Everything is portable these days. Smartphones and tablets have only enhanced that.
Today I’m going to talk about all of the ways we can use these new mobile devices to enhance your Digital SLR shootings on the go. I will not be including any talks about the use of laptops since the interface is the same as desktop. Instead my focus will be primarily on Apple iOS and Android based operating systems and the hardware/software to go along with it.
Wired & Tethering Options
Lets start with our hard connected devices. Apple makes a ton of accessories that allow you to connect your camera, USB card reader, or SD card directly to any iPad or iPhone. The Apple Lightning to SD Camera Card Reader is just as straight forward as it sounds. It allows you to plug you camera’s SD card in and upload the photos directly to your camera roll. This is great because it does not use the battery of your camera but even with some of the fastest SD cards the download speeds using this adapter are pretty slow.
Next we’ll jump into Apple’s Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter. This adapter gives you a traditional USB-A style port along with the lightning port. (So you can continue to charge your device). This is a noticeably faster way to load your images to your iOS device but keep in mind you’re using your camera’s battery to help that transfer as well as losing the ability to shoot photos while it’s happening.
If you happen to shoot on micro SD cards with a standard SD card adapter (not recommended) you can simply enter that micro SD card into many Android devices. For example I use the Samsung Tab S2 tablet and I’ve downloaded content directly from GoPro using this technique quite a bit.
Tethering options have been around for a while when it comes to traditional computer tethering. These options are somewhat limited in the Apple’s iOS ecosystem.
Apple doesn’t allow the type of tethering that we’re used to but if you’d like you can shoot refer to the USB 3 Camera Adapter mentioned above for the quickest way to upload photos.
Android on the other hand offers much more. By downloading the app DSLRController you can tether to any supported android device and do a ton. DSLRController gives you full control over the camera including Aperture, Shutter Speeds, ISO, White Balance, and more. It also acts as a live screen with very little or no delay. There are however a few cables you’ll need to make this work.
Micro USB (or whichever your mobile device uses) to a female USB-A Adapter ($5)
Mini USB (or whichever came with your camera) to USB-A ($5)
I recommend that even if you have the cable your camera came with to invest in a longer one like the one linked above from Amazon. 6 Feet for five dollars. You’ll thank me later.
I’ve used the app on a number of occasions. I would say the most valuable part of this app is when you’re shooting video. I like to use prime lenses to shoot video with a shallow depth of field. So for me it’s important to know that I’m in focus and having a 9.7″ screen on a Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 really helps with that.
Welcome to 2017 where almost everything can be done wirelessly.
Well Digital SLRs in most cases are no exception. First thing you’ll want to find out is if your camera body has WiFi capabilities built in.
Here is a quick list:
Canon T6 Rebel
Canon T6i Rebel
Canon T6s Rebel
Canon T7i Rebel
Canon 5D Mark IV
If you don’t see your camera body here don’t worry, you’re not completely out of luck but fist let me focus on these bodies.
Canon and Nikon both have mobile apps for both iOS and Android operating systems that you can download for free. These apps will walk you through exactly how to pair you’re camera to that device. Once connected you have a ton of control over your camera including but not limited to Shutter Speed, Aperture, ISO, White Balance, and most importantly viewing the shots that you’ve taken and uploading them to your mobile device. iOS 10 even supports photos in RAW now making your editing even more precise. Don’t worry we’ll drive into editing tools soon as well.
I’ve found that pairing these devices after the initial pair isn’t as simple as it should be. This causes me to avoid using it much. I only find it worth the pain of re-pairing the device when I really want to share a photo in the moment.
Wireless Options for Bodies That Do Not Have Wireless Built In
As I mentioned earlier some bodies simply do not have wireless built in but that doesn’t completely cripple you from doing this thanks to our friends at EyeFi. EyeFi is an SD card with wireless capabilities built in, making any camera that shoots to SD cards now WiFi capable. EyeFi can send photos to any iOS, Android, or even desktop operating systems including raw files. Now you’re not going to get the controllability of the camera like you do when WiFi is built in but you can still view and transfer your photos very easily on the go. The one major drawback is the speeds aren’t incredibly fast and you cannot shoot with your camera while the photos are transferring.
Canon also has an add on wireless option via SD card known as their W-Ei WiFi Adapter. Keep in mind to use a system like this you need to have a dual slot cards like the Canon 7D MkII. Early reviews on this have not been good at all. I’m hearing that it’s very slow and really just not worth the hassle. I’d steer toward the EyeFi if you absolutely need that option.
Editing on the fly has become extremely simple and there are some great options to use out there. I personally use Adobe’s Creative Cloud. Subscription based softwares are becoming more popular and Adobe offers some pretty great options. For as little as $10 a month you can get going with Photoshop and Lightroom on your desktop and mobile devices.
Lightroom for iOS and Android is actually free to test out and edit photos. As someone who doesn’t do much re-touching and focuses more on exposure and color correction these apps are amazing for editing on the fly.
There are way too many apps out there to go through all of them. If you’re using one that you love leave a comment below and I’ll try it out for sure.