Mark II Artist’s Viewfinder 5.2 Released

The latest update to my Mark II Artist’s Viewfinder app is available on the App Store. The big news are iPhone X optimization and Smart Function Keys, so I’ll begin with discussing these.

iPhone X

The irregular shaped screen of iPhone X presented quite a design challenge. We wanted to maximize image display without unnecessary obstructions (think the home indicator in landscape orientation), but also keep the display’s aspect ratio as close as possible to the simulated cameras. From several concepts the following one made into the app.

The image area is slightly wider than with rectangular screens, but not too wide to be unusable with 3:2 and 4:3 aspect ratios. The “horns” next to the sensor notch became home for additional user-assignable function keys.

While I don’t use the X personally, I liked the concept of these additional keys so much that ported it to Plus sized iPhone and all iPad models. The only difference is that on these devices the additional keys are located in the toolbar.

Speaking of the function keys, there’s a departure from the lone Fn Key found in previous versions. So much, that they deserved a new name.

Smart Function Keys

In the original Viewfinder app there were four functions keys, each labeled with the abbreviation of the assigned function. In the Mark II these abbreviations were lost as there were only a single Fn Key, and memorizing what’s assigned to it wasn’t difficult. Then we added the ability to override the EL and FL keys. And now two additional function keys. Memorizing five keys assignments, especially if you use the app sporadically, is basically impossible.

Smart Function Keys are not only labeled with the abbreviation of the assigned function, but also show the state of the function. Wide Mode is on? The W key will indicate it. Using a non-native aspect ratio for the active virtual camera? The A key will show it (just like on the above illustration).

There’s another trick the FL key learned in this release. When continuous AF is turned off, the key starts a single AF operation, and now it’s labeled appropriately.

Catalog Restore

While it was possible to back up views via iTunes File Sharing, we observed a growing need to be able to also restore views into the app. Moving to a new device, reinstalling the app, whatever the reason.

Now you can safely restore views via iTunes, as the app gained a new function to rebuild the Catalog after such an operation. It’s available from the menu.

Odds and Ends

The usual camera database updates, workarounds for iOS 11 peculiarities and a few bug fixes complete this release. For the exhaustive list of what’s new, please refer to the Release Notes.

Version 5.2 is a free update for existing Mark II Artist’s Viewfinder owners. New user can purchase the app from the App Store.

We offer upgrade bundles for former Viewfinder Pro/Cine edition owners, so they can upgrade for a reduced price.

ShutterCount 3.2 Released

Version 3.2 of my ShutterCount app for both macOS and iOS was released yesterday. This version adds a few new features and improves others. Camera makers were quiet recently, so the only new camera we certified the app with is the Nikon D850 (for the Mac version).

From the new features, let’s discuss the Usage Meter first. For several cameras the manufacturer publishes an “official” shutter durability rating. Sometimes these are key selling points for the camera, in other cases the numbers are buried deep in a web page or document. We’ve gathered these ratings for all supported Canons, and most Nikon and Pentax models. Both the percentage display after the count and the Usage Meter bar are relative to these ratings.

Usage Meter showing still photo and live view counts

The dark blue part indicates still photos, the light blue live view actuations (the latter is available when you purchased the Live View Pack). Percentage display was formerly available in the Plus Pack, but now it’s in the base app.

Of course these ratings are not hard limits, so your camera may go well over 100% – I’ve seen several ones with 300% or more. If yours is over 100%, an orange indicator will appear on the Usage Meter marking the 100% position.

We’ve received quite a few requests to allow photo count only display even if you have the Live View Pack, and to separate these values. So now you can toggle between photo only and photo + live view display via the menu (as well as the More tab in the iOS version), by clicking/tapping the “Shutter Count” title on the Camera Summary tab and via a dedicated check box/switch on the Graph tab.

Just like the Usage Meter (and the Distribution Chart), the Graph now displays live view actuations in light blue.

New live view count graphing

In case you have live view counts for part of your history data – just like on the above screen shot showing my 7D Mark II – the live view count graph will only appear for the respective part. And forecasting will only take into account history entries having both counters. The trend line also indicates this: with a dashed section marking ignored history data and a dot showing the forecasting start date.

Speaking of history data, that tab was also beefed up. Gray text indicates entries with no live view count (in case you have the Live View Pack) and red text indicating entries with a lower value than a previous one.

The above features are available on both macOS and iOS, but now let’s talk about something that’s Mac only: File Mode changes.

Due to a bug in OS X 10.7 and 10.8 we had to disable automatic memory card scanning on these operating systems. Apple corrected it in 10.9, so contemporary versions are not affected. And while I was working on this, added a preference to turn automatic scanning off if you don’t like it.

New is the Eject after scan preference – which is a huge time saver. With this and automatic scanning on, just pop a memory card into your reader while the app is running, and it will scan the card, do the reading from the latest image and also eject the card properly. The fastest way to get the counter from your Nikon or Pentax. Automatic scanning is on, while ejecting is off by default.

Memory card scanning preferences

Version 3.2 is a free update for existing users on both operating systems. New users can purchase the app in the respective App Store. Live View Pack and Plus Pack are available as in-app purchases.

Kuuvik Capture 3.3 : Monochrome Mode

Kuuvik Capture had a mono peaking mode from day one. But in some situations it’s preferred to have just monochrome viewing without the addition of focus peaking. This is exactly what Monochrome Mode does in version 3.3. The image and live view will be converted to monochrome, while everything else (the image browser, navigator) will remain in color.

Monochrome Mode active in Kuuvik Capture 3.3

It is not just similar to the Mono peaking mode, but in fact they both display the luminance channel (the L in Lab mode) of the image. The only difference is that Monochrome mode does not activate peaking.

They are interconnected, though. Turning on Monochrome mode when peaking is active, and is in Color mode will switch peaking into Mono mode. Turning off Monochrome mode when peaking is active in Mono mode will switch peaking into Color mode. If peaking is active in Color mode when Monochrome mode is turned on, it will switch into Mono mode. Choosing the Color peaking mode will turn off Monochrome mode.

Monochrome mode is also available during live view and movie recording. But unlike the Monochrome picture style, it only converts the image into grayscale for display. Recorded images and movie files are not affected.

Monochrome mode can be toggled from the menu (View > Monochrome) or by pressing Ctrl+Cmd+M.

Kuuvik Capture 3.3 is available on the Mac App Store. It is a free update for users who purchased the app earlier from there. You can see the complete list of new features and changes in the release notes.

Change Your Canon’s Daylight Saving Time Easily

I prefer to keep the clock in my cameras set correctly, so I have to go through all of them twice a year to set and reset the daylight saving time setting (which they don’t do automatically for some strange reason). At this time I manage five Canon DSLRs we use exclusively for software development and testing in addition to my three cameras that I also use for my photography – and updating this setting was always a royal pain for me. This is why the Synchronize Date/Time function was born in my apps.

It is available in Kuuvik Capture as well as the Plus Pack add-on for ShutterCount (both the Mac and iOS versions). Just turn the synchronization on in Preferences, and the next time you connect a camera all time-related settings will be updated to reflect that of your Mac (or iPhone/iPad).

My previous posts (here and here) discuss time synchronization for both apps.