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Reikan FoCal or FocusTune to calibrate lenses with D800?

Abedirov

Moscow, RU
22 posts

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Abedirov Registered since 28th Jun 2011
Thu 31-Jan-13 07:12 PM

Dear Nikonians,

Has anyone had an experience with either of this products when tuning your lenses with a D800?

I have done simple tests with my 85mm 1.8 lens, and I am afraid it needs some fine tuning. Initially, I wanted to get FocusTune, it is a simpler product, but a less advanced one. Now, I am thinking about FoCal as it gives more options and seems like a more mature tool.

Any advice? Please, share your experience.

Thanks,
Aziz

walkerr

Colorado Springs, US
16969 posts

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#1. "RE: Reikan FoCal or FocusTune to calibrate lenses with D800?" | In response to Reply # 0

walkerr Administrator Awarded for his con tributed articles published at the Resources Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in multiple areas Master Ribbon awarded as a member who has gone beyond technical knowledge to show mastery of the art and science of photography   Donor Ribbon awarded for his most generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Nikonian since 05th May 2002
Thu 31-Jan-13 06:15 PM

I've used both to some degree. I like the simplicity of FocusTune.

Rick Walker

My photos:

GeoVista Photography

algiorda

Tampa, US
1 posts

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#2. "RE: Reikan FoCal or FocusTune to calibrate lenses with D800?" | In response to Reply # 1

algiorda Registered since 17th Jan 2013
Fri 01-Feb-13 12:40 AM

I use FoCal and I'm sort of frustrated with it. It claims it's automatic, but with the D800, you constantly have to dial in the Fine Tune settings after each focus check by the software. This can occur at least 10 times during a "Semi-automatic" session. In this day and age and after paying the cost of the software it should be automatic and should make the changes to the camera automatically.

liamtoh1ps

US
312 posts

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#3. "RE: Reikan FoCal or FocusTune to calibrate lenses with D800?" | In response to Reply # 2

liamtoh1ps Registered since 17th Apr 2012
Fri 01-Feb-13 01:12 AM

>I use FoCal and I'm sort of frustrated with it. It claims
>it's automatic, but with the D800, you constantly have to dial
>in the Fine Tune settings after each focus check by the
>software. This can occur at least 10 times during a
>"Semi-automatic" session. In this day and age and
>after paying the cost of the software it should be automatic
>and should make the changes to the camera automatically.

As per FoCal, the problem (semi-automatic mode) is due to crippled PC interface by the Camera mfg.

ericbowles

Atlanta, US
10633 posts

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#4. "RE: Reikan FoCal or FocusTune to calibrate lenses with D800?" | In response to Reply # 0

ericbowles Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge and high level skills in various areas, especially Landscape and Wildlife Photoghraphy Writer Ribbon awarded for for his article contributions to the community Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Nikonian since 25th Nov 2005
Fri 01-Feb-13 09:07 AM

Here is a long thread about FoCal and the D800. It's a complicated system that requires some effort but most report it works well and provides lots of information.

https://www.nikonians.org/forums/dcboard.php?az=set_threaded_mode&forum=430&topic_id=13774&prev_page=show_topic&gid=13774#13795

There are several other threads if you do a search.

Eric Bowles
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Abedirov

Moscow, RU
22 posts

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#5. "RE: Reikan FoCal or FocusTune to calibrate lenses with D800?" | In response to Reply # 4

Abedirov Registered since 28th Jun 2011
Fri 01-Feb-13 12:01 PM

Thank you all for the feedback.

Rick, as you have used both products, would you say that they both produce the same quality results?
I am not worried about how difficult the process is, the outcome would be more important.

Cheers,
Aziz

walkerr

Colorado Springs, US
16969 posts

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#6. "RE: Reikan FoCal or FocusTune to calibrate lenses with D800?" | In response to Reply # 5

walkerr Administrator Awarded for his con tributed articles published at the Resources Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in multiple areas Master Ribbon awarded as a member who has gone beyond technical knowledge to show mastery of the art and science of photography   Donor Ribbon awarded for his most generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Nikonian since 05th May 2002
Fri 01-Feb-13 12:37 PM

Yes, I would say so, presuming your goal is to simply get your body and lens combinations dialed-in where required.

