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Tethering with the Surface Pro 2: Enabling with the Phase IQ Series + Credo MFDBs

GrahamWelland

Subscriber & Workshop Member
Paul: the images are transferred to the tablet and not stored on the CF card. That's the big difference between using Capture Pilot and tethered.

Pramote: I don't have a Surface Pro 2 to compare with but obviously it would be faster overall than the SP and it does have better power management and longer life. If I used a Windows machine for more than just tethering then I'd go with the SP2 or Wacom Cintiq Companion.
 

jlm

Workshop Member
paul:
when tethered, all images are only sent to the capture one session you make current on the Surface pro. they can be only be browsed by browsing the session. they will not show up by trying to view them on the back itself
 

kdphotography

Well-known member
Paul, I never had much of an interest in tethering either, until USB3 capability was enabled, which imho is much easier than tethering with Firewire. When I shoot tethered with the SP2, images appear on the screen in about five seconds, and that's with an IQ180. SP1 shouldn't be much slower. The SP2 adds: better battery life, 8GB RAM with 256/512 SSD, and a faster Core i5 chip. It also adds a better back-stand, but not an issue with the Manvex case nor an issue when tethering. Some reviews note the SP2 has better color. The most important thing is that both SP1/SP2 allow you to view your actual RAW image in all its high resolution MFDB glory in C1 Pro 7---and easily make adjustments as necessary for the next image capture. That's the magic.

USB3 makes it easy. Really easy. Plug it in and it just works. :)

When tethered, my C1 Pro 7 workspace is set up to maximize viewing of the primary image. You are able to view the image with focus mask, zoom in 100% with a simple double tap, use the loupe tool, etc. Make adjustments and shoot again. Or use Live View even. I can rate/star images, etc. This is much much better than Capture Pilot!

I can easily go to View -> "show browser" or type ctrl + b and this shows me all the thumbnails from the session that I can view, make adjustments, etc.

In the MicroSDXC slot, I keep a 64GB sandisk card with a folder of back-up Phase IQ firmware as well as a copy of the Firmware Updater software. There is an available Sandisk 128GB MicroSDXC card as well---great for back-up storage, just in case. This micro card slot acts as another hard drive (storage) albeit much slower than the SSD. If ever needed in the field, you can move folders/files to the micro sdxc for storage to free up space on the main SSD.

ken
 
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narikin

New member
There is not that much difference between the SP1 and SP2, there was only 7 months between them, after all. It's really just a processor update, which brings better battery life (same battery) and a very modest performance bump. In the real world I think you'll only notice the battery life benefits. As Ken says, they did also gave you the option to order more storage inside it: SP1 was just 64 and 128gb, the SP2 comes with 256 and 512 options (as well as the first two) and those bigger capacity options come with extra RAM - 8Gb instead of 4gb. My 128Gb SP1 with 4gb RAM works great, and I'm not upgrading till SP3 comes out, probably in the Fall.

If you really are someone who goes off into the wild without power for multiple days and need to work tethered sometimes, then the extra battery life is worth it. If not, then I'd question the $1000 extra to get SP2 over SP1, as everything else is the exact same. I have never run out of battery power in a year of use with SP1 in the city, though it has a got quite low on two occasions.

Those differences aside it seems Microsoft have a sleeper hit on their hands as Surface Pro (not the regular 'Surface') - was on back order for a long time, and impossible to find over Christmas. Everyone wants the latest and greatest, so you can pick up the first version - like a 128Gb SP1 on eBay for $450 or so, in mint/ new condition, and for that money, its definitely worth it. Remember its a fully functioning touchscreen laptop-tablet too, so you can watch Netflix, Hulu, surf the full internet with Flash, and do image processing on it if you want.

That said, this is MF digital, and everyone here seems to buy the best, latest and most expensive of everything, so who needs to save $1000? I'll probably be kicked out for suggesting such heresy.
 

jlm

Workshop Member
quick question: when i first started using the SP2 (no keyboard attached), a virtua touchscreenl screen keypad would show up when a data input was required. then i tried the real keyboard attachment, works great. when i then go without the real keyboard, however, i am not getting the virtual keypad any more???
 

kdphotography

Well-known member
....

