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

kdphotography

Well-known member
I think Don just got his 128GB micro sdxc from Amazon. They had a special introductory price from Sandisk for $119. That special is long gone. Now it's $199 at B&H!
 

Paul2660

Well-known member
My S-Pro2 came in yesterday, and I was able to set it up and work with the 260. Here are some thoughts:

First and foremost, thanks to Ken for the posts he has made on this.

1. When you are tethered, the camera battery shows a charging symbol. Does this mean the S-Pro2 is charging the camera battery? If so won't this really eat up the S-Pro2 battery?

2. Phase One, I can't believe you can't figure out a way to store the images on the card and the computer. I have been told that this is because of a performance issue of the current architecture of the backs. Personally I don't buy that, instead I believe it's a bit of being short sighted in the design, in that PHase One did not talk to landscape shooters using a tech camera, instead they only worked with studio shooter, where keeping the images on a card and computer most likely makes less sense. At least until the back is powered off you can see the images on the back. I would gladly pay a bit of speed to have the ability to have images on the card. Like Graham points out, the fact that you have a days' worth of images spread out between the card and S-Pro is less than optimum. The images taken tethered have a different naming convention so it's not like the back files and tethered files would get confused.

3. Weight, as Ken stated, leave the keyboard in the truck, as without the keyboard the weight between the large iPad and S-Pro2 is very close. The S-Pro is not going to work in wet, or rainy days. I have not found a case that keeps the S-Pro2 dry like the lifeproof or otter box designs for the iPad.

4. Screen brightness, this drove me crazy until I figured out to turn auto brightness off.

5. It's a PC, don't just hit the power button to turn it off like on the iPad (Oops). You have to shut it down.

6. Sleep or shut down, between locations, right now I am shutting down.

7. Suggested power settings? balanced, high power or power saver? I am running at balanced right now. I do know on macbooks running the i5 with W7 under bootcamp unless you pick high power you will not get the maximum of the processor and apps like LR or CC won't run as well. In this case not sure if it's as important.

8. The arm that Ken is using to mount to the tripod, curious of the weight? Looks like it's an extra 1 or 1.5 lbs is that right? I would love to find a carbon fiber setup for this or plastic even as ABS plastic should support the S-pro2.

8. UPB3 and tethering, well all I can say is it works and works well. Actually pretty amazing. I have yet to try Live View on the S-Pro2.

9. Viewing the images on the S-PRo2 is definitely an easier task, they are raw files and are loaded with the default sharpening by C1. I can easily see the files without "glasses off" like I have to do when viewing the images on the IQ LCD. If only I was 20 years younger or so.

10. The images are placed in the Capture Folder, always wanted to use it. It's very simple to copy them from there to a micro SD card. I was actually pleasantly surprised at the write speed of the 64GB card I purchased. It was actually faster than copying via my USB 2 card reader to a sandisk ultra 2 card. Nice, easy, quick, damn, its windows explorer I love it.

11. Win8 ain't that bad at all, I took a quick 1 hour course on the interface and so far it works for me. All you need is the desktop and you have your win7 look and feel. What you do, don't reload win7 on the S-Pro2 as you will lose the support for the touch screen.

13. Outdoor viewing S-Pro2 in bright light is just a little (and I feel just a little) better than the iPad retina. It's still a mirror but it seems that you can move the screen around a bit better to find an angle that doesn't reflect as much. However the sunshade Ken built to me is a must have. BTW the S-Pro2 body makes attaching a screen a bit easier due to the width.

14. Wifi/iPad vs S-Pro2. I have a IQ260 and had really high hopes for Wifi and checking the images. This is pretty telling for sure.

iPad viewing is slow both to load the thumbnails, and when attempting to view at 100%. With the latest version of firmware on the IQ260 the adhoc now works again, however I still see the usual issues of lockups, freezes during viewing that requires a reboot of the iPad or back or both. Worse Capture Pilot does not work with the full resolution of the iPad so that when you look at the image at 100%, it's fuzzy and you can't always tell what's in good focus or not. You need to zoom down a bit and then you get a slightly better idea. You are viewing a jpg not the raw, but still Capture Pilot should be able to get a better fix on the image at 100%. I have been told by Phase One that this is not possible due to the design of the retina display and software. Not sure on that, as Angry Birds an most other apps out there seem to have figured this out. More important during all of this hunting and waiting you are burning up your back battery with the wifi being on. And it does drain the battery pretty quick.

To me the downsides of the S-Pro2 are:

The USB3 cable, does limit your movement and you have to be very AWARE OF WHERE IT IS. The Phase One cable is a bit too long and I have ordered a shorter one.

