Anyone tried Reikan Focal?

Started Apr 28, 2012 | Discussions
jplatanou Forum Member • Posts: 76
Anyone tried Reikan Focal?

Has anyone tried the Reikan calibration software? Is it any good? The latest version supports the D800.

Link: http://www.reikan.co.uk/focal/index.html

Thank you,
John

Nikon D800
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Tavarino Regular Member • Posts: 108
Re: Anyone tried Reikan Focal?

Looks interesting. I've always wondered why this isn't something that could be done in-camera. This is doable, but not practical, in real-time since we could lose the shot by the time the camera figured out exactly which micro-focus position was optimum. But I can imagine a shooting mode that takes a few seconds for the camera to calculate (and store?) the precise adjustment needed for that specific focus point, lens, focal length, aperature, etc.

benjaminblack
benjaminblack Contributing Member • Posts: 589
Re: Anyone tried Reikan Focal?

I first heard of FoCal from Martin Bailey, it was his opinion that FoCal yields extremely accurate results. I would be very interested to hear about someone's experience with the D800. Keep us updated

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OP jplatanou Forum Member • Posts: 76
Re: Anyone tried Reikan Focal?

Thanks, i've read Martin Bailey's review and it sounds promising. Maybe i'll buy it, if nikon fails to calibrate my d800.

Brandon birder Veteran Member • Posts: 4,093
Re: Anyone tried Reikan Focal?
em_dee_aitch Veteran Member • Posts: 3,675
Re: Anyone tried Reikan Focal?

jplatanou wrote:

Has anyone tried the Reikan calibration software? Is it any good? The latest version supports the D800.

Link: http://www.reikan.co.uk/focal/index.html

They need to get that Mac version out!

First I've heard of it. Thanks for the tip.

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David Hill
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Just a Photographer Senior Member • Posts: 1,368
Re: Looks promising

In the Canon forum many users are very pleased with the results they get with this software. I find it interesting but will wait until june when the Mac version is expected to be launched.

Will definately buy it. This seems to be the best way to do your camera calibration.

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JediLight Forum Member • Posts: 98
Re: Looks promising

This looks awesome and feels like it must be the right way forward with the computer taking the estimation out of the process. Shame it allows different focus areas to be tested for Canon only. I wonder if this is a restriction with Nikon's SDK or due to the software focussing initially on Canon.

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JediLight Forum Member • Posts: 98
Re: Looks promising

I am really interested in this now, and from what I can see it has the following advantages:

(I am double posting the below here as this is probably the better place for these thoughts)

1. Relatively cheap

2. Instant gratification - you can download it, print out the target and set the software off

3. From the sales pitch on the website, and this is key for me, it claims to guide you through the whole process giving you software feedback if there are issues with your setup (which the process must be very sensitive to) and issues with your testing process - e.g. if there is some unnoticed movement between shots, the software warns you

4. It, through tethered camera control, software image analysis and relatively quick statistical comparisons, guides you to the best Autofocus fine tuning. This is going to save time and also give proper confidence to the results - a major factor in the exercise.

I have not used lens align, but have done my own manual target creation, and analysis (using the http://www.northlight-images.co.uk/...ges/cameras/1ds3_af_micoadjustment.html method) and found the whole thing so sensitive to so many factors the results became inclusive, and therefore lost hours of my life I will never get back, that I am seriously attracted to this software based solution. What would be really great is to find someone on this forum that has already used this for their Nikon.

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Leonard Shepherd
Leonard Shepherd Forum Pro • Posts: 12,505
Re: It seems dubious

The AF target does not appear to be OK for consistent accurate focus according to Nikon's guidance in camera instruction books or at
https://nikoneurope-en.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/4585
--
Leonard Shepherd

Photography could be easier - if cameras and lenses came with an increase in skill button.

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CFynn Veteran Member • Posts: 5,224
Re: Anyone tried Reikan Focal?

jplatanou wrote:

Thanks, i've read Martin Bailey's review and it sounds promising. Maybe i'll buy it, if nikon fails to calibrate my d800.

With the number of people on these forums who seem to be sending cameras and lenses back to Nikon for calibrating the focus, Nikon would probably save money by including some software like this with their enthusiast and pro cameras.

Eventually we might even see something like this built into the camera firmware.

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JediLight Forum Member • Posts: 98
Re: It seems dubious

Leonard Shepherd wrote:

The AF target does not appear to be OK for consistent accurate focus according to Nikon's guidance in camera instruction books or at
https://nikoneurope-en.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/4585
--
Leonard Shepherd

Photography could be easier - if cameras and lenses came with an increase in skill button.