Rick Walker

My photos:

GeoVista Photography

ericbowles

Atlanta, US
10633 posts

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#7. "RE: Reikan FoCal or LensTune to calibrate lenses with D800?" | In response to Reply # 5

ericbowles Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge and high level skills in various areas, especially Landscape and Wildlife Photoghraphy Writer Ribbon awarded for for his article contributions to the community Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Nikonian since 25th Nov 2005
Fri 01-Feb-13 12:42 PM

Aziz

Here is another thread about both products. There is a link to a review of LensTune.
https://www.nikonians.org/forums/dcboard.php?az=set_threaded_mode&forum=430&topic_id=19555&prev_page=show_topic&gid=19555#top

My take would be that LensAlign and LensTune make an easy combination and accomplish 80% of what you would get with FoCal.

Focal is much more sophisticated in terms of the results and the decisions you can make, but it is also much more time consuming and complicated to use. I don't think I have seen anyone who is using FoCal successfully that prefers a different tool. But I have seen people give up on FoCal due to the complexity and limited documentation.

Here's a link to a poll on how much time members are spending on testing. The high end is generally from users of FoCal - but that was before LensTune was released.
https://www.nikonians.org/forums/dcboard.php?az=set_threaded_mode&forum=430&topic_id=16835&prev_page=show_topic&gid=16835#top

Eric Bowles
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Craig Bennett

Rio Rancho, US
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#8. "RE: Reikan FoCal or LensTune to calibrate lenses with D800?" | In response to Reply # 7

Craig Bennett Registered since 28th Oct 2012
Mon 04-Feb-13 07:18 PM

I use FoCal with no issues. The non-fully automatic mode is due to Nikon's limitation and not FoCal's.

If you want to fine-tune without spending the money, I recommend looking at this link. It was written around Canon, but works equally well with Nikons. I've used it, and the results match what I obtained through FoCal Pro.

http://www.northlight-images.co.uk/article_pages/cameras/1ds3_af_micoadjustment.html

This method is very sensitive, very easy to setup and use. You do not print a target, but use your LCD monitor with the downloaded pattern as the target. On my Apple MacPro Retina Display, I first changed my resolution down to 1024x640 and the pattern was very easy to see when in focus in Live View.

Regards,
Craig

Abedirov

Moscow, RU
22 posts

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#9. "RE: Reikan FoCal or LensTune to calibrate lenses with D800?" | In response to Reply # 8

Abedirov Registered since 28th Jun 2011
Thu 07-Feb-13 10:19 AM

Eric, Craig,

Your comments are always very helpful. I've desided to try FocusTune first, it is quite cheap and I can get it at a discounted price since I just bought the LensAlign. And also, Michael Tapes is a very helpfull type of a person and makes you want to buy his staff.

The only issue, I do not have any decent constant light source, so I will try my SB-700 with a softbox. Hopefully, it will work.

Regards,
Aziz

MNP500

Tarrytown, US
341 posts

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#10. "RE: Reikan FoCal or FocusTune to calibrate lenses with D800?" | In response to Reply # 0

MNP500 Silver Member Nikonian since 11th Feb 2006
Thu 07-Feb-13 03:00 PM

I've used Focal on both my D800 and D800E with all my lenses. The software works quite well. But the problem is that it could drive a person crazy for these reasons:

--With zoom lenses, you will get different AF Fine Tune settings at different focal lengths.

--With both zooms and primes, you will get different settings at different f stops. Most people want to test a lens wide open, but if, for example, you mostly use a 2.8 lens at f/4, then it makes sense to test it at that f stop.

After going through all this, I've come to agree with what many pundits say about the D800/e...for most landscape shooting, use a tripod and Live View.

