Mark II Artist’s Viewfinder 4.7 Released

IMG_0050My Mark II Artist’s Viewfinder app is now available on the App Store.

The major new feature is the ability to create a custom wide converter, on which I posted recently.

Other than this, we have added support for a few newly released cameras:

• Canon ME20F-SH
• Fujifilm X-T2
• Hasselblad X1D-50c
• Pentax K-70
• Sony A6300, SLT-A68

This is a free update for existing Mark II Artist’s Viewfinder owners.

As you can see on the left, we offer upgrade bundles for former Viewfinder Basic/Pro/Cine edition owners, so they can upgrade for a reduced price.

Please note that if you have ALPA eFinder II, the custom wide converter feature, as well as the new cameras are only available if you also purchased the Camera Pack.

Artist’s Viewfinder 4.1 Released

Version 4.1 of the Mark II Artist’s Viewfinder is now available on the App Store. I already posted about one of it’s new features, frame highlighting. So let me walk you through the remaining ones.

To add support for new iPhones and iPads to the app we do a series of measurements in our lab to determine the angle of view of the device’s camera. This takes time, and can only be done after we have the actual device in our hands. That is, there used to be a gap between when you can buy a new iPhone and when the app supports it. iOS also provides this angle of view data, but it used to be less precise than our measurements.

FrameSizeAdjustmentBeginning with version 4.1, we’ll utilize the iOS provided data until we can do the measurements. On newer phones the iOS provided data is much more accurate than it was in the past. This way you could immediately use the app on new devices.

Should the iOS provided data be a little off, a new menu item allows you to adjust frame sizes in a +/-5% range in 0.5% steps. This adjustment is also available when the app is utilizing lab measurements, to give you a bit more flexibility.

The adjustment is stored per device type, so if you upgrade to a new one, the adjustment value will be reset.

With this release, we have well over 500 different cameras to choose from for your virtual camera setup. So finding your camera could be a daunting task.

camsearchVersion 4.1 introduces full text searching for both the camera and back selection screens, accessible through the search icon.

As a side note, I’d like to mention that we also streamlined backward navigation buttons by removing the text and just leaving the backward arrow. This goes better with the simple geometric forms we use throughout the app.

But back to the full text search function.

camsearchresultJust type the first few characters of your camera’s manufacturer and/or model name, and the Mark II will present a list of matching names. Simple as that.

In ALPA eFinder II camera search is only available if you had purchased the Camera Pack.

This version also brings wide converter support to the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. We support the olloclip 4-in-1 on both devices, and the ALPA ACAM SWC on the iPhone 6. And still waiting for Schneider to make their iPro lens system compatible with the new phones.

The app now runs natively on new 64-bit devices.

We also have the usual bunch of new cameras, the full list of which you can see in the release notes, but I’d like to mention here that we added the ARRI/Zeiss Ultra Prime, Master Prime and Anamorphic lens sets as Real Lenses.

Version 4.1 is a free update for existing Mark II Artist’s Viewfinder owners. Users of former Viewfinder Basic/Pro/Cine editions can upgrade for a reduced price.

I’m currently working on updating the Handbook, which is planned to be available next week.

Update 2/24/2015: The updated Handbook is now available.

Mark II Artist’s Viewfinder 4.0 Released

avf2iconApple approved the latest update of the Mark II Artist’s Viewfinder, and it’s now available on the App Store.

It contains all the new developments I already mentioned in my last post, as well as the usual camera database updates. Plus a handy nice addition: you can now close the Quick Control Screen by tapping outside it.

This is a free update for existing Mark II owners, and upgrades are now available for previous Viewfinder Basic, Pro and Cine edition customers.

For the complete list of new features and additions please check out the press release.

Escaping Forward

When the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus arrived this fall, we had to make a choice. A choice about how we are going to support these phones with the Mark II Artist’s Viewfinder. We had two paths in front of us. An easy one, where we just measure the new phones, add them to the app’s database, but leave the app built with the iOS 7 SDK not caring about how it looks like on the bigger screens – this is the path some of our competitors took. Or a harder one, with adding full support for the larger screens as well as first-class iOS 8 support. We are not fans of half-baked ugly solutions, so of course we took the harder path.

Well, this proved to be a rather challenging one… Due to the ill-fated launch of iOS 8 (and 8.0.1 and 8.0.2), we also decided to fully support iOS 7.1 along the new OS. To work with larger iPhone screens, Apple completely revamped screen layout for iOS 8. Working with the sometimes contradicting requirements of the two OS generations was a time consuming puzzle to solve. We had to employ some pretty neat techniques, such as self-modifying code, and do tons of trial and error testing. After a couple of weeks of hard work, finally we had modified our internal frameworks to work smoothly with both OS version. But then, another monster reared his ugly head.

Previously we relied on the iPhone simulation on iPads. It’s completely broken on iOS 8, however. From erratically rotating status bars to half of keyboards laid out in the middle of the screen. At this point, we had to revisit our previous decision. But we strongly think that the easy path is not a real option, and this left only one possible solution. Escaping forward, and adding first-class iPad support.

We had to evaluate iPad user interface alternatives and design in general, as well as modifications of our frameworks to cope with even larger screens (some groundwork needed for this was already done because of iPhone 6). We spent another couple of weeks on this, but actually we had plenty of time as we were waiting for our iPhone 6 and 6 Plus to be delivered (operating in Hungary has a major drawback – new iPhones were only available from the beginning of November, plus add a week or two for shipping).

The result of these exercises is something I still find a great achievement: design and code that works equally well regardless of the screen size. We have even added support for non-Retina displays on the iPad 2 and original iPad mini. What this means to you? A single, universal app that supports both iPhones and iPads for $25. Some of our competitors sell two different iPad and iPhone apps, and you have to shell out $60 in total for those.

Below is a screen shot showing the iPad screen. I’m biased, but the app is a sheer joy to use on my iPad mini 3.

mk2-ipad

You may notice two things on the screen shot. First, we have full wide converter support now on iPads. My favorite here is the Schneider iPro Super Wide with its easy-to use but stable clip. Second is that frame lines are somewhat thicker than on the iPhone version.

Actually we have a new setting in the menu to control frame line thickness. You can choose from thin, medium and thick line widths. Thin is the thinnest line possible on Retina displays (and the default, or what you had in previous versions). On non-Retina iPads that we support thickness defaults to medium (and is not changeable).

These new features will be available in version 4.0 shortly. It’s already submitted for review to the App Store, and will be released as soon as Apple approves the update. The update will be free for existing Mark II Artist’s Viewfinder owners. For users of older Viewfinder Basic/Pro/Cine apps we are providing upgrades through upgrade bundles.