In a years time you’ll be able to use your iPhone as a wireless viewfinder, review photos instantly on your iPad’s retina display and control your shutter in some pretty crazy ways. Lately we’ve been seeing an influx of developments and ‘appcessories’ that should let you pair your SLR directly with your iPhone (or your Android) that will change the way you take photos!
No one has yet cracked the perfect camera companion, but here are three major developments that we’ll no doubt be seeing a lot more of in the future.
WiFi on your camera
Nikon’s launch of the D3200 with WiFi capability signals the start of a WiFi trend in SLR cameras. WiFi’s been seen before in a few point and shoot cameras but only for easy photo sharing. Now that WiFi’s entering the SLR market though we’re starting to see some of the incredible things that will be possible.
Most notable is an app for Android and iOS that Nikon are releasing called Wireless Mobile Adapter Utility. Nikon note that you’ll be able to wirelessly transfer photos from your camera to your phone, not only expanding your storage space but also allowing you to instantly review photos on your phone’s larger, richer screen.
The app also has a remote shooting function allowing you to wirelessly control your camera, adjust settings and set up automatic shooting intervals via your phone. This is big news for anyone who’s ever spent big money for an intervalometer.
There’s one fundamental drawback with WiFi though – you need to be in a wireless network. I don’t know a single alpine field with a WiFi network which severely limits the use of a phone intervalometer. Time lapses and custom bulb photographs will have to be shots taken from your home’s window because as soon as you step out of your house your phone will revert to being a phone. The big market for WiFi will be home and studio photography.
The Retina Viewfinder
This is my dream. I want to be able to use my retina iPad as an external monitor to instantly review photos in full print quality. I’m pleased to say this is now very much possible!
The breakthrough is the EyeFi SD card with WiFi connectivity. They cost a fair bit more than standard SD cards (A 4gb card will set you back $40) but the cards allow you to connect directly to a device without the need for a network.
This card, combined with EyeFi’s iPad app, allows you to stream photos directly to your iPad for instant retina reviewing. This means whether you’re in a studio, out at a wedding or even on top of a mountain you’ll be able to view your photos instantly on a rich display.
There are a few limitations with EyeFi. Unlike Nikon’s setup, EyeFi won’t let you use your camera as a viewfinder and it won’t let you control the camera or set up custom shutter actions. If you’re looking for a simple way to tether your camera with your iPad or iPhone though then this is the best and easiest way! Here’s a great video from Fstoppers outlining the setup.
Trigger happy is a really extensive remote and intervalometer for your camera that works on a broad range of models and can be used absolutely anywhere. Great recipe! It was linked to me a few weeks ago on Kickstarter and I instantly backed it. It’s an awesome idea – you can use your phone to control your shutter in every way from standard bulb shutters to automatic time lapse HDRs. These guys have really highlighted what’s possible when a phone is paired with a camera.
Currently Trigger Happy only works via a cable and the audio jack but the team is looking into a wireless version. WiFi may be part of the answer, albeit it could require you to be in a wireless network to pair the two devices.
The big strength of Trigger Happy though is the price. When standard remote shutters can cost you over $60, Trigger Happy is offering you a really extensive intervalometer for just $50, so hurry up and back them!
The Perfect Combination
Here’s what I want: I want a camera with built in WiFi that can tether directly with my iPad like EyeFi’s card. But I want to be able to use my device as a viewfinder like Nikon’s system, change settings and take automated photos like Trigger Happy’s device.
Ultimately I feel this sort of app will have to come from the camera manufacturer. You may need a Canon app or Nikon app so that you receive the full functionality. This is drastically overdue though. Your computer already has this exact kind of support! Canon’s EOS Utility computer app lets you peek through your camera, change settings and take photos. Make a camera with WiFi, build a great iOS and Android app and I’ll snap it up in a second.
And then pay me royalties.
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