Michael

www.michaelpressmanphotography.com

Craig Bennett

Rio Rancho, US
64 posts

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#11. "RE: Reikan FoCal or LensTune to calibrate lenses with D800?" | In response to Reply # 9

Craig Bennett Registered since 28th Oct 2012
Thu 07-Feb-13 07:50 PM

Go to Walmart, Lowes, HomeDepot. etc.... and buy a Halogen 500 Watt work lamp ($5). Set you WB to 2950 or 3000 and go at it. Works fine and provides plenty of light.

Regards,
Craig

KnightPhoto

Alberta, CA
4967 posts

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#12. "RE: Reikan FoCal or LensTune to calibrate lenses with D800?" | In response to Reply # 11

KnightPhoto Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Dec 2006
Fri 08-Feb-13 03:17 AM

>Go to Walmart, Lowes, HomeDepot. etc.... and buy a Halogen
>500 Watt work lamp ($5). Set you WB to 2950 or 3000 and go at
>it. Works fine and provides plenty of light.
>
>Regards,
>Craig

Yes, I recently did that as well. Otherwise my tuning sessions are dependent on optimum bright outdoor light, which rarely matched my availability!

Best regards, SteveK

'A camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.' -- Dorothea Lange
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hujiie

US
596 posts

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#13. "RE: Reikan FoCal or FocusTune to calibrate lenses with D800?" | In response to Reply # 0

hujiie Silver Member Nikonian since 10th Apr 2009
Mon 18-Feb-13 02:10 AM

I am joining late here but spent $80 (with coupon) to buy FoCal Pro. I tested several lenses on one of D800E this afternoon and amazingly, AF values are right on (or so close) to my visual results, which I spent days. This gave me confidence and reliability of the software. Multi Point Focus Test is the same and the result does not indicate radical focus differences in 51 points, which again is the same conclusion to my hours of manual tests. This is an impressive software.

www.hitoshiujiie.com/photography.html

chuckbernard

San Francisco, US
23 posts

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#14. "RE: Reikan FoCal or FocusTune to calibrate lenses with D800?" | In response to Reply # 10

chuckbernard Registered since 30th Dec 2009
Mon 18-Feb-13 03:02 AM

>I've used Focal on both my D800 and D800E with all my lenses.
>The software works quite well. But the problem is that it
>could drive a person crazy for these reasons:
>
>--With zoom lenses, you will get different AF Fine Tune
>settings at different focal lengths.
>
>--With both zooms and primes, you will get different settings
>at different f stops. Most people want to test a lens wide
>open, but if, for example, you mostly use a 2.8 lens at f/4,
>then it makes sense to test it at that f stop.
>

All of the points you bring up are not related to FoCal but with your lenses. Unfortunately with Nikon Cameras you can only set a single adjustment value for each lens even though you sometimes need different values for different focal lengths and different f stops. No tool can get around this limitation.

I have tried buying all kinds of charts and focal rulers etc and have tried to adjust all of my lenses over the past year. After setting up the Focal targets on a wall with good lighting and the camera on a tripod it was easy to go through 9 of my lenses and adjust each one of them. I am absolutely thrilled with some of the lenses that I thought were not very good before. Every lens that I own (except for the 14-24/f2.8) needed some adjustment.

I don't want to compare FoCal with other software tools because I haven't tried any of them. What I can say is that it it has proved to be worth every penny and more to me.

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MNP500

Tarrytown, US
341 posts

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#15. "RE: Reikan FoCal or FocusTune to calibrate lenses with D800?" | In response to Reply # 14

MNP500 Silver Member Nikonian since 11th Feb 2006
Mon 18-Feb-13 12:59 PM


>All of the points you bring up are not related to FoCal but
>with your lenses.

Yes, that was my point..no matter how good the testing methods, there are going to be differences in AF Fine Tune values which are a function of f stop and focal length. It would be great if Nikon cameras allowed for different AF Fine Tune values at different focal lengths and f stops. With previous bodies I've never felt the need for it, but the D800/e resolves such amazing detail, that it would be nice to be able to do.

