There are four components to this - an Android device, a supported DSLR, an app called DSLR Dashboard, and a portable, battery-powered TP Link. MR3040 mini router. If you want to hardwire this directly to the Android device, then you would need a USB OTG cable, which would add about $6 to the total price.
Many medium to high end Nikon and Canon cameras have the capability of connecting to a computer via USB cable for tethered operation. Some software, like Lightroom or Capture One, will allow the capturing of images and saving them to the hard drive. Other software like Nikon's Camera Control Pro 2 ($179) will allow full control of all camera functions, and you can download/upload different settings for specific shooting conditions. This is all very cool, but none of these address the wireless part, and none provide a touch-screen interface.
After looking at length at the Camranger solution, which is actually very good as it addresses full camera control, remote operation and works with iOS and Android, I seem to remember seeing their little wireless interface at some point in the past. After a little research I came up with what appeared to be a dead ringer for the CamRanger interface - the TP-Link MR3040 mini-router. http://www.tp-link.com/en/products/details/?model=TL-MR3040. It even uses the same battery.
After a little more Googling for "diy wireless remote control of dslr" and scrolled through all of the CamRanger propaganda, I came across this wonderful YouTube video tutorial on how to make it all come together.
The tutorial is extremely detailed and easy to follow, and the entire process to set up the router for this takes but a few minutes.
|DSLR Dashboard Main Remote Screen|
The software is very well thought through. In addition to the camera functions, it also adds automatic focus stacking, automatic HDR, and using the Time Lapse control you can even have the software adjust exposure. This feature is great for time lapse sequences of sunsets, and day to night, where lighting changes dramatically.
Other features include:
- burst mode - where you can specify how many images will be captured in sequence
- expanded exposure delay - from 1 to 3 seconds in 1 second increments
- finger tap focus - select focus point and acquire focus with a single touch
- mike monitor - shows audio levels for microphone
- multiple image review options - you can choose to review jpg and/or raw after capture, or disable review
- built-in image browser - for viewing low-res previews of captured images
- key camera/lens data reporting - shows focal length, aperture, shutter speed, remaining shots, which memory card is in use, which autofocus sensors are in use, flash mode, exp comp, focus mode, meter mode, metadata copyright info, etc
- image comment function - it is easy to key in a comment about an image using the device's keyboard.
In the few short hours I have had with this it has been a total pleasure. It is very intuitive and all functions are readily available without having to page through menus or subpages. There is a simplified or "Lite" screen with only basic adjustments visible, as well as a full-screen view.
For space and performance issues, with a D800 or other similar camera that produces very large files it is best to not review images after capture, and not download the images to the tablet/phone.
There is always the option to use this with a cable. The D800 is a USB 3.0 device, as is the Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 12.2, which is what I have used for this review. File transfers are actually pretty quick, all things considered.
This is an excellent, low cost solution to remote camera operation. It has many applications, such as in studio, (though wired-tethered to a laptop or desktop machine will be a better option), closeup and macro photography (using the auto focus stacking control), real estate photography where you need to place the camera either on a pole or in a place where you cannot easily trigger the shutter, low angle shots, so you don't have to worry about getting your clothes dirty (using the touch focus mode), backyard bird feeder shots (where you can use a faster shorter focal length lens to get in really close - to mention just a few.
I hope you have as much fun with this as I have.