by: BartvanderWolf on May 30, 2012, 10:07:14 AM
Beyond making sure your camera is focusing where you think it should be focusing, can any of those analysis tools actually make you a better photographer or make your photographers better in any meaningful way?

Hi Ellis,

I don't recall anyone claiming to having become a better photographer due to these tools. They probably got more successful though, with fewer out-of-focus shots ...

Another benefit might be that one gets to be the master over one's equipment (by improved understanding of its operation and its limitations), instead of the other way around. To put it another way, I can assure you that such tools have never hurt the quality of my photography, on the contrary.

Quote
People spend far too much time measurbating already and then arguing about their findings as it is.

Too much? Only if it negatively impacts the output. Arguing? Isn't that what this discussion forum is about, exchanging arguments and info?

Quote
Make pictures, not measurements.

(Let other people) take measurements, and make better images ... ;)

Cheers,
Bart
Title: Re: My Review of the Reikan Focal Pro Lens Microadjustment System
Post by: Ellis Vener on May 30, 2012, 12:34:03 PM
I think a photographer's time is generally better spent making themselves aware of  the interaction of color and light, framing and composition, working on seeing life , and their shooting technique as opposed to dwelling on the aspects this program seems to measure. Between two photographs of equal power the more technically refined photograph may be technically better but a technical quality is only worthwhile if it backs up a photograph  that is emotionally expressive, expresses a strong idea, and a strong aesthetic sensibility behind it. This is true for all of the arts, not just photography.

I've seen musicians, painters, and writers - as well as photographers - all get tangled up in the seductive mechanics of craft and lose sight of the bigger thing they are trying to get done. I am not immune to this myself. But I'd rather make something a little ragged and right than perfect and dull. Of course if you can get your art technically perfect and with expressing great feeling, embodying a powerful idea, and beautiful that is an unstoppable combination: Coppola's "The Godfather Part II" for example.
Title: Re: My Review of the Reikan Focal Pro Lens Microadjustment System
Post by: torger on May 30, 2012, 01:10:54 PM
As the famous Ansel Adams quote goes: "There is nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept."

That's for the viewer.

For me, the photographer, I'd actually say "There is nothing worse than a fuzzy image of a sharp concept". The angst if I did not nail the picture due to poor technique or equipment when it was before my eyes is huge. You don't always get a second chance...

;-)
Title: Re: My Review of the Reikan Focal Pro Lens Microadjustment System
Post by: Ellis Vener on May 30, 2012, 01:35:58 PM
You never get a second chance. never, ever.
But see Robert Capa's photographs of the D-Day landings  as well as more than a little of Henri Cartier-Bresson's work as an antidote to thinking that '"There is nothing worse than a fuzzy image of a sharp concept"

Technique is the cart, it isn't the horse.

Put the viewer first.

And if you think you're making pictures  too flawed for you to live with,  toss them.
Title: Re: My Review of the Reikan Focal Pro Lens Microadjustment System
Post by: henrikfoto on May 30, 2012, 02:40:50 PM
Thank you, Bob! I like your review! I will get this program as soon as it's ready for mac.
What's there to loose? With all lenses adjusted this can only be positive. I see no reason not
to take a few hours to get it all optimised?

Henrik
Title: Re: My Review of the Reikan Focal Pro Lens Microadjustment System
Post by: Colorado David on May 30, 2012, 02:43:46 PM
I think there is a middle ground here.  I haven't looked at the product or review in the original post.  But, I don't think there's any reason not to strive to have your equipment dialed in the best you can as long as it doesn't become the goal rather than the means to the goal.  I used to know a guy who had a wonderful woodworking shop.  It was equipped with the very best machinery and hand tools you could hope to acquire.  The problem was that he never built anything, he simply put together the best shop you could have.  It took me a while to figure out that his hobby was the shop instead of woodworking.  Don't go down that road.
Title: Re: My Review of the Reikan Focal Pro Lens Microadjustment System
Post by: torger on May 30, 2012, 02:51:51 PM
It was meant as a joke, but a bit serious too (I did not get a MF tech camera to waste all resolution on poor technique or decentered lenses). I just think the "go make pictures" comment is so cliché and unnecessary. Just let people do what they want, I don't care if someone's hobby is shooting brick walls. If it makes him/her happy, fine.
Title: Re: My Review of the Reikan Focal Pro Lens Microadjustment System
Post by: Wayne Fox on May 30, 2012, 03:33:36 PM
It was meant as a joke, but a bit serious too (I did not get a MF tech camera to waste all resolution on poor technique or decentered lenses). I just think the "go make pictures" comment is so cliché and unnecessary. Just let people do what they want, I don't care if someone's hobby is shooting brick walls. If it makes him/her happy, fine.
I would agree.  The problem about making pictures is there is also a craft which should be mastered, and getting images sharp is an important part of that (when one wants them sharp).

We do lens alignments here at the shop, and 75% of the bodies that are brought in have a problem.  It normally isn't a lens thing, it's a sensor plane thing.  We can put the same lens on 3 different bodies and will get 3 completely unrelated results ... one body front focus, one back focuses, one pretty good.

The fact is manufacturing tolerances aren't that tight, and as camera sensors have improved, those flaws become apparent.  You do your art a disservice if you fail to insure your equipment isn't performing at it's optimum.

Regarding FoCAL, we had an customer buy it and brought in results. I was impressed, and certainly appears easier and less prone to user error than other systems.
Title: Re: My Review of the Reikan Focal Pro Lens Microadjustment System
Post by: BartvanderWolf on May 30, 2012, 03:38:18 PM
Just let people do what they want, I don't care if someone's hobby is shooting brick walls. If it makes him/her happy, fine.

And not all brick walls are alike:

(http://bvdwolf.home.xs4all.nl/temp/OPF/Hook_S.jpg)

At least the focus was exactly where I wanted it, with some tilt/swing added.

Cheers,
Bart
Title: Re: My Review of the Reikan Focal Pro Lens Microadjustment System
Post by: Ellis Vener on May 30, 2012, 05:18:52 PM
To be perfectly clear: I am not advocating not adjusting your camera's focusing mechanisms to perform optimally.
Title: Re: My Review of the Reikan Focal Pro Lens Microadjustment System
Post by: Peter Le on May 30, 2012, 10:59:58 PM
To be perfectly clear: I am not advocating not adjusting your camera's focusing mechanisms to perform optimally.
     So what you were just ranting ? I didn't think you were a ranter Ellis......altough I agree with what you said. I like this system....I don't like teching out .... with this system I can just let it do it's thing and then go about my businessess making pictures.
Title: Re: My Review of the Reikan Focal Pro Lens Microadjustment System
Post by: Ellis Vener on May 31, 2012, 09:09:31 AM
No.

My objections  Does  this system have a method of ensuring your camera is square to the target?

If it does, great. If not it is a no go.

The  initial review I responded to says no hardware is needed beyond maybe a tripod. But you need a printer or access to one to print the target.

Another member of this thread said to look at the other things this software can do. Okay great: what exactly will do with that data?

The thread starter failed to mention that you are required to register your cameras including serial numbers with the software maker. Why? I see no compelling technical reason they need that information. What are they going to do with it? Who will have access to it? Why is he collecting that information? It might help his business model but there is no value in that for me.

I absolutely believe that tuning a camera's AF performance to specific lenses is critical. I do not believe this is the right product for doing that.

I'd like to see a more critical evaluation of the product before spending money on it. No tool is perfect.
Title: Re: My Review of the Reikan Focal Pro Lens Microadjustment System
Post by: jrsforums on May 31, 2012, 11:59:31 AM
No.

