Reikan FoCal 2021 is available

After just a few months of Focal 2020 out, there is a new version 2021 available. Unfortunately I never came around to even try the 2020 version, but I’ve spent some days playing with the 2021 release candidate around Christmas. For everybody that comes from version 2 and straight into 2021 version, there is a lot of new cool stuff to talk about. If you’ve read about my experience with version 2, you may remember that I had quite a few complains and wishes for improvements. Without going through all of those, I think most on my list has been enhanced or fixed if technically possible, although I see that calculated focus distance is still way off from the real distance.

One of my biggest wishes from version 2, was a more smooth and easy way of checking focus at different apertures, not only one at the time. On this point Reikan has come through with a very nice solution where you can test at all apertures at once, like here my Nikkor 24-120 f/4 at 24mm:

If you where familiar with version 2, you could only test one aperture at the time and get one best point for each one. Here each point on the chart above is the same as having run version 2 at all apertures and joining the best points all together in the end. It’s amazing! It also makes it easy to see the focus shift. The downside is that it takes about 100 photos to get the result on the chart above.

With that out of the way, there is more good news in the 2021 version. Apart from support for the latest cameras, you can also use photos taken from cameras without AF-fine tune, like many lower end cameras. As you can’t do any fine tune in-camera, I would guess it is most suited for 3. party lenses like Tamron and Sigma where you can add fine tune in-lens. I haven’t tried this feature.

Further there is a new stabilization test where you can test how many stops you and your in-camera and/or in-lens stabilization are able to get in somewhat real life. I found this test a little bit awkward, but anyway gives you some guideline to work from.

If you found this interesting, read more about it and the new features here: https://blog.reikanfocal.com/2021/01/reikan-focal-2021-stable-released/

Thanks for reading!

Summary, calibrating the Tamron Triple Crown

I’m so lucky to have the complete set of f/2.8 G2 zoom from 15 to 200mm from Tamron, some will call it the Triple Crown. This set includes the SP 15-30 f/2.8 VC G2, SP 24-70 f/2.8 VC G2 and the SP 70-200 f/2.8 VC G2. A triple set of magnificent glass that compete with the 1st party lenses for about half of the price.

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Tamron SP 15-30mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2, calibrating with the Tap-In Console

After only four years on the market, the “old” Tamron 15-30 f/2.8 VC got replaced with the G2 version last autumn (2018). Not that the old version was performing badly by any means, but think about it, the legendary Nikkor 14-24 f/2.8 was released back in 2007 and there are still no rumors about a replacement or upgrade, but I guess Tamron was eager to get the full set of Holy Trinity of f/2.8 zooms out in “G2” style.

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Tamron SP 15-30mm f/2.8 VC, checking focus with Reikan Focal 2

I’ve been hesitating a little bit if I should even post this or not, as it doesn’t add much in its own, but should be seen together with the other Tamron lens posts I’ve made. To be clear, this Tamron 15-30 f/2.8 VC is not compatible with the Tamron Tap-In Console, so no values can be altered or entered into the lens! But this doesn’t mean I can’t see how the focus behaves at different apertures, focal lengths and focus distances.

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Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2, calibrating with the Tap-In Console

I remember when I got my first 70-200 f/2.8 lens, it was the first version of the Nikkor, and it was a fantastic lens on the 12 Mpx cameras I had back then (D300s and D700). The feel, the look, the balance and about everything was perfect. I still really really like the look of a 70-200 f/2.8 lens on a DSLR, I think it looks simply amazing. Obviously with the increase of megapixels, the older lenses didn’t keep up and needed to be replaced. In the beginning of last year, I got the Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2.

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Tamron SP 24-70 f/2.8 VC USD G2, calibrating the lens with Tap-In Console

I’ve always liked Tamron SP lenses as I think they give a lot for the money. SP, Super Performance, means they perform on a high level, more or less on the same level as first party lenses, without the same price tag. I’ve owned Tamron SP lenses for more than ten years and have been pretty happy about them, so when Tamron announced their updated version of the already very good 24-70 f/2.8 VC, I actually sold my Nikkor 24-70 f/2.8 VR to get the new Tamron. I’m not saying that the Tamron is better than the Nikkor, but it freed up some money that I could use on something else without sacrificing much of the performance (if any).

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Tamron Tap-In Console, my experience

Tamron announced their Tap-In Console about two years ago, and the two main functions is to be able to update firmware without sending the lens into service, and the second is to finetune focus at three different focus distances and several focal lengths (for primes just one focal length). There are also some other features you may do in the Tap-In utility, such as behavior of the Vibration Control, adjust the focus limiter, sensitivity of the focus ring and so on.

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Reikan FoCal 2, my experience (so far)

Reikan FoCal is not very known by DSLR users, so what is it all about? Copied from their info:

So what exactly is FoCal?

FoCal is computer software you install on a PC or Mac, and a special target you attach to a wall. You connect your camera to the PC with the standard USB cable and start the software.

FoCal guides you through the correct positioning of the camera and target, then you can run any of the tools at the touch of a button.

FoCal works with Canon and Nikon DSLR cameras that support AF Microadjustment/Fine Tune – see the Supported Cameras page for more details.

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