Control your DSLR from your Android Tablet with DSLR Controller

The world is an ironic place. While the iPad’s ability to interact with MIDI devices over USB makes it a very nice accessory for music creation, its lack of APIs to access the USB Connection Kit in other ways makes it useless for a lot of things that computers can do. Android on the other hand is more open that way (despite not supporting MIDI devices), and that makes it capable of doing some nifty things over USB. One of those things is controlling a DSLR, and that features comes courtesy of an app called DSLR Controller.

While there are apps that can control DSLRs on iOS, you need a computer and a WiFi network to do so. The camera connects to the PC, and the software controls it via the PC. Not very practical. DSLR Controller on the other hand simply requires a supported camera and a USB port, which most Android devices have these days either directly or via an adapter. There’s a free app that lets you test compatibility with the camera (and Android device) by providing a stripped down shutter release-only version of the app. If that works, you’re good to go with the full version.

DSLR Controller gives you access to all the settings you’d normally see on your DSLR’s screen, such as ISO, shutter speed, aperture, white balance etc. It also shows you a live preview of the images if your camera has LiveView (not even sure if this works on non-LiveView cameras). There’s also a nifty zoom feature that zooms only the LiveView image, useful for ensuring good focus. Once you take a photo it will transfer to your device so you can review it on the entirety of your device’s screen, complete with pinch-to-zoom. Aside from the more obvious uses for this app, the ability to preview the image on up to 10.1-inch screens and zoom as you want is one of the most useful features of this app.

If that’s all you want to do and you otherwise want to use the camera as normal, there’s a mode for that where the app relinquishes control of the camera and simply stays connected. They you can run around and shoot as normal and still access the images quickly from within the app, compared to using a slower file management solution.

DSLR Controller is currently in Beta, though I had no issues with any aspect of it with my camera. Your mileage might vary, but this is still pretty far along. I can’t speak for professional photographers of course, but this should be able to replace a few awkward laptop setups with more portable solutions. It’s also useful for amateurs, and the price of entry ($8.50) puts even simple wired remotes to shame.

[Android Market]

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Andreas Ødegård

Andreas Ødegård is more interested in aftermarket (and user created) software and hardware than chasing the latest gadgets. His day job as a teacher keeps him interested in education tech and takes up most of his time.