My objections  Does  this system have a method of ensuring your camera is square to the target?

If it does, great. If not it is a no go.

Yes, I believe extensive testing is done.  If you need more detail send a not to the author.
Quote

The  initial review I responded to says no hardware is needed beyond maybe a tripod. But you need a printer or access to one to print the target.

You can order a target from Reikan for a nominal fee or send out to a printing service.

Quote

Another member of this thread said to look at the other things this software can do. Okay great: what exactly will do with that data?

Pretty easy to find:  http://www.reikan.co.uk/focal/focal.html  I think you would know what to do with it...or, at least, others on this forum.

Quote

The thread starter failed to mention that you are required to register your cameras including serial numbers with the software maker. Why? I see no compelling technical reason they need that information. What are they going to do with it? Who will have access to it? Why is he collecting that information? It might help his business model but there is no value in that for me.

Haven't you ever heard of license restrictions?  Many PC programs automatically read the ID of the PC to restrict reregistering on more than one PC.  Reikan allows 5 cameras.  I am sure, if needed, you could drop old cameras and add new, as required.
Quote

I absolutely believe that tuning a camera's AF performance to specific lenses is critical. I do not believe this is the right product for doing that.

Frankly, I am shocked that a person, such as yourself, would take such a negative stance on a product without doing and due dilligence in learning evean a bit about it.  If I didn't (hope I) knew better, I would suspect a vested interest.

Quote
I'd like to see a more critical evaluation of the product before spending money on it. No tool is perfect.

Not hard to find....Google can be your friend...

http://blog.martinbaileyphotography.com/2012/02/06/podcast-321-lens-calibration-and-microadjustment-with-focal/

http://www.rohicks.com/2012/photography/reikan-focal-review-automatic-af-micro-adjustment-software/

http://blog.natureimages.info/2012/03/29/a-review-of-reikan-focal-automatic-af-micro-adjustment-software/

...of course....maybe not "critical" enough, particularly if one starts out with a negative atititude on dioing anything like this in the first place.  For the rest of us, I don't think ~$60. (after discounts) is much to get the best out of 1000s or $$$s of gear.
Title: Re: My Review of the Reikan Focal Pro Lens Microadjustment System
Post by: Ellis Vener on May 31, 2012, 02:02:26 PM
JRS:
Thank you for your detailed response.

I have no vested interests regarding this or another company's products.

I know what to do with this kind of analytic data.

The licensing restriction to 5 cameras is , from a user's PoV, dumb. As is the need for them to have my cameras seria lnumbers. there is no way to justify it. YoIf they want to register what computers I use it on that is one thing, but for the individual camera serial numbers? C'mon. And if they want to go down that path why not lens serial numbers too? 

Regarding price: FoCal Pro is listed as £69.95 - which currently is US $107.86

As to being "negative" - I think "skeptical" is a better description of my state of mind when I am considering a purchase, especially when there is a big promise involved. I take the same stance for every product I look in the gadget world and each week I feel like I have to get more skeptical.
Title: Re: My Review of the Reikan Focal Pro Lens Microadjustment System
Post by: Ellis Vener on May 31, 2012, 02:19:05 PM
I have now read Wayne Fox's assessment. I trust Mr. Fox so I will be happy to give FoCal an honest evaluation - but I want them to drop the onerous camera registration scheme first. They really do not need to impose that burden on their customers. I am happy to let them limit me to which computers I use it on - that kind of registration and licensing makes sense.
Title: Re: My Review of the Reikan Focal Pro Lens Microadjustment System
Post by: Colorado David on May 31, 2012, 02:37:08 PM
. . . but I want them to drop the onerous camera registration scheme first. They really do not need to impose that burden on their customers. I am happy to let them limit me to which computers I use it on - that kind of registration and licensing makes sense.

Agreed.  This would be akin to Adobe limiting your ability to process only so many images before having to buy another license.
Title: Re: My Review of the Reikan Focal Pro Lens Microadjustment System
Post by: jrsforums on May 31, 2012, 03:16:11 PM
I have now read Wayne Fox's assessment. I trust Mr. Fox so I will be happy to give FoCal an honest evaluation - but I want them to drop the onerous camera registration scheme first. They really do not need to impose that burden on their customers. I am happy to let them limit me to which computers I use it on - that kind of registration and licensing makes sense.

I often learned not to just complain about something, but to offer a better way to do it.

In that vein, how would you suggest that Reikan focal control their license to avoid someone buying one license and then selling a service to MA everyone in the area's camera/lenses.

BTW...what is the fear of registering the serial number?  Sounds more like paranoia than anything else....but maybe I am missing something.
Title: Re: My Review of the Reikan Focal Pro Lens Microadjustment System
Post by: jrsforums on May 31, 2012, 03:22:53 PM
Agreed.  This would be akin to Adobe limiting your ability to process only so many images before having to buy another license.

Wrong...Adobe is limiting how many systems you can use. Reikal is limiting the number of cameras.  You can process as many lenses, as many times, as you want.

From RF: A license for FoCal supports up to 5 cameras, and allows you to use it on as many computers as you like (but only with those specified cameras). To buy a license, simply click on the appropriate license purchase button.

You have to limit something in order go get back to $$ you are investing in making a product.
Title: Re: My Review of the Reikan Focal Pro Lens Microadjustment System
Post by: jrsforums on May 31, 2012, 03:26:03 PM
JRS:
Thank you for your detailed response.

I have no vested interests regarding this or another company's products.

I know what to do with this kind of analytic data.

The licensing restriction to 5 cameras is , from a user's PoV, dumb. As is the need for them to have my cameras seria lnumbers. there is no way to justify it. YoIf they want to register what computers I use it on that is one thing, but for the individual camera serial numbers? C'mon. And if they want to go down that path why not lens serial numbers too?  

Regarding price: FoCal Pro is listed as £69.95 - which currently is US $107.86

As to being "negative" - I think "skeptical" is a better description of my state of mind when I am considering a purchase, especially when there is a big promise involved. I take the same stance for every product I look in the gadget world and each week I feel like I have to get more skeptical.

As I said...with available discounts...

http://www.reikan.co.uk/focal/mbp45/

With this discount....£45 = $69.40.  So beat me up for 10 bucks. :-)

All fair for you to be skeptical.  My point was your making blanket statements influencing others without having done any investigation on your part.  Ellis, you are an influential person and I believe more is expected of you.
Title: Re: My Review of the Reikan Focal Pro Lens Microadjustment System
Post by: Ellis Vener on May 31, 2012, 04:38:41 PM
In that vein, how would you suggest that Reikan focal control their license to avoid someone buying one license and then selling a service to MA everyone in the area's camera/lenses.

BTW...what is the fear of registering the serial number?  Sounds more like paranoia than anything else....but maybe I am missing something.


If they are that worried that scads of amateur camera diagnosticians will be setting up shop to diagnose other people's cameras and lenses they need to rethink their business model. There is nothing stopping people from doing the same with the SpyderCal or LensAlign products or buying resolution charts and setting up  shop.

If i lived near him I'd be happy to use Mr. Fox's shop to do the diagnostic work on my cameras as they know what they are doing, a guy at a local camera club? Not something I'd be interested in.

The fact remains: there is no justification  for requiring me or you to hand over information about  camera's we own, rent or borrow.
Title: Re: My Review of the Reikan Focal Pro Lens Microadjustment System
Post by: Wayne Fox on May 31, 2012, 04:53:43 PM
I believe the license policy is to insure the end user is not in turn using the software as a service. I don't think that's an unreasonable perspective since if I am making money with the software it's only fair they receive some compensation.

