The Canon remote software for PC is great when you're indoors, but what about when you need to go out and about and don't want to lug around a laptop?
The handy CD that comes with your Canon DSLR isn’t just great for Ultimate Frisbee, it has some great tools onboard.Chief among them is the Remote Controller utility which lets you take photos from your laptop while your DSLR is connected via USB. This gives you the advantage of a much larger screen to view your pictures on (3 inches vs ~11-17 inches), and makes getting accurate focus during video much easier.
I have an expensive MacBook Pro which I’m uncomfortable taking out on field shoots. Knowing my luck some dog would pick it up and jump into the Auckland harbour with it (happened before with a smartphone and beagle).
I’ve looked online for dedicated field monitors. These have great screen quality and let you mirror your camera’s display (useful if you have Magic Lantern installed), but are very expensive (US$400 and above) and generally limited to its single purpose.
As with all problems life has to throw at you, this one is easily solved with an app: DSLR Controller for Android.
DSLR Controller lets you use your Android phone or tablet as an external electronic view finder. More than that it lets you take photos and video directly from the device, adjust aperture and ISO settings, and then downloads the images for you to review in the Android Gallery.
There’s a similar app for iPad, but it requires you to plug your DSLR into a computer which it then connects to over wifi. With DSLR Controller all you need is an Android device with USB host hardware (most non-HTC Honeycomb and above devices should work).
A full list of compatible Android devices and Canon cameras can be found here.
I’ve been using DSLR Controller for about a month, and think it’s an invaluable option. I don’t use it every time I go out and shoot, but for nighttime photography being able to view the image on a large bright screen is immensely empowering.
(USB Host cable to connect DSLR to tablet)
Right now you can buy DSLR Controller for US$7.99 (NZ$9.99) from the Android Play Store. The developers have said they will raise the price once a full version is released, but those who buy it before then will be able to upgrade for free.