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Author Topic: My Review of the Reikan Focal Pro Lens Microadjustment System  (Read 31506 times)
Colorado David
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« Reply #20 on: May 31, 2012, 01:37:08 PM »
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. . . but I want them to drop the onerous camera registration scheme first. They really do not need to impose that burden on their customers. I am happy to let them limit me to which computers I use it on - that kind of registration and licensing makes sense.

Agreed.  This would be akin to Adobe limiting your ability to process only so many images before having to buy another license.
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jrsforums
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« Reply #21 on: May 31, 2012, 02:16:11 PM »
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I have now read Wayne Fox's assessment. I trust Mr. Fox so I will be happy to give FoCal an honest evaluation - but I want them to drop the onerous camera registration scheme first. They really do not need to impose that burden on their customers. I am happy to let them limit me to which computers I use it on - that kind of registration and licensing makes sense.

I often learned not to just complain about something, but to offer a better way to do it.

In that vein, how would you suggest that Reikan focal control their license to avoid someone buying one license and then selling a service to MA everyone in the area's camera/lenses.

BTW...what is the fear of registering the serial number?  Sounds more like paranoia than anything else....but maybe I am missing something.
« Last Edit: May 31, 2012, 02:45:01 PM by jrsforums » Logged

John
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« Reply #22 on: May 31, 2012, 02:22:53 PM »
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Agreed.  This would be akin to Adobe limiting your ability to process only so many images before having to buy another license.

Wrong...Adobe is limiting how many systems you can use. Reikal is limiting the number of cameras.  You can process as many lenses, as many times, as you want.

From RF: A license for FoCal supports up to 5 cameras, and allows you to use it on as many computers as you like (but only with those specified cameras). To buy a license, simply click on the appropriate license purchase button.

You have to limit something in order go get back to $$ you are investing in making a product.
« Last Edit: May 31, 2012, 02:50:15 PM by jrsforums » Logged

John
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« Reply #23 on: May 31, 2012, 02:26:03 PM »
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JRS:
Thank you for your detailed response.

I have no vested interests regarding this or another company's products.

I know what to do with this kind of analytic data.

The licensing restriction to 5 cameras is , from a user's PoV, dumb. As is the need for them to have my cameras seria lnumbers. there is no way to justify it. YoIf they want to register what computers I use it on that is one thing, but for the individual camera serial numbers? C'mon. And if they want to go down that path why not lens serial numbers too?  

Regarding price: FoCal Pro is listed as 69.95 - which currently is US $107.86

As to being "negative" - I think "skeptical" is a better description of my state of mind when I am considering a purchase, especially when there is a big promise involved. I take the same stance for every product I look in the gadget world and each week I feel like I have to get more skeptical.

As I said...with available discounts...

http://www.reikan.co.uk/focal/mbp45/

With this discount....45 = $69.40.  So beat me up for 10 bucks. :-)

All fair for you to be skeptical.  My point was your making blanket statements influencing others without having done any investigation on your part.  Ellis, you are an influential person and I believe more is expected of you.
« Last Edit: May 31, 2012, 02:33:57 PM by jrsforums » Logged

John
Ellis Vener
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« Reply #24 on: May 31, 2012, 03:38:41 PM »
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In that vein, how would you suggest that Reikan focal control their license to avoid someone buying one license and then selling a service to MA everyone in the area's camera/lenses.

BTW...what is the fear of registering the serial number?  Sounds more like paranoia than anything else....but maybe I am missing something.


If they are that worried that scads of amateur camera diagnosticians will be setting up shop to diagnose other people's cameras and lenses they need to rethink their business model. There is nothing stopping people from doing the same with the SpyderCal or LensAlign products or buying resolution charts and setting up  shop.

If i lived near him I'd be happy to use Mr. Fox's shop to do the diagnostic work on my cameras as they know what they are doing, a guy at a local camera club? Not something I'd be interested in.

The fact remains: there is no justification  for requiring me or you to hand over information about  camera's we own, rent or borrow.
« Last Edit: May 31, 2012, 03:48:54 PM by Ellis Vener » Logged

Ellis Vener
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Wayne Fox
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« Reply #25 on: May 31, 2012, 03:53:43 PM »
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I believe the license policy is to insure the end user is not in turn using the software as a service. I don't think that's an unreasonable perspective since if I am making money with the software it's only fair they receive some compensation.

