Analysis Screen

Podcast 321 : Lens Calibration and Microadjustment with FoCal

Today we're going to take a look at a great new product from Reikan Technology called FoCal. The folks at FoCal were kind enough to provide me with a copy of their product to give it a good test, and I really liked what I saw, so decided to share...

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Martin Bailey
Martin Bailey is a nature and wildlife photographer and educator based in Tokyo. He's a pioneering Podcaster and blogger, and an X-Rite Coloratti member.
  • Ken
    Posted at 00:30h, 16 February Reply

    Great review Martin! Would love to try it but I’m Mac only… any idea when a Mac version might be released?

  • Martin Bailey
    Posted at 18:26h, 16 February Reply

    Thanks for taking a look Ken! If you have Parallels on your Mac, you can run the Windows version fine, but if not, it may take a while. I’ve mailed the folks at Reikan Technology and if they can give you an idea I’m sure they will, either directly here or through me. They may not be able to say, but either way, you’ll get an update.


  • Rich Meston
    Posted at 05:39h, 17 February Reply

    Hi Martin/Ken

    The Mac version is currently tentatively planned for Q2 (April-June) this year. We’ll be adding support for Nikon and finishing the available tests on the PC version first, then porting the whole lot to Mac.

    The Mac development preparations have recently started so it’s underway now.



    • Edwin
      Posted at 20:30h, 20 August Reply

      Any update on this? I am really looking forward to a Mac version.

  • Ken
    Posted at 23:46h, 17 February Reply

    Thanks Rich and Martin – really appreciate the response!


  • Alan Jones
    Posted at 19:15h, 30 April Reply

    Hi Martin, Do you know if the discount is available for Nikon version & more than 1 serial number? thanks, regards Alan

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 23:39h, 30 April Reply

      Hi Alan,

      The discount page is still active, and as far as I understand, there is not a Canon version and Nikon version as such. Version 1.3 added Nikon support, though with some limitations.

      You can use FoCal on up to 5 cameras, and change the serial numbers you register up to 10 times now.


      • Alan Jones
        Posted at 00:02h, 01 May Reply

        Hi Martin, thanks for the info, I have bought the software & saved a few pounds too.Great review! regards Alan

  • Murray Foote
    Posted at 14:51h, 02 June Reply

    Not much luck with FoCal at the moment. I purchased FoCal Pro but was unable to get results with either my D3s or my D3. With the D3s I was unable to get target setup so subsequent tests were meaningless. With the D3, I could get target setup but the tests failed after 1 to 10 exposures and returned a “failed to focus” error.

    I sent a message to Reikal through their web site last Sunday hoping they might suggest solutions or courses of action. Receiving no reply, I sent a follow-up message at 5pm UK time Wednesday. Still no response after another two working days.

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 18:31h, 02 June Reply

      Sorry to hear you’re having problems Murray.

      I’ve just mailed Reikan from this end too. Hopefully they’ll be able to help very soon.


      • Murray Foote
        Posted at 21:02h, 02 June Reply

        Thanks Martin

      • Murray Foote
        Posted at 22:40h, 03 June Reply

        I’ve had an email from Reikan and am following up. It was my fault with the second request – I mistyped my email address.

      • Murray Foote
        Posted at 00:55h, 10 June Reply

        After much testing (64 completed tests plus quite a few more unsuccessful ones), I was able to successfully test all my cameras and lenses. I found eventually that my main problems came from high contrast between target and overall background with my lighting choices. The solution was usually to move closer to the target.

        Both my D3s and my 85mm f1.4 had recently been repaired for autofocus so it was very useful to be able to identify this and send them back to Nikon with appropriate reports.

        I have ended up with two 180mm f2.8Ds and I could get a reading on which is sharper (at least in the middle) though I will have to redo those tests to ensure I have identical lighting and distances.

        Overall, very useful software and getting more so with each version.

        • Martin Bailey
          Posted at 10:33h, 10 June Reply

          I’m pleased you got the problems sorted out, and finished your testing Murray! Thanks for reporting back.


  • Rafal
    Posted at 05:22h, 01 February Reply

    Hey Martin, are you still using this tool? Have you found anything better or is FoCal still the best to calibrate your camera to your lenses?

    • Murray Foote
      Posted at 12:55h, 04 February Reply

      No real alternative in my opinion.

      You can do it yourself but it’s all too easy to underestimate the variability of autofocus or have imprecise alignment and get variable results.

      You can use LensAlign which should work OK provided you take enough test exposures but is likely to be much slower than FoCal. Their new electronic tool FocusTune is just a minor subset of FoCal without the automation.

      FoCal is much improved and more reliable since Martin’s review. Easiest, most accurate and most powerful option in my opinion, with many options beyond lens calibration, though you do need to read the manual. It can be time-consuming though any alternative will be if you do it properly.

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