Thanks Leonard. I will keep that in mind as I use the software and see if it impacts the results. I believe others have argued in other threads that this kind of target should be essentially sufficient for the purpose. The camera is clearly focussing on the target with ease, so far, so no real world worries at this point. However, if the target does prove to be a problem, the software allows you to use any other target of your choice. I will keep a close eye on if it is causing an issue so thanks for the warning.

I have now downloaded the software (went for the £45 pro version) and am about to start using it so will report back.

Also worth noting - here is the link to the Martin Bailey review of the product

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

It is a good review, though already dated as a bunch of things he talks about such as the desire to automate the download procedure and the camera serial number registration procedure are already resolved, as well as Nikon support now in place. Additionally he provides a link to up to 35% off the produce, which despite supposedly being out of date at the end of March is still working. Finally - the Martin Bailey website and blog - not come across it before. Fantastic, bookmarked.

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Stangs55 Regular Member • Posts: 468
Re: It seems dubious

JediLight wrote:

Leonard Shepherd wrote:

The AF target does not appear to be OK for consistent accurate focus according to Nikon's guidance in camera instruction books or at
https://nikoneurope-en.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/4585
--
Leonard Shepherd

Photography could be easier - if cameras and lenses came with an increase in skill button.

Thanks Leonard. I will keep that in mind as I use the software and see if it impacts the results. I believe others have argued in other threads that this kind of target should be essentially sufficient for the purpose. The camera is clearly focussing on the target with ease, so far, so no real world worries at this point. However, if the target does prove to be a problem, the software allows you to use any other target of your choice. I will keep a close eye on if it is causing an issue so thanks for the warning.

I have now downloaded the software (went for the £45 pro version) and am about to start using it so will report back.

Also worth noting - here is the link to the Martin Bailey review of the product

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

It is a good review, though already dated as a bunch of things he talks about such as the desire to automate the download procedure and the camera serial number registration procedure are already resolved, as well as Nikon support now in place. Additionally he provides a link to up to 35% off the produce, which despite supposedly being out of date at the end of March is still working. Finally - the Martin Bailey website and blog - not come across it before. Fantastic, bookmarked.

Looking forward to reading your thoughts. Thanks.

Just a Photographer Senior Member • Posts: 1,368
Re: Anyone tried Reikan Focal?

Would be even better if Nikon added the support for microadjustment for zoom lenses with their next firmware updates. The new Canon 1D X already comes with this support.

Would like to see that feature on my D800 too.

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Bruce Bracken
Bruce Bracken Regular Member • Posts: 313
Re: It seems dubious

Leonard Shepherd wrote:

The AF target does not appear to be OK for consistent accurate focus according to Nikon's guidance in camera instruction books or at
https://nikoneurope-en.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/4585

The page you link to does not discuss autofocus targets. You have repeatedly linked to this page, and are now pulling your own interpretations out of thin air and trying to define good and bad autofocus targets based upon your own nonsensical interpretations.

Bruce Bracken
Bruce Bracken Regular Member • Posts: 313
Re: It seems dubious

Leonard Shepherd wrote:

The AF target does not appear to be OK for consistent accurate focus according to Nikon's guidance in camera instruction books or at
https://nikoneurope-en.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/4585

The page you link to does not discuss autofocus targets. You have repeatedly linked to this page, and are now pulling your own interpretations out of thin air and trying to define good and bad autofocus targets based upon your own nonsensical interpretations.

m_appeal Veteran Member • Posts: 3,434
I haven't been able to get consistent results with it

With the D800...

JediLight Forum Member • Posts: 98
It is working very well for me with my D800

My results with the Reikal FoCal software and testing process:

Executive summary: I have found it excellent and much better than when I have attempted to go through the process manually - mainly because it gives me extensive data to convince me that the adjustments are making a valid difference. When you are mucking around with something as critical as focussing, for me this confidence is what I need.

I downloaded the pro version of the software for the reduced price of £45 (see my post above), printed out the two targets, stuck one on the wall, set up camera and tripod, made sure target was very well lit then started through the software.

The PDF that comes with it is very well written and led me to tweak a couple of settings which may have been helping me with the results (I set it so that it did not automatically adjust for lighting adjustments - as I was in full control of them; and I also set it so that when it validated the target on every shot it optimised the target image hence taking account of any very slight movements - this is supposed to improve its analysis process).

