DSLR Camera Remote 1.1An iPhone app that even a professional photographer could love.
Oct 12, 2009
By Dan Havlik
All of which makes onOne's DSLR Camera Remote app – which lets you control a camera remotely from an iPhone or an iPod Touch—such a pioneering program for photographers. Though it might not be as convenient as it first seems—you pretty much need to have your digital SLR tethered to a computer for it to work—it skips the iPhone's camera altogether and goes straight for your photographic workhorse. And now that the 1.1 version of DSLR Camera Remote has become available, that DSLR workhorse can be of both the Canon and Nikon varieties. (No word yet on the Olympus and Pentax versions but I wouldn't be surprised if they're in the works too.)
Unlike other iPhone apps though, DSLR Camera Remote isn't free or even cheap. It's goes for $19.99 though there is a "lite" version for $1.99 that can only remotely trigger the shutter of your DSLR via your iPhone. So what does the full 1.1 version do that's worth the extra $18? Quite a bit actually, and in a way that is intuitive and well organized for such a cramped little piece of software.
One small but nice improvement I noticed right away on Version 1.1 is that the "Fire" button, which trips the camera shutter, is larger and wedge-shaped and has been moved to the right side of the iPhone screen, allowing for easy pressing with your thumb. There's also a Big View mode that hides the control panel to give you a larger image preview. You can get a bigger LiveView look at what you're shooting just by turning the iPhone horizontally. Version 1.1 adds autofocus control in LiveView as well.
One of the most significant new features, at least for me, is that you can now trigger your DSLR's burst mode with the app. This can come in real handy if, for example, you're shooting nature photography remotely and want to capture a sequence of photos as an animal emerges from a hole. Sports photography applications abound as well.
Of course, since the app requires your camera be connected by USB to a laptop running the Remote Server software, with a wireless network handy, it's definitely not ideal, but it's a start.
If you want truer WiFi connectivity between the app and your camera you need to attach a wireless transmitter to your DSLR so it can still access the Remote Server software on your computer. In the case of Canon DSLRs, it needs to be the WFT-E4A transmitter.
Another nice addition is Auto Bracketing for helping you create an HDR image combining varying exposures. The main features though, such as being able to adjust ISO and shutter speed, are what you'll most use this app for. For others, simply being able to fire the camera from your iPhone is cool enough and if that's the case for you, by all means, save your money and go with the "lite" version. For geekier folks like me and a lot of photographers I know, $20 is worth it.
An important note though: as with any software, there will be some initial compatibility problems as new cameras come out. For instance, I wanted to try the app with the one Nikon camera I had lying around the office right now, the D3000, but it didn't work so I had to go with a Canon 50D instead. Check the onOne Web site, www.onone software.com/dslr, to make sure your camera is compatible before you purchase the app.
THE BOTTOM LINE
If you're looking for a "kewl" photography app to impress your friends with the funky shots you captured with your dinky iPhone camera, check the app store; there are dozens of free ones out there. But if you're looking for a "cool" app you can actually use with your professional camera, go straight for onOne's DSLR Camera Remote 1.1. It's worth the modest investment and is sure to impress your photo friends too.