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03-10-2008, 08:01 AM   #1
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Remote Assistant 3.5

I played a bit with tethered camera shooting Sat night using the latest Pentax Remote Assistant program.
It was easy to set up and I noted a few things I thought might be useful to share:

Connecting the camera to the laptop via USB instantly froze out all the on-camera controls, transfering control completely to the software on the computer. Except the mode dial. which did work on the camera and was not available on the computer.

PRA can control 2 cameras, put images from both in the same place and add the body identifier/number to the file names to distinguish which came from where. Also you can sync these cameras. Could be rather cool to collect a series of time lapse shots from 2 different angles/perspectives.

Can be set to a capture mode which uses a memory buffer. You can then peruse the images in the buffer and selectively save/delete.

There's no "Live View" available on the laptop screen, but you can select focus point and do an AF as many times as you'd like.

When saving an image to the Saved Images folder it takes a few seconds. The way it does it prevents use of Lightroom's autoimport from a monitored folder feature. Everytime I set that up, Lightroom would spy the file, immediately try to process it, find it was still locked and give up with an error "can't read file" or something. No big deal really and I would not probably use that feature anyway since the autoimport function can't be set to copy as DNG before importing.

I can see this tethered shooting program being useful in some situations, but without being able to compose on the computer or release the shutter at the camera, you'd be back-and-forthing it a lot.

--
dbh

03-10-2008, 08:52 AM   #2
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Sounds like it hasn't changed much and therefore completely unusable for what I want to tether for.
03-10-2008, 09:13 AM   #3
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Its called Remote Assistant

I believe you might want to sit your assistant at your computer to give you feedback about the shoot, cull the files and organize the good ones, possibly communicate with the client while the shoot is happening and receive feedback......

Look, even if you did have live view, you cant move the camera with the computer, so you still cant compose from the computer. If you've got the camera on a tripod in front of your set/backdrop it wont be moving....

P.S.
Try setting the mode dial on the camer to USER mode. Think that will afford you all of the settings and modes in the camera....

Have fun shooting.
03-10-2008, 09:22 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by dbh Quote
...without being able to compose on the computer or release the shutter at the camera, you'd be back-and-forthing it a lot.

--
dbh
K10D with it's latest version of Remote Assistant has camera shutter available when shooting tethered. If it's really not possible any more with 3.5 then that's certainly a change for the worse.

03-10-2008, 11:00 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by MJB DIGITAL Quote
Its called Remote Assistant

I believe you might want to sit your assistant at your computer to give you feedback about the shoot, cull the files and organize the good ones, possibly communicate with the client while the shoot is happening and receive feedback......

Look, even if you did have live view, you cant move the camera with the computer, so you still cant compose from the computer. If you've got the camera on a tripod in front of your set/backdrop it wont be moving....

P.S.
Try setting the mode dial on the camer to USER mode. Think that will afford you all of the settings and modes in the camera....

Have fun shooting.

Good tip about the USER mode, thanks.

Interesting how you know so much better than I whether or not I can move the camera with the computer. It's attached to a telescope. Which is on a drive. Which, guess what!, is moveable by computer. Focussable as well.

--
dbh
03-10-2008, 11:15 AM   #6
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My bad have fun.
03-10-2008, 11:40 AM   #7
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It's what I miss from my Canon, a decent remote shooting software. Live view on my laptop screen would be extremely useful, especially when shooting products for catalogs, or general macro photography.
Never mind, I'm still upgrading to a K20D soon.
03-10-2008, 11:57 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Philippos Quote
It's what I miss from my Canon, a decent remote shooting software. Live view on my laptop screen would be extremely useful, especially when shooting products for catalogs, or general macro photography.
Never mind, I'm still upgrading to a K20D soon.
I still think the program is very useful and can only get better as it evolves. The creativity of the users may be what drives its development. So many things I like about their DSLRs obviously derived from experience using the camera in the field.

One thing I want to try is using the video output of the K20D to drive a monitor and seeing if the camera's Live View shows up on it. If so, I could use the wired remote to trip the shutter and have a very basic remote assistant that doesn't even need a PC.

Another thing I'd like to try is wireless USB connectivity. Then I could stick on a weather-proof DA* lens and use it as a peregrine-cam.

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dbh - having fun

03-10-2008, 06:25 PM   #9
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OK I just tried it:
Plug the wired remote into the remote socket
Plug in the video cable into the video/pc socket and connect to TV monitor.
Put the K20D into Live View with the preview switch
Voila! The live image appears on the TV, complete with grid etc.
Compose, hit the shutter button on the remote, exposure is made and the live view returns.
This on the telescope will be a great way to go. If your laptop has video in you could use that instead of a TV for a remote view.
--
dbh - having more fun...
03-11-2008, 11:33 AM   #10
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So, have they extended the number of timed shots past 99 yet? I really want to use it for time-lapse photography, but only having 99 shots killed the deal for me.

!c
03-11-2008, 12:06 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by shutterdrone Quote
So, have they extended the number of timed shots past 99 yet? I really want to use it for time-lapse photography, but only having 99 shots killed the deal for me.

!c
Still 99 shots max unfortunately.
I'm wondering about potential command line arguments. If PRA made use of those you could make a batch file that called PRA to take the shot, renamed the image file, did whatever and exited. Then you could run this batch under a scheduler (aka crontab) for a totaly flexible and open-ended solution. But it hinges on PRA's ability to execute a single job via command line.
Sometimes running a program from a cmd prompt with -? -h -help etc gives you a list of arguments available. Don't have it here to test at the moment.

Failing that, you can write scripts that send keystrokes to an application. This can work as long as everything you wish to do with the application has a keystroke assignment, i.e. doable without touching the mouse. You could put the key code for shutter release (Control-S, Enter, Space, whatever it is) into a script which sends that code to a running instance of PRA. Then schedule the script file for every 5 minutes, starting whenever and ending whenever. Could work. If mouse clicking turns out to be required, there are automation utilities that will let you write scripts that will do that for you too. There may be more than one way to skin the err problem.

--
dbh - or Pentax could tweak their software a wee bit for us...
03-13-2008, 03:17 PM   #12
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I tried tethering my camera via the PC-USB connection to my Laptop (Running Vista) but the Remote Assistant software (v3.5) doesn't seem to recognize the camera. (tried with both my K20 and K10).

When I turn the camera on last after the PRA windows are visable the windows blink like they are trying to do something, but all controls remain grayed out and no camera information is listed.

I checked that the PC meets or exceeds all the stated min. requirements and the cable connection seems ok (Adobe auto-upload fires). The camera LCD panel displays "PC" when the connection is in place.

I tried re-installing the PRA software and also checked the Pentax site for any later versions but I have the latest they are offering. (True for the Lense database too.)

Is there any setting on the camera that I need to pay attention to in order to get this to work?

Thanks in advance for any help.

Signed
Dumb user in Florida
"Gee this seems harder than pushing chads on the voting ballots here!"
03-13-2008, 03:19 PM   #13
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Something tells me the Remote Assistant doesn't work with a K100D.
03-13-2008, 03:24 PM   #14
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Unfortunately, I've yet to get PRA working on my vista box. So, I guess it's a good thing my laptop still runs XP (much to my dismay...)

!c
03-13-2008, 03:34 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by shutterdrone Quote
Unfortunately, I've yet to get PRA working on my vista box. So, I guess it's a good thing my laptop still runs XP (much to my dismay...)

!c
Why would you want Vista on your computer? Unless, of course, you've got more than 4GB of RAM installed...
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