 5 bodies, with the ability to change out some serial numbers doesn't seem unreasonable, as long as the process to add new serial numbers or trade them is simple and foolproof.  As far as offering it as a service, we are currently trying to find out what the license fee would be were we change to using this system.

I only saw the results of one of my customers experience with it, (who happens to be an engineer) and was impressed by the level of information available as well as his results on two different bodies, enough so that we will be evaluating the software.  I'm not sure being perfectly aligned is critical, because what the software is doing is comparing the results against itself.  It basically sets an offset, takes a picture, analyzes it, and repeats the process. The output chart shows how it evaluates the results of each offset.   The D4 results were much more consistent, where as the d7000 results varied even with the same offset.

We will be comparing the results with LensAlign to the results with this, to see if it is as good.  If so it certainly appears easier.
Title: Re: My Review of the Reikan Focal Pro Lens Microadjustment System
Post by: jrsforums on May 31, 2012, 05:06:36 PM
In that vein, how would you suggest that Reikan focal control their license to avoid someone buying one license and then selling a service to MA everyone in the area's camera/lenses.

BTW...what is the fear of registering the serial number?  Sounds more like paranoia than anything else....but maybe I am missing something.


If they are that worried that scads of amateur camera diagnosticians will be setting up shop to diagnose other people's cameras and lenses they need to rethink their business model. There is nothing stoppOing people from doing the same with the SpyderCal or LensAlign products or buying resolution charts and setting up  shop.

I believe they offer a commercial license.

Quote

If i lived near him I'd be happy to use Mr. Fox's shop to do the diagnostic work on my cameras as they know what they are doing, a guy at a local camera club? Not something I'd be interested in.

So...you would not buy your own copy and allow Reikan the fruits of their efforts.  Seems quite similar to using a cracked copy of Photoshop.  Most people call it stealing.
Quote


The fact remains: there is no justification  for requiring me or you to hand over information about  camera's we own, rent or borrow.

We must, I guess agree to differ on it.  Does your paranoia extend to not giving anyone your credit card number?  That is a lot more dangerous then this silly concern about camera serial numbers....in my opinion.

Title: Re: My Review of the Reikan Focal Pro Lens Microadjustment System
Post by: Ellis Vener on May 31, 2012, 06:54:45 PM
(The following has been edited for clarity of expression)

If you are running a commercial service, like Mr. Fox is, buying a commercial license is both fair and appropriate.

I have zero doubt that there are ways the FoCal software, once installed on a computer, can detect a camera's serial number and cut you off after 5 bodies have been used with it.  As the program already appears to look at several other EXIF metadata fields if it can see the camera's serial number field  there is zero need to share the serial numbers of the cameras used (whether owned, rented, borrowed, or loaned (I guess no one else here is an NPS or CPS member)) with the software maker.

In an "Age of Information" personal information is both valuable and powerful. It should be respected as such. That is not "paranoia", it is common sense.
Title: Re: My Review of the Reikan Focal Pro Lens Microadjustment System
Post by: Keith Reeder on June 01, 2012, 03:52:37 AM
Jeez...

You'd think there'd be across-the-board positivity from some quarters for something as essentially groundbreaking as this application.

The developer (who I don't know and have no affiliation with, but whose efforts to get this off the ground I've been following for some time) has worked his arse off to develop this unique solution, and by all accounts it simplifies MFA to a remarkable degree:  we have to accept that some people who need to apply accurate MFA really struggle with the "manual" options out there (I know from personal experience that MFA is no fun when you've got 400, 500 or 600mm of focal length to deal with), and FoCal just makes the process easier to a very worthwhile extent, and if I needed to MFA my gear, I'd buy it in a hearbeat.

And of course it makes sense for him to restrict its use (outside of commercial licensing) to specific cameras to stop someone buying a single copy and then MFAing the cameras of everyone he knows, at direct potential cost to the software developer.
Title: Re: My Review of the Reikan Focal Pro Lens Microadjustment System
Post by: jrsforums on June 01, 2012, 09:05:36 AM
Jeez...

You'd think there'd be across-the-board positivity from some quarters for something as essentially groundbreaking as this application.

The developer (who I don't know and have no affiliation with, but whose efforts to get this off the ground I've been following for some time) has worked his arse off to develop this unique solution, and by all accounts it simplifies MFA to a remarkable degree:  we have to accept that some people who need to apply accurate MFA really struggle with the "manual" options out there (I know from personal experience that MFA is no fun when you've got 400, 500 or 600mm of focal length to deal with), and FoCal just makes the process easier to a very worthwhile extent, and if I needed to MFA my gear, I'd buy it in a hearbeat.

And of course it makes sense for him to restrict its use (outside of commercial licensing) to specific cameras to stop someone buying a single copy and then MFAing the cameras of everyone he knows, at direct potential cost to the software developer.

It's always easier to pick something apart than to learn and understand it.

It is kind of like media critics, they seem "get off" by perennially finding fault....and frankly, they probably need to....who would read them if they were polite and supported much of the artistic work they saw.
Title: Re: My Review of the Reikan Focal Pro Lens Microadjustment System
Post by: Keith Reeder on June 01, 2012, 10:10:01 AM
It's not as if software that limits use to to specific, registered devices is a new thing - the software that comes with my calibration device does exactly the same thing, and only allows the calibration of my registered machine's monitor, to stop me lending it out to all and sundry.
Title: Re: My Review of the Reikan Focal Pro Lens Microadjustment System
Post by: Ellis Vener on June 01, 2012, 10:47:08 AM
It's not as if software that limits use to to specific, registered devices is a new thing - the software that comes with my calibration device does exactly the same thing, and only allows the calibration of my registered machine's monitor, to stop me lending it out to all and sundry.
But are you required to register your computer or display's serial numbers with your colorimeter/ photospectrometer's manufacturer as a condition of purchasing the software as Reikan is doing?  Does it limit the number of displays connected to that computer?  More likely  the software, once it is installed on your computers, just looks to make sure it is only installed on a limited number of computers. 
Title: Re: My Review of the Reikan Focal Pro Lens Microadjustment System
Post by: jrsforums on June 01, 2012, 11:10:23 AM
But are you required to register your computer or display's serial numbers with your colorimeter/ photospectrometer's manufacturer as a condition of purchasing the software as Reikan is doing?  Does it limit the number of displays connected to that computer?  More likely  the software, once it is installed on your computers, just looks to make sure it is only installed on a limited number of computers. 

I believe Keith's analog works.  The calibration unit does not limit the number of monitors any more than Reikan limits the number of licenses.

The computer ID is read and sent to the calibration tool mfg.  I believe. It is off the sensor, which may or may not also be the serial number depending on the computer mfg or if it it DIY....it is,however, as unique to that system as your camera serial number is to the camera. 

I am sure you are aware, camera serial number are machine readable by software, so make an idead way to link sw to the hw, just as calibration sw is link to a specific machine.

A few months ago, I upgraded to the Spyder4, from the S3.  I sold the s3, with it's sw.  The new user, and I, had a devil of a time as the sw would not install....even though I had removed that sw from my system....and there was no unregistered item associated with the sw.  DataColor customer support needed to remove my computer I'd from their system, so the new user could install on theirs.

BTW...the computer ID/serial being in the "wild" is about as dangerous as your camera serial number being there.  I keep my doors looked...and it seems to work just fine.

