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Use your Fujifilm camera as a webcam on macOS via USB

Just saw a video on using Fujifilm cameras as a web cam on Apple computers. Basically the steps are:

  1. Download and install Camera Live app on Github
  2. Download and install CamTwist Studio
  3. Run a command on your Mac via Terminal on the app you want to use the camera on
  4. Setup your Fujifilm camera
  5. Connect and go

Here are some tips on each of the steps:

  1. I’ve tested version 13 alpha on macOS 10.15.5
  2. I’ve tested version 3.4.3 on macOS 10.15.5
  3. The command to run in Terminal is
    “sudo codesign –remove-signature /Applications/<name of app>”
    I’ve tested this with Skype. Others are reporting that it works fine with Zoom.  For Skype, the command would be:
    “sudo codesign –remove-signature /Applications/Skype.app”
  4. Set camera to photo, not video, mode;
    In Connection Settings, select USB TETHER SHOOTING AUTO;
    Set camera to manual focus, and focus (You can try setting Pre-AF to On);
    Set exposure to manual and dial it in, check how it looks in Live View.
  5. Connect USB cable between camera and Mac;
    Start Camera Live app and select the Fuji camera (see image below);
    Start the CamTwist Studio app and select Syphon as the video source, and Camera Live in the Syphon server dropdown menu (see image below);
    Start the app you want to use the camera with eg Skype, and choose CamTwist as the camera (see image below).

How Preview settings in Lightroom Classic affect processing times

Lightroom Classic users know that there are five types of previews. The original four are Minimal, Embedded, Standard and 1:1. Then Smart Previews came along with the cloud based Lightroom. You also probably know that the time it takes to render 1:1 previews takes a lot longer than Standard and Smart versions. But you probably don’t know how much longer.

Here are some times for creating previews for 500 Nikon D850 Raw/NEF files using a 2017 iMac Pro with 3.2Ghz 8-core, 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD:

Import with Minimal Preview: 9 seconds
Rending Smart Previews 110 seconds
Render 1:1 Previews 471 seconds

So 1:1 Previews take almost 5 times longer than Smart Previews. About 1 second per file. One could argue that since Smart Previews allow you to edit with full functionality, there’s probably no benefit to use 1:1 previews anymore given the processing time penalty.

But what you may not know is the generally used Standard Preview has a setting that can also dramatically affect the processing time to generate previews. In the Catalog Settings, there is a Standard Preview Size. The default is an “auto” setting that Lightroom sets based on the resolution of the screen the software is running on. For an iMac Pro, that is a huge 5120 pixels for it’s 5K display. For a Retina MacBook Pro 13″, it is 3360 pixels.

Here are the times for generating standard previews for the 500 Nikon D850 files:

Standard Preview @ 5120px 219 seconds
Standard Preview @ 2880px 23 seconds
Standard Preview @ 2048px 19 seconds

The time required to render 5120 pixel previews is almost a whopping 10 times slower than ones at 2880 pixels, and Smart Previews take 5 times longer than the 2880 ones.

My takeaway is for my iMac Pro, set Standard Previews to 2048, and use Smart Previews instead of 1:1 Preview for the best compromise of speed versus detail.

 

Building a private DOH server with Pi-hole and DNS-Crypt

There are good reasons to have your own private secure DNS server, with the Pi-hole ad-blocker. If you want to setup a private server on your home’s network, you can have a read on why it’s a good idea, and how to do it via https://scotthelme.co.uk/securing-dns…. I didn’t want to have a box running on my home’s LAN so wanted a way to set up a DNS server on the Net that was accessible when I was at home or out and about. This only works well if you can get to the server securely, and that’s where the DNS over HTTPS protocol comes in. Here’s a guide on setting a DOH+Pi-Hole server up at the rent-a-host Digital Ocean:

1. DOH server on Digital Ocean with Pi-hole

2. Setting up MacOS client to use the DOH server

3. Setting up iOS client to use the DOH server

1. DOH server on Digital Ocean

I used this guide to set up a DOH server: https://www.bentasker.co.uk/…dns-over-https-server; I followed all the steps with these exceptions:

  • Stopped at the Adblock setup stage. Didn’t need this as I was going to use Pi-hole
  • Skipped the firewall rules as I’m going to use the Firewall at Digital Ocean
  • The instructions are a little fuzzy on setting up administration access to Pi-hole. You’ll need to get a LetsEncrypt https certificate for the Pi-hole admin virtual server.

2. Setting up MacOS client to use the DOH server

Follow the instructions at https://github.com/DNSCrypt/…macOS; to install a DNS-Crypt proxy that talks to the DOH server we set up at DO. I’ve configured it to use only the DOH server setup in step 1, and not use any of the publicly available DOH server.

Also install a little utility called dnscrypt-proxy-switcher that sits on the menu bar that allows you to switch between different DNS settings.

3. Setting up iOS client to use the DOH server

Install DNSCloak • Secure DNS client on iPhone and iPad. Then add your DOH server from step 1.

Fixing Using Apple Watch to Unlock Mac problems

Since 2013, compatible Macs can be conveniently unlocked with an Apple Watch. However, this feature sometimes suddenly stops working. There are web pages that have solutions, but these are no more than reprinting Apple’s support pages.

When my watch stopped unlocking, I was unable to reactivate it. The Mac displayed an error “unable to communicate with watch” error. The typical answer is toggle handoff, but I found that I fixed this by simply unchecking “Require Password…”. This then allowed me to activate Allow watch to unlock again.

