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Review of Kuuvik Capture V1.3

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Review – Kuuvik Capture V1.3

Software to control tethered Canon cameras


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

Now at Version 1.3, Keith has returned to see how well the software performs, particularly since it now supports his EOS100D as well as the much older 1Ds mk3.

live view single view

Aug. 2015 V2 update review
Currently Apple Mac only

Tethered capture

If you’re shooting products or macro photography, then having a direct link between camera and your computer can be a massive saving of time and effort.

Indeed, in any working studio, you’ll likely see some form of tethering in use.

To their credit, 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

There is a demo of the software available, so do try it and see if it works for your particular setup.

The basic control window offers camera adjustments on the right and program functions along the top.

It’s detected that I’ve a 100D connected (and usefully shows battery level).

basic interface

If you’ve used earlier versions, then V1.3 changes the activation/licensing process somewhat. Info from Kuuvik Digital:

  • “Standard licenses – the equivalent of our former camera licenses – are still good for using one camera at a time, but now allow up to five changes per year in the licensed camera. The new Professional license type was introduced to address the needs of professional photographers using multiple cameras, and allows using five cameras simultaneously, with an unlimited number of changes.
    Standard licenses are available for $69.99, and Professional licenses are available for $169.99 online.”

In this example, I’m using a TS-E90mm lens, with some extension tubes (I was testing some other equipment at the time).

Live view is initiated by pressing the small camera icon at the top left (active settings turn green).

The tiny depth of field at f/2.8 is very obvious.

live view display from camera

Note too that the focus peaking is activated (last but one setting).

It’s not so easy to see in the reduced view above – although there is not a lot of really sharp areas of this image.

Adding some sharpening to the view (not the captured image) shows up the peaking much clearer. (move your mouse over the image to see).

Original ImageHover Image

Live view can be zoomed into a x10 view.

I’d note that actual functionality does vary with camera model, so my old 1Ds Mk3 doesn’t offer quite such advanced live view functions – see the specifications below for more details.

navigation, showing zoomed area of display

You do have full DOF preview at any time (mouse over image to see).

Original ImageHover Image

One very useful feature is being able to split the live view into three areas, each at full magnification.

I’ve selected three places in the view that I want to magnify (the coloured markers)

markers set for split live view

Here are the three views.

split live view dispaly from canon 100D

One immediate use of this for me is in focusing a lens which has been tilted.

By carefully placing the three points, it makes it much easier to precisely set tilt and focal distance.

If Tilt/shift lenses are unfamiliar, I’ve written several articles about them.

When looking at live view, you can (with some cameras/lenses) set a focus point, and the camera will autofocus on the spot you have chosen.

The bracketing option includes focus bracketing (for stacking) as well as exposure bracketing.

bracketing options

I tried out focus stacking with an EF24-70 2.8L lens on my 1Ds mk3.

You need a bit of experimenting to determine the number of steps needed and the size of the focus changes, but I was able to quite quickly get a set of six images of an orchid from our kitchen.

Move your mouse over the image to see part of the first and last shots in the sequence.

You’ll also notice that the scaling of the image changes as focus alters. This ‘focus breathing’ is common in most lens types, but does vary.

Original ImageHover Image

I stacked the images using Helicon Focus, which automatically allows for such scale variations [I’ll be looking at Helicon Focus and the motorised StackShot drive in a future article]

White balance

There is a custom white balance option available (select white on the live view image) or you can upload to your camera a special ‘unitary’ WB setting that will result in the cameras histogram not being influenced by WB settings.

Setting such a white balance setting is not a trivial matter (see this lengthy article for more about the idea) and Kuuvik capture offers a simple method.

Whether you find it of use in day to day photography (it’s not just for tethered work) is a moot point

Conclusions

The software works very well on my old Macbook Pro (OSX 10.6.8) and my Mac Pro (recently updated to 10.9.3)

It works in a fluid manner and doesn’t get in the way of my workflow when shooting tethered.

You can even have multiple cameras connected and switch between them.

It also doesn’t try to do too much, all the functions such as grid display and over exposure warning are there in menus as you need them (often with keyboard shortcuts).

software options and menu details

Workflow in this area is a personal thing, so my two minor gripes about capture may not matter at all for you, or might even be preferable.

First of all, I still don’t quite get the idea of taking shots as previews and the ‘Mark Final’ option? All I want is is to capture an image (RAW and JPG versions is my preferred choice, as with my non tethered shooting) The progam’s idea of ‘sessions’ just doesn’t fit the way I work (YMMV).

Secondly, I’d like much more flexibility in folder structures/naming and file naming options for the images downloaded onto my computer. For example I file work by date, so having a collection of folders with incremental session numbers as names, causes inconvenience.

The software shows quite a lot of refinement since I first looked at it just before V1 was released. In talking with the company, it’s clear that they are very keen for feedback on how people use the software and how functionality could be expanded.

In particular, now that I’ve got a newer camera (the 100D) I can make use of the split live view mode, and see my live view previews in a lot more detail.

One of the reasons I’ve got the 100D is for macro work, and Kuuvik Capture makes this much easier.

Well worth downloading the 15-day trial version if you are considering tethered shooting, or are looking for something a distinct step up from EOS Capture.

August 2015: Update to V2

Summary

Software for controlling selected Canon cameras, and provided tethered shooting.

Standard licenses are available for $69.99, and Professional licenses are available for $169.99 on-line

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 Capture

SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS

  • Apple Mac or MacBook computer with a 2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo or better processor.
  • 2 GB RAM (4 GB is highly recommended).
  • 100 MB free disk space for the application, and gigabytes for your photos.
  • Minimum 1280 x 800 pixels monitor resolution.
  • OS X 10.6.8, 10.7.5, 10.8.5, 10.9.2 or later.

Supported Cameras

  • Canon EOS-1D Mark IV 6
  • Canon EOS-1D X 1,6
  • Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III 2,3,4,5
  • Canon EOS 5D Mark II 6
  • Canon EOS 5D Mark III 1
  • Canon EOS 6D 1
  • Canon EOS 7D 6
  • Canon EOS 60D 6
  • Canon EOS 70D 1
  • Canon EOS 100D / Rebel SL1 / Kiss X7 1
  • Canon EOS 550D / Rebel T2i / Kiss X4 6
  • Canon EOS 600D / Rebel T3i / Kiss X5 6
  • Canon EOS 650D / Rebel T4i / Kiss X6i
  • Canon EOS 700D / Rebel T5i / Kiss X7i 1
  • Canon EOS 1100D / Rebel T3 / Kiss X50 4,6

(1) Split view is available and fully supported.
(2) Live mode AF is not supported.
(3) Picking white balance from the live image is not supported.
(4) Remote mirror lock-up is not available or not supported.
(5) Displaying exposure metering result is not supported.
(6) Displaying exposure metering result is not supported in manual mode.

Wireless/Wired Transmitters

  • The following transmitters and network capable cameras are supported:
    Wireless File Transmitter WFT-E7 with Canon EOS 5D Mark III
    Canon EOS-1D X
    Canon EOS 6D
    Canon EOS 70D

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