Fire Your Camera from Your iPhone

by Miserere


DSLR Camera Remote by onOneSoftware company onOne Software (famous for having developed Genuine Fractals, an industry standard for image enlargement) have announced DSLR Camera Remote, an application for the iPhone and iPod Touch that will allow you to control your DSLR from a distance. Not only can you fire your camera, but with the Professional Edition you can control parameters such as shutter speed, ISO, white balance, etc. It even features an intervalometer and self-timer.

This is newthink. And it’s not coming from a camera company (although the consent and collaboration of the camera companies was required in order to develop and release this software). While the app. only works with Canon cameras at the moment, onOne are already working on a Nikon version.

Now before all you iPhone toting Cannonites rush to the iStore to iPurchase this iApp, let me break the bad news to you: Your camera needs to be connected to a WiFi-enabled computer. Bummer. To reap its full benefits, it also needs to feature Live View; if it doesn’t, you can still control the camera and its functions from afar, but you won’t be able to see on your screen what the camera is seeing in real time (but you can still review a shot after it’s taken).

Remember that article I published long ago…on Tuesday: The Time Has Come for a New DSLR Paradigm? Amongst many other things, I suggested the addition of WiFi capabilities to cameras: How about shooting tethered to a computer…only doing so without a physical tether? How about doing away with the computer and controlling the camera from your phone? Looks like onOne are one step ahead of me (feel free to laugh at the pun); it’s reassuring to find smart, imaginative people out there like onOne that are using newthink to come up with useful technology.

Is this “remote shooting” a gimmick? I don’t think so. I can imagine a few situations where I would use such a device: At a party, wedding, etc., set you camera up high on a tripod (looking down on the crowd). You could do this with a remote trigger, but with this application you would actually be able to see the scene on your phone screen and you wouldn’t just be guessing at the right moment to take the photo. How about shooting wildlife up close? Imagine setting your camera up in a tree to capture a bird’s nest. You would be hidden out of sight (and out of the tree!) so as not to frighten the bird while taking pictures very close to the nest. This could also work for larger wildlife, say deer coming to drink at a stream. No need to remortgage your house to buy a 600mm f/4 lens, just set up your camera somewhere safe pointing at the stream with a normal lens and monitor the stream from afar; when the frame looks nice, click!

Of course, many of these scenarios only work if the camera doesn’t have to be connected to a computer. This is not onOne’s fault and there is little they can do about it apart from suggesting to camera companies that they equip their cameras with WiFi. I can see a profitable niche market here for the first brave entrepreneur who develops a WiFi add-on for DSLRs.

I’m sure you can imagine other situations where this functionality would be useful. If so, write them in the comments! And if you shoot a brand other than Canon or Nikon, maybe you should write onOne and let them know you would purchase this application if it were available for your camera brand. Ditto if you use a BlackBerry instead of an iPhone. While the people at onOne have big imaginations, they can’t read your mind!


3 Responses to “Fire Your Camera from Your iPhone”

  1. I have seen sports illustrated photographer using remote controlled photography to do commercial shoots.

  2. what about this instead a wireless laptop:

    • The Eye-Fi is a neat idea, but that’s not what we need; not all of it, anyway. We need the camera to be able to communicate wirelessly with a laptop; using WiFi would require a router, which is not going to be available if you’re in the middle of the African savannah. This is where Bluetooth would come in handy, but I believe the range is too short. If the camera acted as a WiFi router allowing your computer or WiFi-enabled device to connect to it (as you would to the internet), then we’d be onto something. But I fear the power consumption would be too high.

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