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Thread started 05 Feb 2017 (Sunday) 14:55
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Problems with FoCal. looks like its still unreliable after all these years.

 
dave_bass5
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Feb 05, 2017 14:55 |  #1

Having just gone back to trying to use the latest version of FoCal im finding it just as frustrating as it was a few years ago. I cant believe this software hasn't been fixed in all this time.
The two main issues im having is i cant use raw files for checking, the program just doesnt want to know, even though its checked in the settings.The other is just lack of consistency in how the program works.
With all the target check boxes ticked id have thought that would be good to go, but no. Some times i get a final image in the After window, most of the times i dont. sometimes the same lens that took around 11-13 shots now doesnt stop at all. I get an error that im up to 15 but even though i might click stop it keeps going. In the end after about 25 ill just pull the plug as its not going anywhere.
This happens randomly and there are no environment changes etc.

This does not give me confidence in the final MAF setting that the software suggests, especially as it seem to do random things and i cant get +1 on the first try, +6 on the second etc.


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Feb 06, 2017 06:07 |  #2

dave_bass5 wrote in post #18265469 (external link)
Having just gone back to trying to use the latest version of FoCal im finding it just as frustrating as it was a few years ago. I cant believe this software hasn't been fixed in all this time.
The two main issues im having is i cant use raw files for checking, the program just doesnt want to know, even though its checked in the settings.The other is just lack of consistency in how the program works.
With all the target check boxes ticked id have thought that would be good to go, but no. Some times i get a final image in the After window, most of the times i dont. sometimes the same lens that took around 11-13 shots now doesnt stop at all. I get an error that im up to 15 but even though i might click stop it keeps going. In the end after about 25 ill just pull the plug as its not going anywhere.
This happens randomly and there are no environment changes etc.

This does not give me confidence in the final MAF setting that the software suggests, especially as it seem to do random things and i cant get +1 on the first try, +6 on the second etc.


Reminds me of the old joke. The guy goes to the doctor, slaps himself on the face really hard and says "Doc, every time I do this it hurts!" The doc looks at him and says "So, stop doing it!"

If the program is full of bugs and/or doesn't work properly, has been "unreliable" "for years," and hasn't been fixed, it should be evident it probably is not going to be.

So the same response would apply to you. Stop inflicting pain upon yourself and move on.


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kirkt
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Feb 06, 2017 08:24 |  #3

I will just add that you probably do not need all of that fancy automated software to calibrate your lenses unless you have to calibrate a LOT of lens/camera combinations. Have you tried using the "DotTune" method:

http://testcams.com …uning-in-under-5-minutes/ (external link)

watch the video on that page.

I must say, I finally got around to adjusting the AF on the two Canon lenses that I use (24-105 f/4L and 70-200 f/2.8L IS, both v1 of these lenses) with the Canon 5DIV - the real difference in image quality and focus accuracy is staggering. I used the DotTune method and then shot a bunch of sample images and fine-tuned the DotTune result. Remember that shooting a planar target is fine to get you in the ballpark, but you need to shoot real images and inspect the results to fine tune your AF for the results based on real scenes that your shoot, under a variety of lighting conditions.

Best of all, DotTune is free! I believe that the DotTune methodology may also be incorporated into Magic Lantern, so there may be an automated way of performing this tuning as well.

http://www.magiclanter​n.fm/forum/index.php?t​opic=4648.0 (external link)

good luck!

kirk


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pknight
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Feb 06, 2017 08:38 |  #4

Dot-tune works great, as long as you are not using one of the docks/consoles introduced by third-party lens manufacturers. These make the focus adjustments in the lens, and the metrics are not necessarily the same as the in-camera metrics used by Dot-tune. Of course, FoCal is essentially worthless with these lenses as well. Also, if you use lenses on more than one body, these docks/consoles are not a good option, as you probably need different adjustments for different bodies, and the lens cannot accommodate this.

I have used FoCal, and did not have the problems described by the OP.


