Into the future – part 2

Into the future – part 2

In the last post we announced that we are indeed actively working on a new version of Sofortbild and why it’s taking us so long. Today we’ll share a few more details about that upcoming version.

Supported Cameras

As outlined in part 1 and elsewhere, Sofortbild relies on a component provided by Nikon to talk to cameras, called an SDK. Sofortbild can only support models for which Nikon provides that component. This means we will be able to support the following models going forward, as only those SDKs are compatible with OS X El Capitan:

ZURFRONT-FINAL-s

  • D3
  • D300/D300S
  • D3S/D3X
  • D4/D4S
  • D5*
  • D500
  • D5000/D5100/D5200/D5300/D5500
  • D600/D610
  • D700
  • D7000/D7100/D7200
  • D750
  • D800/D800E
  • D810/D810A
  • D90
  • Df
  • Nikon 1 V3

This also means that all other/older camera models are no longer supported, even if they used to work in earlier versions of Sofortbild. We are very sorry about this, but there’s simply no other possibility. Read on for potential workarounds.

We may be able to support future Nikon cameras as we did in the past. We’ll share details once new cameras and SDKs become available.

As we keep getting lots of requests: Nikon has never released an SDK for the D3xxx series, so it’s doubtful that this will change in the future. Most likely you’ll always need at least a D5xx series camera.

OS X Compatibility

imagesRight now Sofortbild does not at all work on OS X El Capitan, as of this writing the most recent version of the Mac operating system. Obviously our most important goal is to offer a solution for the latest and greatest OS.

Mac OS X updates have been available free of charge for a several years, and most Macs that were able to run Mac OS X Lion (v 10.8) are still able to run OS X El Capitan today.

These facts and our limited time for implementation and testing mean that going forward Sofortbild will require at least OS X El Capitan (v 10.11.x).

Workarounds

What to do if you can’t run the lastest Mac OS X or you have a camera that’s no longer supported in the upcoming version?

We will try to offer Sofortbild version 1.3.x as direct download, free for everyone. This version works all the way back to Mac OS X Leopard (v 10.6.x) and runs fine on older Macs.

This version will continue to use the old SDKs, so it supports all older camera models including the old legacy supported ones that are listed in the FAQs.

As long as you have a combination of older camera and older Mac, you will be good to go. However, if you have a fairly new camera, you’ll need a modern Mac and likewise, if you have a Mac running El Capitan you need one of the cameras listed above.

Next steps

We still have to figure out a number of things that are now broken since the move to El Capitan and 64-bit. Once most functionality is back, we will most likely do some kind of beta testing, as we don’t have access all supported hardware. We’ll share more details as that approaches.

There will be also at least one more post on the future version soon. Keep checking back…

 
 
* While Nikon has provided an SDK for the D5, it unfortunately is incomplete and does not work. We are hoping for an update soon.

Into the future – part 1

Into the future – part 1

A lot of you trying to use Sofortbild are suffering right now. Read on for some good news below…

Sofortbild hasn’t been updated in a long time. It does not support the Nikon cameras that have been released in the last 1+ years. Even more frustrating, it doesn’t work at all on OS X El Capitan. Let’s cover the latter part first, as this is the prerequisite for everything else.

When OS X El Capitan launched in fall of 2015, we had to learn that Sofortbild was no longer working – at all. The app launches fine and looks OK, but no camera shows up when you connect it. The problem is not in Sofortbild itself but in something called SDK (software development kit) that Nikon provides to developers like us to interact with their cameras. It’s a module that is included in Sofortbild.

We investigated, but basically there was no reasonable solution available to us. It would be technically possible to not use that SDK and go the long way by “talking” to the camera directly, but the extra effort required to implement that for each single camera is not an option for 2 people working on a fun project in their spare time.

Nikon, in their SDK, relied on older technology in Mac OS X to talk to cameras. Apple had pointed out that this technology would go away — and this year it indeed happened. Result was that all apps using that technology stopped working. Not just Sofortbild was hit by that change.

Many have written emails to support or tweeted telling us that their cameras are no longer showing up when running Sofortbild on El Capitan. Sorry if not each one of you has received a personal response from us! The situation was even more frustrating for us than it was for you, as weren’t able to fix the problem.

Our choices were to either discontinue Sofortbild immediately or wait for a while and hope for news from Nikon.

In mid December 2015, Nikon released a new SDK for a number of cameras that were now once again supposedly compatible with OS X El Capitan. While that new SDK looks almost unchanged at first glance, the changes needed on our side to support the new SDK are not exactly trivial.

Good news is that we have finally succeeded! Our own D7100 is working just fine in the tests we have done so far. And while we are by far not done with all changes needed, we are comfortable enough with what we have achieved to announce:

There will be a future for Sofortbild.

