Introducing the ShutterCount Plus Pack

Last night we released a substantial update to my ShutterCount app in the form of the Plus Pack add-on. Let me go through all its features.

Graphing and forecasting

This is the most eye-catching addition, and I think the following screen shot speaks for itself.

A few words on how it works, though. The source of the graphs (as well as for the forecast) is your existing history logs. The horizontal axis is time, in month/year format. Vertical axis is the number of shutter actuations in thousands (k) or millions (M). Grid lines are placed automatically. There’s also a thick horizontal red line, representing the camera’s shutter durability rating, which is visible only if you are nearing it.

You have the option to display the trendline calculated from the data. This trendline is also the base for the forecast, which looks for the intersection of the trendline and the durability rating’s line. The app needs at least four measurements in a 30-day or longer interval to make a forecast. But be aware: this is just a forecast, and not future cast in stone. Your shutter may work much longer, but might even die at half of the rating. It helps you plan preventive maintenance before a long and/or important trip, though.

Date/time synchronization

This is the exact same feature we’ve introduced with the latest Kuuvik Capture update, so I’d recommend to read my post on that.

Outdated firmware warning

There are people who go to great lengths to keep their cameras’ firmware up-to-date, but there’s also quite a huge crowd who do not even know that it should be updated from time to time. This feature helps both camps.

Since Canon’s firmware updates aren’t frequent, the app contains a database of current firmware versions at release time. This database is updated with each new ShutterCount version.

History duplicate removal

If you happen to use a camera less frequently, your history logs may fill up with identical readings. At least mine did. It bothered me quite a lot, so the duplicate removal feature was born.

You have two options: manually initiate a cleanup from the history window, or flip the auto-removal preference and let the app do it for you. In case a manually initiated removal, a backup is created from the log (in the same folder as the original).

Availability

The Plus Pack is an optional add-on, and can be purchased from within the Mac and iOS versions of ShutterCount. On a Mac, click the ShutterCount > Store menu item, on an iPhone or iPad tap More on the tab bar and tap Store in the menu.

In both cases the in-app Store will be displayed, where you can make the purchase. If you have the app on more than one device, then make the purchase on one and use the Restore Previous Purchases button to get it on others. Just like with the app itself, the Mac and iOS versions has to be purchased separately.

The price is $1.99 / €2.29.

Mark II Artist’s Viewfinder 5.0 Available

Version 5.0 of my Mark II Artist’s Viewfinder app is now available on the App Store. It took quite a bit longer than I first planned, but if you look at the sheer number of new stuff, you’ll understand why. More work went into this update than it took to develop the original version 1.

I wrote about the black & white mode and exposure compensation, and the question of RAW capture in former posts, now it’s time to reveal everything else. I’ll touch a few new things in this post, and highly recommend to take a look on the complete list in the release notes. And pay attention to the “Changes” section.

Quick Control Screen

The are a few subtle visual changes to make it less cluttered, and to make room for two new icons. The half dark/half light icon in the upper right toggles black & white mode. The 2x icon switches to the telephoto camera if you have an iPhone 7 Plus. The telephoto camera and wide converter use are mutually exclusive (as one would logically expect).

Icons for parallax correction/shift simulation and aspect ratio changing are now white when a non-default value is set for these (in the above example I set the 5DS R virtual camera to 16:9 aspect ratio).

Album -> Catalog

We had to rename the Album to Catalog to avoid a name clash with the thing that Apple calls an album in the Photos app. Now ours is named Catalog, since it would be extraordinarily hard to convince Apple that they should change…

And while we are talking about the Catalog, there are performance improvements here and there, meaning that an update may be required to the new format. The app automatically detects if this is the case, and will update the Catalog automatically.

Availability

This is a free update for existing Mark II Artist’s Viewfinder owners. New user can purchase the app for $26.99 / €26.99.

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

The Viewfinder Handbook was also updated to cover all the new features.

One Hundred Thousand

I’m extremely proud to announce that we had reached a major milestone in our app development business.

100k-downloads

One hundred thousand paid app downloads from 110 countries around the world. It’s hard to find the right words when so many people buy and use the stuff you make. It’s flattering. It’s a responsibility. It’s a great honor.

I know some of them personally and seeing how my apps changed their lives and improved their work is one of the most rewarding experiences one can wish for.

THANK YOU!

Why iPhone RAW is a Big Deal

iOS 10 brought the capability to get the RAW image data from the camera and save it as a DNG file. It elevates the quality of iPhone images to a whole new level (for those who care). The following image tells it all.

Click the image for actual pixels display on non-Retina screens

Click the image for actual pixels display on non-Retina screens

On the left is how the iPhone renders the image, on the right my version converted from DNG and tweaked to taste in Capture One. Both show the actual pixels (100% magnification). Red areas are the overexposed parts. The images were captured as RAW+JPG in the upcoming Mark II Artist’s Viewfinder 5.0, so they represent the exact same moment.

With shooting RAWs you can avoid most of the pitfalls of iPhone image processing (I know them from experience):

  • Over-sharpening, which ruins images with already high contrast edges, such as tree branches against the clear sky.
  • Excessive noise reduction – usually on an unnecessary level, even at ISO 25. You know, the blotchy look at 100% which looks downright ugly.
  • Unrealistic color. Apple processes the images for punch, which is good for making your friends envious on social networking sites, but is a problem when you want to actually use them (the images, not your friends) as real photographs.
  • Sometimes overdone light falloff correction. You know, when the sky is brighter in the corners than in the center.

You also get more headroom for recovering overexposed areas (they are also better by default because of the lower contrast), but on the other hand you need to correct corner light falloff by hand.

To my eye the difference is so large that I won’t use JPGs any more when I’m photographing with the iPhone (which happens a lot, since it’s always in my pocket). No, they are not challenging DSLR (or even large sensor point and shoot) quality, but are way more usable than the JPGs.