The purpose of this article is to provide technical how to advice, as a starting point, for people who are looking to set up remote control of their DSLR.
The advantages of shooting with a tethered system are:
- Increased screen size.
- The ability to share real-time live view with clients.
- Increased functionality, including an interval timer, HDR, focus bracketing, and Wi-Fi pass-through.
- Increased distance from the camera, this may be helpful when shooting in adverse conditions.
Methodology & Equipment:
- A Canon 5DSr body was used for this article.
- The manufactures supplied cable was used tether the camera.
- The camera was controlled with the Samsung Galaxy S8 phone running the Android operating system.
- An app to control the DSLR.
- OTG “On The Go” cable and a USB cable. The OTG cable, or connector, allows the controlling device to act as a host.
Above USB 2.0 [left] and USB 3.0 [right] OTG cables / connectors
Above OTG Male Connection USB 2.0 [left] and USB 3.0 [right]
Above OTG Female Connection USB 3.0 [left] and USB 2.0 [right]
Above Canon connection cable
First a word of caution:
This article is specific to the equipment listed above. Chances are that if your DSLR came with a cable to connect the camera to a computer via USB it will be safe to tether it for remote control, but given the differences in devices this cannot be guaranteed. I strongly urge everyone to check with the manufacturer of their DSLR prior to attempting tethering to verify compatibility. Failure to do so could result in damage to the DSLR and/or the tethering device. If your goal is to place distance between yourself and the camera due to hazardous shooting environments, such as photograph the lightning, you will be safer using WiFi to remotely control the camera. WiFi set up and remote control of your DSLR will be covered in a separate article.
Select an app to control the DSLR, four popular apps are listed below.
- DSLR Controller.
- EOS Remote.
- Canon Camera Connect.
Install the app on the device you will use to control the DSLR.
Connect the compatible USB cable to your DSLR.
Connect the OTG cable to the USB cable.
Above Canon cable connected to the Canon DSLR
Power on your devices, the app should recognize the DSLR. Note: The app would only recognize the camera if both devices were on and the cable was plugged into the controlling device last.
Connect the OTG “On The Go” cable to the controlling device.
Above the finished setup, the cellphone is controlling the DSLR. The camera was focused on a package, visible on the cellphone.
Begin shooting and testing! Make sure that you thoroughly test all of the functions you intend to use prior to an important live shoot. Nobody wants to be troubleshooting equipment or software when money is on the line.
Below: are screenshot’s from the phone running DSLR Controller.
Above: screenshot showing focus [green box] and a RGB chart.
Above: screenshot showing options in the DSLR Controller app.
Above: additional options in the DSLR Controller app.
Analysis: Tethered remote control works well and can prove very valuable in specific situations. The process must be thoroughly tested prior to deployment field use.
Conclusion: Tethered remote control is another tool which can be utilized to increase productivity, functionality, and client input in the photography process. All of this can contribute to a better photography session and improved client satisfaction.