Awesome ways an iPad/iPhone can be your DSLR / HDSLR remote control

by planetmitch12 Comments

Wouldn't it be cool if you could use your iPad or iPhone to as a remote control for your DSLR/HDSLR (either Canon or Nikon or whatever)? It turns out there are several different solutions for you to choose from! We did a post a few weeks ago about using the Canon wireless transmitters to shoot the shuttle launch and we promised to cover some other solutions… well, here they are! Each one of these has a different methodology for accomplishing the task (and not all do the same functions – and not all have anything to do with video), so take your pick!

Note: There are likely other options – would love to hear about them if you know of more ways to do it please! Post them in the comments. And if you have any experience with any of these, sound off in the comments as well.

OnOne DSLR Remote Control

We covered this many moons ago when it was first released back in 2009 – but now they've got an update that includes the iPad – which is cool because it is a much bigger control with larger area for viewing stills.

Interestingly, so far, this is the only method I've seen that can start and stop video recording. From reading comments in the Apple iTunes store, it appears you can't control the camera settings (ISO/Shutter speed etc) in Live View – but I'm hopefully going to be getting a copy to learn more.

but until I get my hands on this, have a look at this quick review that was sent to us by @iamandymac that he posted on his tumblr blog – and there's more to read and see (pix) there so give it a read.

With the cameras tethered with a 10m USB cable (2x 5m + active repeater) to my i7 Macbook pro the iPad was showing our DOP crisp images of the shots. Nat the DOP was a seasoned professional, working on TOP GEAR and The X Factor. He was blown away by the tech. The app was easy to use, manual controls of the camera’s and a ‘start-stop’ option was invaluable, also, downloading the rushes straight onto the MacBook for Compressor to start transcoding to ProRes 422

BlueSLR turns iOS devices into dSLR remote controls

This one is a bluetooth plugin for your iPhone or iPad that will connect wirelessly – you plug their bluetooth device into your camera and the software runs on your iPad to connect the two. This is interesting device because it also includes GPS coding… giving you accurate locations for your photos. The unfortunate thing (for now) is that it currently only supports Nikon – they promise Canon HDSLR support coming soon. This also may not have too much control functionality (from the electronista article) – “The hardware controller can adjust focus, shutter speed and timer along with GPS update frequency and easily tell the camera to take a certain number of pictures within a given timeframe.” Maybe it can't change ISO/f-stop etc?

blueSLR lets you control your digital SLR camera wirelessly using your compatible devices. Snap pics of pets and children with ease. Take self-portraits, or capture candid nature shots from up to 300 feet away.

Connect blueSLR to your compatible digital SLR camera and use your compatible Bluetooth device to adjust your camera’s focus, shutter speed or timer.

blueSLR is smaller, faster and more feature-rich than anything like it. No matter where you are or what the conditions are, you will love how easy it is to setup and use. Plus, with Bluetooth technology, it fits in your pocket so you can take it wherever your travels take you

Here's a snip from an announcement we saw about the product on

Wed December 8, 2010 Nikon support now, Canon support coming soon

XEquals has released blueSLR, a Bluetooth accessory and accompanying app for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad that allows them to remotely control certain models of digital SLR cameras from up to 300 feet away. The product currently has support for 11 different Nikon models, with Canon support promised soon by the company. In addition to controlling the camera, blueSLR can also embed GPS information into each photo.

There are two versions of the hardware add-on with differing connectors: one model fits onto Essential and Advanced models like the D70, D3100, D5000 or D7000, the other model fits the Professional DSLRs like the D3(S), D200, D300(S) or D700. Being Bluetooth, the add-on does not require line-of-sight to make a connection. Despite the range, the device is small enough (about the size of two AA batteries) to stay attached to the camera if desired.

The hardware controller can adjust focus, shutter speed and timer along with GPS update frequency and easily tell the camera to take a certain number of pictures within a given timeframe. The GPS information embedded in the RAW or JPEG file is compatible with iPhoto's places along with Flickr and Picasa's geo-tagging schema.

BlueSLR is available for $149 and the company is offering free shipping until December 10th. The blueSLR companion app is free from the App Store. Users of Android and Blackberry smart devices can contact the company to be notified when software for their platform will be available.

Eye-Fi / ShutterSnitch wireless photo viewing

This last one requires a wireless LAN and an older eye-fi card – but it appears to work well for Jesse Rosten as documented in his post. (this is just an excerpt)

Note: This solution is mainly for reviewing photos as they're taken – the eye-fi card solution doesn't have the ability to control the camera. It also uses software called ShutterSnitch to view the images on the iPad. We also found this pretty complete post about ShutterSnitch on Rob Galbraith's website.

I love shooting tethered. Viewing my photos on a large screen *while* shooting makes critical evaluations of exposure, focus, and composition much easier. Clients love it, too. They get a confidence boost from being able to see the photos as they’re taken. On commercial shoots, tethering is a must. You can’t have the client, art director, and make up artist all crowding around a tiny 3″ screen on the back of the camera.

As much as I love shooting tethered, sometimes it’s just not practical to lug a computer around, especially on remote location shoots. More gear means more crew. And more crew means bigger budgets (something that’s sadly lacking in the industry these days). On a run-n-gun shoot, even tethering to a laptop is awkward at best. Imagine doing a “walk a-about” photo shoot where you are tied to an assistant with a 10 foot rope. That’s ONLY convenient if one of you happens to fall into a crevasse.

Here’s a better solution. Wireless tethering to an iPad. No wires, no worries; portable and practical. *NOTE This video is no longer available sorry!

One last option: VLCVNC

There's another idea: get the VLC VNC application for the iPad or iPhone and connect your Canon EOS 5D Mark II or Canon EOS 7D or whatever to your computer/laptop and start the EOS application. Using VNC to control your desktop remotely from the iPad (and the iPad screen is probably much preferred here since it is so large), you should be able to do all the functions included in the EOS utility remotely just as if you were touching your computer screen.

Well look at that – all I had to do was to think about that idea since I often use VLC to watch my iMac from the other room, and decide to do a google search and low and behold! Two videos demonstrating exactly that!

First: using VNC (as I was thinking about)

Second: Using an app called “AirDisplay” ($14.99) to control the windows from the EOS utility. Pretty cool solution!

So there you go… do you know of any other solutions? Sound off in the comments!

(cover photo credit: snap from the onOne DSLR Remote site)


  1. I think you mean vNc not vLc..

    Nice article, I already went for the in app purchase of onOne’s dslr remote, I have made some tests but nothing to blog about yet..


    1. Author

      Good golly you are so right! D’oh! Yes I meant VNC not VLC – thanks for catching that!

      I did get a copy of the onOne app today – will be doing a test myself 🙂

  2. Another cool tool that deserves a mention / discussion :

    A programmable intervalometer that works on canon, nikon etc but also has START STOP for video.

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  6. I’m wondering when someone will make a solution by which you can use an iPad (mini) as a DSLR Monitor, way more useful for pulling focus, maybe nice project for the Raspberry Pi developers out there 🙂

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