Michael Tapes Design releases FocusTune Focus Calibration software

Michael Tapes Design, maker of the highly acclaimed LensAlign Focus calibration system, has announced FocusTune, The Auto-Focus Software Solution for correcting DSLR body/lens mismatch errors and restoring maximum sharpness potential.

FocusTune

Why FocusTune? In a nutshell, FocusTune quickly and accurately identifies the best AF fine-tune adjustment setting to match a given lens with the DSLR’s body. While virtually every high-end DSLR is equipped with micro-fine tuning adjustments, the manufacturers have left the users to determine the optimal fine tuning for themselves. That’s why Michael Tapes originally designed LensAlign. And now with the super high resolution cameras becoming so popular, FocusTune is the clear companion to get the finest detail from these remarkable cameras. Originally conceived as a partner for LensAlign, the new product quickly took on its own identity, offering its highly accurate analysis capabilities as both a standalone tool and in conjunction with LensAlign MkII.

As Michael Tapes points out, “FocusTune’s design is ‘Photographer-Driven’. While being extremely comprehensive and accurate, it has a straightforward and simple user interface. The photographer simply takes test shots (of LensAlign or the downloadable high-contrast printable target) at various AF Adjustment settings, and loads the image files into FocusTune. The images are analyzed for sharpness, and the results are graphically displayed informing the user of the correct AF Tuning setting to enter into the camera’s AF Micro-tuning system. The camera then automatically uses this value whenever the lens is remounted. With their full kit of lenses matched to their body(s), the photographer is virtually assured of picture sharpness far superior than the “out of the box” AF system could otherwise deliver.

FocusTune Screenshot

FocusTune also tests for AF consistency, focus point comparison, and sharpest aperture, and also performs several meta-data functions. FocusTune is a standalone software application which runs on Mac and Windows. It does not require tethering to a camera or any additional software. When teamed with LensAlign the photographer truly owns the only complete AF micro-tuning solution in the industry. This system approach allows for precision results (FocusTune alone), precision with additional speed and data (FocusTune with LensAlign), as well as field test capability to precisely match your body and lens when no computer is available (LensAlign alone). This last situation is especially important for shoots in extreme environments where temperature and humidity can impact AF performance.

The brand new FocusTune offers professional performance and an abundance of valuable features at a generous price point, which includes both Mac and Windows licenses. FocusTune is being launched at the special introductory price of $29.95 (USD) through the end of the year (2012). LensAlign MkII owners get a discounted intro price $19.95. A fully functional demo version is also available. Details available at http://michaeltapesdesign.com.

Comments

  1. October 19, 2012 at 11:09 pm

    Presumably it won’t be long but details are not available on Michael Tapes’ site at the time of writing.

    • October 19, 2012 at 11:35 pm

      Murray, yes – the above news have only been announced on our website. The official page will be up in a couple of days. Michael sent me the press release early and gave permission to post it.

  2. 2
    ) Mike Hammon
    October 19, 2012 at 11:16 pm

    Nasim,
    I’d be interested in a review comparing this software to Reiken FoCal (whichever version is comparable).

    • October 20, 2012 at 12:08 am

      Mike, we will do a post on FocusTune vs FoCal within the next few weeks. I am still waiting to hear from the FoCal folks…

      • 26
        ) Rafael
        October 22, 2012 at 9:51 am

        I second that request.

        Last week I was just about to purchase a Reikan FoCal license – was wondering about the price vs. features to decide which version to take. But now looks like FocusTune has more feature-per-price. A good review among these two shall be decisive for me.

        Thanks!

        • October 22, 2012 at 1:49 pm

          Hi Rafael,

          I have created this little comparison between Focal and FocusTune. I have tried to be objective, but FocusTune is my baby. So take a look. I tried to be fair to both products, as they are both good products meant for different people. Let me know what you think, and post any changes directly to the forum post below, and of course comment here.

          http://mtd.forumatic.com/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=15&p=21#p21

          Michael

          • 30
            ) Rafael
            October 23, 2012 at 8:16 am

            Hi, Michael,

            Thank you very much.
            That comparison is fair indeed.

