2: Tethered and wireless controlNext
Tablets for photographers: Versatile tools when shooting
Devin Coldewey | Published: Sep 26, 2013 at 13:14:00 UTC50
Not every photographer works with their camera in-hand. Imaginative shoots from high places or confined spaces require creative ways of manipulating controls, and a tablet or smartphone makes it a snap. We all love dials and buttons for hands-on shoots, but now and then a few taps of the finger make more sense.
Your cheapest option is a USB tether to your Android device. Get a nice, long cable (preferably coiled) and download one of these remote shooting apps: Helicon, for Nikon users, and DSLR Controller, for Canon. These will let you set up your shot and get a live preview of the camera's field of view.
iOS users, surprisingly, are largely left out in the cold for basic tethered shooting like this, although Olympus has a solid first-party app for its OM-D series and we cover some fancier options below. Canon's EOS Remote app only works with the 6D currently, but future Wi-Fi-equipped models will likely also be compatible.
Windows tablets, at least those running the full Pro version of Windows 8 and not RT, have the option of using each manufacturer's original software, although it's hard to recommend these clunky apps, especially when they're not designed with touch controls in mind. Nikon users (and Canon users with beta software) may want to try digiCamControl instead. If you're using a Surface Pro or Surface Pro 2 tablet, Lightroom users can use Adobe's built-in tethering, although it's a bit more involved than the others. If you're on another system, this list of apps at TetherTools may be helpful for finding something — anything — to allow your Sony, Leica, Pentax, or other camera to connect to some device or another.
If all you want to do is try a little creative shutter control and maybe put some distance between you and your camera body, the $70 ioShutterSLR cable and app has a wealth of options, like calendar-based intervalometer, motion-activated shutter release, and so on. It's comparable to the TriggerTrap, which we've placed in the next section now that it can be used wirelessly as well. We'll have a more comprehensive comparison of these two and other remote operation apps soon.
Even though more and more cameras are now supporting Wi-Fi out of the box, we're still seeing far more instant Facebook sharing options than serious wireless shutter release controls. There's a few options that are working well if your camera doesn't have adequate wireless capabilities built in:
Using a wireless app to inspect a few shots closely as they happen could save you hours in re-shoots or fixing things in post. A stray thread may be easy to clone-stamp out on your laptop, but what if that eye makeup is smeared in every shot, or there's a reflection of a Prius in the window during a "period" shoot?
Don't forget that it doesn't have to be you checking this stuff. A friend, assistant or producer can be double-checking your shots to make sure everything is straight. Well out of the way, a savvy helper can watch your peaks, call out missed focus and generally let you focus on composition.