Of course, if it is a concern to you, don't use it....but stop bad mouthing Reikan just because you are over sensitive on this issue.  If you have valid concerns on the function and applicability on this product speak up....otherwise....
Title: Re: My Review of the Reikan Focal Pro Lens Microadjustment System
Post by: Ellis Vener on June 01, 2012, 12:11:45 PM
otherwise what?
Title: Re: My Review of the Reikan Focal Pro Lens Microadjustment System
Post by: Alan Smallbone on June 01, 2012, 12:51:10 PM
I have used the software extensively and found it be very useful. I have a LensAlign and it works well and was the first solution. My problem with the LensAlign is that I never got real consistent results with it. They are left somewhat to interpretation especially with narrow dof. Alignment mattered a lot and I believe led to some of my inconsistencies. I also found it tedious to take a few shots, download them and look at the on photoshop and use filters to enhance the results to make them easier to interpret.

Focal tends to eliminate the human errors. The target is easier to setup and align, especially with the live view and the target detection. The software can be run automatically and manually if you like. It is very repeatable. I got very consistent results. In before and after shots with various targets I found that it really did improve my focus and for a long time I felt that was something I really did not need to do, as it should have been good from the factory. Well there are all kinds of manufacturing tolerances and so this product will help improve your focusing accuracy. Will this make you a better photographer? No but it will help you get the best images that you can that are in focus. The software will generate reports and tell you what works and what does not and can test the ability to repeat focus, can you do this manually? yes you can but I doubt with as much precision.

Their registration process is no less draconian than many other methods, at least you can run it on multiple computers and if you need more than 5 bodies registered than contact the author. I understand that he is just trying to prevent people from calibrating cameras for friends or as a business. He spent a lot of time writing and testing the software, so I can understand that and now the registration process is handled by his server and not through emails, like it was previously. Registering a camera serial number is not giving away a state secret. Unless you strictly remove it from the exif then it is already out there. I see no danger in it, in fact registering computer id's is probably a little more dangerous as that gives a way of uniquely identifying your computer on a network.

There are older threads discussing it's use.

Alan
Title: Re: My Review of the Reikan Focal Pro Lens Microadjustment System
Post by: julianv on June 01, 2012, 03:54:31 PM
Ellis, I understand and respect your point of view. I find most of these device registration/licensing requirements an annoyance at best, often a hindrance, and sometimes a major obstacle. I could write a long tirade about the days I have wasted in obtaining working installations of MATLAB.

The licensing restriction in FoCal will not impact me, since I will probably use it for only one or two cameras. If you are interested in FoCal, but put off by these restrictions, why not write the developer and tell him why you are reluctant to use it?  Maybe he will make a work-around for you, or (if enough people complain) maybe he will change the policy.

I recently acquired a copy of FoCal, and have just begun to use it.  So far I have run "automatic" calibrations on a Nikon D800E, with 14-24mm and 24-70mm lenses. For Nikon bodies, the process is not completely automated, because there are no public APIs for some of the remote control functions. This means that the user is prompted to manually change the AF Fine Tune settings. But the FoCal software controls the sequencing of the adjustment values, autofocus initiation, mirror up delay, shutter, plotting of results, etc.  It uses a reasonably intelligent search algorithm to find a max in focus quality with a minimal number of trials.  I ran the program on a Mac, running Win7 via VMware.  The user interface and documentation could be improved (with more clarity, better organization), but my calibrations ran without any glitches.

Unfortunately for me, the results I obtained for my 24-70 produced a dilemma. The optimum Fine Tune values vary significantly with focal length: 0 at 24mm, -20 at 50mm, and 0 at 70mm.  I may need to send the lens and camera to Nikon for evaluation.  The plots that I obtained from FoCal are posted in this web gallery (http://julianv.zenfolio.com/p945962852). Note: the shots of the FoCal target that appear in this gallery are not the shots that I used in the automated calibrations.

 
Title: Re: My Review of the Reikan Focal Pro Lens Microadjustment System
Post by: jrsforums on June 01, 2012, 08:24:36 PM
otherwise what?

Do what's right....
Title: Re: My Review of the Reikan Focal Pro Lens Microadjustment System
Post by: Ellis Vener on June 01, 2012, 09:14:59 PM
Thanks julianv for understanding.

 Some people obviously see no problem with the current licensing scheme. I do and it would be dishonest of me  to pretend otherwise.

 I hope the creator of FoCal understands my point. I suspect he'll sell more units without that unnecessary requirement to share what is my proprietary information with him- a move  which will have no effect of the workings of the software itself and can still maintain a reasonable 5 body limitation.
Title: Re: My Review of the Reikan Focal Pro Lens Microadjustment System
Post by: Glenn NK on June 02, 2012, 12:38:11 PM
....but stop bad mouthing Reikan just because you are over sensitive on this issue.

With all due respect, I didn't interpret the posts by Ellis as bad mouthing.  To me, it seems his concerns were pretty well limited to privacy issues, so perhaps our interpretations differ.  So be it.

Glenn
Title: Re: My Review of the Reikan Focal Pro Lens Microadjustment System
Post by: julianv on June 02, 2012, 04:07:25 PM
I forgot to mention one useful feature of FoCal that has not received much emphasis in the online reviews and comments. Phase detection AF is not perfectly precise. If you initiate AF multiple times on the exact same target, you will get multiple focus results. The spread of values depends on the characteristics of the target, lens, camera, etc.  When FoCal is running a calibration, it makes several measurements at each Fine Tune (Microadjust) value. If it sees a large spread in focus quality, it makes more measurements.  If the spread is too large, it aborts the test and warns the user that something is amiss with the lens, or the test setup. If the spread is reasonable, it moves on the the next adjustment value.  At the end of measurements, it obtains a recommended adjustment value by making a statistical analysis and curve fit to the data.

This method is likely to produce better results than most users will get from subjective comparisons of images made from LensAlign, SpyderLensCal, or homemade targets.  The significance of this advantage (or the significance of focus tuning in general) is debatable, of course.
Title: Re: My Review of the Reikan Focal Pro Lens Microadjustment System
Post by: BartvanderWolf on June 02, 2012, 07:55:25 PM
The significance of this advantage (or the significance of focus tuning in general) is debatable, of course.

Hi Julian,

Not really debatable. A properly acquired average has its benefits.

However, it's not clear how the additional samples for a given situation are taken by the software. Just taking additional samples is not going to address the fundamental issue of hysteresis. There is a difference between approaching the Phase detect focus position from the minimum focus distance and approaching it from the infinity distance direction. For some lenses that difference is very significant, even switching the focusing direction by one notch may introduce a significant focus error.

Cheers,
Bart
Title: Re: My Review of the Reikan Focal Pro Lens Microadjustment System
Post by: julianv on June 03, 2012, 01:31:38 AM
Not really debatable. A properly acquired average has its benefits.

I don't think FoCal is choosing the average of the multiple measurements at each AF Fine Tune (Microadjust) setting. In the plots, each measurement point is shown as a green or blue diamond.  A red dot is drawn over the "most likely correct" point, according to the documentation.  In the plots that I have seen thus far, this is not always the average, or best result point.  I don't know how the algorithm chooses the points used for its curve fit.  You can see three of the plots made for my Nikkor 24-70 in this gallery (http://julianv.zenfolio.com/p945962852).

Quote
However, it's not clear how the additional samples for a given situation are taken by the software. Just taking additional samples is not going to address the fundamental issue of hysteresis. There is a difference between approaching the Phase detect focus position from the minimum focus distance and approaching it from the infinity distance direction. For some lenses that difference is very significant, even switching the focusing direction by one notch may introduce a significant focus error.

