Reikan FoCal: Nikon Zfc

Using FoCal with your Nikon Zfc

Connecting to your computer or mobile device

FoCal can take control of this camera via USB in tethered mode.

You will require a USB cable with a USB-C connector to connect to your Nikon Zfc.

Supported Tests and Features

Focus Calibration

Automatic Focus Calibration is available for this camera, offering Wide & Telephoto Adjustment

Your Nikon Zfc will run in User Assisted Mode. During a test, you will be asked to change the AF Fine-Tune value a few times - see the section below for more details.

The Focus Calibration tool in FoCal will tune your Nikon Zfc and lenses to work as well as possible together. A full calibration takes a few minutes, after which you will be able to see the before/after images and, with FoCal Pro, dig into the measurements.


Calibration check

Calibration Check is available for this camera.

Calibration Check is a one-click tool for checking the current state of your Nikon Zfc and lens operation. In a minute or so, it will give you a result showing whether your kit is working optimally or could benefit from tuning.


MultiTest

MultiTest is available for this camera.

MultiTest gives you a two-dimensional view of your lens performance. See how your lens performs at different focus positions across the aperture range, revealing any focus shift as the aperture changes, showing the very sharpest aperture, and understanding just how much benefit calibration and manual-focusing will be for you.


Stabilisation Test

Stabilisation Test is available for this camera.

How does your stabilisation system really perform? With the Stabilisation Test in FoCal, you can investigate the benefit of your camera and/or lens stabilisation system. See the quality improvement as the shutter speed slows, and investigate whether stabilisation when tripod-mounted can actually degrade the quality.


Focus Consistency

Focus Consistency is available for this camera.

With the Focus Consistency tool, you can investigate how repeatable your Nikon Zfc autofocus system is. Choose to defocus between shots in one or both directions, and compare viewfinder (phase-detect) and Live View focusing.


Aperture Sharpness

Aperture Sharpness is available for this camera.

What happens to your image sharpness as you change aperture on your lens? With the Aperture Sharpness tool in FoCal, you can find out!


Dust Analysis

Dust Analysis is available for this camera.

Take a good look at your Nikon Zfc sensor with the Dust Analysis tool. Quantify the dust spots - see how many there are and how much of an impact they will really have on your sensor before you decide to embark on a risky and potentially costly clean.


Snapshots

The Snapshots feature is available for this camera.

The Snapshots tool lets you grab a snapshot of your Nikon Zfc configuration - hundreds of settings all captured and ready to restore and share. Build a library of your favourite camera setups - night shooting, birds-in-flight, portraits - and configure your camera in seconds.

How to change AF Fine-Tune

The option for AF Fine-Tune on the Nikon Zfc is found in the SETUP menu under the AF fine-tune option:

(Note that the image above may be from a different camera, but shows the AF fine-tune option selected)

By default, the setting will be OFF:

To start with, make sure this is changed to ON. (This will only have to be done once):

Next, select the Saved value or Fine-tune and save lens option - this will adjust the AF fine-tune value for the lens that is currently attached to your camera. Do NOT change the Default option way from 0 as this will affect the result for all lenses.

Single focal length (prime) lens:

For a prime lens, you can adjust the value on the screen:

Zoom lens:

For a zoom lens, select WIDE or TELE using up/down as instructed by FoCal, then use left/right to adjust the value:

When you have reached the correct value, hit OK to set the value. This will return you to the previous screen, and you should confirm that the value is shown correctly in the Saved value entry:

About User Assisted Mode

Although FoCal can control the Nikon Zfc to adjust almost all the necessary settings for testing, the camera does not allow adjustment of the AF Fine-Tune setting over USB.

During Automatic Calibration or MultiTest, you may be requested by FoCal to change the AF Fine-Tune a few times, e.g.:

While this message is shown on the screen, the camera controls will be enabled and you can change the AF Fine-Tune setting on the camera.

By default, Voice Prompts will be enabled, meaning your computer will speak out the change you need. Combined with the Camera Hotkey (see below), this makes changing the AF Fine-Tune option very quick and easy.

Quick Change

It's actually really quick to change the setting on the camera after the first time, as the menu options will be selected from any previous changes.

On Nikon cameras, the sequence is:

  • MENU: opens the menu
  • OK: selects AF fine-tune
  • OK: selects Saved value
  • Adjust the value on the screen, then hit OK to accept
  • Action the hotkey as shown below to continue.

Camera Hotkey

In order to make the change of AF Fine-Tune as painless as possible, you can use the camera hotkey feature of FoCal to signal that you have made the necessary change.