            The tethered support is well put when you say it is a pro and a con. For me it is a pro (taking into account that my Nikon D7000 is supported). When fully working, I believe that tethering can make the process more streamlined, as it takes time and breaks concentration when one needs to take the shots, remove the card from camera and load the images on computer. Do you plan to add tethering on future updates?

            Does FocusTune features tests for sharpest aperture on each lens setting (in case of zooms)? Tests for dust on sensor and so on? I ask because there are such tests on the top version of FoCal and I find them attractive since it saves a lot of time when doing an overall camera/lens check.

            The price tag on FocusTune is very attractive for me. I don’t have LensAlign II just yet, so how well should it perform without LensAlign? ie.: On the release it says that FocusTune+LAII adds speed and data. Speed I understand, but which kind of additional data?

            Anxiously awaiting for a comprehensive review by Nasim. :)

            Thank you.

            Best regards,
            Rafael

            • October 23, 2012 at 9:18 am

              Hi Rafael,

              Sounds like you should go for Focal.
              We do not do dust testing, we do analyze for sharpest aperture for each zoom (of course you have to take the shots, but in all honesty, you can get the sharpest aperture from any lens review. It is not like your sample is going to be different than your friends sample of a given lens model. Aperture sharpness is a function of design, where the AF Adjustment is a function of sample to sample variation of bodies and lenses. But that is an aside.

              We have no immediate plans for tethered operation. I use an Eye-Fi card, so there is no memory card shuffling. I take the shots, walk back to the computer and select the folder in FocusTune. So a wireless tether :>)

              The additional “data” with LensAlign is that each image shows the DOF. So in finalizing the “best” AFA setting, I find that the sharpest image is not necessarily the best setting based on shooting style, how consistent the AF system is, and how the lens draws the DOF in relation to the sharpest shot. Sometimes the sharpest shot put the boundry of the DOF too close to the focus plane and will therefore yield more OOF shots in the real world.

              Rich tells me that there should be no reason not to use LensAlign with Focal.

              Michael

  3. 3
    ) Adam Felde
    October 19, 2012 at 11:19 pm

    I agree. There’s no mention of Focus Tune product or pricing on the web site referenced!

    • October 20, 2012 at 12:12 am

      Adam, it will be posted within the next few days. Meanwhile, you can see this page for info and to sign up to the mailing list.

  4. 5
    ) Rick Kirwan
    October 20, 2012 at 12:04 am

    I just bought the Lensalign MKII at B and H and paid 80.00 and now it is 19.99 , I feel a little abused.

    • October 20, 2012 at 12:07 am

      Rick, the price of LensAlign did not change – this is brand new software that is developed by Michael Tapes that can automatically tell you which AF setting to use. The $19.99 price is a discounted price for those who own LensAlign.

    • October 20, 2012 at 3:45 am

      Hi Rick,

      FocusTune (and Focal for that matter) is best used with LensAlign as the target. As noted in our press release above:

      “This system approach allows for precision results (FocusTune alone), precision with additional speed and data (FocusTune with LensAlign), as well as field test capability to precisely match your body and lens when no computer is available (LensAlign alone). This last situation is especially important for shoots in extreme environments where temperature and humidity can impact AF performance.”

      Michael

  5. October 20, 2012 at 12:15 am

    You pre register for the new FineTune software here http://michaeltapesdesign.com/focustune_signup.html

    Hope that helps.

    Richard

    • October 20, 2012 at 12:23 am

      Thanks Richard! I also updated the link on the article to point to the above URL :)

  6. October 20, 2012 at 12:22 am

    Nasim

    I have also put a link for all information on Nikonians if that helps spread the word under the “Nikon AF Lenses” forum.

