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Sony releases API to allow control of Wi-Fi-equipped digital cameras from smartphones

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The NEX-6 is one of eight API-compatible Sony cameras and camcorders. Sony promises to add more cameras in the future.

Although Sony already has a number of apps for its Wi-Fi-equipped cameras, the company announced that it is releasing the API  (Application Program Interface) for a limited number of its cameras. The program is designed to encourage the development of apps that will enable users to shoot and control still and video camera functions via Wi-Fi smartphones and tablets. 

Currently, eight Sony cameras are compatible with the Camera Remote API beta including the NEX-6, Nex-5R, the recently announced NEX-5T, DSC-QX100 DSC-QX10, HDR-MV1 movie video recorder as well as two Action Cam models. The listed NEX-series cameras need to be updated with the Play Memories Smart Remote Control app, v. 2.0 (slated to be released on September 26) and the HDR-AS15 Action Cam needs a software update before these four cameras are compatible with the API beta. Sony plans to add more cameras to this list in the future.

The JSON-based API is platform agnostic and Sony provides detailed information, development and reference guides, along with a sample app on the program site. You'll also find a developer's forum to share ideas and contact information for Sony. Note, however, that technical support is only available for U.S. and Japan-based developers. 

Let's hear from you: How should developers use Sony's API in new apps? What camera features would you like to control via your mobile?

Comments

Total comments: 40
Triboman
By Triboman (6 months ago)

This is a winning move by Sony. I hope for an app that will automatically geotag images as they are downloaded to phone or tablet. All available apps use the phone GPS to log location but require a laptop or desktop to add the metadata to the image. There must be a huge number of photographers that want location data but have an expesive camera like the nex 7 that is not fitted with GPS.

0 upvotes
roji11
By roji11 (8 months ago)

Something like
DSLR Dashboard or Helicon Remote would be fine.

What I want do with Nex6 or Nex5n is:

Live-View over Smartphone and Tablet
Control of aperture, time and focus
Timer (for timelaps)
HDR (with 5 pictures and control of settings)
Focus Stacking
GPS from Smartphone to Cam to Picture-Exif
and all above for jpg as for raw

Maybe a free with reduced capabilities and some money for the "professional" version.

That would be realy great.

Comment edited 42 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Dmarque
By Dmarque (8 months ago)

I'm a newby to the NEX-6 having just purchased one today. My question regards shooting videos of a golf swing using the V1 Pro Software App. I used this software on my iPhone and liked it very much. However, the iPhone was much too slow to capture the video through the impact zone with clarity. Can someone reassure me that I can use this same V1 Golf Software on my NEX-6? Thanks for any insight you can provide.

Dmarque

0 upvotes
HenkNL
By HenkNL (11 months ago)

Thanks, loraxseuss.

0 upvotes
loraxseuss
By loraxseuss (11 months ago)

http://blog.programmableweb.com/2013/09/10/new-sony-camera-remote-api-leaves-developers-wanting-more/

1 upvote
HenkNL
By HenkNL (11 months ago)

Can someone point me to a website/forum where this API or other Sony subjects are discussed ? I am looking for remote commands and camera's for physically disabled people (like me). This API could allow people like me to do photography myself again.

From the previous comments i gather that Panasonic has something like this. Can you point me to a place where that API is discussed ?

Many thanks,

Henk

0 upvotes
fishycomics
By fishycomics (11 months ago)

external power. in junction to the time lapse, maybe this time round all manual control, that limited control. always comes in parts

0 upvotes
chj
By chj (11 months ago)

cool, the lack of a fully articulated screen for selfies will probably be remedied with a smartphone app, my fishface is ready ;D

0 upvotes
dylanbarnhart
By dylanbarnhart (11 months ago)

This API will be what makes the Sony QX lens cameras successful. It allows apps, such as Instagram, to take pictures with the QX. If just 1% of the 130 million active Instagram users buy the QX, Sony would make over a million sales.

1 upvote
jennyrae
By jennyrae (11 months ago)

Samsung copying Sony again.

0 upvotes
Alex Lamba
By Alex Lamba (11 months ago)

Next would be welcome (NEX6) tethered control and camera operating also when charging battery....

0 upvotes
refusenik
By refusenik (11 months ago)

After looking at the API it's nothng to get too excited about, but at least it opens up opportunities for developing fancy remote triggering apps.

1 upvote
TommieH
By TommieH (11 months ago)

Well since the remote part is quite lacking i sort of disagree. The problem with the WIFI however is that the interface just isn't as fast as pushing a button on the camera and it requires an external device as well.

But with an app that do HDR where one can do 9 shots with the push of a button... well... i'm excited about that. :)

0 upvotes
photogeek
By photogeek (11 months ago)

How superhumanly fast can you press a button on the camera? WIFI reacts within milliseconds.

0 upvotes
MPA1
By MPA1 (11 months ago)

Isn't this what Panasonic already did with the GH3? I can see the VF images, use power zoom, change settings and so on all from my iPhone.

0 upvotes
areichow
By areichow (11 months ago)

It is, but the API isn't open. Sony's also had this on a handful of cameras for a while. Samsung does as well. AFAIK, Samsung was the first one. So far, Sony is the only one to provide API documentation for custom apps.

