A couple of nights ago I saw this post on CanonRumors. I thought to myself… that’s so obvious! I filed the thought away after that, and planned to forget about it.
The next day I noticed a wave of news about updated remote-control software by a 3rd party (i.e. not Nikon). That got me thinking... clearly there is an SDK for Nikon cameras. How hard is it to get? I wondered.
Not hard at all. Basic form-filling skills is all you need. Last night I downloaded out the D700 SDK. Minutes later I had built the sample remote program and was pulling my D700’s strings over USB. That includes control of the Live View feed.
Good news: it is a viable video source. It’s fast enough, and the quality is sufficient.
Bad news: it’s a bit too low-quality to be really exciting. It’s roughly 30% below 480p resolution. The most unfortunate thing is they create the Live-View image by decimating the sensor data rather than downsampling it – as a result it aliases, moirés and looks terrible in low light.
That's it for the bad news though. The feed travels over the wire at 100fps (I measured), within which maybe 30fps' worth are unique frames. Each frame is basically a NEF embedded thumbnail, each one is a fully-formed high quality JPEG file. The result has the potential to look as good (or bad) as a DVD, roughly.
I spent about 4 hours total coding up a video software prototype from the SDK sample. Here are the preliminary results, shot this morning. I intended it to be a single short piece but my choice of codec for the prototype tied my hands a little bit.
D700 and Zeiss 2/100 Makro-Planar T* at f/4.
D700 and Zeiss 2/35 Distagon T* at f/2.8.
Next I will try to "productize" the software (which is to say, make it look usable by people-not-me) and pick a more convenient codec.
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