That said, this is MF digital, and everyone here seems to buy the best, latest and most expensive of everything, so who needs to save $1000? I'll probably be kicked out for suggesting such heresy.
:D

I actually recommend to buy the Surface Pro without accessories and use it first. This way it forces you to buy only what you really need/want to use the Surface Pro. For example, the Type 2 keyboard isn't needed at all for tethering, but it does make using the Surface Pro easier for other tasks.

I think the biggest performance boost for getting the SP2 will be the 8GB RAM option. I've read some battery reviews where SP users are successfully using a Vagabond Lithium mini to re-charge their SPs. Chances are a fully charged SP1 battery may outlast the number of Phase MFDB batteries you're carrying in your pack.

ken
 

Paul2660

Well-known member
Ken:

First thanks for providing both your blog post and the extra details here.

As a non tethered user since 2008, I do have one other question.

Each time you move location during a days shoot, everything is powered off I assume, so when you power back up, reattach etc. does Capture One start a new session and move the images from the next location to a separate folder or does it just keep the same location? In one day I probably have 16 to 20 different locations I will try for so the idea of up to 20 sessions is a bit hard to get my head around.

I personally don't like the idea of the images being all moved to the Surface pro, I realize you can back them up to to multiple locations, just old fashion in that I like having them on a card. I take it there is no firmware setting to have the images stay on the card and be on the surface pro during a tethered shoot?

Last, during the day, if you don't always attach, you will have some images on the surface pro, others only on the card in the back, does that pose a problem to you?

Sorry for all the questions, just a bit of a different workflow for me.

Thanks
Paul
 

kdphotography

Well-known member
Paul,

It looks like you and me have had the same issues (well, with regard to tethering :D), and some for me going back into tethering with firewire.

The session remains the same. The last named session remains the one that C1Pro will open up into, and tether into, unless you tell C1Pro that you are starting a "New Session" and name a new folder. So for me, I might name the session the location, e.g., "Carmel March 2014." Only one session---only one folder to copy/move at the end of the day.

At the end of the day, I simply transfer the RAW files by USB3 flash thumbdrive to my workstation. If there are RAW files on the CF card in my IQ180, I simply place those RAW files into the same named capture folder on my workstation. Process as usual.

It used to bother me that the MFDB would not also store RAW captured files on the CF card. My bet is a firmware update could allow for both saving to the CF and to the tethered device, but probably at a loss of performance/speed. I don't worry over it anymore. If you are really concerned, I guess you could designate that your session also back up to the micro SDXC card slot.

I don't delete files off of the SP2 until I know they are safely transferred to my workstation and backed up there.

USB3 really makes things easy, and changes to your workflow probably won't be difficult. The changes are smaller than you think.
 

Paul2660

Well-known member
Ken:

"I guess you could designate that your session also back up to the micro SDXC card slot."

Is this possible? as that would be great and give you the 2x coverage I am looking for.

Thanks
Paul
 

kdphotography

Well-known member
Maybe I misspoke. I remember seeing on C1 Pro 7 a drop down menu to copy to another folder (when untethered and copying files by CF to computer), but not sure if you can do it from a tethered option.

Not sure of software available to "mirror" and not sure you want to go there. I think back-up to the micro card slot would significantly slow the process. I guess it would also be possible to manually back-up/copy files to the micro SDXC during breaks or while moving to the next location.... We may be over-reaching/over-thinking more than needed...

The tethered process very reliable, and if there are issues, it should be very apparent to you during the session/shooting.
 

Paul2660

Well-known member
Good point as the SD micro slot will be a lot slower even with the newest 128GB card. That card seems not to be shipping till mid April. Surface pro 2 is a flash hard drive at least the 256GB is, those seem to be pretty reliable.

Paul
 

Don Libby

Well-known member
Just a quick one from yesterday setting up in Valley of Fire State Park, NV



More to come but will say that everything worked better than expected even in bright sun.

Don
 

Wayne Fox

Workshop Member
:D

I actually recommend to buy the Surface Pro without accessories and use it first. This way it forces you to buy only what you really need/want to use the Surface Pro.
ken
So how much does the surface pro weigh if strictly tablet? last year I considered a small macbook air, but at 2.3 lbs I decided not. The surface pro 2 specs show it isn't much lighter but perhaps that included the keyboard.