Once the change is made on the camera, to use the hotkey, simply:

  • Half-press the camera shutter button to return to shooting mode
  • Click the appropriate dial by one position to change the aperture or shutter speed

This change in aperture/shutter speed will signal to FoCal that you have made the change. After a short delay to allow the camera to settle, FoCal will take control again, restore the aperture/shutter speed for the test and continue.

Environment Setup

Choose a location with a solid floor

Ground floor locations are less likely to vibrate when people move, trucks drive past outside the building etc. The quality of your test results will be affected if there is vibration to the camera/lens during the test.

Attach the target firmly to a vertical wall at approximately the height of the camera lens

If you print the target yourself, make sure it is flat and cannot blow around during testing. We recommend using a FoCal Hard Target (available from the Reikan FoCal Store) as these are the targets we use for all our development and testing.

Ensure the target is well lit with a stable light source

We don’t recommend the use of fluorescent or LED lighting as they can flicker – you won’t be able to see this with your eye, but the camera can be affected and the results may not be as accurate as possible. Also avoid changeable outdoor lighting - e.g. clouds moving across the sky. FoCal can compensate for small light level changes, but large changes can cause problems during testing.

Attach the camera or lens to a solid, sturdy tripod

If the option is available for your tripod, you can hang something heavy from the hook at the base of the centre column to further stabilise the camera lens during testing.

For large lenses, use the supplied tripod collar and attach the lens to the tripod (not the camera) – this will not only reduce strain on the camera mount, but also make the whole camera/lens system more stable.

Position the camera the appropriate distance from the target

The Target Distance Tool in FoCal will guide you. You can use this either with or without the camera connected to FoCal. More information is available at help.reikanfocal.com/targetdistance.

Connect the camera to the computer

For the Nikon Zfc, you will require a USB-C cable.

Use the USB cable supplied with your camera or a high-quality alternative, and avoid extension cables. Low quality USB cables can cause considerable unreliability during testing and it’s usually the first thing we suggest changing if you get unreliable operation of FoCal!

Camera Setup

Check the camera battery is at least half (> 50%) charged

Low batteries can cause the tests to run incorrectly or to fail. FoCal can catch and properly identify most issues, but if a battery is low or exhausted the camera may behave unexpectedly and you may see strange behavior.

Remove any battery grip from the camera

Battery grips can cause considerable extra vibration when mounted on a tripod – remove them before you calibrate.

Aim the centre focus point of the camera approximately at the centre of the FoCal Target

You don’t have to be too precise - positioning will be confirmed during Target Setup.

Camera Settings

Switch to Photo mode

The Nikon Zfc can operate in both Photo and Video mode. If there is a selector switch, ensure that it is switched to Photo mode.

Disable WiFi

The WiFi feature on the Nikon Zfc can interfere with communications with FoCal over USB, so please ensure that WiFi is disabled.

Remove any mode limits

Some cameras allow you to limit available options for various settings. If this is possible on your camera, please ensure that the following are allowed options:

  • AE Mode: Aperture Priority and Manual
  • Metering Mode: Spot Metering, Matrix/Evaluative Metering
  • Aperture: All apertures
  • Shutter Speed: All shutter speeds
  • ISO: All ISO values

Switch to Aperture Priority Mode

Most tests in FoCal use Aperture Priority mode, so it's a good idea to switch to this mode when you start.

If a tool in FoCal requires a different mode, you will be asked to change.

Select non-continuous Autofocus mode

Ensure the autofocus mode of your Nikon Zfc is set to AF-S.

To check, when you half-press the shutter button, the camera should lock focus (with a beep if this is enabled), and then stop focusing.

Select single focus point mode

You should not use any automatic focus point selection modes. When you look through the viewfinder and activate autofocus (half-press the shutter button or use the AF-ON button), you should see only a single, non-moving AF point selected.

Choose the Centre focus point

Most FoCal tests require use of just the centre focus point, so set that single point (from the step above) to the centre.

Ensure Focus Limiter is disabled on lens (if applicable)

FoCal may use the whole of the lens focus range during testing. You may encounter errors if the range of focus is limited on the lens, so make sure the limiter is set to OFF or the minimum-to-maximum range (note this option is not present on all lenses – it’s usually available on longer telephoto lenses or macro lenses).

Ensure any image stabilisation is disabled on lens and/or in-camera (if applicable)

You should disable any image-stabilisation option on your lens, as it can reduce the quality of the results.