 5 bodies, with the ability to change out some serial numbers doesn't seem unreasonable, as long as the process to add new serial numbers or trade them is simple and foolproof.  As far as offering it as a service, we are currently trying to find out what the license fee would be were we change to using this system.

I only saw the results of one of my customers experience with it, (who happens to be an engineer) and was impressed by the level of information available as well as his results on two different bodies, enough so that we will be evaluating the software.  I'm not sure being perfectly aligned is critical, because what the software is doing is comparing the results against itself.  It basically sets an offset, takes a picture, analyzes it, and repeats the process. The output chart shows how it evaluates the results of each offset.   The D4 results were much more consistent, where as the d7000 results varied even with the same offset.

We will be comparing the results with LensAlign to the results with this, to see if it is as good.  If so it certainly appears easier.
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jrsforums
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« Reply #26 on: May 31, 2012, 04:06:36 PM »
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In that vein, how would you suggest that Reikan focal control their license to avoid someone buying one license and then selling a service to MA everyone in the area's camera/lenses.

BTW...what is the fear of registering the serial number?  Sounds more like paranoia than anything else....but maybe I am missing something.


If they are that worried that scads of amateur camera diagnosticians will be setting up shop to diagnose other people's cameras and lenses they need to rethink their business model. There is nothing stoppOing people from doing the same with the SpyderCal or LensAlign products or buying resolution charts and setting up  shop.

I believe they offer a commercial license.

Quote

If i lived near him I'd be happy to use Mr. Fox's shop to do the diagnostic work on my cameras as they know what they are doing, a guy at a local camera club? Not something I'd be interested in.

So...you would not buy your own copy and allow Reikan the fruits of their efforts.  Seems quite similar to using a cracked copy of Photoshop.  Most people call it stealing.
Quote


The fact remains: there is no justification  for requiring me or you to hand over information about  camera's we own, rent or borrow.

We must, I guess agree to differ on it.  Does your paranoia extend to not giving anyone your credit card number?  That is a lot more dangerous then this silly concern about camera serial numbers....in my opinion.

« Last Edit: May 31, 2012, 06:43:23 PM by jrsforums » Logged

John
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« Reply #27 on: May 31, 2012, 05:54:45 PM »
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(The following has been edited for clarity of expression)

If you are running a commercial service, like Mr. Fox is, buying a commercial license is both fair and appropriate.

I have zero doubt that there are ways the FoCal software, once installed on a computer, can detect a camera's serial number and cut you off after 5 bodies have been used with it.  As the program already appears to look at several other EXIF metadata fields if it can see the camera's serial number field  there is zero need to share the serial numbers of the cameras used (whether owned, rented, borrowed, or loaned (I guess no one else here is an NPS or CPS member)) with the software maker.

In an "Age of Information" personal information is both valuable and powerful. It should be respected as such. That is not "paranoia", it is common sense.
« Last Edit: May 31, 2012, 08:22:47 PM by Ellis Vener » Logged

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Keith Reeder
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« Reply #28 on: June 01, 2012, 02:52:37 AM »
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Jeez...

You'd think there'd be across-the-board positivity from some quarters for something as essentially groundbreaking as this application.

The developer (who I don't know and have no affiliation with, but whose efforts to get this off the ground I've been following for some time) has worked his arse off to develop this unique solution, and by all accounts it simplifies MFA to a remarkable degree:  we have to accept that some people who need to apply accurate MFA really struggle with the "manual" options out there (I know from personal experience that MFA is no fun when you've got 400, 500 or 600mm of focal length to deal with), and FoCal just makes the process easier to a very worthwhile extent, and if I needed to MFA my gear, I'd buy it in a hearbeat.

And of course it makes sense for him to restrict its use (outside of commercial licensing) to specific cameras to stop someone buying a single copy and then MFAing the cameras of everyone he knows, at direct potential cost to the software developer.
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Keith Reeder
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« Reply #29 on: June 01, 2012, 08:05:36 AM »
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Jeez...

You'd think there'd be across-the-board positivity from some quarters for something as essentially groundbreaking as this application.