Michael

KnightPhoto

Alberta, CA
4967 posts

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#16. "RE: Reikan FoCal or FocusTune to calibrate lenses with D800?" | In response to Reply # 15

KnightPhoto Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Dec 2006
Mon 18-Feb-13 01:53 PM

>Yes, that was my point..no matter how good the testing
>methods, there are going to be differences in AF Fine Tune
>values which are a function of f stop and focal length. It
>would be great if Nikon cameras allowed for different AF Fine
>Tune values at different focal lengths and f stops. With
>previous bodies I've never felt the need for it, but the
>D800/e resolves such amazing detail, that it would be nice to
>be able to do.
>
>Michael

On the main topic, I'm going to sit down and do some tuning today and I use Lens Align (and recently supplemented by their software). Thankfully my main job today is my 500mm prime (and TC14, TC17) so I don't have to deal with the zoom issue. Are you guys seeing large differences in optimum settings for example at 70 vs. 200mm on zooms? Surely the 200mm setting is the most important since the DOF will be narrowest there, so that's what I do. And likewise I just tune at the largest aperture, again on the theory that is the least forgiving.

I have been tuning all my cameras for years now, long before all this D800 AF business. Particularly with the 500mm being so unforgiving, that got me started way back when with my D300, then D700, D7000, D4, and now D800E. I also tune my 70-200 and 24-70 and my D800E is sitting at -5 in all but one case, even with TC14/17.

As an aside, I was processing some D7000 images today with 500mm and TC14 and boy is that tuning value at +10 sharp! I think when you have a good value dialled in, you really notice it on a long lens. It is much harder for me, evaluating real world images afterwards, to settle in on "did I really get a good value established" on shorter lenses like a 70-200.

Anyhow, my untuned D800E with 500VR has seen a lot of use already, is very sharp, and is delivering crazy resolution so I'm expecting modest adjustment values on the order of +5 for the TC14 and perhaps near zero on the TC17 and sans TC.

Best regards, SteveK

'A camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.' -- Dorothea Lange
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ljordan316

Inverness, US
830 posts

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#17. "RE: Reikan FoCal or LensTune to calibrate lenses with D800?" | In response to Reply # 9

ljordan316 Silver Member Nikonian since 10th Feb 2010
Sat 23-Feb-13 04:56 PM

I used halogen lights several times while doing FoCal tuning, but they really burn out fast. I found that a regular light bulb in a reflector works just as well as a halogen light. You can get a blue type of light and eliminate the WB correction that you are tempted to do during tuning...which makes no difference in the results.

Larry Jordan

D800E, D500, 14-24, 16-35, 24-70, 70-180 Micro, 80-400mm AF-S, 500mm AF-S II

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http://larryjordan.smugmug.com/

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reinhardj

Groebenzell, DE
1 posts

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#18. "RE: Reikan FoCal or FocusTune to calibrate lenses with D800?" | In response to Reply # 13

reinhardj Silver Member Nikonian since 01st Nov 2012
Sun 23-Feb-14 01:56 PM

Hi,

I'm trying to use this piece of software on a Mac running Mavericks with a D800. It repeatedly crashes with a variety of error messages.

Anybody having been able to run it on a Mac?

Thanks,

Reinhard

GaryPk

Bailey, US
543 posts

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#19. "RE: Reikan FoCal or FocusTune to calibrate lenses with D800?" | In response to Reply # 18

GaryPk Silver Member Nikonian since 30th Apr 2012
Sun 23-Feb-14 02:05 PM

HI. Am I right in thinking that if one shoots Live View / AF that none of this is necessary?

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JECoutre

Concord, US
376 posts

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#20. "RE: Reikan FoCal or FocusTune to calibrate lenses with D800?" | In response to Reply # 19

JECoutre Gold Member Nikonian since 02nd Jan 2008
Sun 23-Feb-14 03:03 PM

I am a happy FoCal user and previously did use LensAlign ... I would not go back.

