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Author Topic: New depth of field calculator app (with tilt and focus stacking)  (Read 6805 times)

torger

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I'm myself shooting a tech camera, a Linhof Techno, using both plain focusing and tilting. So far I've been using my own custom table cards but as I'm almost always carrying a smartphone these days I've thought about using an app too. There's lots of DoF apps outh there, but I haven't really found anyone that had the feature set I'd like. If you want tilt support it's been bad, you'd need to have two apps and the tilt apps has always lacking wedge span height (the in-focus window) which I think is pretty crucial feature when deciding which f-stop to use.

So I've thought there must be a better way and I started to hack away at it a year ago (I'm an enthusiast photographer but make my living in software development), but the project was put on ice due to other more urgent things coming inbetween. Now I have however been able to finalize it and it's out on both Google Play and Apple's App Store:

App store:
https://itunes.apple.com/se/app/lumariver-depth-field-calculator/id1102190226?l=en&mt=8

...and Google Play:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.xarepo.lumariverdof

...but the home page is more fun where you can find a quick demo video, a full manual and an instruction video:
http://www.lumariver.com/#LumariverDoF

I've made a lot of free software in my days (the DCamProf camera profiling project the latest), but this is not one of them, actually at $9 it's one of the more expensive apps but I don't think anyone has put as much effort into a DoF calculator before. I calculated that it would need to sell about 5000 units to actually give the same income a regular paid software development work would do. It's pretty niche and if I get a tenth of that I'm pleased. Anyway it's something I wanted to have myself so I made it, and I hope at least few others will like it :-).

The design is centered around a set of interconnected scrollers, if you move one the others follow to fit. The diagrams are animated to match the scroller settings. Then you can lock each scroller so you can set your desired depth of field in the order you like. Scrollers may seem coarse in terms of precision but the values are auto-adjusted to always make an exact fit in the center row. The GUI can be quite compact and is designed to fit on an IPhone 5 / SE screen (which makes it fit on small Android phones too, like my own Z5 Compact). On larger phones or tables the GUI expands with larger diagrams, but the information stays the same.

The tilt screen is by necessity a bit more complex. I use tilt often myself so I have carefully designed it to support the real use cases a landscape photographer meet in the field. It's not only showing angles, which frankly I never use (except when actually measuring using the smartphone tilt sensor), it also shows the wedge span at infinity as mm on the sensor (or live view, or percentage of long/short side) so you can actually measure/estimate how much span you need for a particular scene directly on the live view (or ground glass in my case).

As I'm myself in addition to wide angles using a bit longer lenses there's often a great win to set the hinge distance below ground level and the app supports that use case too. All the workflows are described in the manual, but I'll answer questions here too of course.

Naturally it's very configurable, you can specify circle of confusion sizes of course, and have them related to pixel pitch or even airy disk or both at the same time if you like. It's also possible to define two CoCs, one "sharp" and one "soft" which you can toggle on the near or far limit or both, simply to make balanced tradeoffs in siutations you can't get enough DoF.

Oh, there's a focus stacking mode there too, as focus stacking has become increasingly popular in landscape photography. The aim with the app is to be a complete depth of field toolbox for the landscape and architecture photographer.
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Manoli

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Re: New depth of field calculator app (with tilt and focus stacking)
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2016, 04:34:09 am »

Many thanks, Anders -  didn't finish reading your post before hitting the buy button, much appreciated!
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dchew

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Re: New depth of field calculator app (with tilt and focus stacking)
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2016, 05:58:49 am »

BTW Torger, not only is this app great but the documentation is too. A 40 minute instruction video! Nice work.

Dave
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Bart_van_der_Wolf

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Re: New depth of field calculator app (with tilt and focus stacking)
« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2016, 11:03:59 am »

Hi Anders,

Congratulations with the project.

The App is not cheap, but useful. Too bad that the design is not for macro-lenses or very short focusing distances. I do understand the consequences of listing sensor to subject distances, the lens geometry is an unknown factor in that distance, and it's influence becomes bigger as the distances get smaller.

Unfortunately I've run into a bug on the Android version, both on my Android phone and my Android tablet. When editing the list of lenses, as I was adding the minimum focus distances, the updated entry sometimes overrides one or more previous entries. On my phone I now have 11 identical entries, and the details of the other lenses are lost. Which brings me to a request, the ability to save (and share between devices) the settings in a backup file of sorts. But the bug takes precendence in fixing, I wasted a lot of time and have to completely redo things.

Cheers,
Bart
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torger

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Re: New depth of field calculator app (with tilt and focus stacking)
« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2016, 02:04:25 pm »

Sorry for that Bart, I will investigate and fix that bug in the next update.

I won't make a macro version for now, but may be a future project as I'm not sure even macro capable apps exist?

Hi Anders,

Congratulations with the project.

The App is not cheap, but useful. Too bad that the design is not for macro-lenses or very short focusing distances. I do understand the consequences of listing sensor to subject distances, the lens geometry is an unknown factor in that distance, and it's influence becomes bigger as the distances get smaller.