Australian Grand Prix 2019

Selected photos from the GP. More photos here.

USB Transfer to iPads and iPhones from Nikon Z6/Z7 and Canon EOS-R/RP cameras

This should simplify photo backup and quick editing without the need for a laptop when travelling. Just two cables and a lightning to USB3 adapter will allow you to transfer JPEG and RAW to an iPad or iPhone. The 3rd generation iPad Pro uses USB-C connector so a dual ended USB-C cable like this one or this one is all you need. For iPhones and iPads other than the 3rd Gen, The Apple Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter is needed and a Super Speed 3.1 USB-A to USB-C cable to get the fastest transfer speed from cameras. If you use a USB-A to USB-C charging cable, transfers will only occur at USB 2.0 speeds which is woefully slow. I’ve also found that a USB-C female to Lightning adapters that you can find on Ebay doesn’t work for data transfers, requiring the Apple Camera Adapter and a USB-A cable.

These cables and adapter will work for both the Nikon Z6/Z7 and the Canon EOS-R/RP Mirrorless cameras as they both have USB-C connectors.

Use a small catalog to speed up import – Adobe Lightroom

Here’s a tip for my Lightroom friends. Was frustrated that my imports were taking too long – over 20 seconds to import a small number of images.
Decided to test it with an empty catalog and not unsurprisingly the import was nearly instant. So my workflow is now use a new catalog during an event and then import that into an archive catalog afterwards.

Nikon Z7 with 180-400mm Autofocus example

As a follow up to the Nikon Z7 with 500mm post, here are a few photos from covering the MotoGP in Australia. All photos are out of camera JPEG, shot with the Z7 and the 180-400mm zoom. Some are with and some without the 1.4 teleconverter flipped on. The lighting condition ranged from cloudy to spots of sun. Very windy, about 15 degrees celsius.
It’d be fair to say that the AF isn’t as fast to acquire the first frame as the D5 or D500, but it’s certainly capable enough to get sharp photos. It’s important to fill the AF area with the subject for the AF to work well.

Nikon Z7 with 500mm f/5.6E PF Autofocus example

Took the new “tiny” Nikkor 500mm f/5.6 PF lens with the Nikon Mirrorless Z 7 out for a run last night at the A-League opening match for the season. Lots of mixed autofocus posts and youtube reviews by bloggers so I wanted to see how it went in an event. The round 1 derby at Marvel Stadium is under artificial lights. Fairly even lighting but by no means bright. Normally a fast f/2.8 lens is the standard. More recently the zoom lenses like the 200-400mm and the 180-400mm are f/4, but a super-tele at f/5.6 is pushing it. But the lightweight and small 500mm is a game changer in bright conditions. And so too the equally small and light Z7. The combination would allow handholding and breakthrough portability. The challenge was to see how it would go in an indoor stadium.
The good news is that the AF worked fine. No difference to the D850, and the viewfinder brightness is so much better than the D850. Switching between the two, the clarity in the Z7’s viewfinder was in a different league.
Here’s an example sequence of 8 continuous images of @keisukehonda fighting with Kearyn Baccus shot at 1/800th @ f/5.6, ISO5000 – Autofocus setting Wide Small, AF-C Continuous, AF Lock On = 1, VR Off, High ISO NR High, Continuous High Extended, JPEG Fine*, JPEG Size Large.

1/800th @ ISO5000 f5.6 – Autofocus setting was Wide Small, AF-C, AF Lock On = 1, VR Off, High ISO NR High, Continuous High Extended, JPEG Fine*, JPEG Size Large

Nikon Z7 and Shuttersnitch – live backup full jpegs and NEF/Raw – beyond Snapbridge

The Nikon Z7 can send photos to an iPhone or iPad using the Nikon Snapbridge app. It can do this via Bluetooth as photos are taken, but only a low-resolution version. The app can also connect to the Z7 via Wifi and download full size jpeg images but this needs to be initiated from the smartphone, and you have to manually select the images to download. This isn’t suitable if you want to send full-size jpeg or Raw/NEF images to a smartphone for backup or for sharing as you shoot without having to select images manually from the smartphone.
However, the Shuttersnitch application allows you to send jpegs and Raw images to an iOS device automatically in real time. Here’s a step by step guide:
First, start a Wifi connection for connecting to smart device on the Z7. This sets up a wifi network in what Nikon calls Direct Mode.
Then on your iOS device choose the Z7 Wifi network and connect to it.

Start Shuttersnitch on your iOS device and in the Settings menu enable PTP/IP setting and set the host to 192.168.1.1. You can optionally enable Accept JPEGs only if you don’t want to RAW/NEF files sent to the iOS device.
Then select Import images from the Toolbar in Shutternsnitch

Then select “Z 7”

This will open a panel with thumbnails of photos on the Z 7. This will only happen the first time you set this up. After it’s set up all photos will be sent to Shutternsnitch automatically without having to select them.
This is the screen that shows after connecting the device after the setup. See the “Connected to Z 7” heading.

Ensuring a reliable and stable wifi connection usually requires you to change the power off delay timers from the default setting. Set the power timers so that the Z7 does not power down the wifi due to one of the timers expiring. Setting each timer to 5 minutes will ensure that the wifi connection is maintained while the camera is idle and you don’t need to keep tapping the shutter, menu or image review buttons.

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