Yes, if you exclusively use Live View, the focus is on the sensor plane and thus Fine Tune Adjustments are not used.
Jim

Clint S

Chula Vista, US
460 posts

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#21. "RE: Reikan FoCal or FocusTune to calibrate lenses with D800?" | In response to Reply # 0

Clint S Silver Member Nikonian since 02nd Jan 2011
Mon 24-Feb-14 01:43 AM

I often questioned focus tuning, especially for zooms and did not like dealing with the various results using FoCal with various focal lengths and f-stops. Great program, lots of data and room for interpretation - however those dedicated to it seem to really like it.

When I tried LensAlign I was not always sure where the limits of focus were without altering the images.

I did start with the first version of FocusTune and now use FocusTune 3.0 with LensAlign (not required), like the simplicity of it, and the results have worked well.

It is pretty easy to see if I adjust a zoom lens for a specific focal length if that adjustment is detrimental at other focal lengths.

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rexster314

Angleton, US
26 posts

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#22. "RE: Reikan FoCal or FocusTune to calibrate lenses with D800?" | In response to Reply # 21

rexster314 Silver Member Nikonian since 15th Dec 2004
Mon 24-Feb-14 04:43 PM

I've been using FoCal since last summer. Yes, it's not completely automatic with Nikons due to Nikon crippling the software; the only problem I have is keeping the camera aligned with the target when changing settings. I solved that by going to a geared tripod head that does not "creep" down after locking. You have to have a well lit target (I put a halogen lamp on the target) or FoCal doesn't work properly. With use, I find I can finetune a lens in 15 mins or less.

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Kope

SE
1 posts

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#23. "RE: Reikan FoCal or FocusTune to calibrate lenses with D800?" | In response to Reply # 0

Kope Registered since 26th Feb 2014
Thu 27-Feb-14 08:05 AM

I bought FoCal the other day and it worked very well fine tuning my Sigma 35mm 1.4 - producing spectacular results.

My Tamron 90mm however produced inconclusive results (I had this lens sent to Tamron for a checkup some months ago).

It just *might* be the lens.. but I am going to retry calibrating it today.

Ferguson

Cape Coral, US
5751 posts

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#24. "RE: Reikan FoCal or FocusTune to calibrate lenses with D800?" | In response to Reply # 23

Ferguson Silver Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for the generous sharing of his high level expertise in the spirit of Nikonians Nikonian since 19th Aug 2004
Thu 27-Feb-14 11:52 AM

>I bought FoCal the other day and it worked very well fine
>tuning my Sigma 35mm 1.4 - producing spectacular results.
>
>My Tamron 90mm however produced inconclusive results (I had
>this lens sent to Tamron for a checkup some months ago).
>
>It just *might* be the lens.. but I am going to retry
>calibrating it today.

I've had some lenses that were that way (the 200-400/F4 was one).

In some cases by chosing a different target (if you are using ad-hoc targets), better lighting, or a different distance helps.

Better lighting almost always seems to help - not just brighter, but make sure there's no glare reducing the contrast.


Linwood

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infamily

Petaluma, US
227 posts

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#25. "RE: Reikan FoCal or FocusTune to calibrate lenses with D800?" | In response to Reply # 24

infamily Silver Member Donor Ribbon awarded for his support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Nikonian since 10th Sep 2009
Thu 27-Feb-14 05:20 PM

Has anybody tried the dot tuning method as described in this link?
http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/50774257

Sandeep B
So much to learn, so little time.

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pmblount

US
60 posts

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#26. "RE: Reikan FoCal or FocusTune to calibrate lenses with D800?" | In response to Reply # 25

pmblount Silver Member Nikonian since 13th Sep 2008
Tue 26-Apr-16 01:17 AM

Here is a Dot-Tune calculator that you can carry with you on your laptop or tablet without needing an internet connection.

https://onedrive.live.com/redir?resid=3661433C0928D1EA!61242&authkey=!AH0RPbpWD5S1JtQ&ithint=folder%2cxlsx

Just ask that you provide feedback for improvements.

Thanks.

