A couple of weeks ago Ikonoskop released firmware 1.27 (and 1.28 on March 3rd with bug fix for 24 and 30 fps metadata). This is a significant update in my opinion and as important as 1.24 was in March 2012.
A lot of whishes from users from all over the globe have been granted in this version. Let’s look at some major improvements.
1. Information Read-Out
Additionally in the viewfinder and side OLED, a constant information read-out for card number, take number, db setting and shutter angle. Especially the db setting is a crucial addition in my opinion. I’ve seen too many times that users weren’t aware of the fact that the camera wasn’t set at 0db.
Hopefully in the next version we’ll have this information read-out as an on and off switchable overlay in the HD-SDI out.
2. Sensor Tune
There’s now an on-board pixel mapping function to take care of ‘bad’ pixels. You already know ‘the camera loves you’, but it’s also a bit of a liar in this firmware. It says the camera should be cold when starting the sensor tuning, but that’s a mistake. The camera should be warm (let it warm up for about 20 to 30 minutes). The instructions in the user guide are correct.
3. New gamma curve for viewfinder and HD-SDI out
Cleaner, pretty accurate image in viewfinder and HD-SDI out. It’s time to start up tests, recording directly from the HD-SDI again.
A lot of the solarization we used to get in low light situations has been improved and the brightness is now pretty accurate and in line with the exposure of the raw material.
4. Black Level
As suspected, putting the black level back in the metadata has resolved the magenta issue in the shadows in the decoders that were suffering from this. Ikonoskop took the black level out of the metadata some while back, because some decoders seemed to lose details in the shadows because of the black level. So Ikonoskop decided to give that power of setting the black level to the user. Unfortunately, depending on the decoder that was used, a lot of users didn’t seem to be able to get rid of the magenta in the shadows this seemed to cause.
So, in my opinion, having the black level back in the metadata and having the level tweaked, is a major improvement for easiness of the post workflow.
If you’re transferring via the the ExpressCard Reader, make sure to have the new driver installed. Otherwise you’ll have the old metadata and thus magenta in the shadows. This also means you have a choice. If you want to work with the old metadata and don’t want to change all your LUT’s and grades again, just use the old driver.
5. False Colour Function
I’m pretty proud of this one. In January during a phone conversation with Peter Gustafsson, as we were discussing the new LUT for the gamma curve in the viewfinder and HD-SDI out, I got this idea that it might be handy and quick to have this kind of false colour function based on the LUT. A couple of weeks later, they already had it implemented in the beta version for 1.27.
You activate it by turning the step/select wheel on the left side down. Overexposed pixels become magenta, underexposed become green.
The on-board histogram is more accurate, but I understand that I’m quite alone in my love and trust for this read-out.