    Richard

  7. October 20, 2012 at 3:32 am

    Hi,

    When Nasim was testing LensAlign, FocusTune came up in conversation under NDA. He asked me if he could post information about it. At the time I said no, but now that we have the V1.0 secured and tested, he twisted my arm and i agreed to allow him to post the above information. The reason that it does not appear on our own website is simply..time and resources. We are a tiny “mom & pop” type of operation (as Nasim has pointed out). Our focus has been on the testing of FocusTune, and we now can point our efforts to the marketing materials, etc.

    I am happy to answer short targeted questions here, while we are preparing our sales launch.

    I look forward to Nasim’s upcoming review and comparison to Focal. My guess is that he will find both products to be extremely helpful in the quest for photographers to get the ultimate AF performance from their camera and lenses.

    My thanks to Nasim for his always insightful posts (not just this one:>)

    Michael Tapes

  8. 15
    ) carl
    October 20, 2012 at 6:08 am

    Can Mr. Tapes explain what he means when he says:

    “This system approach allows for precision results (FocusTune alone), precision with additional speed and data (FocusTune with LensAlign)….”

    Does he mean that the software makes the calibration process take less time?

    Thanks

    • October 20, 2012 at 7:33 am

      Hi Carl,

      Yes. FocusTune AND LensAlign together give the fastest results. The software eliminates the need for the photographer to “read and interpret” the ruler, so that is faster. But the ruler allows the photographer to “instantly” asses the full back/front focus status of the body/lens combination, which means less test photos for FocusTune to have to asses. In other words, the software (whether FocusTune or Focal) cannot determine “anything” with one image. It needs a sequence of images. But with LensAlign, just one test photo tells the entire status in terms of desired focus vs achieved focus.

      Hope that clears it up for you.

      Michael

      • 20
        ) carl
        October 20, 2012 at 9:56 am

        Okay, thanks.

        Is it fair to say that this all works best with prime lenses or, if a zoom is used, testing for a single focal length?

        • October 20, 2012 at 10:20 am

          Hi Carl,

          Yes. That is fair to say. In general the practice is to adjust for the long end of the zoom, and then test at the short end, and decide whether or not to compromise the setting and by how much. In general, using the setting at the long end will provide results at the short end that exceed the out of the box performance. Of this will vary based on the specific body and lens.

          Having said that, Canon has made a significant change such that a separate setting can be made for both the long and short end of every zoom lens. Nikon should also make this change, but they seem to be brain-dead when it comes to the subject of AF Fine-Tuning. They act like this is the plague, when in fact it is a positive feature for the photographer.

          And not to wave Canon’s flag “that” high…Olympus has had the short and long settings since their first camera with AF micro-tuning. But kudos to Canon for jumping on board, and acknowledging that AFMT is a good thing. It is available on the Canon 1Dx and 5D3.

          Michael

  9. 16
    ) Richard
    October 20, 2012 at 7:31 am

    Will FocusTune be available as a download instead of, or an addition to, a boxed disc please.

    Richard

    • October 20, 2012 at 7:34 am

      Hi Richard,

      Only download. The box image is just to define FocusTune as a product that exists and can be purchased. We will make that clear on the purchase page. Thanks for the question.

      Michael

      • 19
        ) Richard
        October 20, 2012 at 7:36 am

        Excellent Michael, thank you.

        Richard

  10. October 20, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    Im not getting sharp images from my nikon D7000 when combined with the 50mm F1.8D…!
    I used the same model lens with a friends D300 last year and it was great!
    Also used another friends D700 with the 50mm F1.8D…!

    It delivers extremly sharp images at F4, F5.6 & F8…! but @ F1.8 and F2.8…the images are not sharp…!

    i bought my 50mm f1.8D after my 50mm f1.4G got broken…i couldnt afford a G version anymore!!!

    will this software help me in getting sharp images from my F1.8D @ apertures F1.8, F2.8….!

