The shift to mirrorless has largely helped to eliminate one of the biggest issues of DSLRs; Focus calibration. And although mirrorless is now selling at a higher rate than DSLRs, there are still a lot of them out there. For example, even though I bought half a dozen Panasonic mirrorless cameras for video a couple of years ago, I still have 14 or so Nikon DSLRs. Every time I get a new autofocus lens, I need to calibrate it to each body I plan to use it with.
One of the leading products to help with calibrating your DSLR autofocus lenses is Reikan FoCal. This software makes you shoot a bunch of images and dial various settings in your camera in order to give you a result that ensures sharp focus every time. Well, now, FoCal’s gone mobile with a new app for iOS, iPadOS and Android.
FoCal began life as an autofocus calibration tool designed specifically for the Canon EOS 5D Mark II and Canon EOS 7D DSLRs. Since that time, though, it’s expanded its camera range to include almost 60 different DSLRs from Canon and Nikon. You can see the complete list of compatible cameras here. Until now, it’s only been available as an application for Windows and macOS, but now you can get it on your iPhone, iPad or Android device.
The new app connects to USB-C devices (Android and recent iPads) directly or can connect to iPhones and iPads featuring a Lightning socket using the Camera Connection kit. If your Android device is really old and still has a micro USB port, you’ll need an OTG adapter. But once you’re able to physically connect your mobile device to your camera, lens calibration is available to you anywhere.
In an ideal world, we should have our DSLR lenses all calibrated and ready to go as soon as we leave the house. But in the real world, we often get so wrapped up in the excitement of getting a new lens that we forget. Or maybe we just borrow one from a friend after we meet up with them and notice the focus is off on our body. Also, not all lenses are perfect. Even calibrated, a lens might only nail perfect focus at a certain focus distance region. Or a zoom lens might focus beautifully at one end of the zoom range but be way off at the other end. Admittedly, this isn’t extremely common, but it does happen.
Now, though, none of the above scenarios should pose an issue – as long as you remember to pack the appropriate cable and, if necessary, adapter in your bag.
Personally, I’ve always done my lens calibration with the SpyderLENSCAL, and it’s worked perfectly for my needs, but I know many people who swear by FoCal and wouldn’t want to use anything else. Your other option, of course, is just go mirrorless.