Android App of the Week: DSLR Controller

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This may be the most useful app I’ve ever used.

Tablets are starting to become more popular, but at their heart, they’re slabs of screen for consuming media. It can take a surprising amount of effort to use one for media creation.

By the same token, us wannabe photogs are using our cameras for more and more. I actually use my Canon SLR more to shoot video these days than I do for photography. One of the biggest issues I have with video on an SLR is using the tiny screen when out in the field. I could use my laptop, but that’s a bit bulky, and the battery life isn’t great on my old Lappy.

If only there was a way for me to connect my SLR to my tablet…

And THAT’S what’s so exciting about DSLR Controller. You get nearly the same control interface on your tablet that you would get if you were to plug your Canon into a desktop. It’s kind of a perfect fit.

Take any Honeycomb (3.2) tablet with USB host and connect it. Flick on your camera, and the app takes over.

The control screen gives you access to shutter speeds, aperture, exposure controls, ISO, picture styles, drive mode, and more. It’s a pretty fantastic HD live view, and using it to zoom in on your subject to focus is supremely easy.

Once finished shooting, you have the option to review your pictures, though I wish there was a way to save pics and video directly to the tablet.

I was really impressed with the refresh rate on the app. When a camera is connected to a TV or monitor over HDMI, there’s an annoying lag, a fraction of a second delay. It can be a little distracting. The image coming off DSLR Controller seems to be much closer to real time.

And that’s the rub isn’t it.

A low-end field monitor for an SLR can run $400-$600 dollars, and wont give you options to control the camera directly from the screen. Now obviously a tablet won’t always be an ideal solution (and mounting it can sometimes be a problem), but if you’re already rocking a tablet, it’s kind of awesome. I’ve already used it to do a series of studio portraits, and we routinely use it on the web series we shoot.

The app is currently still in BETA, is exclusive to Canon cameras, and wont support all Android devices; but if you’re one of the lucky few with all the right pieces, it’s like peanut butter and chocolate. This is definitely the best $8 I’ve ever spent on an Android app.

DSLR Controller on the Android Market

2 Responses to "Android App of the Week: DSLR Controller"
  1. Great app, shame I have a Nikon and iPad!

    Would probably buy an android tablet too if they supported Nikon- at lease then the Tablet has additional uses whereas something like the Swivi only has one!

  2. Its kinda crazy to think a nexus 7 would provide canon users a seven inch 720p display for only $200. I’ve used this app now on several commercial and webseries sets. It’s been fantastically useful.