Mark II Artist’s Viewfinder 5.0 is Coming

The biggest update to my Mark II Artist’s Viewfinder app since its introduction three years ago is around the corner, so I’m going to post quite a lot about the new features. Let’s start with what I consider the most important: black & white mode.

The new black & white mode and exposure compensation in action.

The new black & white mode and exposure compensation in action. Click the image for larger view.

Luminance only black & white

The ability to view in black & white was the single most requested feature – so here it comes. It works by showing luminance information from the scene (just like when you convert to Lab in Photoshop and turn off the a and b channels leaving just L). There’s a new button on the Quick Control Screen to switch it on or off, and of course you can assign this function to the Fn Key (or to the EL/FL override). It’s that simple. But there’s more… The app now applies both the black & white conversion filter and wide converter distortion correction to the saved high resolution JPGs, not just to the preview image!

Exposure compensation

Since day one there was the EL key to cope with difficult lighting conditions, but now you can also set exposure compensation. Tap the main screen until the number right to the AF/AE point lights up, and then slide your finder up and down to set the actual compensation. You can set it in third stop increments. When you finished, the compensation number on the screen will become transparent. To quickly reset compensation back to 0, press and hold the screen for a second.

— ooo —

This is just two of the 18 new features version 5.0 will bring to the table – more on the remaining 16 in later posts 🙂

When and for how much?

Version 5.0 will be released soon. It’s feature complete at the moment, but needs to pass testing, validation and Apple’s review. It will be a free update for existing Mark II Artist’s Viewfinder users! But with the release we’ll increase the price slightly, so it’s worth buying it now and get the free update later on.

Looking Through

Windows are one of my favorite architecture subjects. I can’t help it, I photograph them everywhere I go. But its a rare occasion to have two windows perfectly aligned on the opposite sides of a small church with no furniture or anything else in between. Not to mention the interesting patterns of both the walls and the roof.

Looking Through

Looking Through

I had played a little around with the Mark II Artist’s Viewfinder to find the best place for the camera. And when I saw the above composition on the screen, I started smiling. It was quite a bit of work to get everything aligned perfectly (guidelines in Kuuvik Caputre helped a lot), as well as to get the Zeiss Apo Sonnar T* 2/135 focused properly (you know, field curvature).

Noir Shot on iPhone 6 Plus

I have been using my iPhone as an image planning and visual note taking tool for the last six years or so. Actually this was the motivation behind developing the Mark II Artist’s Viewfinder (and its predecessor) app.

The Mark II introduced a feature that allows to save full resolution images along the simulations. I’ve added this as the cameras of the iPhones started to produce really usable images, and sometimes I would love to have a clean, frame line free, full resolution image from the iPhone, not just the screen-sized one. Yes, some shots turned out so good that I missed the opportunity to actually use them as real photographs. And I totally unconsciously started to use the iPhone as a real camera…

My Hometown at Night

My Hometown at Night

The above photograph marks the time when my iPhoneography started to be a conscious act. I had some time to kill before a dinner with a friend, but I just had the iPhone with me. No real camera, no chance to get the same light and reflections next time. So I tried my best to make images with the phone. And they turned out to be pretty good.

Side note: my hometown is Sátoraljaújhely, and no, it’s not as hard to pronounce as Eyjafjallajökull – or is it?

This time I shot everything in color – just because the Mark II saves color images. Another month had to pass until I found the Noir style in Photos, and a simple affair turned out to be a lasting relationship.

Lake Tisza Off-Season

Lake Tisza Off-Season

That affair was a cold, windy, overcast day, when I stopped by Lake Tisza just to look around. It was well before the summer season, the port still closed. I was sitting in the car, enjoying a very fine ice cream (yes I like ice cream even during the winter), and playing with the concept images shot a few minutes before. The result is what you see above.

Since then I’ve revisited a bunch of my former iPhone images (such as my hometown image), and converted them to black and white.

Thin Forest in the Matra

Thin Forest in the Matra

Of course one won’t print larger than A4 from these files, as at pixel level they are light years away from the image quality my DSLRs are capable of. But at small sizes, especially around A5 (think iPad mini screen size) they look wonderful.

Now I’m on the quest for a good presentation, and trying a couple of different printing methods. More on the results later.

Pier, Lake Tisza

Pier, Lake Tisza

And along with the output experiments, I’m looking into ways to improve the quality of captured images. There are tons of JPEG compression artifacts to overcome, and also the Noir style can be a very blunt tool.

But no, I’m not looking into existing apps to solve these problems, as I find this subject very exciting both as a software engineer and as a photographer. So don’t be surprised if I come out with a pro level iPhoneography app sooner or later. But at the moment just treat it as a rumor 🙂