Chainfire dSLR Controller & android Tablet Information

Started Oct 13, 2011 | Discussions thread
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Dan Tong
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Chainfire dSLR Controller & android Tablet Information
Oct 13, 2011

I saw the announcement of the Chainfire dSLR Controller announcement here on dPreview a few months ago and was more than a little interested in testing it.

It's still in Beta version and costs $8.52 with a free upgrade to the official release version. At the time I did had neither an android phone or a tablet.

After doing a lot of tablet research I decided that the Toshiba Thrive, was the best choice for my needs. In fact, at first glance, there is not a lot to distinguish between the various dual core 10" android models made by Samsung, Asus, Acer, Lenovo etc.

They all have the same nVidia dual core CPU, same amount of RAM (1Gb), choice of 16 or 32Gb built-in storage and are upgradeable up to 32Gb storage (SDHC), and they all have an HDMI video output port. The screen resolution is the same (1280 x 800), and the quality of the display is pretty much the same (some reviewers believe Samsung might be a tad better).

Virtually all of them use micro-SDHC storage cards, and some have micro-USB ports.

Some have micro HDMI video ports. Many models do not have a USB port of any kind, but require a special optional adapter or a keyboard base which has USB and other ports (Asus).

I chose to buy the Toshiba Thrive (16Gb version

Tablet and dSLR compatibility charts:
http://dslrcontroller.com/devices.php

To use the App, you simply connect the camera to the USB port of the android device using an appropriate cable. For the Canon 5D Mark2 you I used a cable with a normal USB 2.0 plug on one end and a micro-USB connector for the camera end.

These cables are sometimes included with the camera -if not, they are easily available from many retail sources such as Amazon, Newegg, etc. and should not cost more than $12 to $20.

You need to turn the camera power on before you launch the Chainfire dSLR Controller app. Once running you have an image on the tablet (or phone) showing whatever the camera is looking at. You simply click on any part of the image to bring it into focus. To take a picture you click on the aperture icon and the image is saved to the storage card in your camera.

If you want absolutely critical focus you have a choice of 5x or 10x magnification. On a 10" tablet with 1280 x 800 pixel resolution, this is unbelievably great!

Of course you probably can't hold both the camera and the tablet in your hand unless you have a special rig, so you are most likely to make use of this app when using a tripod, or you are resting the camera on table or some other steady surface.

It worked great for me, even though this is a beta. I encountered a problem once when I was clicking on everything blindly, but it was solved by simply exiting and relaunching the app. Don't forget that this still a Beta.

When I simply framed, focussed, and took pictures I did not have any problems at all. The current version allows you to set ISO, aperture, shutter time, White Balance. The only thing I did not like was that when I moved the camera left to right, the image on the tablet moved in the opposite direction. I was not able to find any way to reverse this and I posted a request on the developer's forum.

Composing and focussing your shot on a 10" tablet with 1280 x 800 pixel resolutions is an absolute delight for me. I can imagine that for macro photography the ability to manually focus at 5x or 10x is heaven sent.

My conclusion: Chainfire dSLR is incredibly great, affordable (if you already have an android phone or tablet) and a must have for serious photographers (portrait, fashion, macro etc.)

Thanks for listening,

Dan

 Dan Tong's gear list:Dan Tong's gear list
Canon PowerShot G12 Sony RX100 Canon PowerShot S110 Sony RX100 II Canon PowerShot S120 +17 more
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