The developer (who I don't know and have no affiliation with, but whose efforts to get this off the ground I've been following for some time) has worked his arse off to develop this unique solution, and by all accounts it simplifies MFA to a remarkable degree:  we have to accept that some people who need to apply accurate MFA really struggle with the "manual" options out there (I know from personal experience that MFA is no fun when you've got 400, 500 or 600mm of focal length to deal with), and FoCal just makes the process easier to a very worthwhile extent, and if I needed to MFA my gear, I'd buy it in a hearbeat.

And of course it makes sense for him to restrict its use (outside of commercial licensing) to specific cameras to stop someone buying a single copy and then MFAing the cameras of everyone he knows, at direct potential cost to the software developer.

It's always easier to pick something apart than to learn and understand it.

It is kind of like media critics, they seem "get off" by perennially finding fault....and frankly, they probably need to....who would read them if they were polite and supported much of the artistic work they saw.
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John
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« Reply #30 on: June 01, 2012, 09:10:01 AM »
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It's not as if software that limits use to to specific, registered devices is a new thing - the software that comes with my calibration device does exactly the same thing, and only allows the calibration of my registered machine's monitor, to stop me lending it out to all and sundry.
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Keith Reeder
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« Reply #31 on: June 01, 2012, 09:47:08 AM »
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It's not as if software that limits use to to specific, registered devices is a new thing - the software that comes with my calibration device does exactly the same thing, and only allows the calibration of my registered machine's monitor, to stop me lending it out to all and sundry.
But are you required to register your computer or display's serial numbers with your colorimeter/ photospectrometer's manufacturer as a condition of purchasing the software as Reikan is doing?  Does it limit the number of displays connected to that computer?  More likely  the software, once it is installed on your computers, just looks to make sure it is only installed on a limited number of computers. 
« Last Edit: June 01, 2012, 09:51:28 AM by Ellis Vener » Logged

Ellis Vener
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jrsforums
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« Reply #32 on: June 01, 2012, 10:10:23 AM »
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But are you required to register your computer or display's serial numbers with your colorimeter/ photospectrometer's manufacturer as a condition of purchasing the software as Reikan is doing?  Does it limit the number of displays connected to that computer?  More likely  the software, once it is installed on your computers, just looks to make sure it is only installed on a limited number of computers. 

I believe Keith's analog works.  The calibration unit does not limit the number of monitors any more than Reikan limits the number of licenses.

The computer ID is read and sent to the calibration tool mfg.  I believe. It is off the sensor, which may or may not also be the serial number depending on the computer mfg or if it it DIY....it is,however, as unique to that system as your camera serial number is to the camera. 

I am sure you are aware, camera serial number are machine readable by software, so make an idead way to link sw to the hw, just as calibration sw is link to a specific machine.

A few months ago, I upgraded to the Spyder4, from the S3.  I sold the s3, with it's sw.  The new user, and I, had a devil of a time as the sw would not install....even though I had removed that sw from my system....and there was no unregistered item associated with the sw.  DataColor customer support needed to remove my computer I'd from their system, so the new user could install on theirs.

BTW...the computer ID/serial being in the "wild" is about as dangerous as your camera serial number being there.  I keep my doors looked...and it seems to work just fine.

Of course, if it is a concern to you, don't use it....but stop bad mouthing Reikan just because you are over sensitive on this issue.  If you have valid concerns on the function and applicability on this product speak up....otherwise....
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John
Ellis Vener
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« Reply #33 on: June 01, 2012, 11:11:45 AM »
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otherwise what?
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Ellis Vener
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« Reply #34 on: June 01, 2012, 11:51:10 AM »
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I have used the software extensively and found it be very useful. I have a LensAlign and it works well and was the first solution. My problem with the LensAlign is that I never got real consistent results with it. They are left somewhat to interpretation especially with narrow dof. Alignment mattered a lot and I believe led to some of my inconsistencies. I also found it tedious to take a few shots, download them and look at the on photoshop and use filters to enhance the results to make them easier to interpret.

Focal tends to eliminate the human errors. The target is easier to setup and align, especially with the live view and the target detection. The software can be run automatically and manually if you like. It is very repeatable. I got very consistent results. In before and after shots with various targets I found that it really did improve my focus and for a long time I felt that was something I really did not need to do, as it should have been good from the factory. Well there are all kinds of manufacturing tolerances and so this product will help improve your focusing accuracy. Will this make you a better photographer? No but it will help you get the best images that you can that are in focus. The software will generate reports and tell you what works and what does not and can test the ability to repeat focus, can you do this manually? yes you can but I doubt with as much precision.

