Control Your Camera With A Smartphone

I recently purchased a Sony a7R III mirrorless camera. What I was delighted to discover is that I could use a smartphone as a camera remote control for my new Sony. More than just a wireless connection, smartphone camera controls change the way long exposures and multiple exposures are made.

Specifics vary by camera model, but with the a7R III, by downloading Sony’s free Play Memories Mobile app for Android, Windows and iOS phones, photographers can trigger the camera, adjust exposure (including changing exposure mode, white balance, self-timer, ISO, aperture and shutter speed). Best of all, though, is that the app enables you to see on the phone a live view straight from the camera’s sensor.

This makes selfies easier, of course, but it’s also invaluable for making adjustments in the scene without having to return to the camera to gauge your progress. You can move furniture in an interior photo, for instance, and watch the composition change without going back and forth to the camera. Or you can pose for a group photo and fire the shutter when everyone is in just the right place, even if you’re also in the photo. Or for shooting to composite, where every touch of the camera increases the post-processing challenge, being able to adjust the settings and shoot completely hands free is invaluable. This smartphone connectivity is bound to be baked into all cameras soon enough—it’s just too useful. It’s like having an assistant helping with the shoot, but it will never be late and it’s totally free.

To connect the phone to the camera, start by choosing “Control with Camera” from the connectivity menu. On the phone, open the Play Memories Mobile app and the home screen offers an option for connecting to the camera automatically. Choose whether you want to use NFC to connect the phone or you can choose to connect by scanning a QR code generated on the camera’s LCD. Scan it with the phone and, after okaying a couple of additional prompts, you’re looking at a live view of what your camera is seeing. That’s a powerful tool.

What about users of other camera systems? Fear not: You have the option to gain this smartphone control as well. An ideal choice for Canon and Nikon DSLRs is the Case Air Wireless from Tether Tools. Compatible with dozens of cameras, this $159 device mounts to the hot-shoe and connects to the camera’s USB micro or mini input to provide Wi-Fi control of the camera. Download the app to a smartphone and make exposure adjustments and get that live view of the sensor. The Case Air Wireless is compatible with Android and iOS smartphones, as well as Mac and Windows tablets and computers. Learn more at tethertools.com.

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