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Review – Kuuvik Capture V2

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Review – Kuuvik Capture V2

Software to control tethered Canon cameras


Last year Keith looked at some promising new camera tethering software that offered a number of advanced features compared to Canon’s EOS utility (original review).

The Kuuvik Capture software has been considerably re-worked as version 2 and now supports cameras such as the 50MP 5Ds

kuuvik capture 2

Software is currently Apple Mac only

Changes from V1.3

  • Graphical image browser – sessions are now simple folders, and images can be rated and sorted before passing them off to an editing program such as Lightroom.
  • Optimised support for the 5Ds – the 50MP files of the 5Ds open as fast as ones from my 100D and 1Ds3 used to on earlier versions.
  • Streamlined user interface to give more screen space to your images and to support the new MacBook.
  • New raw decoding engine which is up to 5x faster than the open source library used previously and consumes less memory in the process.
  • Improved image display quality.
  • Improved focus peaking visibility in some situations.
  • Exposure information for the currently displayed image below the histogram.
  • RAW label to show when the histogram is generated from raw data (instead of white balanced ‘JPEG’ data).
  • Session information can be overlaid on the displayed image.
  • 11 new guide templates, including golden ratio, a dense 30×20 grid and several aspect ratio lines, such as 1:1, 5:4, 16:9.
  • Selectable guideline colour.
  • Colour pickers for both peaking and guides allow you to set the opacity.
  • A new menu item and hot key to cycle peaking colour presets (yellow, white, green, magenta). Cycling also include your chosen custom peaking colour if there’s one.
  • All panels (not just the Navigator) can be quickly revealed.
  • Event Log to notify you about problems that may influence your shoot (such as inability to write to the download folder or interference with other concurrently running remote control apps).

Tethered capture

In any working studio, you’ll likely see some form of tethering in use. Canon supply such software for free with their DSLR cameras (EOS Utility) so any paid software has to offer some extra features to make it worthwhile….

Key features of Kuuvik Capture include:

  • Improved live view – includes focus peaking
  • Split live view – select up to three areas of the live view image, for viewing magnified segments
  • RAW based histogram – watch for channel clipping
  • Bracketing and interval shooting (focus bracketing included)
  • Wireless tethering
  • Two way connection – alter your camera’s settings and see the change at each end

Using Kuuvik Capture

Do have a look at the V1.3 review as well, since I’ve examples of features such as split screen liveview, which for me is very useful when using tilted lenses.

The most obvious change is the strip of images at the left side. This area also allows you to rate images and cull ones you don’t want.

In the screen shot below, you can see two photos I’ve just taken.

downloaded photo from camera

The lens is a 135mm Tamron that dates from 1957.

The photos I’ve just shot are in a folder, and I can create new ones at any time, via the session menu.

new session folder for images

I’m using the date to identify the folder.

setting up a download folder

The handling of liveview is very efficient, with options to sharpen the display.

Why sharpen the display? Well, it can make focus a bit easier, particularly with high resolution sensors where the true nature of lens softness and depth of field can be very obvious.

live view zoomed in to x10 magnification

There are a useful range of bracketing options, and with the 5Ds I regularly use a delay between the mirror going up and shutter release. The camera is on a sturdy studio stand, but vibration can occur almost anywhere, and waiting a half second is hardly a problem.

In the V1.3 review I’ve an example of focus stepping, with the image merged in Helicon.

The histogram is from RAW data, so very useful for controlling exposure and clipping.

Preferences are pretty straightforward to set.

It’s generally annoying when you do something with the item you’re photographing, walk back to the computer and then have to go back to the camera because it’s powered itself down.

I’ve an external power supply for the 5Ds, so battery life is not a problem, but in warm conditions be careful about leaving live view running for a long while – a camera sensor performance drops off appreciably as it gets hot.

The Tamron Twin-Tele 135mm f/4.5 lens.

Tamron Twin tele 135mm lens

This is the one I tested on the 5Ds to see if the extra resolution helped with ‘lesser’ quality lenses (yes)

My 1Ds3, now retired to ‘backup’ duty with a Zuiko 50mm f/1.2 lens.

It also shows why I’ve found that product photography with the 5Ds gives really good detail, but shows up dust and fingerprints a treat.

detail of lens aperture ring

One useful feature of Kuuvik Capture is focus peaking.

You can get sharp parts of the image to show as an overlay, or in this case just the sharp areas.

Move your mouse over the image to see just the fine detail.