In the "Pro" version of the program, you can choose the defocus operation that is used before each measurement. It defocuses by changing the Fine Tune value to its near or far extreme values, or by physically moving the lens focus setting to near or far extremes. But, in an automated sequence, the same defocus method will be used for all points. It might be more realistic to use a randomization of initial positions.

When I wrote that the significance of the fine tuning process is debatable, I was really thinking about the practical benefits and limitations. For some lenses (especially zooms) the optimum adjustment value can vary with focal length, or subject distance, or possibly even aperture.  The user needs to choose a compromised value for the lens, or needs to reload different values depending on situation. Even with prime lenses, the magnitude of the improvement obtained from AF tuning may not be significant for some users.  Inexperienced users might tweak their lens for best results at one focus distance, without realizing that they worsened the performance at other distances.

But for those who stand to benefit from AF fine tuning, I think FoCal represents a genuine advance over tools like LensAlign and SpyderLensCal. The product is still a bit unrefined, but the developer has obviously put a lot of thought (and work) into it.
Title: Re: My Review of the Reikan Focal Pro Lens Microadjustment System
Post by: jrsforums on June 03, 2012, 07:15:33 AM
With all due respect, I didn't interpret the posts by Ellis as bad mouthing.  To me, it seems his concerns were pretty well limited to privacy issues, so perhaps our interpretations differ.  So be it.

Glenn

The "privacy issue" is what it has boiled down to.  Had that been it, I would never had made a response as I respect his right to his concerns, even if I do not hold them.

Re-read his earlier posts.  After reading one limited review, he immediately, in multiple posts, panned the product, the need for the product by a photographer, and, via the orator's questioning method, the functionality of the product.  All this with, apparently never having tried the product or looked over any of the available material on the product and reviews by others.

As I said in an earlier post....Ellis is a respected member of this forum and the photographic community.  I expect that many take his view as "gospel".  As such, I expect his critique of a product to be held to a higher standard, which was not seen in this thread.
Title: Re: My Review of the Reikan Focal Pro Lens Microadjustment System
Post by: Keith Reeder on June 03, 2012, 08:19:05 AM
Ellis' comments were overly dismissive for no good reason - unfounded concerns about privacy (how much intrinsic value does a camera serial number really have, except to the owner of the camera?) are one thing, but that one silly niggle became the basis (or rather the excuse) for condemnation of the application and the entire rationale of its creation and development.

I mean, seriously?

Quote from: Ellis Vener
Beyond making sure your camera is focusing where you think it should be focusing, can any of those analysis tools actually make you a better photographer or make your photographers better in any meaningful way? People spend far too much time measurbating already and then arguing about their findings as it is.


We all know that in many (most?) photographic genres sharpness is of crucial importance to the perceived quality of the end result, and FoCal directly addresses that fact. Ellis' references to Capa's and Cartier-Bresson's work are entirely irrelevant to the legitimate desire of photographers to have their equipment performing at its best.

But the key point here is that Ellis clearly made his decision about FoCal in a complete information vacuum - his subsequent comments and questions demonstrate a complete ignorance of the application, entirely incompatible with the self-important and condescending way in which he dismissed it.




Title: Re: My Review of the Reikan Focal Pro Lens Microadjustment System
Post by: bjanes on June 03, 2012, 10:09:15 AM
We do lens alignments here at the shop, and 75% of the bodies that are brought in have a problem.  It normally isn't a lens thing, it's a sensor plane thing.  We can put the same lens on 3 different bodies and will get 3 completely unrelated results ... one body front focus, one back focuses, one pretty good.

If it were a problem with the camera alignment only, then one could use the same adjustment for all of one's lenses. In practice, different adjustments are needed for various lenses used on the same camera, indicating that the lens is also a factor.

Regards,

Bill
Title: Re: My Review of the Reikan Focal Pro Lens Microadjustment System
Post by: Ellis Vener on June 03, 2012, 02:18:55 PM
Dear Keith Reeder ,
 Please re-read what I have written: I never condemned or dismissed the software.  I am not ignorant of how it works or what it does. I criticized one aspect of the licensing scheme Reikan  currently implements. It may be a "silly niggle" for you but it is not for everyone.

Title: Re: My Review of the Reikan Focal Pro Lens Microadjustment System
Post by: jrsforums on June 03, 2012, 06:33:17 PM
Dear Keith Reeder ,
 Please re-read what I have written: I never condemned or dismissed the software.  I am not ignorant of how it works or what it does. I criticized one aspect of the licensing scheme Reikan  currently implements. It may be a "silly niggle" for you but it is not for everyone.



Hmmm..??

Quote
Based on your review, I'll pass.

Quote
Beyond making sure your camera is focusing where you think it should be focusing, can any of those analysis tools actually make you a better photographer or make your photographers better in any meaningful way? People spend far too much time measurbating already and then arguing about their findings as it is.

Make pictures, not measurements.

Quote
I think a photographer's time is generally better spent making themselves aware of  the interaction of color and light, framing and composition, working on seeing life , and their shooting technique as opposed to dwelling on the aspects this program seems to measure. Between two photographs of equal power the more technically refined photograph may be technically better but a technical quality is only worthwhile if it backs up a photograph  that is emotionally expressive, expresses a strong idea, and a strong aesthetic sensibility behind it. This is true for all of the arts, not just photography.

I've seen musicians, painters, and writers - as well as photographers - all get tangled up in the seductive mechanics of craft and lose sight of the bigger thing they are trying to get done. I am not immune to this myself. But I'd rather make something a little ragged and right than perfect and dull. Of course if you can get your art technically perfect and with expressing great feeling, embodying a powerful idea, and beautiful that is an unstoppable combination: Coppola's "The Godfather Part II" for example.

AND...

You never get a second chance. never, ever.
But see Robert Capa's photographs of the D-Day landings  as well as more than a little of Henri Cartier-Bresson's work as an antidote to thinking that '"There is nothing worse than a fuzzy image of a sharp concept"

Technique is the cart, it isn't the horse.

Put the viewer first.

And if you think you're making pictures  too flawed for you to live with,  toss them.

Quote
To be perfectly clear: I am not advocating not adjusting your camera's focusing mechanisms to perform optimally.

Quote
No. (in response to: So what you were just ranting ? I didn't think you were a ranter Ellis......altough I agree with what you said. I like this system....I don't like teching out .... with this system I can just let it do it's thing and then go about my businessess making pictures.

My objections  Does  this system have a method of ensuring your camera is square to the target?

If it does, great. If not it is a no go.

The  initial review I responded to says no hardware is needed beyond maybe a tripod. But you need a printer or access to one to print the target.

Another member of this thread said to look at the other things this software can do. Okay great: what exactly will do with that data?

The thread starter failed to mention that you are required to register your cameras including serial numbers with the software maker. Why? I see no compelling technical reason they need that information. What are they going to do with it? Who will have access to it? Why is he collecting that information? It might help his business model but there is no value in that for me.

I absolutely believe that tuning a camera's AF performance to specific lenses is critical. I do not believe this is the right product for doing that.

I'd like to see a more critical evaluation of the product before spending money on it. No tool is perfect.

Ellis....you can read it your way and I'll read it mine.