    • 24
      ) EnPassant
      October 20, 2012 at 7:19 pm

      First of all you should test your lens yourself with an apropriate target. Use a steady tripod to make sure the camera is not moving and fast enough shutterspeed (1/125 or faster should be fine with a 50 mm lens) or mirror up/pre release. Then first take a few snaps with AF on. Switch AF off and focus manually, first when the focus confirm dot is showing and after that take several shots focused just before and after the AF dot confirms focus. Don’t forget make notes about the photos so you know which are which!

      If the AF photos and the manually focused phots when AF is confirmed are the sharpest you have no problem with AF and also know the focus confirm dot really indicates best focus.
      If however one of the manually focused shots before or after the AF confirm dot lights up is sharper than the ones with AF then you need do a focus fine-tuning.

      A more direct method is simply take a few pics with AF, then change the focus fine-tuning, take a few pics with the new setting and repeat until you find the setting which gives the best sharpness.

      As Michael wrote the pixel pitch in D7000 is much more demanding on lenses when watched at 100%. You could try downsize the image to 12 MP and see if that compares to the sharpness you experienced with D300. Another possibility is your friends 50/1.8 D was a stellar sample while yours is below average.

      The LensAlign and FocusTune are together surely products that make focus fine-tuning much more convenient, faster and with repetable accuracy. For a pro that really need reliable focus at every shot it is well worth the cost. Also for those having let’s say three cameras and a dozen lenses or more using a standardized method like this will save a lot of time and hassle.
      If one however have only one camera and one or a few lenses I personally think it is overkill. As Michael honestly states there are do it yourself methods that for normal needs should be good enough.

      • October 22, 2012 at 7:18 am

        “Michael honestly states there are do it yourself methods that for normal needs should be good enough”

        Just to state my position clearly, I believe that there are DIY methods that potentially provide proper results, but they tend not to be consistent or reliable over time due to the method/design and the constraints of the person building (executing) the design. if someone can be VERY careful and disciplined, then it is possible. For a quick check, yes, almost any method will work to give an overall indication of a problem, but for getting the best results, a repeatable and consistent method/device is needed in order to isolate the inconsistencies and inaccuracies of the camera/lens under test.

        I hope that is more clear.

        Michael

  11. October 20, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    Hi Mohamed,

    While we cannot make promises, it would seem likely that a proper AF Adjustment would make a difference. But we have 2 variables here. One is the physical body, and the other is the body model. The D7000 has a more dense pixel pitch due to its higher MP count. A big difference to the D300 and a huge difference to the D700. So I cannot say whether or not you can expect the identical sharpness. But it is likely that you have a lens/body mis-match. That is what LensAlign and FocusTune are designed to test and assist in the correction. You can do some preliminary testing to see if when you focus wide open and the point of focus is not as sharp as you would like, is there a point in front or in back of the focus plane that looks sharper to you? If so, then this is the problem.

    It could be simply that you need to sharpen the D7000 images more than you are used to as well. ALL digital photographs need to be sharpened, and each camera requires a different amount. And 50mm lenses wide open are not all that sharp, but you can judge that from your experience with the D700/300.

    One LensAlign shot would give you the answer you require. There are DIY methods on the web that, while not stable and repeatable, can certainly tell you your AF needs tuning.

    Hope this gives you some ideas.

  12. October 22, 2012 at 11:46 am

    FYI…

    We are shooting for release of FocusTune on Wed Oct 24. Just trying to get the sales infrastructure and LensAlign Discounts nailed down.

    • October 23, 2012 at 1:54 pm

      Still on the way for a Wed launch. But it will be along night!

      • 38
        ) Richard
        October 23, 2012 at 3:03 pm

        Best of luck with the product launch.

        Richard

  13. 29
    ) Mitch
    October 22, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    Hello.

    I’ve been meaning to buy the LensAlign this month. How do I go about getting the discount? Do I just register the product on your site? I’d be buying it from a local store here in the Philippines if they still have stock.

    Thanks.

