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Testing of D800 with Reikan's FoCal application

ljordan316

Inverness, US
830 posts

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"RE: Testing of D800 with Reikan's FoCal application"

ljordan316 Silver Member Nikonian since 10th Feb 2010
Wed 27-Mar-13 11:03 AM | edited Wed 27-Mar-13 11:10 AM by ljordan316

>I've followed your and others focusing tools trial and
>tribulations since July 2012. I'm still not a fan of generally
>using focus tuning and think that FoCal is charging for beta
>testers. From everything I've read it is simply to buggy to
>product for the masses. However if people are willing to buy
>the buggy stuff it does provide funds for them to develop a
>better tool.

I agree that Reikan is charging folks for beta testing their software. I started last year with version 1.5.1 and have used all versions except 1.7 since that time. With each new major release, the application usually contains bugs that cause the software to either lock up or not finish a procedure in a random pattern. The failures almost always center on the AF fine tuning module, and they usually have to do with improper memory management. I believe the software is written in the C language which is prone to memory management errors. However, good software quality assurance would find those errors before buyer have to experience them. The good thing is that Reikan often publishes a bug-fix version soon after they publish the buggy version.

I do admire the developers of FocusTune for doing better quality control. I was a beta tester for them last summer and fall before they released the product. Even in beta test mode, the software was bullet proof. It may be a tribute to the Sweds, but it is what it is.

>I was taught that once focused on a spot, abut 1/3 of the area
>in front of and 2/3 behind the focused spot would be the depth
>of field. But I don't see people setting up their focus points
>that way and not sure if it is taken into consideration into
>the software programs. But I will admit this would be critical
>for only some situations.

I also used the rule of thirds for focusing downrange when doing landscape work. I switched to hyperfocal distance focusing a few years ago. However, neither of those focusing rules work/apply when doing autofocus shooting of birds in flight. You aim at the bird's eyes as best you can and fire away...hoping you get 1 out 2 in focus. I am getting better and better at it with practice, but without AF fine tuning, I would not get that many.

>I have not spent nearly the time you or others have in testing
>but my experiences demonstrated to me that focus adjustments
>are only valid:
>- at the distance tested (more on this in the post)
>- for temperature tested at (tested at 35 depress difference
>in temperature with significantly different results)
>- and the lighting conditions for the test (from test done in
>bright shaded area to inside using tungsten)

I kinda think of AF fine tuning as I would winding and setting a watch. If you never wind it, the watch will be right twice a day. If you wind the watch, and adjust the time setting, the watch will give you approximately the right time 24/7. If you spend more money on the watch, buy the best, and have it fine tuned by an expert, you might be able to get the exact right from it at all times. AF fine tuning is the watch expert for me.

>And zoom lenses would tend to significantly complicate matters
>unless that lens is used for a pretty specific purpose. All of
>my zooms are used throughout their focal range and distance
>anywhere from the closest point of focus to infinity. None of
>the lenses have a setting that I use enough to dedicate focus
>tune for that one setting.

I use Bridge in CS6 to analyze the focal length that I use most frequently with each lens, and I do AF fine tuning at that focal length. If Nikon supported more than one AF fine tuning point (as Canon does with some models), I would probably do that for some lenses.

>And for something like the 70-180 Micro, between macro shots
>and normal zoo, woah. But when I get time I will test it at a
>macro setting because I really want to know how much I lose
>when shooting at f16 and above.

I performed AF fine tuning with my newly acquired 70-180mm micro, and the setting came out +1 at 180mm zoom. I am happy with that result for hand holding and macro shooting. I do not use the lens as a normal zoom. However, I am becoming addicted to the new CamRanger. I use it to drive my D800e and the 70-180mm micro in LiveView mode and do focus stacking of as many as 30 frames using CS6. I love the results, and I don't have to worry about the accuracy of phase detect AF. I can increase my DOF from less than 1 cm to at least 5 cm at f/9. Great stuff!

Now, if we can get the CamRanger folks to build an AF fine tuning module using their incredible expertise, we would have an iPad alternative to FoCal and FocusTune. Now that would be a win-win.

Larry Jordan

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

Website:
http://larryjordan.smugmug.com/

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

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