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Feb 06, 2017 08:41 |  #5

kirkt wrote in post #18265954 (external link)
I will just add that you probably do not need all of that fancy automated software to calibrate your lenses unless you have to calibrate a LOT of lens/camera combinations. Have you tried using the "DotTune" method:

http://testcams.com …uning-in-under-5-minutes/ (external link)

watch the video on that page.

I must say, I finally got around to adjusting the AF on the two Canon lenses that I use (24-105 f/4L and 70-200 f/2.8L IS, both v1 of these lenses) with the Canon 5DIV - the real difference in image quality and focus accuracy is staggering. I used the DotTune method and then shot a bunch of sample images and fine-tuned the DotTune result. Remember that shooting a planar target is fine to get you in the ballpark, but you need to shoot real images and inspect the results to fine tune your AF for the results based on real scenes that your shoot, under a variety of lighting conditions.

Best of all, DotTune is free! I believe that the DotTune methodology may also be incorporated into Magic Lantern, so there may be an automated way of performing this tuning as well.

http://www.magiclanter​n.fm/forum/index.php?t​opic=4648.0 (external link)

good luck!

kirk


Yes there is an automatic version of DotTune implemented my ML. I'm not sure how well it works though. I have tried it with my Sigma 20-40 f/2.8 EX DG (my normal zoom) on my 50D. It seemed like it could not get the AF to drop out at any point, in either direction. I couldn't get consistent results from my Sigma 150-600 C either. Every time I would reset the manual focus setting, using LV and 10× magnification, it would produce a different result, and not by a point or two, but over around 20 points or so across a half dozen attempts.

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pknight
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Feb 06, 2017 08:48 |  #6

BigAl007 wrote in post #18265973 (external link)
Yes there is an automatic version of DotTune implemented my ML. I'm not sure how well it works though. I have tried it with my Sigma 20-40 f/2.8 EX DG (my normal zoom) on my 50D. It seemed like it could not get the AF to drop out at any point, in either direction. I couldn't get consistent results from my Sigma 150-600 C either. Every time I would reset the manual focus setting, using LV and 10× magnification, it would produce a different result, and not by a point or two, but over around 20 points or so across a half dozen attempts.

Alan

Alan,

I don't think that any of the "normal" methods of AF adjustment (Dot-tune, FoCal, or any method that relies on the in-camera adjustment numbers) will be effective with Sigma and Tamron lenses that utilize in-lens adjustments such as your 150-600. (assuming that you were making the adjustments in the lens). This is based on communication with a Tamron service rep, who told me that trial-and-error is the best (only?) way to adjust these lenses, but that once that process is complete the focus should be amazing. With my Tamron 150-600 G2 that means 18 different adjustments to figure out. I am waiting for a forecast with several sunny days in a row.


Digital EOS 7D Mark II Canon: EF 50mm f/1.8 II, EF 50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro, Life-Size Converter EF Tamron: SP 17-50mm f/2.8 DiII, 18-400mm f/3.5-6.3 DiII VC HLD, SP 150-600 f/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2, SP 70-200 f/2.8 Di VC USD, 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 DiII VC HLD Sigma: 30mm f/1.4 DC Art Rokinon: 8mm f/3.5 AS IF UMC

  
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Feb 06, 2017 19:18 |  #7

pknight wrote in post #18265977 (external link)
Alan,

I don't think that any of the "normal" methods of AF adjustment (Dot-tune, FoCal, or any method that relies on the in-camera adjustment numbers) will be effective with Sigma and Tamron lenses that utilize in-lens adjustments such as your 150-600. (assuming that you were making the adjustments in the lens). This is based on communication with a Tamron service rep, who told me that trial-and-error is the best (only?) way to adjust these lenses, but that once that process is complete the focus should be amazing. With my Tamron 150-600 G2 that means 18 different adjustments to figure out. I am waiting for a forecast with several sunny days in a row.

With the 50D I get only a single MFA point in the camera, so I figured I would make a two step process. I would run the ML automated DotTune with the camera at 0 for each of the zoom/distance combinations, then having noted the settings for each combination, apply them in the lens software. I would then repeat the tests to check the results. I reckoned it shouldn't take more than three maybe four iterations to get things sorted.