  14. 32
    ) Jonathan
    October 23, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    Hi Michael,

    I have been on the verge of purchasing Lens Align several times but have always baulked…at the price.

    I’ll explain:

    US = $79-95 which I think is perfectly reasonable
    UK = $ 79-95 for the item, + $ 43-35 shipping (cheapest option selected), + $ 62-28 duty = $ 185-58 total i.e.more than double the price.

    I recognise that shipping and duty are not within your control, but is there no chance of a UK distributor being appointed. Much as I’d like to purchase the product I’m really not willing to pony up twice the US price. I’m sure there are many other Brits in the same boat.

    Cheers

    Jonathan.

    • October 23, 2012 at 1:21 pm

      Hi Johnathan,

      I understand the difficulty. Only thing I can say is that the shipping is really $16.95. We would love to have a stockist, but we cannot do that easily from over here, and they would have to be willing to stock the appropriate quantities. We are open to it but we new it to be proactive from your side of the pond. At least I knocked the shipping down, and the savings with FocusTune is another $10.

      Thanks for your interest.

      Michael

  15. 34
    ) Jonathan
    October 23, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    Hi Michael,

    Thanks for the reply. When I looked at ordering from your site the shipping actually came in at $90-06. It only presented me with the option of FedEx overnight. How do we get the $ 16-95 shipping please?

    Thanks Jonathan.

    • October 23, 2012 at 1:57 pm

      Hi Johnathan,

      If there is a shipping cost problem, just place the order and make a support ticket at mtdhelp DOT com with the order #. We can straighten it our from here. We always check supprt tickets before we ship each day. Very sorry for the problem. I thought it was all sorted out. Will look into it after we get FocusTune launched.

      Michael

      • 37
        ) Jonathan
        October 23, 2012 at 2:39 pm

        Thanks Michael.

        I’ve foolishly ordered two Lens Align units in error (I only need 1). I’ve sent a support note (and apology!) asking for an adjustment.

        Also, you’ll be pleased to know that your site does indeed have the correct $ 16-95 shipping charge. Not sure what I did the first time I looked – but it’s clearly me, not your site!

        Thanks and good luck with the new product launch.

        Jonathan.

  16. 39
    ) Marko
    October 24, 2012 at 2:12 am

    Hi Michael,

    May I ask you how FocusTune handles variations in focus acquirement. I mean, in 10 shots the PDAF system won’t acquire the same focus. That said the software have to take multiple shots and then run some statistics on it.

    Could you give us some insights on this in regards to FocusTune ?

    Thanks, Marko

    • October 24, 2012 at 2:24 am

      Hi Marko,

      With FocusTune the user takes the shots and FocusTune analyzes them. When looking for best AFA (AF Adjustment) setting, we suggest 4 shots at each desired AFA setting defocusing slightly int he same direction for each shot. The software analyzes all the shots and determines if some of them are “out to lunch”. if so we call this shot an outlier and do not includes it in our further analyzing. We then present to you (for each AFA) the average sharpness, while still displaying every individual shot and the outliers. You then have a graphical “picture” (graph) of the results to make an informed decision as to the best AFA for you, or whether to take additional shots.

      Michael

  17. October 24, 2012 at 8:07 am

    I have not been keeping up with the latest news regarding the autofocus problem with the Nikon d800. I am still in the market to buy a d800e but did not want to purchase one until Nikon had worked out the problems. I was wondering if the latest cameras being shipped still have a autofocus problem? I am not in a huge hurry to buy the d800e since my d3x is still a great camera.

    I would be really interested in hearing what you have heard regarding the d800e cameras that are now shipping to consumers.