0 upvotes
MPA1
By MPA1 (11 months ago)

Hard to imagine what additional things anyone could want in the case of the Panasonic at least - the standard app covers anything I could want.

0 upvotes
ChrisSwiss
By ChrisSwiss (11 months ago)

Sony is leading the pack!

Comment edited 50 seconds after posting
3 upvotes
BelePhotography
By BelePhotography (11 months ago)

excellent sony!

1 upvote
abortabort
By abortabort (11 months ago)

This will make the new lens-camera thingys far more useful, by adding back the control and features that are currently missing. Being able to control the camera remotely (not just shutter trigger) will open up heaps of possibilities for Sony cameras.

2 upvotes
dark goob
By dark goob (11 months ago)

I'm beginning work on my app now. I can't tell you what it does yet, but let me say, you're gonna love this!

3 upvotes
didida do da do da do da
By didida do da do da do da (11 months ago)

good move, Sony!

2 upvotes
ProfHankD
By ProfHankD (11 months ago)

Canon has long made full tethered control available -- but through a sequence of mutually-incompatible SDKs as their cameras have evolved. Sony's just getting started on this, but at least this could be THE API for ALL wi-fi Sonys -- it's high-level enough to abstract across many OSes and cameras and new functionality without breaking. Now all we need is Sony enabling more controls and providing for camera scripting (which incidentally could be done via the same API if Sony wanted to)....

2 upvotes
Astrotripper
By Astrotripper (11 months ago)

Finally! I was expecting Samsung to do something like that for their Android based cameras, but Android is there just for show. But this is the real deal.

Unfortunately, it's far from being really useful. I had a quick look at the API, and there's not much you can do with it. Take a picture, start/stop movie recording and basic stuff like that. It looks very easy to use, thought.

I hope this is just a first step and we'll see this API grow with more advanced features.

1 upvote
beenthere
By beenthere (11 months ago)

Are you listening Nikon & Canon?

1 upvote
rrccad
By rrccad (11 months ago)

Canon's had it's full tethering SDK released for years. the fact that sony released a more open and easily programmable API is certainly a nice touch.

0 upvotes
dccdp
By dccdp (11 months ago)

This is great news. It may create a flexible ecosystem of devices that will allow us to better control the photographic activities. Think of controlling your camera directly from the smartphone or tablet, while integrating the camera app with postprocessing software. Use the big tablet/laptop screens as accurate viewfinders, manual focus controllers, etc. Control several cameras from the same device via wifi, combine the results.

It depends, of course on how flexible the API is, and on the number of features it provides. Still, Sony seems to go in the right direction, and I hope they'll continue to be as smart and innovative these latest news items seem to suggest. (The QX series launch being one of them)

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 4 minutes after posting
1 upvote
giornata
By giornata (11 months ago)

I'm hoping that this might lead to a focus stacking app, but a very quick glance through the documentation doesn't reveal any commands for controlling focus. But - it's beta. Perhaps more commands will be added.

0 upvotes
abortabort
By abortabort (11 months ago)

Wasn't there already a focus stacking app created by Sony? I seem to recall they announced one.

Oh wait I think that was one of the in camera apps - This is an API for remote controlling Sony cameras.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
giornata
By giornata (11 months ago)

Yes, one of the functions of Bracket Pro was to take three photos at different focus points. Focus stacking would require more than just three.

0 upvotes
Jogger
By Jogger (11 months ago)

Id like a Windows PC version of this so the cams can be used in a tethered type studio scenario.

Comment edited 26 seconds after posting
1 upvote
DaPonti
By DaPonti (11 months ago)

The API is platform agnostic, you can create an application for your computer.
You just need to connect to the WiFi network and call it using JSON over HTTP.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
TommieH
By TommieH (11 months ago)

An alternative would be to just use an Android emulator and off you go! Might be simpler. :)

0 upvotes
tecnoworld
By tecnoworld (11 months ago)

What's the difference with samsung app?

0 upvotes
ET2
By ET2 (11 months ago)

This API allows you to write your own PlayMemories type app (the app that is used to control the camera from your phone)

PlayMemories app is available only on IOS and Android, but this should make it possible for people to write app like that for any operating system.

Comment edited 12 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
tecnoworld
By tecnoworld (11 months ago)

Very interesting. Could you also manually change, eg, the lens focus remotely? If so, one can build a focus bracketing app.

0 upvotes
areichow
By areichow (11 months ago)

There's nothing in the API which would allow manual focus, which is disappointing. The API would allow an app to have a manual mode, which is something that neither Sony or Samsung's wifi apps currently allow.

0 upvotes
ET2
By ET2 (11 months ago)

This means Sony doesn't have write Windows phone app for QX100/QX10. Someone else will write it soon. Same for Linux and blackberry phone, and same for Windows and Mac desktop OS.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
alphacam
By alphacam (11 months ago)

lol nice DIY feature

1 upvote
Boerseuntjie
By Boerseuntjie (11 months ago)

A step forward for Sony, would like to control Shutter speed, aperture and ISO settings remotely on my NEX-6 not to mention touch focus via Xperia phone or Tablet
I love the time laps app from Sony and would like an HDR bracketing app.

Comment edited 11 seconds after posting
6 upvotes
Total comments: 40
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