By Jack Reznicki, Cr.Photog.Hon.M.Photog., API
Don’t you just love it when software does what you want it to do, even goes beyond your expectations, and is relatively inexpensive? The new remote DSLR app by onOne Software for the iPhone and the iPod Touch is just that. A $19.99 app that lets you not only fire and control the settings on your Canon EOS camera (and very soon your Nikon) remotely but is also simple and elegant, with some neat surprises. Like an easy to use intervalometer.
If you don’t want the extras, you can even get a simple version that fires your camera and reviews the images, for $1.99. Yes folks, no typo, just under 2 bucks.
You do need to have your camera tethered to a WiFi enabled laptop or even a small net top computer via USB cable for it to work. Once that’s done, you are set up on a private network connection directly to your camera. You pay for and download the app from the iTunes App Store, load it to your iPhone or iPod Touch. Then download and install the free DSLR Camera Remote Server software from the onOne website onto your computer, and off you go. Just remember to turn off your camera connection software, Canon Utility in my case, or the app will read “busy” when you go to connect. I was amazed and pleasantly surprised with how easy it was to install and have it running. None of the usual hair pulling.
On a recent shoot for the Toys R Us Special Needs Catalog, I set up a Canon EOS 5D Mark II at the ceiling of my studio to capture a bird’s eye view of my shoot. While the camera was tethered, I was not. I could go anywhere and either take a photo and see it come up on my handheld iPod Touch, or I could set it quickly to Live View and get a real time motion view of what the camera saw. I could watch from my office, which assistant was working and which was napping. At any point, I could hit the “fire” button and take a photo. Too dark? Wrong white balance setting? Well, at a touch on my iPod Touch I could change the exposure, the white balance, the shooting mode from manual to automatic, change the EV, the ISO, even the color space. No need to pull out a ladder and contort my head to look at the camera settings. Or worry about how it might look later, as I can see it as it captures. Think of the great possibilities of shooting from remote. Like photographing from a bird blind, self-portraits, interacting with a child on set or shooting from hard to be at places, like behind a basketball backboard.
You also have the option to record your image files to the computer or both the computer and your CF card. I love redundancy, so I shoot to both.
During my shoot, since I was shooting and couldn’t be in two places at once, taking photos of me taking photos, the solution was the built in intervalometer. The controls are very simple to set. You set the total number of shots you want and at what intervals you want the camera to fire. One shot an hour, one shot ever 2 seconds? I set up my camera to take a photo every 30 seconds. One shot every 30 seconds is 2 shots a minute, 60 minutes to an hour, equals, if I remember 5th grade math, 120 shots an hour, times 6 hours of shooting will yield 720 shots. So I set the controls to take 800 shots to be safe. I will later take all the images and make a Quicktime movie of the stills. Fun to see us all on the shoot, scurrying around like super fast ants.
It’s easy, it’s quick, it’s simple, and it’s fun. What a pleasant surprise. Can’t wait to see what other apps come down the pike.
Coming soon, an upgrade to the onOne DSLR Camera Remote will have this interface:
Cameras supported at this writing:
(* Indicates camera support for LiveView preview mode.)
Canon EOS 1D Mark II, 1Ds Mark II, 1D Mark II N
Rebel XT/350D/Kiss Digital N
Rebel XTi/400D/Kiss Digital X
Rebel Xsi*/450D*/Kiss X2*
Rebel XS*/1000D*/Kiss F*
5D Mark II*
1D Mark III*
1Ds Mark III*