    As always, than you in advance for your help in this matter.

    jack mitchell

    • October 24, 2012 at 8:46 am

      Hi Jack,

      I think the left-focus problems are behind us now, but I have no doubt that every D800 should be tuned to the lenses that will be used with it. Obviously you could claim conflict of interest, but it happens to be true. let’s see if Nasim agrees. I have 3 D800/e bodies, and they all need tuning. It is not a Nikon issue, it is simply the state of the mfg process right now. Canon seems to making some progress in this area to improve the comsistency of the Af system.
      consistensy Michael

    • October 24, 2012 at 8:46 am

      Hi Jack,

      I think the left-focus problems are behind us now, but I have no doubt that every D800 should be tuned to the lenses that will be used with it. Obviously you could claim conflict of interest, but it happens to be true. let’s see if Nasim agrees. I have 3 D800/e bodies, and they all need tuning. It is not a Nikon issue, it is simply the state of the mfg process right now. Canon seems to making some progress in this area to improve the consistency of the AF system.

      Michael

  18. 44
    ) LeadWrist
    October 24, 2012 at 9:58 am

    Hi Michael,

    It’s October 24th!! I thus present you with the following gif: http://i3.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/newsfeed/000/264/241/9e9.gif :)

  19. October 24, 2012 at 10:05 am

    Hi LeadWrist,

    That is funny! Just a few more hours or so. Uploading documentation and such.

    Thanks for the laugh!
    Michael

    • October 24, 2012 at 11:21 am

      Let the games begin.

      We have officially launched our new FocusTune software. it is now available for Demo and purchase. The new site is up and running here:
      http://michaeltapesdesign.com/focustune.html

      Thanks to Nasim and his readers for all of the support and well wishes. We have a new Forum where we can have a full dialog about FocusTune and how best to use it to achieve sharper pictures. The forum is here:
      http://mtd.forumatic.com/viewforum.php?f=12

      Thanks again to all.

      Michael

  20. 47
    ) David Colt
    October 27, 2012 at 11:10 am

    Just wondering if you were going to offer a bundle purchase with the savings built in 0 looks to be a great product combination!

    Thanks,
    David

    • October 27, 2012 at 11:16 am

      Hi David,

      When you purchase LensAlign you can register for $10 discount coupon for FocusTune. Since the LensAlign is a hardware product and shipped, and the FT is a licensed program with name and key license, they come from 2 different systems. Our existing LensAlign e-commerce site was not designed for licensed software download.

      For now just email with LensAlign order# to get Discount code for FocusTune.

      You can download the FocusTuneDemo version to try before you buy.
      http://mtd.forumatic.com/viewforum.php?f=12

      Thanks.
      Michael

  21. 49
    ) Tadeusz
    October 29, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    Greetings and thank you for creating this program.

    I happen to have bought a Nikon D4 contrary to all my “don’t be a guinea pig – wait at least 9 months and check the reviews, people’s opinion’s etc.” policy and therefore I am stuck with a camera that is far less reliable when it comes to proper focus acquisition than ANY of my other bodies (regardless of the manufacturer).

    Anyways, in order to recheck my doubts for the 100th time in a methodical manner, I decided to give your software a try and just downloaded the demo version.
    Unfortunately, I don’t have the old Acrobat Reader installed but Acrobat Reader X with all the latest updates.

    I am telling you this because the demo version is not able to generate a report due to this error:

    http://www.picz.ro/show-image.php?id=736581729a9b63a1020441c3fca6b893

    If there is a workaround or a hidden menu where one can set the proper path for his/her Acrobat Reader install folder, please let me know.
    Otherwise I suppose the software is rather … less usable for people who have a different Acrobat Reader version than the old standard one.

    Thank you and best regards,

    T

    • October 29, 2012 at 1:38 pm

      Hi T,

      Thanks for your feedback and sorry for the problem. This is being addressed in V1.0.1 which is ready in test. Please check back on our support forum in a few days. And please address your concerns on the forum as well. This is not the place to be doing product support. it is not a matter of hiding anything (our forum is open to the public).

      Thanks and sorry for the problem and look forward to a happy experience for you.

      Michael

      This is the FocusTune Information and Discussion Forum
      http://mtd.forumatic.com/viewforum.php?f=12

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