In my view, you dismissed this software and had absolutely no....or at least very limited... idea of how it worked....and at the same time condemned the need for it.  It was not until I and others responded that you fell back to the licensing as the major issue....which it may be to you...your choice...but not a reason for you to attempt to influence others not to use or try it.
Title: Re: My Review of the Reikan Focal Pro Lens Microadjustment System
Post by: Keith Reeder on June 04, 2012, 07:41:57 AM
In my view, you dismissed this software and had absolutely no....or at least very limited... idea of how it worked....and at the same time condemned the need for it.  It was not until I and others responded that you fell back to the licensing as the major issue....which it may be to you...your choice...but not a reason for you to attempt to influence others not to use or try it.

This.

Sorry Ellis, but I don't get any sense that you generally struggle accurately to communicate your meaning when you post.

Here, your unambiguous contempt for the application fairly leaps off the page.
Title: Re: My Review of the Reikan Focal Pro Lens Microadjustment System
Post by: Wayne Fox on June 21, 2012, 02:19:09 PM
I have spent some time testing the FoCal software.  Because I made some comments earlier in I would add a summary of my experience/opinion.

There are a couple of issues.  It is the responsibility of the tester to insure the camera sensor and target are as parallel as possible.  While I've found it isn't ultra critical (an inch or two), a few inches off line does affect the outcome.  This isn't too challenging to over come, placing a small mirror on the target when positioning the camera, allows one to fine tune the camera position quite accurately.  Not as elegant as the LensAlign, yet not too difficult to overcome.  Printing your own target means you need a good printer with MK ink.  I used my 11880 on Epson premium presentation paper at 2880.  The resulting  target was sharp and worked well. 

At this point I've worked extensively with a d800e, a 5D Mark 3, and a 5D Mark 2.  I have a d700 and a D4 coming in, but I don't think they will change my perspective.

As far as the d800e, I don't think the software can handle the moire when analyzing the target.  On nearly every lens the setting chosen was off by as many as 7 or 8 points.  It sees the moire as lack of sharpness.  However, by clicking on the focus points in the analysis, it was pretty easy to find which was the sharpest, so I used the software in the manual mode, and I think it was easier to use than when I tried the lens align.  The issue with d800e for me so far is I just haven't tested any lenses that can resolve anywhere close to the sensor wide open, soeverything is blurry.  With the lens align it's difficult to decide which area is "less" blurry.  I found it easier to calibrate the d800e by shooting a target which had some other information such as images which didn't show the moire problem.  Also it was interesting to see how quickly diffraction affected moire (by f/11 with 3 different lenses most of the moire was gone).

The 5D Mark3 was much easier to use, but it it isn't totally automatic.  Some of the canon's are fully automatic, start the test, come back 5 minutes later.  This was the case with the 5D mark 2. What I did find was using the recommended setting wasn't always the setting I would choose.  When you examine the data you can see the results of any shot by clicking on the diamond and visually compare it to the selected setting/shot.  With the 5D Mark2 and the Canon 100mm macro, the software recommended a setting of -3, but visually it was obvious that a setting of -6 yielded the most accurate focus. The difference was at -3 the point spread was much tighter, where as at =6 there were a couple of results worse than -3 but several that were better.  So one caveat I would make is that after you complete the test, you visually examine the charts and compare the various points with the recommended/selected one.  On the 16-35 mm, the software nailed it (and it was significant, -13).  It also did so on the 70-200.  The 100mm Macro is a pretty old lens, and showed by far the most deviation in focus.

I found the f/stop range test very interesting, and it was useful in determine the minimum/maximum values for optimum sharpness. On the 5D Mark 2, all 3 lenses were better stopped down, and at f/11 diffraction had very little impact.  After that it became obvious and by f/22 things were a complete blur.  I'll be testing this out with the d800 as soon as I can get my hands on one.

As far as the licensing, personally I find it reasonable and not an issue.  You are allowed to enter 5 serial numbers for cameras, and you are allowed to make changes to your serial number list 10 times.  The change is a matter of logging onto their website, making the changes to the numbers, and then copying and pasting the resulting code back into the software.  It only takes a couple of minutes, and seems a very reasonable method to prevent abuse (say a camera club buying one copy and then calibrating everyone's camera.)  For around $400, you can license it to a CPU rather than camera bodies, and then there is no limit to the cameras.  I believe just like bodies, you are allowed to change the link to the CPU a few times.

I ran the latest beta version of their software on a Mac using Parallels/Windows 7.  I had no issue with the USB cable supplied with the d800e or with USB for the Canons.

The concept seems well thought out, the feedback is excellent and the algorithms to analyze the data seem to work pretty well for the most part.  When they don't the visual feedback is useful and works.  I found I could calibrate the 5D Mark 2 in less time than the Lens Align, and personally believe I have more confidence in the results. Most where quite similar to the same setting as with LensAlign, but most were a point or two different.

All of this is of course just my humble opinion, your mileage and opinion certainly might be different.
Title: Re: My Review of the Reikan Focal Pro Lens Microadjustment System
Post by: Ellis Vener on June 21, 2012, 05:04:11 PM
Wayne, thank you  for that unbiased and balanced assessment of the FoCal Pro.
Title: Re: My Review of the Reikan Focal Pro Lens Microadjustment System
Post by: julianv on June 21, 2012, 06:54:36 PM
Very useful comments, Wayne.  I encourage you to communicate your findings to Rich, the developer of FoCal.  He is very receptive to constructive feedback.
Title: Re: My Review of the Reikan Focal Pro Lens Microadjustment System
Post by: David Good on June 22, 2012, 07:01:30 AM
Very useful and informative post Wayne. I have been considering this software for a while and appreciate the straight forward feedback.
Title: Re: My Review of the Reikan Focal Pro Lens Microadjustment System
Post by: tektrader on June 26, 2012, 09:09:06 AM
I was going to buy the software, BUT I noticed the Nikon D800 requires manual intervention to calibrate.

If that is so is there any advantage in paying extra for the pro version or essentially as we are losing the auto cal function is it worth paying the extra for the pro version?
Title: Re: My Review of the Reikan Focal Pro Lens Microadjustment System
Post by: Moreno Polloni on June 26, 2012, 01:21:31 PM
I was going to buy the software, BUT I noticed the Nikon D800 requires manual intervention to calibrate.

If that is so is there any advantage in paying extra for the pro version or essentially as we are losing the auto cal function is it worth paying the extra for the pro version?

That's what I thought and I picked up the standard version, which turned out to be a mistake. Regardless of the product description here's nothing semi-automatic about it. You have to manually click through a bunch of focus settings on a trial and error basis, which I found to be unreliable and ambiguous. After a few frustrating hours of trying the software I'm no farther ahead than before.

If you're interested in the software I'd suggest you go for the mid or Pro version, as these will run in semi-automatic mode. When you start the test the process is automated on the D800 with the exception of having to change the AFMA settings manually several times.
Title: Re: My Review of the Reikan Focal Pro Lens Microadjustment System
Post by: tektrader on June 27, 2012, 06:51:59 AM
Thanks Moreno, I bought the PLUS version.  Also thanks for the discount  link on the previous page. Saved me money. :)
Title: Re: My Review of the Reikan Focal Pro Lens Microadjustment System
Post by: hilong on February 19, 2013, 07:00:28 PM
Thanks Wayne & Alan for the great insight as to FoCal's usefulness. I've been going crazy trying to get my 7d & 5dIII optimized & this is the only program that attempts to eliminate the user interface (as much as possible) and includes a AF repeatable element. I've seen images that George Lepp did and shows off the 7d's sharpness by blowing up an image & I've never been able to come close to that standard. I've made certain to work camera shake and DOF f stop settings attempting to get standard setting sharp images, which is most of us want. Other processes of lens/body calibration don't appear to look at any form of repeatability. I've sent lenses to Canon to be calibrated & or bodies and they have met specifications, then when combined don't produce a quality image. Both were stacked in the opposite direction of allowable tolerance. I'm looking forward to the Mac version of this to come out and give it a go! 
Title: Re: My Review of the Reikan Focal Pro Lens Microadjustment System
Post by: jrsforums on February 19, 2013, 07:13:29 PM
I believe the Mac version is out
Title: Re: My Review of the Reikan Focal Pro Lens Microadjustment System
Post by: Jeremy Roussak on February 20, 2013, 03:31:00 AM
I believe the Mac version is out

Correct. It was released at least four months ago.

