Mark II Artist’s Viewfinder 5.2 Released

The latest update to my Mark II Artist’s Viewfinder app is available on the App Store. The big news are iPhone X optimization and Smart Function Keys, so I’ll begin with discussing these.

iPhone X

The irregular shaped screen of iPhone X presented quite a design challenge. We wanted to maximize image display without unnecessary obstructions (think the home indicator in landscape orientation), but also keep the display’s aspect ratio as close as possible to the simulated cameras. From several concepts the following one made into the app.

The image area is slightly wider than with rectangular screens, but not too wide to be unusable with 3:2 and 4:3 aspect ratios. The “horns” next to the sensor notch became home for additional user-assignable function keys.

While I don’t use the X personally, I liked the concept of these additional keys so much that ported it to Plus sized iPhone and all iPad models. The only difference is that on these devices the additional keys are located in the toolbar.

Speaking of the function keys, there’s a departure from the lone Fn Key found in previous versions. So much, that they deserved a new name.

Smart Function Keys

In the original Viewfinder app there were four functions keys, each labeled with the abbreviation of the assigned function. In the Mark II these abbreviations were lost as there were only a single Fn Key, and memorizing what’s assigned to it wasn’t difficult. Then we added the ability to override the EL and FL keys. And now two additional function keys. Memorizing five keys assignments, especially if you use the app sporadically, is basically impossible.

Smart Function Keys are not only labeled with the abbreviation of the assigned function, but also show the state of the function. Wide Mode is on? The W key will indicate it. Using a non-native aspect ratio for the active virtual camera? The A key will show it (just like on the above illustration).

There’s another trick the FL key learned in this release. When continuous AF is turned off, the key starts a single AF operation, and now it’s labeled appropriately.

Catalog Restore

While it was possible to back up views via iTunes File Sharing, we observed a growing need to be able to also restore views into the app. Moving to a new device, reinstalling the app, whatever the reason.

Now you can safely restore views via iTunes, as the app gained a new function to rebuild the Catalog after such an operation. It’s available from the menu.

Odds and Ends

The usual camera database updates, workarounds for iOS 11 peculiarities and a few bug fixes complete this release. For the exhaustive list of what’s new, please refer to the Release Notes.

Version 5.2 is a free update for existing Mark II Artist’s Viewfinder owners. New user can purchase the app from the App Store.

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

Mark II Artist’s Viewfinder 5.1 Released

Version 5.1 of my Mark II Artist’s Viewfinder app is available on the App Store. Besides the usual camera database, wide angle converter profile and device support additions (which you can check out in the release notes), there are two things I’d like to mention here.

First is the new sharing and action screen in the Catalog (both in the browser and inspector). The screen shot below from my iPhone shows it.

You could email up to five views in the past. Now it’s 20 on 64-bit devices and 10 on 32-bit devices. This limit also applies to most other sharing services and actions (like printing or copying), but some sharing services impose their own (usually lower) limit. There is no limit on the number of views when sharing via AirDrop or exporting to Photos.

AirDrop support is new (my personal favorite to get views off of my iPhone onto my Mac), and the app works better with 3rd party sharing services in general.

You can also choose which view component you want to use for sharing by long tapping the export button. This, and other aspects are discussed in detail in the updated Handbook.

The other thing is the removal of direct Dropbox support. Dropbox had changed their programming interface at the end of June (and turned off the old version). Since virtually nobody used direct Dropbox support in the Mark II, we decided to say farewell to this feature. Users needing to upload files to Dropbox may use the sharing service (once the Dropbox app is installed) or auto-export view components to Photos and upload with the Dropbox app from there.

Version 5.1 is a free update for existing Mark II Artist’s Viewfinder owners. New user can purchase the app from the App Store.

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

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 from the App Store.

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.

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.