I’ve been busy enhancing FieldMonitor, my iOS app for wireless camera monitoring and control, and I haven’t come up for air much (aside from reviewing the EVA1). With version 4.5 fresh out the door I thought I’d give a brief overview of what’s been added recently.
Better Sony Compatibility
Basic Sony control was added in version 4.0, meaning Sonys running “Smart Remote Control”. Version 4.5 now talks to cameras running “Smart Remote Embedded”, too. More importantly, it communicates with integrated remote Sonys, those with a “Ctrl w/ Smartphone” menu instead of an Application List.
Unlike “Smart Remote” cameras, integrated remote Sonys allow Picture Profiles in remote mode, so you can shoot in S-Log or Hybrid Log Gamma when the camera has those options. If you have one of those cameras, such as an A7Riii, A99ii, or A9, FieldMonitor now lets you adjust it and trigger recording hands-free.
The biggest single problem with any Wi-Fi remote is the low-resolution images sent from the cameras. Panasonics top out at 640×360; Sonys can go to 1024×576, but only at the expense of frame rate and latency. Wi-Fi is a thin pipe, and there are only so many pixels you can push through it in a timely manner.
FieldMonitor 4.3 added two focus assist functions, a traditional analog peaking assist and a more aggressive edge mode:
You can tweak either one to get just the right amount of assist—none of this low/medium/high nonsense we’re stuck with in most digital peaking systems (not that I have an opinion, mind you). Normal peaking works pretty well most of the time, while Edge Mode is an extreme option for difficult situations.
(Despite the low-res source images, using focus assist I’ve been able to see when focus is on a subject’s left eye instead of the right eye, or vice versa. But I would say that, wouldn’t I? Better to wait for an independent review.)
One side effect of focus assist is that it shows off every defect in the highly-compressed images sent over Wi-Fi. You’ll see macroblock boundaries, color posterization, and edge artifacts galore. Sometimes it’s artifacts suddenly leaping into view that let you know when you’re focused. Other times, it’s just a handy reminder that compression not visible at first glance can play havoc with downstream processing.
A shout-out to LensRentals.com, which provided an A99ii with lens and an A7Riii body for testing (in return for money, of course). Within three minutes of placing the rental order, I received a phone call from LR’s Jasmine. She wanted to confirm that I really intended to order two cameras with incompatible mounts before she packed the order. A lesser organization would have shipped the two cams, no questions asked. Huzzah, then, for LensRentals.com!
I’ve replaced the literal-but-boring icon with a new one based on a photograph. (I took the photographic approach as my Affinity Designer skills are, erm, still somewhat rudimentary.) I shot a Veydra 85mm T2.2, set to T5.6 to get some iris in the picture, using a GH5 with a 35–100mm f/2.8 at 100mm and f/22.
And yes, of course I used FieldMonitor to tweak camera settings and fire the shutter for the second-long exposure. I eat my own dog food.
What’s next? I’m starting the long process of developing an Android version, and pursuing opportunities for talking to other brands of cameras. Stay tuned…
Disclosure: FieldMonitor is my app. If you buy it, I get paid. I don’t know if I can be any clearer than that.