Is anyone aware of an inexpensive, self-contained dongle that can simply be plugged into a common USB port on the newer DSLRs that provides two-way connectivity, say with an Android or iPad tablet or with a laptop?
At the moment, I don't care whether it's BlueTooth or WiFi wireless LAN.
The two-way connectivity is important here. I'd like to be able to transmit LiveView and current settings on the camera to the Android/iOS device or a PC/Mac and I'd also like to be able to send commands (shutter release and settings) in the other direction.
There is inexpensive software out there to support this functionality, but all implementations I've seen require it to be hard-wired to the camera via a USB port. -- Regards, Joseph V. Morris
Thanks, that's the kind of thing I'm looking for -- just two problems. 1) the price, and 2) the necessity of a device that starts off with a lower case "i".
Actually, after watching the video with the camranger, I may actually already have a solution, but I won't know for sure until I get the D7000.
It sort of got glossed over in the interview, but I think the roughly $300 bit of hardware in most of these products is little more than a portable IP access point. I have a portable Zonet 802.11n Portable AP/router that draws its power via USB from a device/camera and (depending on what else the USB might be usable for) that may solve the problem nicely. I think most of the software is actually in the app on either the PC on smartphone, not in that little doo-hickey. Shall see shortly. -- Regards, Joseph V. Morris
Incidentally, THE KID managed to identify two other products. All have the dongle thingy, all cost about $300, and all are primarily reliant in their original implementation on iPads, iPods, iPhones.
Interestingly, the software that all of them require looks amazingly similar from one product to another. And it all looks very much like the software used by Helicon Remote for wired connection.
Helicon Remote is of interest to me because I already use Helicon Filter and am thinking of getting Helicon Focus. Now, if I could just talk Helicon Software into adding Wi-Fi, BlueTooth functionality to the existing USB I/O! -- Regards, Joseph V. Morris
You mean a wired connection? Sure, that's what I can currently do with Helicon Remote. Use a short USB cable if I'm operating from close in or a long one (up to 50 feet, I think) if I want some serious stand-off.
But with Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. No cable required. Bluetooth will give you up to 30 feet; Wi-Fi would give you up to 300 feet (under optimal conditions). And some of the available software can also work with select motorized point-tilt-zoom (PTZ) setups.
Let me amend that -- it's what I'll be able do when the D7000 finally arrives! -- Regards, Joseph V. Morris
Well, this is interesting! I was talking to THE KID last night after you posted and he said he'd seen exactly such a dongle at the local (and last remaining) pro camera shop. He said what he was shown only worked on Nikons, but he failed to get any more information on it. Sounds like a call or visit to the shop is in order shortly. -- Regards, Joseph V. Morris
Yes, as far as still photos are concerned, this is exactly why I would find a wireless solution appealing. Indeed, that's what I've been playing with using Helicon Remote in a wired configuration.
And I wasn't kidding there's a similarity in all the different software apps that I've looked and . . . and now I think I know why.
In the very first comment on the article, RA states
Actually it's quite pricey because the hardware is a cheap $30 TP-Link router TL-MR11U, with a free custom OpenWrt firmware »wiki.openwrt.org/toh/tp... and opensource gphoto library for camera connection, so all what's left is a simple webpage hosted on the router for user interface. So If you have some development skills you can make one for yourself for a fraction of the price. In fact this is a good idea for an opensource project
Cheap router and the majority of the software functionality may well be based on open-source solutions. So, like R A says, it really may be nothing more than the user interface that largely differentiates the solutions from different vendors.
I think I'll just be patient until the competition starts putting out some $100 to $150 alternatives. -- Regards, Joseph V. Morris
Wireless USB (whenever the technology matures) will be the answer to these kinds of problems.
Dongle in your laptop/smartphone/tablet, dongle on your camera. It's as if there's a normal USB cable involved, but it's all wireless.
Then it moves the "wireless" capability responsibility off the device and makes it all at a different layer. -- flickr | 'Cause I've been waiting, all my life just waiting For you to shine, shine your light on me
While this isn't quite what you are asking for, it looks very interesting and I believe would do what you want (although may require a device which starts with i). It is not yet available but should be this summer. I'm linking to the now closed kickstarter campaign as it probably has more information in one place.
"Photography. For DSLR, the Swivl is a sophisticated motion controlled tripod head. It can only be compared to expensive solutions used by professional photographers for wild life and action shots. It also makes your iPad a wireless command and control center for all your still and video needs. With our Swivl DSLR control app you can set up multi-view shots with remote preview, frame the shot, adjust settings (ISO, exposure, etc) and fire the trigger. You can also use it for panorama or moving timelapse, or just to stabilize your camera for long exposure shots."
With a 'target' price of $239, a two-axis motorized platform which also provides Wi-Fi/BlueTooth control of DSLR settings (not just shutter release) via iOS and Android devices, this could be a game-changer.
I'm looking forward to seeing reviews of the production version and the associated software apps.
Much thanks for bringing this to my attention. -- Regards, Joseph V. Morris
This gets sort of involved and I'll probably just be confusing in trying to address your question, but I'll try.
First, if you google wireless USB extenders, most of what will come up is actually a set of Wi-Fi (wireless LAN to us peasants) dongles that plug into a USB port on your computer or printer, etc. It's not some magical way of producing a wireless USB connection.
That said, there have been a few true USB wireless adapters marketed that support a wireless USB transport protocol. And they come with the 'baggage' of true USB communication protocols -- specifically the typical limit of a three to five meter (say 10 to 15 feet) communication range, especially for the kinds of application we're talking about. Now, most of us aren't interested in simply getting rid of the cable; we're looking for something that will give us considerably more range, like 30 to 100 feet, readily available in Wi-Fi communication protocols. Spending a substantial amount of money to go the limited distances supported by USB doesn't really appeal.
And this in turn brings us to the software app used for remote control and live view on your camera. Ideally, you'd be looking for something where the app is hosted on your PC/Mac or your smartphone (Android or iOS) and right off the bat offers you a choice of connectivity: USB (wired, max 15 feet), Bluetooth (wireless, max 30 feet; or Wi-Fi (wireless, max 300 feet). The app would then need to have the appropriate drivers not just for USB, but also for Bluetooth or Wi-Fi -- and that's what seems to be missing at the moment. And, with the exception of some of the very newest cameras, you're unlikely to have a camera that supports Bluetooth or Wi-Fi for remote control. That's where the (pricey) dongles you see in some of these products comes in -- they hang off the camera's USB port and handle the conversion from USB to BlueTooth/Wi-Fi communication protocols.
And I'm gonna quit now before I totally confuse you. -- Regards, Joseph V. Morris