Unfortunately I've run into a bug on the Android version, both on my Android phone and my Android tablet. When editing the list of lenses, as I was adding the minimum focus distances, the updated entry sometimes overrides one or more previous entries. On my phone I now have 11 identical entries, and the details of the other lenses are lost. Which brings me to a request, the ability to save (and share between devices) the settings in a backup file of sorts. But the bug takes precendence in fixing, I wasted a lot of time and have to completely redo things.

Cheers,
Bart
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torger

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Re: New depth of field calculator app (with tilt and focus stacking)
« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2016, 02:34:39 pm »

Sorry for that Bart, I will investigate and fix that bug in the next update.

Hmm... I don't manage to reproduce the bug. Do I understand correctly that when you update near limit on one lens, the whole lens data gets written into another lens? Say you have three lenses A B and C, and you update C and suddenly you got lenses A C C because B got overwritten?

While testing I discovered another bug though, that if you set a very short near limit the distance scale goes haywire (will block shorter near limits than 2x focal length to fix that), but I don't manage to break any config.

I would be very much helpful if you could in more detail describe how the bug is reproduced. I'll try some more in parallel though and see if I find something.
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Bart_van_der_Wolf

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Re: New depth of field calculator app (with tilt and focus stacking)
« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2016, 04:23:17 pm »

Hmm... I don't manage to reproduce the bug. Do I understand correctly that when you update near limit on one lens, the whole lens data gets written into another lens? Say you have three lenses A B and C, and you update C and suddenly you got lenses A C C because B got overwritten?

Yes, although on one occasion all 12 lenses got those same settings, on another occasion 4 of them got the same parameters (not in sequence but with some correct lenses and parameters in between), on another occasion only two lenses got the identical settings. I have yet to find a pattern, if there is one.

Quote
While testing I discovered another bug though, that if you set a very short near limit the distance scale goes haywire (will block shorter near limits than 2x focal length to fix that), but I don't manage to break any config.

Maybe it's somehow related.

Quote
I would be very much helpful if you could in more detail describe how the bug is reproduced. I'll try some more in parallel though and see if I find something.

That's the problem, it is not consistent, does not happen always, and manifests itself in different positions and number of duplicated lenses. And I managed to get 12 lenses in (also changing the order of some), until I started adding the (optional) minimum distances and things started going south (maybe a coincidence but it did happen on 2 machines). As I was updating 2 systems at the same time, somewhat in parallel, it only manifested itself during that last addition of minimum distances, on both my Phone and Tablet (Android OS version 6.0.1).

P.S. I just tried it on my tablet, that had 4 duplicated lenses and they were all good now. Until I changed the minimum distance of one lens, and now 6 duplicate lenses replaced the info from 5 previously good ones (see screenshots).

Cheers,
Bart
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torger

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Re: New depth of field calculator app (with tilt and focus stacking)
« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2016, 02:00:59 am »

Thanks for taking your time Bart. I will dig into it further. The next update will contain a possibility to export/import the settings so one can back it up too. I hope to get it out in the next two days, taking a bit longer for iOS as Apple's app store is not exactly fast in accepting updates (Google Play is almost instant).

EDIT: found a problem now when lenses are named the same. Probably something related to that. Although I don't think I've managed to exactly recreate your issue I'll change indexing code so those type of problems cannot occur and your issue will probably/hopefully disappear then. I'll report here when I've published an update in the stores.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2016, 03:50:07 am by torger »
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Bart_van_der_Wolf

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Re: New depth of field calculator app (with tilt and focus stacking)
« Reply #8 on: April 25, 2016, 04:14:31 am »

Thanks,

Looking forward to the update.

Cheers,
Bart
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torger

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Re: New depth of field calculator app (with tilt and focus stacking)
« Reply #9 on: April 25, 2016, 08:49:46 am »

Thanks,

Looking forward to the update.

Cheers,
Bart

The update (v1.0.3) is now out on Google Play (Android). I've submitted it to Apple's App Store (iOS) too but they have a manual review step so it can be hours to a few days before the update appears there. Your issue is hopefully history now, let me know if you still see any issues. In any case you can now export/import configuration via the clipboard to make backups and copy between devices. I didn't make any upload/download file creation etc as this is so far a minimum permission app, hence the clipboard is used for this, so you need to paste into some other app that can handle text documents and share between devices etc. I guess sometime into the future we'll have to make "cloud service" to store configurations... but not for now as it's quite much work.

If you're daring you can edit the exported configuration in a text editor to add new lenses etc on the computer, and then import, but I've not implemented any strong syntax checking (just that the JSON format is okay, not the data in the fields) so that's done on your own risk :-).
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Bart_van_der_Wolf

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Re: New depth of field calculator app (with tilt and focus stacking)
« Reply #10 on: April 25, 2016, 11:44:58 am »

The update (v1.0.3) is now out on Google Play (Android). I've submitted it to Apple's App Store (iOS) too but they have a manual review step so it can be hours to a few days before the update appears there. Your issue is hopefully history now, let me know if you still see any issues.

