Frequently Asked Questions
A whole lot. There’s a handy comparison chart on our campaign page that shows the benefits of Arsenal 2, but in case you missed it:
- New features: Deep Color, Crowd Control, Panorama, Night Assist
- Arsenal 2 Standard is 300% faster than Arsenal 1, and Arsenal 2 Pro is 500% faster
- Onboard Micro SD card slot for saving stacked images, timelapses, DeepColor photos
- Upgraded hardware
- New WiFi chip. The new chip is a big improvement both in speed, reliability, and with the new antenna configuration, range
- Arsenal 2 Pro adds USB-C Connectors and weather resistanceLast updated:
The list of supported cameras is about half-way down the Kickstarter page, or you can go here:
Arsenal 2 and Arsenal 2 Pro share all of the same software features. Arsenal 2 Pro has a USB-C connector allowing direct USB-C to USB-C connections between the camera and Arsenal (don't worry though, Pro also supports non USB-C cameras). Both Arsenal 2 and Arsenal 2 Pro are a significant performance advantage over Arsenal 1, but Pro brings an even faster processor, allowing for improved stacking speed, panorama stitching, and DeepColor processing.
If you will be taking Arsenal in more extreme conditions (especially where it might get splashed with salt water) then we would recommend Arsenal 2 Pro for the added weather resistant design.Last updated:
Due to limitations on the camera and/or the camera’s API capabilities, there are a few camera-specific limitations. They are:
- Fuji cameras do not support handheld mode
- See NightAssist FAQ for lens requirements
- Because Panorama shooting uses live view to show a preview, cameras that lock the shutter button when live view is on require pressing the + button in the app to take each photo.Last updated:
Lack of camera support is usually for one of two reasons:
1) API limitations. Arsenal 2 controls cameras over the camera’s USB tethering interface. While there is a standard for controlling cameras over USB (called PTP), it’s up to the cameras to decide which functions are provided over the USB API. Some cameras don’t provide the needed functionality over USB to allow it to work with Arsenal.
2) Demand. There’s quite a large cost in development, testing, and support for each camera we support. Older cameras especially have more support cost. Since we’re still a small team, we have to look at the demand when deciding which cameras to add. Also, adding a new camera from an already supported line is much easier than adding new lines or bands.
In addition to the older Sony cameras mentioned above, we did remove support for a handful of older cameras (usually 10+ years old) that had declining usage and slower performance.
That said, we’re adding support for new cameras all the time. And we base those decisions on feedback from you! If you want to register a vote go here (https://witharsenal.com/supported-cameras), enter your email on the right side of the screen, and then enter your camera info on the next page. We’ll keep you updated as we add new cameras in the future, and if we get enough votes for a camera we may add it to the campaign!Last updated:
On Arsenal 1, we supported most of the 1st and 2nd generation Sony Alpha series cameras. For Arsenal 2, we made the difficult decision to drop support for the A5000, A5100, A6000, A6300, A6500, A7, A7R, A7S, A7ii, A7Rii, and A7Sii. (The first and second gen firmware sony cameras)
To support them, Arsenal 1 connected to Sony's SmartRemote app running on the camera over WiFi, instead of the normal USB connection Arsenal uses. The USB API these Sony cameras provide does not support both being connected over USB and saving photos to the card (because reasons only Sony would know). Originally we planned to implement a work around to this issue to support USB connections, but this left the possibility of lost photos. After a lot of testing, it wasn’t something we felt comfortable shipping.
That left us with connecting over WiFi being the only option. While we were able to program Arsenal to connect, in the end, Sony’s SmartRemote app provided a poor experience (both onboarding and usage). It was both complicated to install and slower than the other supported cameras, and with Arsenal 2’s enhanced features that’s particularly challenging. In an effort to ensure a consistently excellent onboarding and usage experience with Arsenal 2 we’ve made the tough decision to remove support for these cameras.Last updated:
CrowdControl relies on moving objects having more variance than the background to eliminate moving objects from scenes. To remove objects, the background must be visible in at least 25% of the photos. CrowdControl lets you preview the final shot as shots are taken so you can press stop once everything is eliminated. However if the background isn’t visible enough in a certain area (for example someone never moves to reveal the background), CrowdControl will not be able to remove that object.Last updated:
Night photography pushes modern cameras to their limits. Due to the earth’s rotation, cameras/lenses need to be able to capture enough light in a short (less than 30 seconds usually) amount of time. Longer shots will result in stars showing up as lines.
Longer lenses usually need to let in more light to prevent stars from streaking (which will also negatively impact night focus). The chart below shows our recommendation for lenses and speed. NightAssist is designed for wide field night photography (large landscapes shot with wide angle lenses, for example full Milky Way shots), not deepsky photography (close ups on planets or nebulae, etc.).
