USB and Macs never really got along oh so well in the first place.
Have you tethered thousands of captures with a updated mac, a canon and eos utility? Because I don't find USB to be anything other than stable and fast. Since Apple seems to be constantly limiting the amount of firewire ports on their computers, it seems that the days of firewire and apple are numbered, or at least limited.
Tethering can always be an issue.
I tethered Leaf to V-8. We learned it back to front (which was not easy) and it was bullet proof, though clunky, then V-10 came out with a lot of issues.
I moved to Phase solely to use C1 version 3 and except for the 400 images in a folder thing. no real issues ever with a p30, p30+, p21+ shooting many thousands of frames many pressured projects.
Once again we learned c-1 v3 front to back and I found it so reliable that nobody really had to man a tech station unless you needed to rename or review images with the client on the fly.
I routinely ran V3 to 24" I-macs connected to a 23" mac monitor. The client's saw the second monitor, the tech (if we used one) and I saw the I-mac.
Then V4 and well I lost interest with version 4 and moved to the 1ds3 and eos utility, running bridge in the background.
The only issue with usb and the macs was the usb was slow. Mac fixed that with a 10.5.8 update and I find eos utility very solid and secure and fast.
Recently we moved to V5.1.1 with the p30+ and the P21+ and it's back to never really knowing what's going to happen.
Since we're prepping for an upcoming project, yesterday we went through everything, on both capture machines, a new 2.8 ghz mackbook pro running 10.5.8. and our previous 2.5 ghz macbook pro running 10.5.8.
We took all the Contax bodies, lenses, finders, pocket wizards, everything that has an electrical connection and polished the contacts like a jewel thief prepping the Hope diamond for a quick sale.
This time got good results with the p21+, running either small IQ or Large IQ (almost identical speed), spotty results with the p30+. 10' cord, 30' cord we get the same results and yes we have both backs set to battery power and yes all batteries, camera and back are fully charged.
Just to make sure it was not the cords, the backs, the batteries, etc. we pulled out the two white 24" Imacs we use to use with v3.78 and the backs ran flawlessly with version 3. As good as eos utility and the 1ds3's which for capturing I find to be the gold standard.
Anyway, with the p21+ and version 5.1.1 we now have stable results, EXCEPT that it fires so fast that we are constantly 8 frames ahead of the previews and it's not like the previews keep popping up 8 frames back, they just sit there on one preview while the thumbnails load.
Stop shooting and the large preview finally goes to the last frame, but the 8 to 10 previous ones are bypassed, so you have to stop and scroll through them for client review. The p21+ shoots so fast, with 5.1.1 after the first frame, the client sees nothing until you stop and then it goes to the last frame.
Talk about a perplexed A.D.
The thing I don't get is this. We can go project to project, fly in late from LA to NY, set up, pre light, plug in a Canon to the powerbook and without touching, cleaning, massaging a thing it always works.
With the Phase backs and the contax, we have to take everything apart, clean all the contacts, tape in all the connectors, make sure the cables never get a twist pray that nothing glitches, UNLESS we decide to run version 3 on the Imacs then we're back to solid.
So my view is yes, we do need a simplified version for tethering. Actually we had that with c1 version 3, have that with EOS utility, but V4/5 is a much more complicated and different process.
Though I am loathe to purchase any new expensive cameras, I would love to see how Phocus and the HD40 performs in the scenarios that I work.
Not just IMO, just in my everyday use.
P.S. One fashion A.D. I worked with knew C-1 v.3 as well if not better than any tech we've employed. She could sit down in front of the machine during a change of sessions, or a break, rename, organize, even check focus and have her selects moved to a folder so by the end of the day she had no editing to do. With V4/5 she just shakes her head, especially for renaming. For her we have moved back to the Imacs and V3, or shoot with the Canons and let her edit in bridge.
EDIT; On the top menu in the c1 browser their is a camera setting for viewing and you must drag down the menu for immediate preview. Then you get fast previews.
I stand corrected on this point. It's still a very heavy program.