How to tether your camera to an iPad

How to tether your camera to an iPad

June 30, 2010  |  For photographers
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When the iPad was announced I immediately thought “wow, cool! – I can shoot tethered and use that amazing screen for clients to see pictures”.  Then we found out that there is no firewire, no USB and all inputs are heavily controlled.  But there is Wi-Fi.  And where there’s Wi-Fi there’s a way….

With a couple of limitations it IS possible to take a picture on a compact digital camera or DSLR and have it “instantly” appear on an iPad without any cables or button pressing.  I have a complete system working and really, you should see the grin on clients’ faces when the picture pops up in front of them on that amazing screen.  You’ll need a couple of bits and pieces to get going.

  1. A camera that shoots jpegs.  This is one of the current limitations and means I can’t tether my Hasselblad yet.  Even better if the camera can shoot raw + jpeg together because you want the jpeg to be as small as possible.  I shoot using a D3 with full res raw files going to slot 1 and minimum size jpegs going to slot 2.
  2. An Eye-Fifor photographers  How to tether your camera to an iPad card.  I use the Eye-Fi Connect X2 4GB Wireless SDHC Memory Cardfor photographers  How to tether your camera to an iPad
  3. If your camera uses compact flash then you’ll need an SDHC to compact flash adapter.  BE CAREFUL as not all of them work with Eye-Fi cards.  I found one on eBay that works with my Nikon – it’s this one.  That’s a little more expensive than most but the seller has tested it with Eye-Fi cards.
  4. A copy of Shutter Snitch from the app store.
  5. A computer.  PC or Mac – you’ll need it to get the Eye-Fi working.
  6. A working Wi-Fi network.  This one’s pretty annoying.  iPads and Eye-Fi won’t support peer to peer networks at the moment so you’ll need a wireless router.  I got my system working with my wireless broadband at home then reconfigured it to work with an old ADSL router with WiFi that I can take to client shoots.  However, the best solution is a MiFi battery operated router.  I have the system working perfectly on a MiFi from 3.  And no, you don’t need an internet connection – so once you’ve bought your MiFi there’s no need to pay 3 any mor money.
  7. An iPad…..  Actually I think this solution would work with multiple iPads – you could beam the same picture simultaneously to several pads which would be very cool for a demo or instruction class.  If anybody wants to lend me half a dozen iPads I’ll be happy to check this out….

On page 2 we’ll put all of this together.


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  • http://www.cloudight.co.uk Andy Rapkins

    Thanks for the information Jonathan. Sounds interesting.

  • http://www.eye.fi Randhir (Eye-Fi)

    Jonathan, very nice use of the Eye-Fi card with the iPad.

    If you have a mobile phone that deploys its own Wi-Fi network (e.g. the Android 2.2, Palm Pre, etc.) then you won’t even need to use the MiFi.

    Regarding #7, the Eye-Fi card will send photos to only 1 device, so you won’t be able to see the photo you just took on more than one iPad. You could consider adding other solutions like Dropbox to have it show up on additional iPads, but then you will need an Internet connection to do that.

    Good luck!

    Randhir (Eye-Fi)

  • http://www.kevinpack.co.uk Kevin Pack

    I’ll be giving this a go. I have both an iPad and a 3 Mifi and was considering getting an Eye-Fi card.

    I’ve a Canon 5D which has only one card slot but can shoot JPEG + RAW. If I get a Pro x2 Eye-Fi card can I have it transfer just the JPEG to the iPad and leave the RAW on the card?

  • admin

    Hi Kevin,

    Yes I believe that will work – AFAIK the Eye-Fi only transmits the jpeg.

    However, you may wants to do some Googling – apparently some Canons don’t recognise (some?) Eye-Fis.

  • http://www.thurtlepower.com Greg Thurtle (TP Photography)

    I’ve got a wifi transmitter for my Canon 1DS3 and i can use the browser on the ipad to connect to the camera and browse the images on the memory card directly – works a treat.

  • admin

    Greg – sounds great – but if I understand it that’s a pull from the iPad. I.e. you go to the iPad and do something to browse the images.

    This is a push solution. Just pressing the shutter button makes it pop up.

    Which is pretty cool.

  • http://www.thurtlepower.com Greg Thurtle (TP Photography)

    well funny you say that – i can also use live view and trigger from the ipad remotely – then the image pops up :)

  • admin

    Cool. But still not trés cool. ;)

    So the art director would hold the iPad and choose when to shoot….?

  • http://Www.Peachypics.net Peachypics

    I have an iPad, I’m willing to try it out with you. Also have eye-fi. Not got that working yet though. Grrrrr

    Andy

  • David Porter

    Greetings from dull Ash! I set the eye-fi card up with the ipad and my standard domestic router and the thing worked like a peach-fast and efficient. I can’t whatever I do make it work with the three based mi-fi. Any suggestions would be gratefully received.

    David

  • http://www.bizior.com bizior photography

    Thanks for sharing. Could you let us know what is the max distance between EyeFi, modem and computer? thanks

  • admin

    Thanks for the comments…

    @David – have you tried deleting the other wifi networks from the iPad and EyeFi? It can get confused if there are several to pick. Start there and if you get no joy check the Shutter Snitch forums.

    @Bizior – distance from my D3 to modem isn’t great but that may be the shielding in the camera – should work better with an SD camera. I tend to keep the Mifi in a pocket. Mifi to iPad – certainly fine in the same room. Range will depend more on construction of walls than anything. These are designed for short range – if you need it in different rooms you might prefer a mains router.

  • David Porter

    Thanks for the tip. Deleted the other network off the eye-fi card and lo and behold we were in business. No egg on face now.

    Best wishes

    David Porter

  • http://rsplastic.com Rob Schwartz

    Jonathan,

    Would you mind listing the brand of SD to CF adapter you are using? The eBay link doesn’t seem to go to the correct page anymore.

    Best regards,

    Rob Schwartz

  • http://www.oaktreephotography.com David Duchesne

    ditto

    Would you mind listing the brand/ model no. of SD to CF adapter you are using? The eBay link doesn’t seem to go to the correct page anymore.

    Thanks, David D.

  • admin

    Sorry chaps. Missed that.

    There’s no brand name on the adaptor (!) but it says “blackgold” on a sticker.

    I’ve heard that the problem is usually metal shielding on the adapter – I know one person who has had good results with a Canon by removing the metal plate on the front of the adapter and replacing with black tape.

    BTW you may want to read this article http://support.eye.fi/product-info/camera-compatability/compatibility/known-issues-with-compact-flash-card-adapters/ explaining some issues.