With that done the process is to set your AF fine tune to zero, it then takes 1-4 shots and then asks you to set your AF fine tune to -20, it then takes another 1-4 shots, and then you set your autofocus to -10, and so on till it has anything up to 50 shots at different AF fine tuning settings. From this it can tell you which AF fine tune is getting you the best quality image. It then shows you the before (zero AF fine tuning), and the recommended AF finetuning and you can see the difference. Key for me was that it produces a graph as per below (this is the results for my 28-300mm at 300mm clearly showing why -8 is the correct AF fine tune):

This clearly shows that the quality really is best at the AF fine tune point it came up with and gets worse at the other points. Also you can see here that it is taking multiple shots at each point to account for variation in the focussing system. And this for me is the deal clincher as when I was attempting to do the same thing manually I would often get slightly spurious data at different AF fine tuning points that threw my whole confidence with the process. The only realistic way to get over that is to take a huge amount of data, take the averages at each data point (or some more advanced process), and then look at performance across these averages across AF fine tuning points. This is what the software does for you, quickly with a report and graphs to back it up plus an image per data point if you want to go and have a look between them. Additionally, as there is some variation between shots, the program gives you a confidence remark in the fit rating of all the data, and hence might warn you if the data was all over the place and it would be dangerous to reach any conclusions (e.g. low light, moving target, AF being very inconsistent for instance if too close to the target) - a further point to get confidence in the result and something you just can't get from manual pen and paper testing.

Essentially it has given me so much more confidence in the results than a non software based system that I see it as money very well spent particularly if you compare what it is offering to the competition.

Incidentally, my results were (2 lenses tested so far), my 105 nikon VRII is spot on no change needed (and I have a detailed report to prove it following about 10mins of testing!), my 28-300mm had a range of adjustments per focal length ranging from -8 at 300mm to +3 at 28mm, hence I have set it at about -4 overall as the best compromise considering issues are going to be more noticable at the long end with the shallower DOF. This data, however has brought home to me the issue with zooms generally in that they have a range of performances that can not, at present be easily compensated for at their different focal lengths.

Other observations with the software:

0. It helps you set everything up quickly and effectively at the begining of the testing - for instance it immedeatily warned me that I had forgotton to set AF-S and single shot, and also told me how to move the target around so it is parrallel, correct height, acceptable distance (which it measures). Awesome.

1. Occassionally in the middle of the testing (say 20 shots in), it would throw out an error saying the results were being too inconsistent and did I want to abort the test?Initially i did, then I realised that if I ignored the message, about 3 shots in the warning went away and it went back to giving me an "Excellent Data Fit Quality" with the results. I could also see from the graph that its prediction made a lot of sense.

2. At the moment you can only do the test on the central focus point - for canon cameras you can test others. Don't know if it is a nikon SDK issue, or just not developed yet, but that could be very useful.

3. The software does a load of other testing for you such as measure consistency with AF, dust spot analysis and which Appertures it is likely to be a problem at, what your optimum apperture is for image quality - none of which I have tested yet, but could prove useful

4. The only manual bit of the "automatic" process for us Nikon users is having to set the AF fine tuning between each set of shots, this is not as good as it being automatic (though nikon's SDK is to blame for this), however the whole process is way better than doing it manually with your own charts and note taking.

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OP jplatanou Forum Member • Posts: 76
Re: It is working very well for me with my D800

@JediLight, Thank you for your review!

JediLight Forum Member • Posts: 98
Re: It is working very well for me with my D800

I hope it is helpful for some. There are so many people looking to test and refine their AF tuning (and correctly are heavily advised by many to do so) and I was so surprised to come across this for the first time.

It really feels like the best answer to me by a stretch. And then when you consider the price it is a slam-dunk. At the moment the cheapest version which is £20 has got to be a far better solution than any simple fixed target only product (which it is typically cheaper than) as it has software facilities to help with the process as well as providing you a couple of targets to print and use. Then you come to the FoCal plus version which at £39 (£25 on the offer from the Martin Bailey link) is an amazing deal as it leads you to the answer with all the statistical assistance and confidence it provides. I would put my money on this approach becoming the standard way to do AF fine tuning.

One thing I reckon this kind of software will do is change the way that AF finetuning is implemented in camera, particularly when it comes to zooms. My 28-300 required a different fine tuning for 7 different focus differences (only zero at 50mm). It would be easy for nikon to allow these to be set by firmware (canon are now allowing 2 settings per lens) . I expect it would, via software, allow the focussing to be dramatically improved. The only weakness in putting that in place now is there is no easy reliable way to find out the range of AF finetuning required per focal length. With software like this reikan product, that problem goes away.

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