So far it's working without hick-ups.

Quote
In any case you can now export/import configuration via the clipboard to make backups and copy between devices. I didn't make any upload/download file creation etc as this is so far a minimum permission app, hence the clipboard is used for this, so you need to paste into some other app that can handle text documents and share between devices etc. I guess sometime into the future we'll have to make "cloud service" to store configurations... but not for now as it's quite much work.

I understand, but the main thing is that work doesn't have to be repeated for multiple devices, and a back up can be created, just in case. I copied the settings from one device to the other, and that seems to have worked as intended. I'll keep a copy of the settings on my dropbox account, so I can add them to other devices when the need presents itself. I understand that, if the application gets new features, I may have to update the backup version.

Quote
If you're daring you can edit the exported configuration in a text editor to add new lenses etc on the computer, and then import, but I've not implemented any strong syntax checking (just that the JSON format is okay, not the data in the fields) so that's done on your own risk :-).

It's good to have options.

Thanks for the quick fix (I hope it is fixed).

Cheers,
Bart
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torger

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Re: New depth of field calculator app (with tilt and focus stacking)
« Reply #11 on: April 25, 2016, 12:10:08 pm »

I understand that, if the application gets new features, I may have to update the backup version.

That should not be necessary, as new features just means new configuration values, and if you load an old configuration that lacks those values you get the defaults for those. It's important to structure the configuration that way as when people upgrade their apps (often done automatically) the configuration must not break. But of course if you actually change new configuration values from the default ones and want that to be stored in a backup a new copy must be made.
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Jack Hogan

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Re: New depth of field calculator app (with tilt and focus stacking)
« Reply #12 on: May 05, 2016, 04:10:15 am »

Torger, do we need to download the new version manually or will Android install it automatically?
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Bart_van_der_Wolf

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Re: New depth of field calculator app (with tilt and focus stacking)
« Reply #13 on: May 05, 2016, 04:38:53 am »

Torger, do we need to download the new version manually or will Android install it automatically?

Hi Jack,

When I checked the 'Play store' the update was listed as available. I usually do not allow automatic updating, for security reasons and to avoid updates not over WiFi.

Cheers,
Bart
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ccroft

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Re: New depth of field calculator app (with tilt and focus stacking)
« Reply #14 on: May 06, 2016, 10:46:59 pm »

Torger,

I just wanted to thank you for making this app. As a 'straight' DOF calculator I find it's far ahead of the few I've used. As a tilt tool.. nothing I've seen comes close.

I've been tilting lenses since about '75, but I've never had as good a mental picture of what's happening with the wedge as I do now, thanks to this app.

Thanks again, and thanks for all the updates!
Charles

Edit after posting: I still have some learning to do to make the app more useful to someone like me that doesn't really shoot to infinity that much. I learned something just now and deleted something I previously wrote that was incorrect.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2016, 11:18:59 pm by ccroft »
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torger

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Re: New depth of field calculator app (with tilt and focus stacking)
« Reply #15 on: May 10, 2016, 03:59:43 am »

As a developer of an app to google play / app store you can't control how users will update the app, so it's a user setting on the phone/tablet. I'm no expert on how various Android phones are configured but I think the default is that apps will sooner or later automatically update when connected to WiFi. It can be a while though, so if one wants to make an immediate update after a release has just become available one needs to manually go to the store window in Google Play and press update.
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torger

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Re: New depth of field calculator app (with tilt and focus stacking)
« Reply #16 on: May 10, 2016, 04:12:43 am »

Thanks for the kind words. I've tried to make something that didn't exist on the market, despite that there are something like 100 different depth of field calculators out there.

Personally I don't shoot that much into infinity either, as I spend quite much time shooting in forests. With plain DoF you don't need to pull the scrollers to infinity so it still makes sense. The tilt screen is more suited for open scenes though as the "DoF wedge" will naturally stretch into infinity. When I use tilt for close and intimate scenes like focusing on a patch on the ground I don't use the app but instead use a traditional tilt focusing technique with near and far point. I do shoot open scenes now and then though and then I find the app very useful as it allows me to quicker set an appropriate hinge distance and choose suitable f-stop. As I shoot a Linhof Techno with ground glass, the wide angles are so dim at the edges that it's very hard to use traditional tilt-peaking to set tilt for the hinge distance, so there the app is essential for me. Previously I used a table card which I still have with me should the phone be low on batteries.

Torger,

I just wanted to thank you for making this app. As a 'straight' DOF calculator I find it's far ahead of the few I've used. As a tilt tool.. nothing I've seen comes close.

I've been tilting lenses since about '75, but I've never had as good a mental picture of what's happening with the wedge as I do now, thanks to this app.

Thanks again, and thanks for all the updates!
Charles

Edit after posting: I still have some learning to do to make the app more useful to someone like me that doesn't really shoot to infinity that much. I learned something just now and deleted something I previously wrote that was incorrect.
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