My eBook on Kuuvik Capture is Available Now

My book Kuuvik Capture Inside Out was released alongside Kuuvik Capture 3 last week.

The goal of the book is twofold: first, I wanted to give a detailed and thorough guide and reference for existing users.

But informing people looking for a high-end tethering app for their Canon EOS DSLRs is equally important, so the book is available as a free download from the Kuuvik Capture web site.

It is distributed in a PDF file, optimized for viewing on iPads. Because it’s a PDF, you can read it on any device, be it a tablet, a Mac or a PC, and in numerous PDF reader applications.

I hope you’ll enjoy the book, and that Kuuvik Capture proves to be a useful companion in your photographic endeavors.

Kuuvik Capture 3.0 Supports Movie Recording

Version 3.0 of my Kuuvik Capture tethering app is now available on the Mac App Store. There are three major (and a bunch of smaller) features.

The first is movie recording support. All the app’s tools (display sharpening, focus peaking, guides, etc) are available in movie mode as well. Some of the guides (all expect grids and custom ones) are aspect-relative, meaning that for example 4:3 guides will be relocated to show the correct crop when recording 16:9 HD movies. Due to the multitude of ways Canons handle movie recording related stuff, we only support those that passed our validation (the list is available on the Kuuvik Capture Tech Specs page). Other cameras may work, but use them at your own risk.

Kuuvik Capture 3 in Movie Mode

The second feature is a brand-new multi-point live view implementation, which enables this killer feature on the 5D Mark II, 5D Mark IV and the 1D X Mark II. We’ll continue checking cameras for which the feature is not yet available and enable it if the camera passes the check.

Third is the Point of Operation indicator. Canon cameras use the Point of Operation for several things: this is the place that zooming/focusing/metering uses as the starting point. The app now indicates this point with a rectangle by default (can be turned off).

All other features, changes and fixes are listed in the release notes. One thing I should mention, though. The new W-E1 Wi-Fi adapter is supported with the 5DS/R, but not with the 7D Mark II. This is because the current 7D Mark II firmware is rather unstable with the W-E1, and locks up the camera here and there (it happens with Canon’s own software as well). The 5DS/R works fine.

Version 3.0 is a free update for existing Kuuvik Capture 2.x users. New users can purchase the app for 84.99 USD/EUR from the Mac App Store.

Kuuvik Capture 2.5 with 5D IV Support Available

The latest update to Kuuvik Capture is now available on the Mac App Store. It brings complete Canon EOS 5D Mark IV support, including the ability to shoot and display Dual Pixel RAW files. I’d recommend to check out my former notes on 5D Mark IV RAW files.

This release also boosts RAW decoding and camera communication performance – you can find more details on these improvements in my previous post.

A new preference

As a first step toward JPG support, you can now shoot RAW+JPG (Large/Fine) in the camera. Since Kuuvik Capture works from the RAW file only to display the histogram and highlight/shadow warnings, just the RAW files are downloaded even if you shoot RAW+JPG. JPG files are saved to the memory card.

The new "Image quality" preference

The new “Image quality” preference

You can switch between RAW (the default) and RAW+JPG Large/Fine in Preferences.

Notes on macOS 10.12 Sierra

Usually I’m not doing this, but this time I highly recommend NOT to upgrade to macOS 10.12. At the time of writing the new OS has way too many bugs, two of which affecting Kuuvik Capture users specifically.

1) Connecting the 5D Mark IV via USB to an app, and then quitting the app will leave the camera in an inconsistent state, and no app will be able to connect to the camera until the USB cable is disconnected and plugged in, or the camera is turned off and back on, or the memory card door opened and closed.

This only happens with the 5D Mark IV and on macOS 10.12 with the USB connection. The same camera on 10.11 works fine, all other cameras we’ve tried on 10.12 work fine. Even the Wi-Fi connection works fine – well, it’s not a surprise since it doesn’t use the flaky macOS PTP/IP stack.

It seems that macOS forgets to close the session with the camera. There is no workaround to the issue, other than the things mentioned above that actually break the session on the camera side.

2) On some computers (MacBook Pro 15″ Retina Mid-2012 for example) 5DS/R files are not displayed at all.

This is due to a bug in the macOS video driver, and thus happens only on some machines. There’s a workaround, however. Kuuvik Capture can downsize there files to be just 24 megapixels for display. Just open the Terminal app, and enter the following command:

defaults write com.direstudio.KuuvikCapture forceLargeImageDownsizing 1

Once Apple fixes the bug, you can turn downsizing off by the following command:

defaults write com.direstudio.KuuvikCapture forceLargeImageDownsizing 0

Of course we are working on to get these issues fixed, but until then the best remedy is to avoid upgrading.

Update 10/26/2016: macOS 10.12.1 does not resolve these issues.

Availablity

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.

Dual Pixel RAW and Kuuvik Capture

Dual Pixel RAW is Canon’s new invention that will see its first release with the EOS 5D Mark IV. There’s some vague marketing info floating around, but haven’t seen a concise description of these files yet. So while updating Kuuvik Capture’s (websitemy posts) RAW decoder to support the 5D Mark IV, I had a chance to dig deeper into Dual Pixel RAWs.

To understand the following discussion, you need to know how Canon’s Dual Pixel AF works, especially how these Dual Pixels are divided into two separate photodiodes. This article by Dave Etchells gives you a thorough explanation.

What is a Dual Pixel RAW file?

Normal CR2 files contain the following sections:

  • Metadata
  • Previews
  • RAW data

The DPRAW file is a CR2 file that contains one more additional section:

  • Metadata
  • Previews
  • RAW data
  • DPRAW data

This organization have a very important implication. Any RAW processing software that does support the normal 5D Mark IV files will be able to open DPRAWs. If the app is unable to interpret the DPRAW data part, it will simply ignore it and will work with the file as a normal RAW. There’s no risk or penalty in taking DPRAWs (besides the huge buffer drop from 21 to 7 frames).

The DPRAW file contains the normal RAW data section to make this compatibility possible, plus one side of each pixel in the DPRAW data section.

The RAW data section contains pixel values with the sum left and right sides of the photodiode, while the DPRAW section contains pixel values from just one side of each photodiode.

The RAW data section contains pixel values with the sum of left and right side photodiodes, while the DPRAW section contains pixel values from just one photodiode of the two.

But how do we get the other side of each pixel to let Dual Pixel aware processing apps do their tricks? It’s easy: since the RAW pixel value is the sum of left and right pixel sides, just subtract the DPRAW pixel value from the RAW pixel value.

This is an unusually clever implementation from Canon, where I’m used to see all kinds of inflexible hacks that look like as if they were designed in the 1980s.

Size-wise, DPRAW files are slightly less than double the size of normal RAWs (since metadata and preview images are stored only once).

How will Kuuvik Capture 2.5 handle DPRAWs?

Not being a RAW converter, Kuuvik Capture needs the RAW data for two purposes: the RAW histogram as well as shadow/highlight warnings (the image displayed on the screen comes from the preview embedded in each CR2 file). For these the RAW data section is totally sufficient, and the app will ignore the DPRAW data section if present in a CR2 file.

The app will display normal RAW and DPRAW files equally fast, but downloading DPRAW files from the camera will take almost twice as much time as normal RAW (because of their larger size).

I assume that there will be a possibility to switch the camera into DPRAW mode remotely (I can’t be sure until my rental unit arrives). If that is the case, then a new preference will let you specify whether you’d like to shoot RAWs or DPRAWs.