Please be patient, we still have to figure out many details, like issues with changes in the Mac App Store that prevented us from submitting a new version last time we tried. Watch this blog for more news soon…

Sofortbild and OS X El Capitan

As some of you have noticed and already told us, Sofortbild is currently not able to recognize connected cameras when running on OS X El Capitan, the latest operating system version recently released by Apple.

We are still investigating the problem in our limited spare time. Currently it looks like the problem is rooted in the Nikon SDKs that we are using to talk to the cameras. If that turns out to be the case, there’s not a lot we can do, except hoping that Nikon will release updated versions of the SDKs for all of their cameras. Given the history of Nikon however, this is not the most likely scenario.

For now the only workaround is to keep using Sofortbild on Yosemite, the previous version of OS X, or an even older version.

We will keep you updated as we learn more.

Recent Sofortbild download problems

A number of users have contacted us regarding problems downloading Sofortbild from the Mac App Store.

Unfortunately there’s nothing we can do. Apple hosts the Mac App Store and all app downloads. We’ve seen issues come and go with Sofortbild and other apps through the last few days, but by now most downloads seem to be working again, including Sofortbild.

If you experience problems, please retry downloading on the following day. If problems persist, please contact Apple support.

Sorry for the inconvenience!

Sofortbild-like solutions for iPad

We recently got a few requests for an iPad version of Sofortbild. Sadly, that’s not something we’ll be doing any time soon, partly because it’s technically impossible.

If you are looking to remotely control/inspect your DSLR with your iPad, there’s the wireless solution of CamRanger, a hardware box that tethers to your DSLR and offers a Wi-Fi to connect iPad to. Not a perfectly elegant solution IMHO, but it seems to work. CamRanger starts at around $300, but you’ll need some extras like a charger.

Also, just today I picked up the news on Manfrotto Director, a new tethered solution for DSLRs. It’s basically a rugged case for iPad that has a USB connector on the back. Seems to be slightly geared towards videographers, but still a cool piece of technology. Can’t find it on Manfrotto site yet, but Adorama has a preview page that lists a $500 price tag.

Please leave a comment if you know about other solutions, so we can augment the post.

Sofortbild 1.4 Beta 2 for D610

A new Sofortbild beta is out, this time adding support for the Nikon D610, in addition to what b1 had to offer. Please sign up on HockeyApp if you have a D610 and are willing to test. One or two more testers for D4s and Df wouldn’t hurt either. Thank you!

In the meantime, Nikon released their development kit for the D5500, but unfortunately it differs quite a lot from previous SDKs, so there’s no easy or quick way to integrate it. We are looking into possible solutions, but it’ll take a while. Sorry about that.

Nikon has also announced the brand-new D7200, but that isn’t even shipping yet, so no need to ask us for support. A software development kit for third parties might still be months out. Given the changes for the D5500, we have to assume that this one will also be very hard to support.

Sofortbild 1.4 Beta 1

Good news, finally! We have a first beta version of Sofortbild 1.4 available that supports a whole bunch of new camera models:

  • D810
  • D750
  • D5300
  • D4s
  • Df

Unfortunately the D610 slipped through for now and the SDK for the D5500 has just been released the other day, so that’s also still missing. A future beta will include those two. Thanks for your patience!

If you are willing to help us test and make sure that the above models work as expected, please sign up at HockeyApp now.

Finally, we have a shiny new Donation page. If you have been using Sofortbild for some time or want to encourage us to keep up the work, please consider donating a reasonable amount to the development of Sofortbild. Thank you very much in advance!

Support for new Nikon cameras coming…

Just a quick heads-up that we are indeed working on a new Sofortbild version that will include support for the following recent Nikon camera models: D4s, D810, D750, D610, D5300 and Df.

There’s no SDK from Nikon for the D5500 yet, so we can’t support it in Sofortbild.

Unfortunately we can’t specify a release date yet. We’ll post another update once we know more.

Sofortbild 1.3

After a very long delay, Sofortbild 1.3 is now available for download on the Mac App Store.
The changes:

  • Sofortbild is now compatible with the Mac OS X sandboxing security model. This major change is required by Apple for apps distributed on the Mac App Store.
  • Added support for D5200. This had been previously released as version 1.2.9 as direct download.
  • Fixed issues with D800(E) and D600. This had also been release as part of version 1.2.9.

The second major change is that Sofortbild moved into a new home. Stefan Hafeneger, the original developer of Sofortbild can no longer maintain the product. More on that transition later…

Sofortbild v1.2.9 fixes D800(E)/D600 issues and adds D5200 support

Sofortbild v1.2.9 is now available as download on the website. It finally fixes the D800(E)/D600 issue and also adds support for the D5200.

I am having some difficulties submitting the same version to the Mac App Store. That is why the version on the Mac App Store is older.

PS: I still get a lot of requests for D3X00 support. Nikon does not provide camera drivers for those models. As long as Sofortbild relies on these camera drivers, I won’t be able to add support for these models. Sorry about that.