Full Frame Cameras:
>50mm not recommended
Crop Sensor Cameras:
>35mm not recommendedLast updated:
The Micro SD slot onboard Arsenal will allow you to:
- Save stacked photos (Deep Color, Crowd Control, exposure bracketing, focus stacks, and long exposure stacks)
- Save timelapses as 1080p h264 videos
- Immediately make an extra backup of photos, for those single card slot cameras (cough Canon EOS R/RP, Nikon Z6/7 cough)
You don’t have to have a Micro SD onboard Arsenal if you aren’t using any of those features at that time.Last updated:
All stacked images will be sent to your phone as a JPG, or you can save the JPG and/or a 16-bit DNG file to Arsenal 2’s Micro SD card slot.Last updated:
No, this was an often requested feature with Arsenal 1. Unfortunately it adds a decent amount of cost. Since making Arsenal weather resistant is a common request, we added it on Arsenal 2 Pro. We’ve had Arsenal 2 in some wet situations and it’s held up fine so far, but we recommend keeping it dry. If you need a weather resistant device, we recommend upgrading to Arsenal 2 Pro.Last updated:
Yep, it’s a 1 year warranty. If you have any issues from normal use send it back and we’ll get you a new one. Legal stuff here: https://witharsenal.com/warrantyLast updated:
Short answer: Approximately four to five hours with typical use.
Long answer: Arsenal’s battery life depends a lot on environmental conditions, how you use it, and on which camera. If you’re doing a lot of stacking the battery will drain faster. If you will be shooting for more than four hours at a time, please plan on charging. To make that easier, Arsenal can be charged while in use through a micro USB-compatible battery pack (not included, but can be purchased as an accessory in the pledge manager).Last updated:
Arsenal lets you control your camera from any modern iOS or Android smartphone. Arsenal will support any iPhone or iPod Touch running iOS 12.0 or newer, and any Android phone running Oreo (8.0) or newer.Last updated:
Arsenal 2 doesn't need an internet connection to work in the field (except for sharing photos). The image database model is stored on the device.Last updated:
We currently only support phones for Arsenal’s mobile app. Some backers have used the mobile app on tablets and it works great, but that’s not the case on all tablets. As such, we can’t guarantee a good experience there and recommend you use Arsenal with a modern Android or iOS phone.Last updated:
Yes, since Arsenal 2 communicates with your iOS or Android smartphone, firmware upgrades can be loaded from the app. When new app versions or firmware is ready, the app will let you know and give you the option to update.Last updated:
We’ll be shipping out Arsenal 2 and Arsenal 2 Pros in June 2021. A limited number of backers will be selected to receive an Arsenal before then as part of our BETA program. We can’t guarantee everyone that applies will be selected, but you can email firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the list of potential testers.Last updated:
Yes, you can change your camera choice and associated USB cable and/or your shipping address any time before we lock for shipping.Last updated:
Our plan is that we’ll be importing in bulk to the US, EU, UK, CA, and AU, then using existing fulfillment partners with local warehouses. That means your rewards will arrive quick and easy once shipped. Backers will be responsible for any local sales/VAT/other taxes, but we’ll collect those in advance via the pledge manager to avoid any delays when shipping.Last updated:
We’ll be sending out emails with a link to our pledge manager after the Kickstarter campaign. In the pledge manager you’ll be able to add accessories and provide your address. For now all you need to do is pick a reward level and you’ll be able to purchase the accessories before Arsenal 2 ships.Last updated:
To use Arsenal 2 with a slider, you need to have the slider do the triggering via a dedicated trigger port. After each shot, Arsenal will pull in the photo, calculate and update settings for the next shot, and add the frame to the preview video. For cameras with a dedicated trigger port like most Canon, Nikon, and Fuji cameras, you’ll need to connect a trigger cable from your slider to the camera, then connect Arsenal 2 via USB.
For Sony cameras, most sliders trigger through the extra pins on the micro-usb connection, meaning you can still connect Arsenal over USB-C on the A7 series cameras.Last updated:
Arsenal 2 doesn't support flash. You can setup flash in the camera and when you trigger a shot from the Arsenal app in manual mode, it will trigger the flash. However, we don't have the ability to configure flash from the app and flash does not work with Arsenal’s AI mode.Last updated:
Short Version: Arsenal 1 required an internet connection after a mobile app update to upgrade firmware before connecting. With Arsenal 2, the firmware updates are now 200MB and get embedded in the mobile app, so you can update without the internet. Also, updates now take about three minutes.
Long Version: This is a really tricky problem to solve. Our new solution for Arsenal 2 has one down side (the app becomes about 230MB’s on your phone), but we believe it's the best option overall.
