Smart Shooter FAQ

Smart Shooter

A Smart Shooter license is good for three different computers. It doesn’t matter what combination of Mac or Windows they are. They can deactivate any machine at any time as well, but they can only have 3 simultaneous activations.
Photos: When the camera takes a photo, it stores orientation in the EXIF data. When Smart Shooter loads or views the photo, it extracts this orientation information and uses it to auto-rotate the photo on screen. If a photo is not rotated correctly by Smart Shooter, it is most likely because the camera did not put the orientation in the EXIF data. For example on some Nikon cameras, the camera has a menu setting to enable/disable this called “Auto Image Rotation”. Live view: When Smart Shooter gets the live view image from the camera, this image does not have orientation information. So, Smart Shooter does not know what orientation to display the live view as. To get around this, Smart Shooter allows you to set the orientation for each camera you use. Then Smart Shooter shows a live view image from that camera, it will apply that rotation to it. To set this:
  1. Go to the “Cameras” tab
  2. Select and right-click the camera
  3. In the popup menu, select “Set Orientation”
Note: this camera orientation gets saved (along with camera name). So if you close and start the app again, it will still be set to that same orientation. If you physically go and re-position your camera, you then need to do “Set Orientation” again in the app to match it.
Smart Shooter is dependent on Microsoft .NET 4. This is supposed to be installed by default on all Windows computers, but sometimes is missing. If the application crashes during start up, this may be the cause. So if you see a crash like this, please download/install Microsoft .NET 4 from the Microsoft’s website: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=17718
If you are using Windows and encounter a hang with Smart Shooter, its very useful to send us the process dump from Task Manager, as this contains extra information about exactly why the application is stuck. First, start Task Manager. There are several ways of doing this:
  • On the keyboard, press the CTRL + LEFTSHIFT + ESC keys
  • On the keyboard, press the CTRL + ALT + DELETE keys to show the lock screen, and then click the “Start Task Manager” button
  • With the mouse, right-click the task bar and select “Start Task Manager
On Window 10, the Task Manager may initially look like this: If so, click “More details” at the bottom. The Task Manager window should now look like this: To start the process dump, find “Smart Shooter 3” in the list of processes, and then right-click it to bring up the context menu, which looks like this: In the context menu, select “Create dump file“. Once the process dump has been completed, the following acknowledge window will be presented. This also shows where the process dump file was saved, in this case to the file: C:\Users\francis\AppData\Local\Temp\SmartShooter3.DMP Once you have this process dump file, you can send it to us at the usual address support@tethertools.com. The file itself may be very large in size. If so, we can provide a place for you to upload the file to us.
Smart Shooter exposes an option for controlling where the photos are saved to, which is named Photo Download Directory. However if Smart Shooter has been purchased and downloaded from the Apple Mac App Store, then this option is disabled. This means that the Photo Download Directory cannot be changed. To get an app accepted on the Apple app store, it has to confirm to a set or requirements from Apple. One of these requirements imposes restrictions on the location where an app can read and write files. Effectively this restriction means that Smart Shooter can only save photos to the user’s “Pictures” folder. This is why the option to change this is disabled in Smart Shooter. If you have purchased from the Apple app store, but need to customise this option, then please contact us at support@tethertools.com. We can then allocate you a license, allowing you to download and use the version of Smart Shooter from our website, which does not have this restriction.
If you are using Mac OS X and encounter a crash with Smart Shooter, its very useful to send us the diagnostic report from Mac OS X, as this contains extra information about exactly why the application crashed.

If the application crashes, Mac OS X will prompt you with the following message:

Click the Report… button, and then the following “Problem Report” window is presented:

Then click the “Show Details” button, and the window is expanded to show full diagnostic information of the crash:

This is the information that you need to email to Support.