Paul B
Seattle, WA, USA

Rangers Lead The Way!

My Gear: D750, D7200, NIKKOR AF-S 50mm f/1.8G, AF-S 24-120mm f/4G ED VR, AF-S 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF ED VR, AF-S DX 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, Sigma 120-300mm f2.8 DG OS HSM | S, BushHawk BH-320D shoulder mount, Manfrotto 055XPROB tripod, MH057M0 057 ball head, Wimberley WH-200 gimbal

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larsch01

Los Angeles, US
307 posts

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#27. "RE: Reikan FoCal or FocusTune to calibrate lenses with D800?" | In response to Reply # 26

larsch01 Gold Member Nikonian since 28th Feb 2009
Tue 26-Apr-16 08:54 PM | edited Tue 26-Apr-16 08:54 PM by larsch01

the link to the calculator does not work

Larry

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pmblount

US
60 posts

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#28. "RE: Reikan FoCal or FocusTune to calibrate lenses with D800?" | In response to Reply # 27

pmblount Silver Member Nikonian since 13th Sep 2008
Wed 27-Apr-16 01:16 AM

Several others have been able to access it. Can you try again? If not can you send me a PM and I'll email the file directly.

Paul B
Seattle, WA, USA

Rangers Lead The Way!

My Gear: D750, D7200, NIKKOR AF-S 50mm f/1.8G, AF-S 24-120mm f/4G ED VR, AF-S 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF ED VR, AF-S DX 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, Sigma 120-300mm f2.8 DG OS HSM | S, BushHawk BH-320D shoulder mount, Manfrotto 055XPROB tripod, MH057M0 057 ball head, Wimberley WH-200 gimbal

https://500px.com/pmblount

TooCuidado

US
72 posts

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#29. "RE: Reikan FoCal or LensTune to calibrate lenses with D800?" | In response to Reply # 8

TooCuidado Registered since 19th Dec 2015
Wed 27-Apr-16 02:48 AM

Yes, agree. I think it's also very clever. It's nice because you're reading something from someone who understood the technology and how to utilize it in a novel way.

>http://www.northlight-images.co.uk/article_pages/cameras/1ds3_af_micoadjustment.html
>
>This method is very sensitive, very easy to setup and use.
>You do not print a target, but use your LCD monitor with the
>downloaded pattern as the target.

rorywquin

UK
105 posts

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#30. "RE: Reikan FoCal or FocusTune to calibrate lenses with D800?" | In response to Reply # 2

rorywquin Silver Member Nikonian since 12th Apr 2006
Wed 27-Apr-16 07:33 AM | edited Wed 27-Apr-16 07:40 AM by rorywquin

Sorry - deleted my comments -I read the first and second post, wrote a reply and then realized that the thread is 29 posts long.

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Sbaum

US
222 posts

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#31. "RE: Reikan FoCal or LensTune to calibrate lenses with D800?" | In response to Reply # 11

Sbaum Registered since 18th Feb 2015
Wed 27-Apr-16 09:25 PM

Do they have Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes in Russia?

Sbaum

US
222 posts

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#32. "RE: Reikan FoCal or FocusTune to calibrate lenses with D800?" | In response to Reply # 0

Sbaum Registered since 18th Feb 2015
Wed 27-Apr-16 09:33 PM

Very cheap and good method:
I have a BBQ in my backyard with a handle. I wrapped the measuring tape around he handle so it doesn't slide back and 36" mark is on the same level as the top. The tape is thick so it doesn't bend. I put a target on top of the BBQ which happen to be a fertilizer canister with very bright writing on it so the front of it matches 36" mark.
Done. Something I already had in the house.

larsch01

Los Angeles, US
307 posts

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#33. "RE: Reikan FoCal or FocusTune to calibrate lenses with D800?" | In response to Reply # 28

larsch01 Gold Member Nikonian since 28th Feb 2009
Tue 03-May-16 04:29 PM

Firewall/Proxy issue. All better now and I accessed the file.

Thanks.

Larry

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G