5D Mark IV File Support Added to Kuuvik Capture

5d4rawisobugThis morning I had finished adding EOS 5D Mark IV file support to Kuuvik Capture (websitemy posts), and would like to share a few observations with you.

In short, all bugs introduced with the latest Canon camera releases are present in the RAW files.

First, just like the 1D X Mark II, ISOs above 51200 recorded in the EXIF incorrectly as 65535 by the camera. The screen shot on the left shows an ISO 102400 file from the 5D Mark IV. This is something that affects users and can’t be corrected in Kuuvik Capture. So if you are running into this: it’s a problem with the camera firmware, not with the app.

Second, internal lossless jpeg headers are corrupt exactly the same way the 5DS/R screws these up. Kuuvik Capture works around this bug, so it’s not something you’ll notice, just annoying to witness.

Third, the whole question of ISO 32000. Since 1/3 stop ISO values are digital trickery, the camera’s top ISO is still 25600. But it seems that marketing folks were not satisfied with that. So the fake top ISO was born. I saw this in the 7D Mark II for the first time (ISO 16000), and it seems that they are so fond of this that the 5D Mark IV also got it. The app handles it correctly, it’s just something you need to be aware of as an informed user.

Of course the upcoming version 2.5 will have full 5D Mark IV support, just wanted to share the progress with you. We plan to release version 2.5 later this fall. It will be a free update for all Kuuvik Capture 2 users.

Performance is a Key Kuuvik Capture Feature

Since I took over Kuuvik Capture last year, one of my top priorities is to provide the fastest, highest performance tool possible. While the original company arrangement did not allow for costly, time consuming optimizations required to reach the speed I wanted, now I can spend all my spare time on it. And the results are stunning. Just think the brutal improvements version 2 brought to the table…

These days I’m doing some groundwork that will make exciting new features possible in Kuuvik Capture (and also serve as a base for upcoming products). And improving performance along the way.

Kuuvik Capture 2.5 Beta

Kuuvik Capture 2.5 Beta

No more Windows leftover

Originally Kuuvik Capture was designed to be able to run on both OS X and Windows, and we used a bunch of readily available software components (Canon’s own SDK and libraw for example), which turned out to be a bag of ugly worms. I had spent several long days on wrapping those components to make them usable and reliable.

This “wrapper” was able to run on both operating systems. On top of this, the operating system specific “engine” connected the “wrapper” to the user interface and provided services to the “wrapper” (such as proper asynchronous camera communication – something that Windows completely lacks).

With version 2 I had already replaced these problematic components with my own code, but parts of the “wrapper” and the “engine” were still present. Since we decided to drop any and all Windows plans, there was no need for them – my Digital Camera Library and the user interface could talk directly. So I started to gradually remove them, which task is finished by now.

During the removal I had not just eliminated several thousand lines of code, but since there’s less machinery involved, camera communication became faster and consumes less battery. Image download from the 5DS R is 1% faster compared to version 2.4, and overall communication is up to 5% faster compared to 2.0 (measured on my mid-2012 15″ Retina MacBook Pro). This seems a small number, but think about it this way: you can take 1-5% more shots on a charge.

Even faster RAW decoding

I’m using a lossless jpeg decoder based on dcraw‘s routines to open the RAW files. This had one drawback: dcraw was not designed to be able to work on multiple images simultaneously – something I need for my future plans. Not to mention that I also had to work around this limitation in Kuuvik Capture.

Fortunately I found and fixed the issue, and my decoder not just works parallel on multiple processor cores, but also crunching numbers faster. I measured 5-6% faster file opens (with 50 megapixel files on my MacBook Pro).

When?

These improvements will be available in Kuuvik Capture 2.5 later this fall.

Kuuvik Capture 2.4 Released

The latest update to Kuuvik Capture is now available on the Mac App Store. First and foremost, we’ve added support for the brand new Canon EOS-1D X Mark II. This seems to be a great camera with a few quirks – more on the camera itself in a later post. You can connect it to Kuuvik Capture with USB, using the built-in Ethernet connection or via the WFT-E6 or WFT-E8 Wi-Fi transmitters.

We also changed the way shadow and highlight clipping warnings look. In the past we had a hatched pattern that become denser as more channels got outside the exposure range of the camera. The problem was severe moiré and aliasing when you zoomed in and out. Beginning this version the exposure warnings are solid colored, getting more opaque as more channels are affected.

Multi-channel highlight clipping warning

This is an image from last fall, and shows how channels get clipped towards the sun in the frame. First green (the largest patch), then blue and finally red. The more channels are overexposed the less chance to do effective highlight recovery.

Last but not least, I’ve continued the multi-platform code removal process (mentioned in my former post), which brings performance improvements (and battery usage improvements) here and there. For example loading 20 megapixel images from the 7D Mark II got up to 0.1 seconds faster on a 11″ MacBook Air. And overall camera communication is a bit faster and smoother.

The update is free for existing Kuuvik Capture 2 customers. New users can download Kuuvik Capture 2 from the Mac App Store for $79.99 / €79.99 / £59.99.

For more information about the app, please visit it’s microsite, or check out my posts.

Kuuvik Capture 2.3 Released

kc2icon@2xVersion 2.3, bringing Canon EOS 80D support to Kuuvik Capture 2 is now available on the Mac App Store.

Since Canon introduced quite a few changes with this body, I had to update both the camera control and the RAW decoder in my Digital Camera Library.

And at this point let me add a few personal comments on the 80D.

While the improved low ISO dynamic range is a welcome addition, this camera is a step back in a few regards. First, it’s not fast enough to support multi-point live view (formerly known as split view). It’s an unfortunate trend with Canon’s newest mid-range cameras: both the 70D and 700D were multi-point live view capable, and none of their replacements/successors are.

Second, the removal of the shutter count feature (it does not affect Kuuvik Capture per se, but indeed affects my ShutterCount app).

Third, Wi-Fi is still on the verge of being unusable. I’ve already mentioned sub-par 70D/6D Wi-Fi transfer speeds in the version 2.2 release announcement post. With the 80D, I was enthusiastic about the Easy Connection option, that is designed to create the camera’s own access point, and to allow using EOS Utility mode with no existing network needed. The idea is something you would expect in 2016, but the implementation is crap. And I’m not talking about the inability to specify a password for this network, but the extremely slow transfer speed. I measured speeds south of 30mps – which is half of the already slow speeds of the mid-range bodies.

Thus, I recommend to stick with using an existing Wi-Fi network and to avoid the Easy Connection option completely. Fortunately using an existing network is not slower than the 70D was (but it’s not faster either).

I took over Kuuvik Capture last year, and decided that I will not release a Windows version. This allowed me to remove former platform independent code and to do Apple-specific optimizations and speed up the app considerably. The code base is large, so this optimization process is still in progress – and this release also includes a few. They are not user visible, but you might notice them here and there. (For the technically inclined – I had eliminated a bunch of memory copy operations between the Digital Camera Library and the user interface.)

On the user-visible changes front, Split View had been renamed to Multi-Point Live View. I think it’s more clear what the feature does this way, plus Apple introduced a completely different Split View into OS X – and wanted to avoid any confusion.

The update is free for existing Kuuvik Capture 2 customers. New users can download Kuuvik Capture 2 from the Mac App Store for $79.99 / €79.99 / £59.99.

For more information about the app, please visit it’s microsite, or check out my posts.