Their registration process is no less draconian than many other methods, at least you can run it on multiple computers and if you need more than 5 bodies registered than contact the author. I understand that he is just trying to prevent people from calibrating cameras for friends or as a business. He spent a lot of time writing and testing the software, so I can understand that and now the registration process is handled by his server and not through emails, like it was previously. Registering a camera serial number is not giving away a state secret. Unless you strictly remove it from the exif then it is already out there. I see no danger in it, in fact registering computer id's is probably a little more dangerous as that gives a way of uniquely identifying your computer on a network.

There are older threads discussing it's use.

Alan
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Alan Smallbone
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« Reply #35 on: June 01, 2012, 02:54:31 PM »
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Ellis, I understand and respect your point of view. I find most of these device registration/licensing requirements an annoyance at best, often a hindrance, and sometimes a major obstacle. I could write a long tirade about the days I have wasted in obtaining working installations of MATLAB.

The licensing restriction in FoCal will not impact me, since I will probably use it for only one or two cameras. If you are interested in FoCal, but put off by these restrictions, why not write the developer and tell him why you are reluctant to use it?  Maybe he will make a work-around for you, or (if enough people complain) maybe he will change the policy.

I recently acquired a copy of FoCal, and have just begun to use it.  So far I have run "automatic" calibrations on a Nikon D800E, with 14-24mm and 24-70mm lenses. For Nikon bodies, the process is not completely automated, because there are no public APIs for some of the remote control functions. This means that the user is prompted to manually change the AF Fine Tune settings. But the FoCal software controls the sequencing of the adjustment values, autofocus initiation, mirror up delay, shutter, plotting of results, etc.  It uses a reasonably intelligent search algorithm to find a max in focus quality with a minimal number of trials.  I ran the program on a Mac, running Win7 via VMware.  The user interface and documentation could be improved (with more clarity, better organization), but my calibrations ran without any glitches.

Unfortunately for me, the results I obtained for my 24-70 produced a dilemma. The optimum Fine Tune values vary significantly with focal length: 0 at 24mm, -20 at 50mm, and 0 at 70mm.  I may need to send the lens and camera to Nikon for evaluation.  The plots that I obtained from FoCal are posted in this web gallery. Note: the shots of the FoCal target that appear in this gallery are not the shots that I used in the automated calibrations.

 
« Last Edit: June 01, 2012, 02:56:09 PM by julianv » Logged
jrsforums
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« Reply #36 on: June 01, 2012, 07:24:36 PM »
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otherwise what?

Do what's right....
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John
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« Reply #37 on: June 01, 2012, 08:14:59 PM »
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Thanks julianv for understanding.

 Some people obviously see no problem with the current licensing scheme. I do and it would be dishonest of me  to pretend otherwise.

 I hope the creator of FoCal understands my point. I suspect he'll sell more units without that unnecessary requirement to share what is my proprietary information with him- a move  which will have no effect of the workings of the software itself and can still maintain a reasonable 5 body limitation.
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Ellis Vener
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Glenn NK
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« Reply #38 on: June 02, 2012, 11:38:11 AM »
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....but stop bad mouthing Reikan just because you are over sensitive on this issue.

With all due respect, I didn't interpret the posts by Ellis as bad mouthing.  To me, it seems his concerns were pretty well limited to privacy issues, so perhaps our interpretations differ.  So be it.

Glenn
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« Reply #39 on: June 02, 2012, 03:07:25 PM »
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I forgot to mention one useful feature of FoCal that has not received much emphasis in the online reviews and comments. Phase detection AF is not perfectly precise. If you initiate AF multiple times on the exact same target, you will get multiple focus results. The spread of values depends on the characteristics of the target, lens, camera, etc.  When FoCal is running a calibration, it makes several measurements at each Fine Tune (Microadjust) value. If it sees a large spread in focus quality, it makes more measurements.  If the spread is too large, it aborts the test and warns the user that something is amiss with the lens, or the test setup. If the spread is reasonable, it moves on the the next adjustment value.  At the end of measurements, it obtains a recommended adjustment value by making a statistical analysis and curve fit to the data.

This method is likely to produce better results than most users will get from subjective comparisons of images made from LensAlign, SpyderLensCal, or homemade targets.  The significance of this advantage (or the significance of focus tuning in general) is debatable, of course.
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