Original ImageHover Image

The amount and style of focus peaking is set along the top control strip

control strip for Kuuvik Capture

With focus peaking, you may find it easier to use if you apply some sharpening to the image (green triangle).

Focus peaking is useful, but if you are new to it, be prepared to do some experimenting with settings that work best for your choice of lens and subject.

Conclusions

The software feels more responsive than the earlier versions and support for the 5Ds is excellent, although you will need a newer Mac to get the full benefits of viewing some aspects of the 50MP files.

It’s clearly designed by a photographer and incorporates many features that make tethered working that bit easier, especially (for my tilt lenses) the split liveview (see V1.3 for more about this).

The software is downloaded from Apple’s App store and the licensing has been simplified from earlier versions (any camera can be used).

From the point of view of day to day use, my main gripe would be the need to manually create named download folders, and not being able to set the file names used. File names which include dates and sequence numbers are very useful if you are shooting a lot of products.

Fortunately the software author tells me that this functionality is high on the development list.

Note that due to software reliability issues with aspects of OS X, wireless connection is not currently supported. Not having any cameras with WiFi this isn’t an issue, but I’m told that a fix is on its way.

The software is also rather light on documentation at the moment. There are resources at the web site however, and a detailed (free) e-book is due later in 2015, with much more information.

The software already works well, and should soon grow into a very useful package.

Summary

Mac based software for controlling selected Canon cameras, and provided tethered shooting.

Camera functionality

The functionality available does depend to some extent on your camera age – this is Canon’s doing, so there are no simple workarounds.

See latest tech specs at Kuuvik Digital

Camera support

Fully supported, with split view:

  • Canon EOS-1D X (2.0.7)
  • Canon EOS-1D C (1.3.9)
  • Canon EOS 5Ds (1.0.1) — see the Compatible Computers section below
  • Canon EOS 5Ds R (1.0.1) — see the Compatible Computers section below
  • Canon EOS 5D Mark III (1.3.3)
  • Canon EOS 6D (1.1.6)
  • Canon EOS 7D Mark II (1.0.4)
  • Canon EOS 70D (1.1.1)
  • Canon EOS 100D / Rebel SL1 / Kiss X7 (1.0.0)
  • Canon EOS 700D / Rebel T5i / Kiss X7i (1.1.4)

Fully supported:

  • Canon EOS-1D Mark IV (1.1.4)
  • Canon EOS 5D Mark II (2.1.2)Canon EOS 7D (2.0.5)
  • Canon EOS 50D (1.0.9)
  • Canon EOS 60D (1.1.1)
  • Canon EOS 550D / Rebel T2i / Kiss X4 (1.0.9)
  • Canon EOS 600D / Rebel T3i / Kiss X5 (1.0.2)
  • Canon EOS 650D / Rebel T4i / Kiss X6i (1.0.4)
  • Canon EOS 750D / Rebel T6i / Kiss X8i (1.0.0)
  • Canon EOS 760D / Rebel T6s / 8000D (1.0.0)
  • Canon EOS 1100D / Rebel T3 / Kiss X50 (1.0.5)
  • Canon EOS 1200D / Rebel T5 / Kiss X70 (1.0.0)

Basic tethering support:

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III (1.2.3)

Compatible Computers

A Mac with 256 MB or more graphics memory:

  • iMac (Mid 2007, high end 20″ and 24″ models)
    iMac (Early 2008, high end 20″ and 24″ models)
    iMac (Early 2009 or newer)
    MacBook (Late 2008 Aluminum, Early 2009 or newer)
    MacBook Pro (Mid 2007, high end 15″ and 17″ models)
    MacBook Pro (Early 2008 or newer)
    MacBook Air (Late 2008 or newer)
    Mac mini (Early 2009, high end model)
    Mac mini (Late 2009 or newer)
    Mac Pro (Early 2008 or newer)
    Xserve (Early 2009)

Working with Canon EOS 5DS and 5DS R images require a Mac with 512 MB or more graphics memory and support for 16k textures*:

  • iMac (Mid 2010, high end 21″ and 27″ models)
    iMac (Mid 2011 or newer)
    MacBook (Early 2015 or newer)
    MacBook Pro (Mid 2012 or newer)
    MacBook Air (Mid 2012 or newer)
    Mac mini (Late 2012 or newer)
    Mac Pro (Mid 2010 or newer)

* Images will be downsized to 24 megapixels for display if these requirements are not met (RAW files remain in their full resolution).

Compatible Software OS X 10.10 or later required. OS X 10.10.4 or later recommended.

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