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As 2014 came to a close, I had a bit of a revelation with regards to 2014; I had 10,000+ images for the year after traveling by far the most I had ever done in a given year.  The images I had created produced some of my best work to date.

But, being somewhat of a perfectionist (go figure, right?!), I wanted to step my creative quality up a few notches, so I started considering what it would take to accomplish my goal.

This may sound odd to some, but adding electronics to the mix was an idea I’ve had, to make the process of creating images, more efficient and effective.

So how the heck would including electronics in the mix make my images better?  The answer is fairly simple.  Many of us use the post image creation histogram to see if we’re capturing the scene before us correctly.  If you are not using the histogram, maybe now would be a good time to start.  The histogram (I prefer the RGB histogram, not the brightness histogram) allows the photographer to see where the light spectrum is with respect to the ISO, metering mode, aperture and shutter speed selections.

Okay, so now you are using the RGB histogram.  Great.  Wait, I thought you said you were including electronics in the process of making your image creation better?  Ha ha…I did!

So, now that I’ve prefaced this gear review sufficiently, the added electronics I am speaking of are:

  1. iPAD3 (or similar tablet device)
  2. CamRanger (primary item being reviewed here)
  3. Eyefi Mobi SDHC memory card

The screen on most DSLR cameras, while having a decent resolution, are just too small to really make quality decisions about the images that are produced.  Can you see the RGB histogram?  Sure.  Is the screen-size large enough to use for Live View?  Hmmm….For my purposes, I found myself longing for something larger.  So I started researching.  Initially, I tried using a mini-HDMI cable to Apple 30-pin connector to see the images and use my iPad3 for Live View.  Unfortunately, that was a total flop.  The cables were not that expensive, so I was not overly bummer, but still, I had a desire to see the scene before me when out shooting, in Live View mode on my iPad3.

Research and more research.  I came upon the website for CamRanger and was immediately intrigued.  This device works with a large number of the current Canon & Nikon DSLR cameras and offers features above and beyond the immediate need I had (Live View).  The list of features (and sub-features for major feature) is as follows (taken directly from the CamRanger Features page):

Live View

  • Wirelessly stream live view from the camera to the device
  • Double tap to increase magnification
  • Single tap to focus on an area or make an incremental focus adjustment
  • Perform focus stacking
  • Frame rate of 8 – 18 fps depending on the camera

Take and View Pictures

  • Wirelessly capture images in multiple drive modes
  • Thumbnails automatically appear on the top of the screen after taking a picture
  • Tap a thumbnail to view the image and its’ associated metadata
  • Images are saved to the camera care and optionally downloaded to the device (iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Android, or Mac or Windows computer)
  • Optionally select to have images automatically view on the device

View Full Resolution Images

  • Double tap to view the image a full resolution
  • Supports full screen mode to maximize the screen size
  • Toggle a variety of overlays: AF points, highlight, shadow, grid lines, and aspect ration

Auto-View

  • Configure your device to automatically display pictures as they are taken
  • Toggle on “Client Mode” to remove camera controls from the device
  • Allows others such as clients, directors, or associates to quickly and wirelessly view the shots after they are taken by the photographer at the camera

Movie Recording

  • Start and stop movie recording
  • View video while recording
  • Focus adjustments and touch focusing
  • Movie features are very camera dependent, see supported cameras for more details

Intervalometer and Bulb

  • Configure as an intervalometer to take time lapse pictures
  • Supports bulb mode with typical control and by using custom defined shutter lengths
  • No need for your device to remain connected after starting

View and Set Camera Properties

  • Aperture
  • ISO
  • Metering Mode
  • Drive/Shooting Mode
  • White Balance
  • Image Format
  • Focus Mode (Nikon Only)
  • Auto Exposure Mode (Nikon Only)
  • Exposure Compensation & Bracketing
  • Software Auto-Focus toggle to toggle AF/MF

HDR / Advanced Bracketing

  • Configure CamRanger to take a series of pictures automatically varying Shutter Speed, Aperture or ISO
  • Images can then be post-processed with 3rd party software

View Camera Card Contents

  • View thumbnails of the images on your camera’s memory card
  • Select images to be permanently deleted or download them and save into your own device’s photo library
  • Double tap image to view full resolution image

Macro Photography

  • Provides a very precise focusing control
  • Great for situations requiring awkward camera placements
  • Perform automatic focus stacking to enhance depth of field (post processing with 3rd party software required)

Share Images to Multiple Devices

  • Take photos from either the camera or an iPad, Android device, Mac or Windows computer and have clients, directors, colleagues or students view the images or live feed from their own device using the “CamRanger Share” application which is specific for each platform
  • If the photographer has the watermarks feature turned on then the person using CamRanger Share app will see watermarks as well on their own device

Control or Tether Multiple Cameras from one computer

  • Control multiple cameras and CamRanger using the CamRanger Launcher application
  • Supported on Mac and Windows computers
  • The CamRangers in use require updated firmware
  • Requires the most recent CamRanger and CamRanger Launcher software

So far, in the two test sessions, I have found the device to be very easy to use.  Selection of ISO, Aperture, Shutter Speed, focus point, White Balance, etc. are all very easy to perform.  I have not yet tested the focus stack functionality yet nor have I tested Bulb / Intervalometer mode, but am confident that doing focus stacks or longer exposures with Bulb mode will be extremely easy!  The one thing I am very pleased with is the ability to see an image taken in full screen on my iPad3.  Sure beats Live View the smaller 3.2” LCD on the camera.

The CamRanger comes in a nice pouch with a pocket for the CamRanger and another pouch for the USB to mini-USB cable.  I also have a spare battery in the front pouch.  In the main compartment, I have the CamRanger and the Tether Tools hotshoe mount.

In the next month or so, I plan to use the CamRanger & iPad3 while on a photography trip.  Hopefully, the setup performs as it has thus far!  Below are some images of the CamRanger, Tripod Clamp, iPad3 along with some of the resultant images:

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