I tried tethering with my MacBook Pro first to see if it was a workable solution and worth buying a tethering computer, and to be honest it didn't seem nearly as useful as I thought it would. I would pretty much bag it about ⅓ of the way into a shoot. I just don't have much trouble with the focusing, and even manage pretty well with LiveView focusing in the IQ180. I stitch everything so all I need to see from the viewfinder is if I"m covering vertically or if I happen to need to do a double row stitch. I have a sliding back, and I use the ground glass for that. So I decided against a macbook air.

But something closer to the weight of many tablets, around a pound or so, I might reconsider.
 

GrahamWelland

Subscriber & Workshop Member
A few observations after trying out this setup:

MS Surface Pro 1/2 have the feel of a dense brick compared to an iPad Air/IPad Mini. However, 100% file review is far, far superior when tethered. Particularly focus mask.

Capture One in tethered mode should have an option to have the back save the image to the CF card AND the tethered tablet. I'm sure at some point my befuddled mind will end up screwing up in the field and images will get "misplaced" between the two storage environments. I don't shoot tethered 100% of the time so files get scattered between image stores.

A MacBook Air feels a lot lighter/slimmer than the Surface Pro but the clamshell isn't anywhere near as convenient to use in the field. USB tethering works fine though. I wish Apple would make a proper OSX tablet for mobile folks. There are clones out there but they're heavier and less versatile than the Surface Pro.

I'm dreaming of a Surface Pro/MacBook tablet with 8GB ram, 512GB SSD, 10hr battery life, USB3 and with the physical size and resolution of the iPad Mini. A man can dream ...

(The other option would be to make Capture Pilot more of a detailed review platform like Capture One in zoom/focus mask/review modes).

$0.02
 

kdphotography

Well-known member
Hi Wayne,

The Surface Pro 2 weighs 2 pounds. You don't need the Type/Touch 2 keyboard at all for tethering, and I actually recommend leaving that at home when going out on location.

The difference here with the SP2 is that in a tablet form factor, it is much easier to use in the field than the clam shell configuration of a laptop, which also requires a heavier duty mounting option, which again also adds weight.

USB3 makes everything with tethering easier--no fiddling with firewire, adapters or repeaters. USB3 simply works.

The other big plus is the "touch-screen" of the SP2. In its simplest form, it emulates your IQ/Credo screen making it easier to see. With C1 Pro 7 DB, you are able to view high resolution raws and zoom in with a simple double-tap of the screen. I prefer to tap with the pen. Double tap again, and the view returns to normal. Click on focus mask or even live view. Using a bit of tilt with your lens? SP2 makes it easy.

Is the SP2 something that you absolutely need? Of course not. The IQ/Credo screens are the best available and work well. But tethering the SP2 has made using the IQ180 (especially on my Cambo) a much more enjoyable experience. I think the biggest thing is how stupid-easy USB3 makes tethering. If the SP2 added any difficulties/fiddling, it just wouldn't be worthwhile. I think of this as a much better and more capable option than the IQ2 series wifi capability. It's certainly cheaper!

I have eighteen pieces of artwork to do copy work on location today, and I've decided to bring the SP2 along. The SP2 even has me reconsidering using the Cambo for some portrait work.

No doubt in my mind that if Apple decided to release an "iPad Pro" they would probably make a prettier and more streamlined option ala Graham's specifications, but right now all I see is the SP2. It's worth snooping out to see if it would be worthwhile for you. I know that Capture Integration is acquiring a Surface Pro 2 tethering set-up for demonstration.

ken
 

jlm

Workshop Member
i have a really nice little 13" Sony laptop ( several years old, weighs less than a pound! (carbon fiber) and can run C1; no touchscreen or usb3 however-%^*%$!!!
 

subrata1965

New member
Good point as the SD micro slot will be a lot slower even with the newest 128GB card. That card seems not to be shipping till mid April. Surface pro 2 is a flash hard drive at least the 256GB is, those seem to be pretty reliable.

Paul
Paul,

128 GB card is available in Amazon for delivery (when I last checked).

I will keep it as additional backup.

Subrata
 

Wayne Fox

Workshop Member
Yeah, I think the tablet form factor of the surface pro is appealing, but I just can't see going there till something closer to 1 lb shows up. My pack is about as heavy as I like it, and I'm trying to figure out how to lighten it up more, so tethering doesn't appear to be in my future for a while.
 
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