The problem was that if I reset the focus between runs, the results of the test would change very dramatically. Although the image would look just as sharp on the screen during focusing, it was enough to swing the result, which is already an average of about ten runs of the test, by For any test to be reliable then you should get the same results from it when run under the same set of starting parameters.

Alan


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Blackey ­ Cole
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Feb 06, 2017 23:06 |  #8

Not to say your results aren't true but I've had excellent results with my gear. Maybe it's your gear that is the problem and not the software. I used it last month with the latest version at that time before that I did have problems but it was me not the software.


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Feb 06, 2017 23:37 |  #9

I've used FoCal for years and the only real issue I've had with it is that it seems to crash a fair bit. Usually it happens between cameras or lens changes, so not once I'm actually testing anything. I just click it off and back on and it's fine. I've only used it on a MacBook Pro and I haven't used the newest update... but previous versions have been working for me.


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Feb 07, 2017 09:45 |  #10

I was surprised on how accurate and repeatable FoCal is. I know there was some chatter at first but when you read FoCal blogs they put a lot of work into version 2 for accuracy. Also I hate having to make a final decision when using Dot Tune. Nothing wrong with it but I want something that tells me what the final value is.

Are you using a target that was printed with laser or a flicking light source? For my preliminary tests I used my lousy ink jet printer and I tested under incandescent light at home. I did not have the correct distance to target but I was just getting used to how it works. I was getting the same results on different days.

I then picked up the hard target and since I shoot in daylight most of the time I also picked up 2 daylight balanced studio lights.

At the lake I had the correct distance with the target in a bright day lit porch and the two studio lights. I basically got almost the same numbers as at home.

FoCal is not working on Mac Sierra right now. They are waiting for Canon to release their updated software libraries which should be any day now. For now I just entered my 5D3 values for my 5D4. My 100-400 II is only out a few ticks but when I put the TC on it is really out. +13 @ 560mm.

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Feb 07, 2017 09:53 |  #11

BigAl007 wrote in post #18266487 (external link)
With the 50D I get only a single MFA point in the camera, so I figured I would make a two step process. I would run the ML automated DotTune with the camera at 0 for each of the zoom/distance combinations, then having noted the settings for each combination, apply them in the lens software. I would then repeat the tests to check the results. I reckoned it shouldn't take more than three maybe four iterations to get things sorted.

The problem was that if I reset the focus between runs, the results of the test would change very dramatically. Although the image would look just as sharp on the screen during focusing, it was enough to swing the result, which is already an average of about ten runs of the test, by For any test to be reliable then you should get the same results from it when run under the same set of starting parameters.

Alan

I wonder if it has to do with the distances necessary to use the console. FoCal expects the target to be at a certain distance/size on the sensor. There is no way to meet those requirements when testing at (with my lens) 18 different distance/focal-length combinations. In fact, the Tamron rep I spoke with said that the infinity adjustments should be made (for this lens) with a target at least 2 miles away. They are apparently serious about infinity!


Digital EOS 7D Mark II Canon: EF 50mm f/1.8 II, EF 50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro, Life-Size Converter EF Tamron: SP 17-50mm f/2.8 DiII, 18-400mm f/3.5-6.3 DiII VC HLD, SP 150-600 f/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2, SP 70-200 f/2.8 Di VC USD, 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 DiII VC HLD Sigma: 30mm f/1.4 DC Art Rokinon: 8mm f/3.5 AS IF UMC

  
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Feb 07, 2017 09:56 |  #12

dave_bass5 wrote in post #18265469 (external link)
Having just gone back to trying to use the latest version of FoCal im finding it just as frustrating as it was a few years ago. I cant believe this software hasn't been fixed in all this time.
The two main issues im having is i cant use raw files for checking, the program just doesnt want to know, even though its checked in the settings.The other is just lack of consistency in how the program works.
With all the target check boxes ticked id have thought that would be good to go, but no. Some times i get a final image in the After window, most of the times i dont. sometimes the same lens that took around 11-13 shots now doesnt stop at all. I get an error that im up to 15 but even though i might click stop it keeps going. In the end after about 25 ill just pull the plug as its not going anywhere.
This happens randomly and there are no environment changes etc.