Weather/condtions as mentioned, I would like to find a case that lets you have a bit more protection. I know that adds weight, but but a iPad in the Lifeproof case and see how much it adds to the overall weight.

Power management is a bit funky still figuring this out. The screen auto brightness somehow tends to get turned back on with mine. Not sure about this and I am going to run my best buy to make sure my unit is not defective.

Screen brightness to me could still be a bit better for outdoor viewing, but you can work with it. The sunshade is going to be a must have for me.

As stated early, not being able to have the images on both the card and PC is a minus for me. If you get into a day where you shot tethered and not tethered, you will have images with 2 different naming formats and not sure how all that work together since I tend to store all my raws from one day in a single folder. They may get all mixed around with the different naming. However I guess I could just create 2 folders, tethered and non-tethered.

Paul
 

narikin

New member
An issue with MacBook Air that no-one mentioned so far is its lack of a 'Retina' display. The screen just isn't up to what has become standard. It is also a clamshell, which is not so great on location, and not touchscreen, which as Ken says, is a major plus in practice.

For those reasons the SP1/2 is currently the better answer for us digital MF nerds. (which is hardly a large market, but it is good to be served by something)

Apple would no doubt make an excellent iPad Pro, probably better and lighter and longer battery life than Surface Pro, but refuse to do so, for whatever marketing reasons. That's the reality to deal with, and hence this thread, pointing out a great alternative.
 

Don Libby

Well-known member
Real quick as I haven't yet had any coffee this morning...

Got home late yesterday and one of the first things I did was weigh the backpack I used to hike out to Fire Wave the other day. First off I'm using a new Think Tank Airport Accelerator (empty weighs slightly over 3 pounds). I packed my Cambo WRS/IQ160 and Rodenstock 40mm lens. I also packed the Cambo lens shade and Leica Distro, my Kinesis bag with various filters, a couple spare batteries, LCC card, the Surface Pro 2 (without keyboard) and bracket and a bag with cables. Right at the end I decided to remove my Cube from the tripod and pack that as well making the tripod a little lighter to carry in my hands. I also carry a dark cloth everywhere I go. All told this weighed 19.4 pounds.

Setup was easy when I got to where I wanted to shoot. Sun was bright however using the cloth I was able to make certain the Surface Pro was set the way I wanted/needed it to be and later just used it to keep the sun off my neck. I also found I could easily reposition the camera from directly in front of the SP2 to a couple degrees either left or right of it (I'm using the 1.5' cable).

Hiked over rocky sometime steep conditions and deep sand with little to no shade to speak of. Cradled my tripod and had water in my cargo pockets. All in extremely pleased. I's great to find that harebrained idea we had a couple years ago actually works!

Don

More to come...
 
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jlm

Workshop Member
i'm with paul about the dual storage needs and heard the same thing about the Phase decisions regarding slower write speed, etc. seems like they could have offered the choice
 

Don Libby

Well-known member
Just had another thought about the battery of the SP2. Mine shows that I had over 9 hrs of charge on it. No Wifi turned on so it wasn't searching for it which doesn't drain the battery.

Okay coffee is here.....
 

Paul2660

Well-known member
For those interested I have batterymeter 3.4 which works very wel and give a lot more info than win 8.1.

Don't try to download it as all the current downloaders I found will try to install a bunch of trash also.

Batterymeter will upgrade as soon as you install it to the current version. As it's an exe. I will have to put it in my dropbox.

email or PM me if you are interested.

Paul
 

kdphotography

Well-known member
I think your comments are spot-on, Paul.

I wish Phase One would at least give end-users the option----to decide when tethered to save only to the computer or both the computer and MFDB, with the understanding that saving to both means a hit to speed/performance in writing the files. I would think a Firmware update would make that possible....

I use a 1.5 and a 3 foot USB3 cord, and find that this is the optimal length to tether for me using the SP2 on the Arkon clamp. I carry both in my bag to back up each other. Both are very inexpensive compared to high quality firewire cables.

3 ft USB3: Amazon.com: Cable Matters 2 Pack, SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Type A to B Cable in Black 3 Feet: Electronics

1.5 foot USB 3: Amazon.com: NEW Technology 1.5 Ft USB 3.0 A-male to B-male Gold Plated Cable: Electronics

If anyone thinks it appropriate or wants my "SP2 tethering shopping list" I can make it available.

On my digital scale, the Arkon clamp weighs exactly 1 pound. Bracket and knobs are plastic; Arm and clamp are aluminum. I'd leave it up to someone like John Milich to come up with a custom carbon fiber option. :D

I use a USB3 thumbdrive to transfer files and use the micro sdxc card as a backup storage solution and leave it the slot. I really don't like the micro size as I find it difficult to remove and I know I'm going to lose it! I think a USB3 flash thumbdrive should be faster to transfer files than using the micro card slot; I wish it were a normal SD sized slot than that tiny micro size!