First a little bit about the problem. Being a small company, we’ve made the decision to require the firmware version must always match the app version. This makes it so we don’t have to test different combinations of versions (and keeps the code much simpler). This has become quite common with apps that connect to hardware (DJI for example does the same thing). The other option requires testing every combination of past versions with the latest.
Because of this constraint, we need a way to update the firmware anytime the mobile app updates. Unfortunately, on most phones, app updates happen automatically. With Arsenal 1, the best we could do was to require an update be downloaded over the internet when version numbers didn’t match.
Arsenal 2 will ship with a new firmware update system that decouples the large machine learning models from the firmware itself. This will allow you to always connect to your Arsenal after the mobile app updates, without needing to be connected to the internet. Firmware updates are smaller now and embedded in the app itself. The updates on Arsenal 2 usually take less than three minutes. The machine learning models, which are quite large, will be able to be downloaded in the background, and the firmware can run on old versions of the machine learning models if the internet is not available. This solves the issue of requiring internet after app updates, at the cost of a larger app bundle (~200MB’s).Last updated:
Arsenal 2’s hardware is a big improvement from Arsenal 1’s, with a faster CPU that helps Arsenal 2 perform 3x faster than the original Arsenal (and Arsenal 2 Pro is 5x faster!). That improved performance allows Arsenal 2 to execute more complex tasks while still enabling a great user experience. The new features in Arsenal 2 require that higher level of performance and simply wouldn’t work on the original Arsenal. See ‘What happens to Arsenal 1?’ for more info.Last updated:
We think the new features on Arsenal 2 are a very compelling reason to upgrade, but even if you don’t think you’ll use the new features, Arsenal 2 Standard is a huge improvement in performance, speed, and overall experience thanks to improved Wifi. Arsenal 2 Pro brings even more performance gains and weather sealing.
We will continue to support Arsenal 1, but a lot of what we learned from Arsenal 1 has gone into making Arsenal 2 a big improvement.
As a ‘Thank You’ to our Arsenal 1 backers, we’re including some early bird rewards to save you money. They’re significantly lower than the already discounted Kickstarter price, and since we’re only notifying our customers first when we launch the campaign, we expect the vast majority to be claimed by Arsenal 1 backers (we tried to do a previous-backers-only reward level, but we couldn’t do any sort of validation on Kickstarter).Last updated:
The original Arsenal will continue to be supported. We’ll patch it as needed when new operating system updates from iOS or Android require it, and address any bugs that come up. In addition, we still have a few features that we want to deliver for the original Arsenal, such as timelapse smoothing and some Android app upgrades.
We will be more focused on Arsenal 2 going forward. We’ve pushed the Arsenal 1 hardware about as far as it can go, and all of the new features and features on the roadmap require the newer hardware (specifically the onboard gpu). Since we’re seeing more megapixels on cameras, the new hardware is required to provide the needed experience on some of our new and upcoming features.Last updated:
Arsenal 2 has a handheld mode which you can start by holding the power button down for three seconds. In handheld mode you can hold the camera and shoot like you would when not using a tripod (without needing to use your phone).
On DSLR’s the handheld AI mode leaves the mirror down (so you can see out of the viewfinder). It constantly adjusts settings instead of changing them when you push the button on the app. The only limitation is you have to take a photo for Arsenal to compute some of the AI features and dynamic range. So if you change to a new scene, you might have to take a shot for it to recalculate.
On Mirrorless cameras, there’s a handheld mode that does all of the AI calculations and continually updates settings.Last updated:
Arsenal 2 Pro works with all of the same cameras as Arsenal 2, and has all of the same software features too. The added USB-C connectivity lets us do weather sealing and is also the latest USB standard, but it does not affect what cameras you can use Arsenal 2 Pro with (the USB-C connection is on the Arsenal side, and the other USB is specific to your camera).Last updated:
Manual focus lens can not be used for focus stacking, night focus, smart mode, and may have issues in holy grail timelapses (since they can not change aperture if needed, though if you shoot wide open on a fast enough lens it will usually work)Last updated:
Our ability to test adapters on every camera is limited, while Arsenal 2 does work with some adapters, they can run slower than native lenses. Unfortunately due to testing limitations and the amount of adapters, we can not guarantee support for lens adapters. See below for some of our latest test results.
Metabones (to Sony E)
Generally Metabones adapters do fairly well, with some performance degradation and slow autofocus that tends to miss more than with native glass.
The MC11 adapter is unreliable when used with Arsenal 2 and we do not recommend getting Arsenal 2 if you need to use the MC11 adapter.
LA-AE3 A-mount to E-mount adapter
The LA-AE3 adapter takes over for the autofocus functionality of the camera, and unfortunately the interface to control the adapters autofocus is not available over USB. We do not recommend using Arsenal 2 with the LA-AE3 adaptor and A-mount lenses.Last updated:
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