This does not give me confidence in the final MAF setting that the software suggests, especially as it seem to do random things and i cant get +1 on the first try, +6 on the second etc.

If you're having an issue with FoCal, perhaps contacting them for support might be useful.

http://www.reikan.co.u​k …/contact/contac​t-support/ (external link)




  
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Feb 07, 2017 10:00 |  #13

FoCal has worked well for me. I agree that it does crash more than it should but it is very consistent and it helps me get sharper pictures. I am using v 2.0.8M on a Mac laptop running the latest OS. I have used it to tune all my lenses on both of my bodies.


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Feb 07, 2017 10:15 |  #14

pknight wrote in post #18266853 (external link)
I wonder if it has to do with the distances necessary to use the console. FoCal expects the target to be at a certain distance/size on the sensor. There is no way to meet those requirements when testing at (with my lens) 18 different distance/focal-length combinations. In fact, the Tamron rep I spoke with said that the infinity adjustments should be made (for this lens) with a target at least 2 miles away. They are apparently serious about infinity!

The last time I asked the developer of Dot Tune about distance he was using infinity as well. Roof tops and street signs. On the other hand one of the best birders out there - Liquidstone does it at MFD so go figure.

FoCal provides minimum distance calculator and a pretty decent explanation of when a lens settles down.

http://s449182328.webs​itehome.co.uk …20Test%20Distan​ce_1.1.pdf (external link)

The manual has instructions that few follow. Even with Canon says it is best to do it at location at one time said 50X the lenses the lenses focal length. Others like lens align says 25X. This is why I was never a big fan of MFA. It was confusing as who to follow for he best results. I just use FoCals suggested min distance when I'm pressed for space.


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Feb 07, 2017 11:17 |  #15

pknight wrote in post #18266853 (external link)
I wonder if it has to do with the distances necessary to use the console. FoCal expects the target to be at a certain distance/size on the sensor. There is no way to meet those requirements when testing at (with my lens) 18 different distance/focal-length combinations. In fact, the Tamron rep I spoke with said that the infinity adjustments should be made (for this lens) with a target at least 2 miles away. They are apparently serious about infinity!


digital paradise wrote in post #18266879 (external link)
The last time I asked the developer of Dot Tune about distance he was using infinity as well. Roof tops and street signs. On the other hand one of the best birders out there - Liquidstone does it at MFD so go figure.

FoCal provides minimum distance calculator and a pretty decent explanation of when a lens settles down.

http://s449182328.webs​itehome.co.uk …20Test%20Distan​ce_1.1.pdf (external link)

The manual has instructions that few follow. Even with Canon says it is best to do it at location at one time said 50X the lenses the lenses focal length. Others like lens align says 25X. This is why I was never a big fan of MFA. It was confusing as who to follow for he best results. I just use FoCals suggested min distance when I'm pressed for space.

Sigma and Tamron are the only ones who actually instruct you to try to focus at what is essentially infinity. 50X is nowhere near infinity, even with a 600mm lens. I don't believe that the Dot-Tune guy was focusing at street signs two miles away.

I have, and use, FoCal, and with primes or zooms where I am adjusting just the ends of the focal length range, it works fine. However, I wonder if there is enough of the target in the image for the program to work when I am focusing at the shortest distance (7.2 ft) and the longest focal length with my Tamron 150-600. Likewise, if I am at the intermediate distance (22 yards) at 150mm, the target will be far to small for FoCal to properly do the analysis.


Digital EOS 7D Mark II Canon: EF 50mm f/1.8 II, EF 50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro, Life-Size Converter EF Tamron: SP 17-50mm f/2.8 DiII, 18-400mm f/3.5-6.3 DiII VC HLD, SP 150-600 f/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2, SP 70-200 f/2.8 Di VC USD, 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 DiII VC HLD Sigma: 30mm f/1.4 DC Art Rokinon: 8mm f/3.5 AS IF UMC

  
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Problems with FoCal. looks like its still unreliable after all these years.
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