Ken

p.s. It's also a good idea to install anti-virus/malware software----I like Malwarebytes Anti-Malware. It plays well with Windows Defender. I otherwise keep my SP2 pretty bare for tethering, though Amazon Prime is kinda cool for free movies. :)
 
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Paul2660

Well-known member
I also noticed that the surface pro 3 is coming soon. Not sure how soon, but seems to be in the same footprint as current surface pro 2, with a screen with much higher resolution, 2550 x 1600 or something close. To me that might begin to get hard on the eyes again on a screen this small. They also claim even better battery life over the 2

Current res is very nice.

Paul
 

kdphotography

Well-known member
I also noticed that the surface pro 3 is coming soon. Not sure how soon, but seems to be in the same footprint as current surface pro 2, with a screen with much higher resolution, 2550 x 1600 or something close. To me that might begin to get hard on the eyes again on a screen this small. They also claim even better battery life over the 2

Current res is very nice.

Paul
Don't tell Don. :ROTFL:

Oooh. Just saw an article talking about SP3---higher res screen, choice of i5 or i7 processors, longer battery life----and down to 1.5 pounds!
 

kdphotography

Well-known member
Paul Caldwell brought up an excellent point with concerns for battery life when tethered to the Surface Pro. And this should be of particular note to Surface Pro 1 users, since the SP1 doesn't have the extended battery life of the SP2.

When tethered via USB3, the IQ series backs allow for optional "maintenance charging" of the MFDB batteries. Apparently this was an added feature by firmware update 5.10.1.

So here's the battery tip: When tethered to the Surface Pro, turn the IQ MFDB battery charging option to "no" otherwise the Surface Pro will provide a maintenance charge to the IQ MFDB and consequently place a heavier load on the SP 1/2 battery.

On the IQ MFDB, Select <Menu>. Go to <Power Management>. Go to <Battery Charging>. Select <Off>.

This should help preserve battery life on the Surface Pro when tethering your MFDB, since the IQ MFDB will be powered only by its own battery and not receive a maintenance charge.

ken
 

subrata1965

New member
i'm with paul about the dual storage needs and heard the same thing about the Phase decisions regarding slower write speed, etc. seems like they could have offered the choice
Phase thinks they knows what's best for their customer, they don't offer a choice. Same as long exposure noise cancellation.

Subrata
 

Paul2660

Well-known member
Phase cable is long at least 10 feet. In the woods it's a bit more than I need and the extra length could become a tripping or pull the rig down hazard. I also learned that some of the a to b cables are just a bit too thick to fit in the phase port. I ordered the ones Kens link pointed to on amazon.

That was my only reason for not using the Phase cable.

Paul
 

narikin

New member
i'm with paul about the dual storage needs and heard the same thing about the Phase decisions regarding slower write speed, etc. seems like they could have offered the choice
Whilst I agree this is a feature that should exist, feel I must point out that firstly there would be a significant speed hit, as writing to a card is far slower than internal SSD memory. Secondly sending files directly into C1Pro means your thumbnails/previews are all built, file naming applied, and user presets (if you so wish) so that when you copy over to desktop - its all done, and ready to go. No watching spinning wheels as previews build. Thirdly - if duplicating RAW files for security is critical - why is putting them on one CF card ok, but onto one SSD drive not? A CF card is easier to loose than a tablet, I would say.

Yes C1 could offer duplicate writes as an option, but personally I doubt I would use it. It is very easy to set up a program like Beyond Compare on the SP, to watch your Captures folder, and real time copy that to an SD card folder, if thats what you wish. Pop the SD card out at the end of shooting, and you have two copies. Wa-La.
 

GrahamWelland

Subscriber & Workshop Member
The speed issue with dual storage is recognized, although to be honest I'm not sure that I agree. The back isn't doing anything after sending the image to the tethered tablet so time spent saving from internal image buffer to the CF card wouldn't matter unless you are shooting a burst of images - something that we wouldn't be doing with a technical camera.

Just make it an option. Recognize that it'll be slower but let us choose.
 

Paul2660

Well-known member
Whilst I agree this is a feature that should exist, feel I must point out that firstly there would be a significant speed hit, as writing to a card is far slower than internal SSD memory. Secondly sending files directly into C1Pro means your thumbnails/previews are all built, file naming applied, and user presets (if you so wish) so that when you copy over to desktop - its all done, and ready to go. No watching spinning wheels as previews build. Thirdly - if duplicating RAW files for security is critical - why is putting them on one CF card ok, but onto one SSD drive not? A CF card is easier to loose than a tablet, I would say.