Jeremy
Title: Re: My Review of the Reikan Focal Pro Lens Microadjustment System
Post by: texshooter on July 06, 2013, 12:02:30 AM
Don't let what happened to me happen to you. I don't know if it's due to my camera limitation or a Focal software limitation, but you might get Auto Focus Manual Adjustment (AFMA) recommendations from the software that make no sense whatsoever. For example, see the Reikan Focal AFMA chart below for my 70-200mm f2.8 L  MarkI lens @200mm. The software calls for an 8.0 AFMA. So I set my camera to +8.0 and went on a sightseeing day trip. When I got back home I noticed all me photos where back-focused. So I ran a few tests without the software, just using my eyeballs and a sharp stationary object, and learned that my lens required no AFMA, contrary to Focal's calculation. Had I looked at  this chart more closely I would have noticed that the camera achieved the most sharp image at AMFA 0.0. That should have been a clue that the software was wonked.
Title: Re: My Review of the Reikan Focal Pro Lens Microadjustment System
Post by: jrsforums on July 06, 2013, 08:06:11 AM
Don't let what happened to me happen to you. I don't know if it's due to my camera limitation or a Focal software limitation, but you might get Auto Focus Manual Adjustment (AFMA) recommendations from the software that make no sense whatsoever. For example, see the Reikan Focal AFMA chart below for my 70-200mm f2.8 L  MarkI lens @200mm. The software calls for an 8.0 AFMA. So I set my camera to +8.0 and went on a sightseeing day trip. When I got back home I noticed all me photos where back-focused. So I ran a few tests without the software, just using my eyeballs and a sharp stationary object, and learned that my lens required no AFMA, contrary to Focal's calculation. Had I looked at  this chart more closely I would have noticed that the camera achieved the most sharp image at AMFA 0.0. That should have been a clue that the software was wonked.

If you have read Roger Cicala's LensRental blog, you understand that Phase Detection AF is not exact....it is more of a shotgun clustering.

As you can see, The FoCal software attempted to fine the center of the cluster that it saw.

Whenever I have had "strange" results with a quality lens like the one you were using I have always been able to trace it back to my "pilot error"....such as leaving the IS on, not having the target properly lighted, tripod, etc. not stable, not using a cable release, moving in the room while auto AF going on, etc.
Title: Re: My Review of the Reikan Focal Pro Lens Microadjustment System
Post by: texshooter on July 06, 2013, 07:42:30 PM
Granted, phase detection is wonky. That would explain the vertical spread of the data points, but not the horizontal spread. I followed the instructions to the letter. It doesn't make sense why the maximum quality focus that the software/camera can obtain for AFMA +0 would the same as for AFMA +1, +2, +7, +8, +10, +11, +13, and +17 with or without the shotgun phase detect effect.  Logic dictates that the maximum achievable quality focus should be parabolic. My results show a practically straight line. For comparison, see below my chart for the lens at 135mm. The same problem. The horizontal spread near peak focus is to broad and too flat.
Title: Re: My Review of the Reikan Focal Pro Lens Microadjustment System
Post by: BartvanderWolf on July 06, 2013, 09:12:00 PM
Granted, phase detection is wonky. That would explain the vertical spread of the data points, but not the horizontal spread.

Hi,

According to my independent analysis, there can be an effect from hysteresis, IOW depending on the focus approach direction (closer or farther focus position departure point).

I'm not informed about the Focal Pro specifics for each lens/camera body combination, so I'd have to guess about what's actually being reported. It's a pity they didn't choose quantifiable units that make sense, like I attempted in the free tool I made available here (http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=68089.msg538932#msg538932). Granted, it takes more work than an automated sequence, but isn't the usability of the outcome more important? My blur metric can also be utilized in most software to directly improve the post-processing quality.

Quote
I followed the instructions to the letter. It doesn't make sense why the maximum quality focus that the software/camera can obtain for AFMA +0 would the same as for AFMA +1, +2, +7, +8, +10, +11, +13, and +17 with or without the shotgun phase detect effect.  Logic dictates that the maximum achievable quality focus should be parabolic. My results show a practically straight line.

Just guessing, but it seems that the vertical axis, IOW the precision is not good enough to pinpoint the actual optimum (mind you, there may be good reasons, which I don't know, for that).

What I do know is that in principle it's possible to pin-point the actual optimal focus position quite accurately. 

Quote
For comparison, see below my chart for the lens at 135mm. The same problem. The horizontal spread near peak focus is to broad and too flat.

Similar issue, although it seems not as indecisive as for your other lens.

Cheers,
Bart
Title: Re: My Review of the Reikan Focal Pro Lens Microadjustment System
Post by: texshooter on July 07, 2013, 12:03:13 AM
I ditched the software and went with the crude manual method, an inclined ruler, and finally got results that make sense to me. I believe that Focal's AFMA recommendation is ok after all, but the way it charts the results and averages bad averages is just not very intuitive. Shooting a ruler and seeing the background and foreground distance marks that fall within the depth of focus is much more convincing to me. Below is a test shot at 200mm with AFMA +0. Next to that is a shot at AFMA +5. The +0 shot reveals that my lens has a front focus issue.
Title: Re: My Review of the Reikan Focal Pro Lens Microadjustment System
Post by: Rhossydd on July 07, 2013, 04:36:06 AM
IOW depending on the focus approach direction (closer or farther focus position departure point).
I think the latest versions of Focal Pro allow you to test for this.

Title: Re: My Review of the Reikan Focal Pro Lens Microadjustment System
Post by: texshooter on July 14, 2013, 01:25:55 AM

Similar issue, although it seems not as indecisive as for your other lens.


Maybe this means that the longer the focal length, the less effect a change in the AFMA has on focus quality. for example, a +/- 1.0 AFMA to a 200mm lens will have less of an effect on sharpness than a +/- 1.0 AFMA to a 135mm lens. That's what my experiment shows, but I was expecting the opposite.
Title: Re: My Review of the Reikan Focal Pro Lens Microadjustment System
Post by: BartvanderWolf on July 14, 2013, 07:17:02 AM
Maybe this means that the longer the focal length, the less effect a change in the AFMA has on focus quality. for example, a +/- 1.0 AFMA to a 200mm lens will have less of an effect on sharpness than a +/- 1.0 AFMA to a 135mm lens. That's what my experiment shows, but I was expecting the opposite.

Hi,

That's not how e.g. Canon implements its AFMA, where each point is a similar percentage of the DOF for any given lens. So different lenses will get similar DOF adjustment for a given number of steps. Of course, other implementations may follow different strategies. Longer focal lengths do have shallower DOF, and should allow more accurate AFMA optimization.