Select all the text in the “Problem Details and System Configuration” section, and then copy/paste it into an email and send it to us at the usual address support@tethertools.com.
One of the camera settings in Smart Shooter is for the camera’s program mode. As with other camera settings, the UI that the app presents is driven by information from the camera. The app will query the camera for each camera setting, to get the valid range of values, and whether or not each particular camera setting can be changed. For Program Mode, most cameras do not allow you to change this from software, hence why the app will disable the dropdown menu. This is usually because the Program Mode is a physical dial switch on the camera, so the only way to change it is to physically rotate that dial. Exceptions to this are the higher end cameras, such as Nikon D810, which do not have a dial on the camera but instead an electronic button. So for such cameras, Smart Shooter does allow you to change Program Mode in the app.
When Smart Shooter saves a new photo, it is able to dynamically generate the filename differently for each new photo. The way each new filename is generated can be controlled by an option called the ‘Filename expression’. This is located in the Options window, under the ‘Naming Policy’ tab. For detailed information on how to customise this, please visit the documentation at:
http://ssdocs.tethertools.com/user_guide-dev.html#a-file
When shooting in RAW + JPEG mode, its possible for Smart Shooter to only automatically download the JPEG images. This is done by setting the camera’s Storage mode to JPEG. For more information, read through the documentation here: http://ssdocs.tethertools.com/photo_download.html
When a new photo is taken, the location where it is stored is controlled by the ‘Storage’ camera setting. For more information on how this works, please refer to the documentation here: http://ssdocs.tethertools.com/photo_download.html
Smart Shooter does allow multiple cameras to be triggered with a single button click. However when triggering cameras this way, it introduces a delay of at least 150 milliseconds between each camera. This delay is unavoidable when triggering a camera over the USB connection, as the software has to communicate with each camera in sequence. So to trigger multiple cameras simultaneously, they need to be triggered by a different mechanism. This is possible using a dedicated cable release connected directly to each camera, or alternatively some kind of remote trigger. One such provider of camera triggering systems is Esper, with their product called TriggerBox https://www.esperhq.com/product/multi-camera-triggerbox/ Or alternatively Pocket Wizards also provide various products for triggering cameras, see: http://www.pocketwizard.com Of course, at the same time, the cameras can still be connected via USB to the computer, so that Smart Shooter can automatically download any new photos, and camera settings can be managed from a single place.
The computer’s USB system is the limiting factor for this, as each additional camera will use extra bandwidth and require extra CPU processing to maintain the connection. Normally between 20 to 30 cameras can be connected to a single computer. The Smart Shooter software does not impose a limit on the number of cameras, but with more than this the USB connection reliability becomes an issue. When connecting multiple cameras, try to use good quality powered USB hubs and cables. Also experiment with connecting to different USB ports on the computer itself as these can vary in performance. If the computer’s own USB ports are supected to be the limiting factor, then try installing a dedicated USB PCIExpress card into the computer. If you are unable to connect all the cameras to a single computer, then you need to use multiple computers and split the cameras between then. Smart Shooter GRID can then be used to coordinate and control the cameras across multiple computers.
Smart Shooter is dependent on the Microsoft WPD package (Windows Portable Devices). This comes as standard on most version of Windows 7 and above, except for special ‘N’ and ‘KN’ versions of Windows:
  • Windows 7 N and Windows 7 KN
  • Windows 8 N and Windows 8 KN
  • Windows 8.1 N and Windows 8.1 KN
  • Windows 10 N and Windows 10 KN
So to use Smart Shooter on this version of windows, the package needs to be installed manually. It can be downloaded from the Microsoft website here: Media Feature Pack for Windows 7 N with Service Pack 1 and Windows 7 KN with Service Pack 1 (KB968211)
http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=16546
Media Feature Pack for N and KN versions of Windows 8
 
 
Media Feature Pack for Windows 8.1 N and Windows 8.1 KN Editions
 
Media Feature Pack for N and KN versions of Windows 10
https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=48231
The version is shown in the ‘About Smart Shooter’ window.   To show this menu, click ‘Help’ in the top menu bar and then click ‘About Smart Shooter …’:
For this to be possible, the lens or camera body has to be able to electronically change focus (ie. have an autofocus option). If the lens focus can only be controlled manually, then there is no physical way for the computer to turn the lens! It needs the focus drive motor either built into the lens or on the camera body. Secondly the camera needs to support live view, which allows the computer to then control the focus motor. You can check the list of supported cameras to see if you camera supports live view. Once live view is enabled, then Smart Shooter is able to directly control the focus motor. For an autofocus lens, check that it is set to auto and not manual mode, otherwise the drive motor may be inactive. Having live view enabled is the only way that you can manually change the focus. There is a separate option to tell the camera to do its normal auto focus procedure, which can be done during both normal and live view operation. Smart Shooter has a button named ‘Auto Focus’ which triggers this.
f you need to report a problem about Smart Shooter, its very useful to send us the log files from the application, as these contains diagnostic information about how the software and cameras are behaving. There are two methods to do this.

Manually sending as an email attachment

This is the preferred method. Here you need to manually locate the log files, so that you can attach them to an email and send it to the usual address support@tethertools.com. There is a menu option in the application to help you with this:   On Windows the log files will be somewhere like:
C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Smart Shooter 4\smartshooter4_log.txt C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Smart Shooter 4\smartshooter4_prevlog.txt
On Mac the log file will be somewhere like:
/Users/username/Library/Application Support/Smart Shooter 4/smartshooter4_log.txt /Users/username/Library/Application Support/Smart Shooter 4/smartshooter4_prevlog.txt
First check the list of supported cameras here: https://www.tethertools.com/product/smart-shooter-4/#compatibility If you camera is supported, then check the following:
  • Try using a different USB cable to connect, and plug it in to a different USB port on the computer. If you are plugging the USB cable into an external USB hub, instead try connecting it directly to USB port on the computer.
  • Make sure the camera battery is charged up.
  • Try removing the memory card before connecting the camera. If the memory card has many photos, sometimes the computer will stay busy scanning them when you connect it, which delays Smart Shooter from being able to communicate with the camera.
  • Is there any other software running that may try and communicate with the camera? Such as Lightroom (which may try to import photos) or even Nikon or Canon software?
  • If you are using a dedicated external camera trigger (cable release or similar), try removing this. Such triggers can interfere with the connection if they are not working correctly.
  • If your camera supports WIFI, try disabling this as it may interfere with the USB connection.
  • Some older cameras have their own menu option for USB mode, such as the Nikon D300, which may be set to ‘PTP’, ‘Mass Storage’, PC Connection’. Try changing this setting and reconnecting.

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