Yes C1 could offer duplicate writes as an option, but personally I doubt I would use it. It is very easy to set up a program like Beyond Compare on the SP, to watch your Captures folder, and real time copy that to an SD card folder, if thats what you wish. Pop the SD card out at the end of shooting, and you have two copies. Wa-La.
Exactly why I would like to see it as an option. The current high end cards from Scandisk seem to write pretty quick, but I agree it can slow down the process.

My main reason for using either the iPad and Capture Pilot or the Surface Pro 2 is for proofing focus. I only really need to see the images in C1 for the 100% view to dial in focus. Then the rest of the shots taken in that series, could be left off as the focus needs won't change. (tech camera wide landscape).

The reason I wanted to have the images also on a CF card in the camera is there will be times for sure I don't want to have a surface pro 2 tethered, either when I am standing in the middle of creek up to my thighs in water (here I still might try an ipad) or if it's lightly raining or has been raining and drops are still falling off the trees.

I guess my issue is I can't see being tethered 100% in the field, so I wanted to have one place all the images were just to make moving them to my PC and raid storage easier later.

Since the images shot while tethered will be in one place, (captures folder on the pro) and the rest on the card it will break up a days shoot. But I can work around this.

The only other issue I see is that you have two different naming conventions, ones in the capture folder and ones kept on the card.

Thanks for the info on beyond compare, I will have to check that out.

Paul
 

narikin

New member
Agree it should be an option: please request it at Capture One Pro features request thread on their website.
 

kdphotography

Well-known member
I think Microsoft's Synctoy may also be an option similar to Beyond Compare. SyncToy is free.

I'm at the point like Nariken and have become comfortable with using only the Surface Pro's SSD to store my sessions for later migration to my workstation. It also hasn't been difficult to change my workflow to simply dump any untethered RAW files from my IQ180 CF card into the same session once on my PC Workstation system.

And again, allowing the end-user to make the decision on how they wish to save their files would be a nice option.

Ken
 

Don Libby

Well-known member
Couple thoughts...


I feel it took no longer to set up the SP2 than it did to remove the back, insert the groundglass, remove that and replace the back. Once I had the SP2 tethered the rest was simple. I found I needed to move about 100' further from where I began and all I did was pick up the tripod and carefully move the entire thing over to where I wanted to shoot again. Since everything was already set up I save time and effort which is something I wouldn't have been able to do if I were still using the GG.

I wear tri-focals (the curse of getting old) and I'm not entirely convinced a sunshade would have been much better than what I had on hand. I do have a simple card that I can insert to give partial shade however since I also has a little wind I decided against using it.

The morning was very bright with the SP2 screen acting much like a mirror so I used my microfiber towel that I keep on hand as a general rule as a dark cloth setting the initial shot. After that it was easy. Take the shot wait for about 3-4 Mississippi's for the image to appear on the SP2 screen. Even in bright light the image was very easy to see and check for alignment and focus (so easy I thought I had done something wrong).

Weight can be a factor. My complete bag weighs very close to 20 pounds and I'm thankful for a good backpack. I could shed even more weight by removing the SP2 from the extra case and using it naked ( I didn't bring the keyboard as there's no use for it on the trail). I only carried 1-1.5' USB cable in hindsight I'd feel better with 2 (belt and suspender type of guy). I thought of trying live view but then decided I didn't need it at this location.

I agree with Paul's assessment of the weather effecting the SP2 and feel in that case I just wouldn't use it and return to the old school non-tethering method of shooting. I'm uncertain if I'd even get a weather proof case if one become available as it would add bulk if not additional weight.

External cards. I had a 64GB card inserted and never thought to use it for capture or backup. Instead I shot directly to the SSD. The 128GB card was delivered while I was away and I've since began using that, however at this point it's just sitting there.

Once I returned to the motel at the end of the day it was easy. I powered up the SP2 to look at the files (actually I did that at lunch before getting back to the motel) then transferred them to my preferred backup that I always have with me when I'm on the road (2TB G-Safe).

All in all this is so easy and good. Setting up was a snap. Being able to view the files on a much larger screen well worth the additional weight. I don't think I looked at the back's LCD but a couple time the time I was shooting. I've also used the SP2 to update the firmware on the back and in that instance I would of liked to have a longer USB cord. I ended up shooting a combination of standing as I regularly do as well as lowering the tripod to the point I could sit. I moved the camera from directly in front of the SP2 to several degrees either left or right of it and never felt the need to move the SP2 to another leg (again I was using a 1.5' USB cord).

All in all I give this very high marks....


Don
 
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