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Unfettered shooting: The newest dimension in camera freedom

Jan Stimel (photocyan)


Keywords: wireless, apps, settings, tethered, time, lapse, night, astro, remote, tablet

When we first discovered digital photography, it was an amazing feeling. Suddenly our pictures were freed from mechanical boundaries such as one film roll with more or less the same ISO, and a certain limited number of picturesyes indeed.

The fear of under and over exposures, poor focus or white balance issues captured “blind”  faded, as we were suddenly able to see the exposed picture immediately after the shot and then change the settings on the spot. And let us forget to mention the ability to delete to delete a picture or even apply some post-processing before we ever take our memory cards out of the camera.

It was a small miracle and great times discovering the new possibilities of that novel digital space. In today’s world, a similar revolution took place on a smaller scale. It was not as highly praised as the digital revolution, but it has given us a new way to take pictures by liberating the photographer from the camera. Just as the rear display freed the eye from the viewfinder and the digital image surpassed the abilities of the analog (film), this small revolution represents a new era of freedom for all photographers. I speak here about the ability to take pictures and configure your camera settings with a remote, portable device. This is true unfettered (unchained or shackled) shooting.

 

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Let’s have a look at some of the devices which are used today and and how to connect them to your camera. After that, I will introduce a personal favorite application, for remote control photography and conclude with some practical tips.

Nearly everyone has a smartphone or a tablet today, may be it an iPad from Apple, a Windows tablet from Microsoft or one of the devices with an Android system, such as Sony, Samsung, Acer, Toshiba and many, many more. They differ in size, color and technical specifications such as processor performance and speed, memory amount, disk space available, display resolution and quality. You can find them available for anything between 100 EUR (USD) and up to above 1000 EUR (USD) any budget level, coming with a plastic or an aluminum alloy housing or even decorated in platinum with Swarovski Crystal glass  is possible(just to name a few possibilities).

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12 comments

Joseph Edward Kolb Jr. (picturesofdogs) on September 22, 2014

Good article. I have the Nikon app and Dashboard on my tablet. Guess that's why I have problems connecting some times. Thanks for the info, joe

Jan Stimel (photocyan) on July 11, 2014

Hi Dieter, do you have an Android device? You can install the app from here https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.dslr.dashboard&hl=de

Ronald Whitney (CaptRonaldo) on May 22, 2014

Hi Jan, this is a very intriguing article. Are you aware of and have you experimented with any remote controlled systems that will pan the camera? Thank you, Ron

User on April 20, 2014

Hi Jan, Interesting article but I cannot find an app named DSLR Dashboard nor something similar. Regards Dieter

Jan Stimel (photocyan) on February 25, 2014

Hi George, there is an app called CamRanger in Amazon's app store.

George McLelland (georgemc) on February 23, 2014

Thank you for this Jan. Very interesting. Do you know if it works on an Amazon Kindle Fire HD?

Jan Stimel (photocyan) on February 15, 2014

Hi Bill, yes, there are indeed some apps for iPad as well, I have found "CamRanger" and "DSLR Camera Control iR" in the Apple store recently. They should be either for free or something like 3$ max.

User on February 15, 2014

if I understand you correctly, there is no iPad app yet. Or, if there is, what is it?

Jan Stimel (photocyan) on February 8, 2014

Hi Diane, there is no simple answer to this issue, I searched the DSLR Dashboard forum thoroughly and I would say that any camera except the D3x00 models gets a quite good support, because of the published SDK from Nikon. With Nikon´s SDK it is easier to locate an error in the communication between the app and the camera. I would say let´s give it a try. In case of a problem, other free apps (e.g. Helicon remote) offer a lot of similar functions as well.

Diane L. Simmons (coolmom42) on February 8, 2014

Awarded for her enthusiastic support of the community and exemplifying the Nikonian mission “Share, Learn and Inspire” Awarded for her in-depth knowledge and high level of skill in several areas.

Do you know exactly what Nikon cameras are compatible with the AF focus point positioning function? This app looks like a great tool! I'm often frustrated by trying to use the live view screen at a difficult angle or in bright light; having the tablet unfettered would help tremendously with those problems.

Jan Stimel (photocyan) on February 8, 2014

Thank You, Joe. I hope you´ll have fun :)

Joe Zamudio (cocavaak) on February 6, 2014

Intriguing article! I think I'll try one of these apps. Thanks.

G