Kuuvik Capture 3.3 : Live View Performance

Performance is a feature. This is something I take very seriously and strive to maintain the highest performance and power efficiency possible. In this post I’ll show the huge gains attainable with carefully crafted code, and hopefully shed some light on why one wants to spend money on Kuuvik Capture, despite Canon has a free tethering app. Well, if the myriad features wouldn’t be enough reason…

What you are going to see is the comparison of processor utilization and power consumption during a live view session between Kuuvik Capture and EOS Utility. Live view is one of my favorite performance test cases, since the continuous picture stream stresses image decoding and display components.

Let’s begin with the processor utilization figures. They were obtained with Activity Monitor on my Mid-2012 15″ Retina MacBook Pro (2.6GHz, 16GB, dual graphics) running macOS 10.12.6. The camera was a Canon EOS 7D Mark II, connected via USB 3. All tests used the same scene under the same lighting and same exposure. Live view windows were maximized to occupy as much screen real estate as they possibly could. 100% means one of the processor cores is fully utilized, 200% means two cores, etc. Since the values oscillate a bit, what I show is an average of several minutes.

Kuuvik Capture had sharpening, focus peaking and clipping warnings enabled, while EOS Utility have no such features at all.

OK, it’s a brutal difference, but how does this translate to battery life? Power consumption was measured with coconutBattery 3.4. Again, you see an average of several minutes.

The orange line at 10 watts is the idle power consumption of my MacBook Pro (you know, display, SSD and stuff when the computer does nothing useful).

Live view in EOS Utility burns through your battery in less than half of the time that it would last with Kuuvik Capture.

And if you turn off sharpening, focus peaking and real-time clipping warnings in Kuuvik Capture (just to be fair), it’s power consumption drops to a mere 16 watts. This is at the level of lightweight web browsing with Safari.

In real world situations it means that you could work all day on a single charge with Kuuvik Capture. A happy user recently told me that one day he forgot the charger at home, and had to do the whole-day architecture shoot on battery. His 13″ MacBook Air not just accomplished that, but it had some charge left at the end of the day.

Performance and power consumption are important for those who would like to tether their cameras away from power. And for those who care about our planet. We invest a lot into optimizing performance and efficiency, and the above figures reflect all that effort – and make me incredibly proud.

Kuuvik Capture 3.3 is available on the Mac App Store. It is a free update for users who purchased the app earlier from there. You can see the complete list of new features and changes in the release notes.

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).


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