How To Video
Control a dSLR camera with your Android deviceAugment your Canon camera with an Android app that offers advantages like better focus, time-lapse, and even the ability to share photos the moment they're shot. Sharon Vaknin shows you how.
One of the best parts about owning a dSLR camera is the fun you can have by augmenting it with accessories and one of the most useful accessories is probably something you already own, an Android device. When you pair a dSLR and an Android, your shooting options grow and you can do things your camera can't do on its own. For starters, you get a big screen look at the viewfinder, helpful for checking focus and composition. And when you're shooting, those photos can be reviewed and even shared right away through your phone. There are other useful features too, like a tool for timelapse and HDR. This is definitely geared towards photography enthusiasts, but anyone with a dSLR camera and an Android device will geek out over this. Here's how the setup looks. You'll need the dSLR Controller app installed on your phone. To find out if it's compatible with your devices, you can either look it up on the developer's website or download the Remote Release app. If Remote Release works, dSLR Controller will work too. If you're good on that front, connect a USB On-The-Go adapter to your phone which you can find for a few bucks online. Now, into that goes your camera's USB cable, and finally, switch on that camera. If everything is right, dSLR Controller launches and you'll see the live viewfinder show up on your phone's screen. Now, let's dig into some of the features that make dSLR Controller awesome. For starters, any controls you normally have on your camera are available here on the side. You can fine tune the focus with manual focus, adjust the white balance, add a grid to guide a certain ratio or follow the rule of thirds and you'll see the battery indicator along with the photo count at the bottom. Just note that obviously the features you see here correspond to whatever shooting mode you're in. The app really works best when you're in Manual, Aperture Priority, or Shutter Priority. Once you've tweaked those settings to your liking, take a photo by tapping to focus and hit this shutter button on the right. There's a little latency, but that's to be expected with this setup. At any point, you can view the photos you shot by tapping the play button here. If you launch these settings menu, you'll see even more tools and options, ones that aren't available on your camera. For instance, you can set up a timelapse. Usually, you'd need an intervalometer to do that, but here, it's built right into that. You also have automatic HDR along with the mode for focus stacking. But my favorite feature is one that takes this whole setup to the next level, Wi-Fi Passthrough. I can connect this phone to another phone or tablet wirelessly so I can move around freely. It's great if you really need to get some distance away from the camera for those self-portraits or maybe a photo booth or if you're in a shoot and want an easy way to show your client's photos. To do it, install dSLR Controller on the second device then connect both the devices to the same Wi-Fi network. Now, on the wired device, head to settings and open this Wi-Fi Passthrough option, launch the app on the tablet and a few seconds later, you've got a wireless remote. And as you can see, you have access to all the same controls available on the wired device. If you end up using the setup often, you might wanna consider mounting your phone to the camera or the tripod somehow and don't forget to bring extra batteries for your camera and for your phone. For more tips on how to use dSLR Controller, check out my blog at howto.cnet.com. And as always, if you have any questions, hit me up on twitter. For CNET, I'm Sharon Vaknin.