Cheers,
Bart
Title: Re: My Review of the Reikan Focal Pro Lens Microadjustment System
Post by: digitaldog on July 14, 2013, 12:12:25 PM
I purchased the software last year, expecting a Mac version eventually (which has apparently appeared). Worked quite well despite my fumbling around on a Windows laptop (I'm not a very savvy Win users <g>). I haven't tried the Mac version because I adjusted my lens and they appeared to show improvement. I thought the product did a good job, was a pretty clever implementation compared to using just hardware to do this in the past. So I'm a satisfied customer. Not sure how long I need to go before trying the software on my Mac with the lens I adjusted last year.

As for the licensing: Got no problem with it. I can understand how someone writing such a product could worry their software will be purchased and someone would setup a service thus reducing sales. If they have some additional fee for a service oriented customer who will do this, fine. In some respects, this is akin to those of us who purchased a software product to build ICC output profiles and provide a service versus the EULA for someone going on site and calibrating a display. At least in terms of the tools I use, the EULA agreement differs depending on the kind of profiles being built and in the latest EUAL from X-rite, one can contact the company and end up with a custom EULA.

As for comparing this to Photoshop, I don't see it being the same. You can install as many copies of Photoshop on as many machines as you wish but you can only activate and thus use the software on two machines at a time with one license.

Lastly, comparing the time it takes to adjust your lens for ideal capture and instead just taking pictures, I don't see the connection. I paid good money for my lens and I'd prefer they preform as optimally as possible without regard to the image content. I might be taking a snapshot or an image I expect to be a 5 star pick I'll spend hours on. Why not have the best quality in terms of capture in either case?
Title: Re: My Review of the Reikan Focal Pro Lens Microadjustment System
Post by: jrsforums on July 14, 2013, 12:48:58 PM
I purchased the software last year, expecting a Mac version eventually (which has apparently appeared). Worked quite well despite my fumbling around on a Windows laptop (I'm not a very savvy Win users <g>). I haven't tried the Mac version because I adjusted my lens and they appeared to show improvement. I thought the product did a good job, was a pretty clever implementation compared to using just hardware to do this in the past. So I'm a satisfied customer. Not sure how long I need to go before trying the software on my Mac with the lens I adjusted last year.

As for the licensing: Got no problem with it. I can understand how someone writing such a product could worry their software will be purchased and someone would setup a service thus reducing sales. If they have some additional fee for a service oriented customer who will do this, fine. In some respects, this is akin to those of us who purchased a software product to build ICC output profiles and provide a service versus the EULA for someone going on site and calibrating a display. At least in terms of the tools I use, the EULA agreement differs depending on the kind of profiles being built and in the latest EUAL from X-rite, one can contact the company and end up with a custom EULA.

As for comparing this to Photoshop, I don't see it being the same. You can install as many copies of Photoshop on as many machines as you wish but you can only activate and thus use the software on two machines at a time with one license.

Lastly, comparing the time it takes to adjust your lens for ideal capture and instead just taking pictures, I don't see the connection. I paid good money for my lens and I'd prefer they preform as optimally as possible without regard to the image content. I might be taking a snapshot or an image I expect to be a 5 star pick I'll spend hours on. Why not have the best quality in terms of capture in either case?

+1  Well said.  

I am also very satisfied with Reikan Focal.  I just wish Canon would alter the SDK to allow automated operation on the 5D3.
Title: Re: My Review of the Reikan Focal Pro Lens Microadjustment System
Post by: eronald on July 14, 2013, 02:29:28 PM
Andrew,

 I think in the interests of their shareholders it is imperative that Adobe should be able to assert copyright on any picture taken with their cameras. It just isn't reasonable that when a picture is reprinted zillions of times the camera manufacturer and tools author receive nothing. IMHO every image written by Photoshop should be ©Adobe Inc.   The fact that Adobe is not getting a royalty on image files, and Microsoft is not getting royalty on books written with Word is clearly an intolerable violation of the property rights of these companies. I mean, it is clearly ridiculous that after poor pimply developers have invested their youth, and underpaid MBAs, lawyers and accountants have slaved uncountable hours to create these huge businesses, a random writer should be rewarded for a few hundred hours at a keyboard, or a photographer who may not even be American will in the end profit from being in the right place for a few minutes and getting a picture.

Edmund

I purchased the software last year, expecting a Mac version eventually (which has apparently appeared). Worked quite well despite my fumbling around on a Windows laptop (I'm not a very savvy Win users <g>). I haven't tried the Mac version because I adjusted my lens and they appeared to show improvement. I thought the product did a good job, was a pretty clever implementation compared to using just hardware to do this in the past. So I'm a satisfied customer. Not sure how long I need to go before trying the software on my Mac with the lens I adjusted last year.

As for the licensing: Got no problem with it. I can understand how someone writing such a product could worry their software will be purchased and someone would setup a service thus reducing sales. If they have some additional fee for a service oriented customer who will do this, fine. In some respects, this is akin to those of us who purchased a software product to build ICC output profiles and provide a service versus the EULA for someone going on site and calibrating a display. At least in terms of the tools I use, the EULA agreement differs depending on the kind of profiles being built and in the latest EUAL from X-rite, one can contact the company and end up with a custom EULA.

As for comparing this to Photoshop, I don't see it being the same. You can install as many copies of Photoshop on as many machines as you wish but you can only activate and thus use the software on two machines at a time with one license.

Lastly, comparing the time it takes to adjust your lens for ideal capture and instead just taking pictures, I don't see the connection. I paid good money for my lens and I'd prefer they preform as optimally as possible without regard to the image content. I might be taking a snapshot or an image I expect to be a 5 star pick I'll spend hours on. Why not have the best quality in terms of capture in either case?
Title: Re: My Review of the Reikan Focal Pro Lens Microadjustment System
Post by: PeterGG on September 26, 2013, 11:56:51 AM
I'm please with FoCal 1.9.0 running on my Mac to calibrate my Nikon D4.
Unlike Canon, the micro-focusing test is not completely automatic. I have to manually set the focus adjustments in my Nikon. This is due to Nikon's limitations, not FoCal's. This is hardly an inconvenience. I just put in the settings that FoCal tells me to. Testing may take a couple of minutes more than if done on a Canon.
Unlike other systems, this does other focusing tests, too.
My "secret" to consistent accurate results is to: 1. Read the instructions. 2. Set up the camera and target on stable surfaces. Walking on a wooden floor during a test may be enough to alter test results.
I've get best results setting up on my garage's concrete floor. It's not hard to align the camera and target.
In earlier versions, I had some trouble. I got prompt replies from the FoCal folks and the problem was fixed in later versions. I have no problems with their registration system.
Cheers
Title: Re: My Review of the Reikan Focal Pro Lens Microadjustment System
Post by: dwswager on October 26, 2014, 07:59:41 PM
As for the licensing: Got no problem with it. I can understand how someone writing such a product could worry their software will be purchased and someone would setup a service thus reducing sales.

Yeah, next thing you know a bunch of losers will be purchasing cameras and then setting up businesses taking photographs for other people!

The only reason these cockamamie and sometimes draconian software registration and limitation schemes exist is 1) it is easy and cheap to duplicate the product and 2) it is easy and cheap to implement the cockamamie schemes. 

As to the photography versus testing debate, to master any craft is to also master the tools of that craft.  However, there is a pretty bright line between learning and maximizing the performance of your tools and measurebating.   The measurebaters tend to be the same folks complaining their lens isn't sharp enough, their sensor doesn't have enough MPs, that if they only had some new doohickey, they could really be a better photographer.  Ther're the guys that trade in their Nikkor 50mm 1.8D for a Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G, not because they need that little bit more speed, but because it scores infinitesimally better in some resolution test regime.