Kuuvik Capture tethered shooting application
Some time ago I received a message from Hungarian software company Kuuvik Digital to introduce me to their Kuuvik Capture application for advanced tethering of Canon EOS cameras to Apple Mac computers.
So why might you want to buy Kuuvik Capture, when EOS Utility is included with each and every EOS camera and it allows tethered shooting? Kuuvik Capture is different in the way it handles the display of images on your computer. The advanced live view is designed to make it easier to nail critical focus and effective composition, and then there’s split view which really helps when using tilt-shift lenses. Kuuvik Digital claims to create a unique preview of the RAW image with their own special algorithm to allow a photographer to assess under or overexposed areas. RAW images have a wider dynamic range than the JPEG preview images some applications use.
Live view and some…
While the ability to zoom in to a live preview is common for many tethered software programs; Kuuvik Capture gives fine control of the preview image, you can optimise the sharpening of the preview and configure focus peaking. Focus peaking can be set to a colour of the photographers choice, ideal to make sure the peaking is easy to discern against the subject. Combining masking of the image with peaking makes it really easy to see exactly where the image is sharp.
If you use a regular autofocus lens, then it’s simple to use the focus cursor, just click on the section of the image you want to be in focus. The lens is driven to sharp focus at that exact spot. Since TS-E lenses are manual focus you need to move the lens yourself.
Up to three points of interest can be placed on the preview image, as shown above, and then when the split view display is activated each of the points can be magnified allowing easy checking of accurate focus. This is one of the features I’ve not seen in other tethering software. If you shoot with a tilt-shift lens this is invaluable as small changes to the tilt can change the sections of the image that are in critical focus quite significantly. In the photo of the cakes above a TS-E 90mm lens was in use.
Even with the split image display, each section can still have focus peaking active.
Over and under-exposure warning
Kuuvik capture also can be set to indicate areas of the frame that are over or under exposed with a colour overlay. It uses their own interpretation of the RAW image data and therefore makes use of the extended dynamic range that is available in the RAW images.
White balance can be set from the image, or you can place a tray card in the frame and use the white balance from that, then set it to the camera directly.
Extended bracketing for exposure and focus
Kuuvik Capture also can be configured to perform an extensive array of exposure and even focus bracketing functions. Many frames can be configured – certainly more than the camera’s own bracketing functions. For macro work the focus bracketing ensures you can use the optimum aperture and have the software shoot a programmed number of frames with slightly different subject distances. Combining the images can give macro work with incredible depth of field.
Camera control too
When you change a camera exposure setting within the software it is reflected on the camera instantly. What surprised me a little was that using the focus tool in Kuuvik Capture also caused the camera LCD display to move to the same part of the frame as was being selected for focus in the software.
My thoughts on Kuuvik Capture…
Firstly if you are using Windows then you need to buy a Mac to run this, so it’s not a low-cost proposition. I used Kuuvik Capture with an EOS 5D Mark III and Mac OS 10.8 and 10.9 and it never crashed once during my tests.
I think the stand out feature for me is the split screen preview combined with focus peaking, it really makes getting the focus right a snap even with small subjects photographed at wide apertures using tilt-shift or macro lenses.
I really wish it would give a wider range of options for file renaming, images are simply transferred to a selected folder. I wanted to be able to rename them with time, date and project or client information. At least the software allows images to be captured on a memory card in the camera and also to the computer hard disk.
It was a bit of a pain to have to go back to another software to review the images already taken, Kuuvik won’t review images it has already taken previously. I used either Adobe Bridge or Digital Photo Professional to do this, but that means another program open and running.
Kuuvik Capture needs a license key for each EOS camera body you want to use with it. So if you have two cameras, an EOS-1D X and EOS 5D Mark III or even two EOS 5D Mark III cameras you need to purchase two licenses. You can install the software on several computers though so a studio computer and a location computer won’t require separate licenses.
To get the most functionality and the Split View function you must be working with an EOS-1D X, EOS 5D Mark III, EOS 6D or EOS 70D. Older cameras have more limited functions with this software.
Kuuvik Capture costs from $49.99 to $59.99 +VAT depending on the camera you need to license it for. If product photography, macro and tilt-shift lenses are your every day tools then it is a very interesting bit of software. For general tethered shooting to show a client, art director or model a preview while you shoot then keep on using your regular solutions.
Try Kuuvik Capture for freeDownload Kuuvik Capture 30-day trial
Like many software applications Kuuvik Capture is available as a 30-day fully functional trial, so it’s well worth a look and see if it works for you. you can get your trial from the Kuuvik Digital website
Kuuvik Digital provided several software licenses for my cameras to enable me to create this review of their Kuuvik Capture software.