will reach over 300 feet. It certainly works
well outdoors at 100 feet. This could be an
ideal setup for use in a church or wedding
reception when direct line-of-sight would
probably defeat a Canon or Nikon system.
Wi-Fi and Cameras
Anyone who uses a smartphone knows only
too well the frustrations of trying to emulate
its capabilities on a DSLR. I’m someone
who wishes I could seamlessly upload images from my DSLR to Facebook or email
them to a client without any hassles.
Sadly, that’s not the case when it comes
to DSLRs. Instead, we have to live without
the convenience or wait until we are at a
computer to transfer the images. Or we can
try and utilize the add-on Wi-Fi capabilities
slowly being offered for DSLR users.
A few years ago, Eye-Fi began offering
an SD card that incorporated Wi-Fi. At first
glance, it’s a simple and cost-effective way
to download images when needed—that’s
if you can get it to work effectively all the
time (much as I like to think I’m tech savvy,
I have had problems with getting reliable
While Canon and Nikon have begun to
include Wi-Fi capabilities in their DSLRs,
they are still not nearly as user-friendly as
one would hope. For example, I recently
purchased a Canon EOS 6D which has
built-in Wi-Fi, but setting it up was trying.
While the instructions are not very clear,
once it’s working, users seem to be enamored with the fairly limited features that
come with the EOS Remote app.
If you own a pro-level Nikon camera, you
have to rely on an external Wi-Fi adaptor for
all but the new D750. I have a D600 and a
$50 WU-1b adaptor. It proved to be fairly
easy to set up and works well for transferring
images to my iPhone with the free Wireless
Mobile Utility app. It can also remotely fire
the camera, but won’t change any settings
other than focus. When I tested it at dusk,
the images showed up okay on the iPhone,
but the saved images were all too dark—a
reminder of the limitations of the app.
Camranger remote Control
The ability to remotely control a camera from a distance has always been an
important part of professional photography,
especially for filmmakers and commercial
photographers. If you’re a wedding photographer working in the confines of a church
or reception hall, it’s not so practical to
use wires to connect a camera for remote
The CamRanger ($300, www.camranger.
com) is a third-party product that does a far
better job than the wireless solutions from
Canon and Nikon. The combination of the
CamRanger and an accompanying motorized tripod head lets a photographer alter
the position of the camera as well as adjust
I had the opportunity to try out this
combo and was very pleased with how easy
it was to set up and get working quickly.
The CamRanger is a small Wi-Fi transmitter that pairs with a smartphone and plugs
into the USB port on a DSLR. Just about all
the camera’s functions (except zoom) can
be controlled by the CamRanger using an
app for an iPhone, iPad, Android or a Mac
or Windows laptop. It also provides timed
exposures, HDR, focus stacking and intervalometer, and can record video. All in all, it
proved to be extremely versatile.
Even greater versatility comes when you
add the PT Hub and MP-360 motorized
tripod head ($230). The app can then rotate
the camera through 360 degrees and moved
it up or down up to 15 degrees. The combi-
nation works well and lets a photographer
place a camera where it might be impossible
to get to in person. I could see this work-
ing really well for a wedding photographer
wanting to capture images from behind the
minister at a church wedding.
Although far too slowly, camera manufacturers are catching up with smartphone
makers when it comes to offering wireless
capabilities in cameras. Until they get their
act together, take a look at after market
products, which seem to be far better and
less costly at this stage.
The bottom line is that whatever solution
you opt for, definitely pre-run a shoot where
you intend to rely on wireless work with
your DSLR. Lighting is not so much of a
problem, but control of a camera and downloading of images can still be hit or miss.
Make sure your camera does not go to sleep,
and that there are no obstructions affecting
the wireless signal—be it line-of-sight or a
On critical shoots such as weddings, you
should probably not fully rely on wireless
communications. Instead, use a remote-control system like CamRanger to obtain
hard-to-get images that can help you wow
your client (since you’ll have a shot nobody
else can get). Heck, your clients might not
even know it was taken if you hide the camera behind flowers or a lectern.
One truism of wireless photography is that
batteries drain much faster when using
Wi-Fi. Just remember to turn Wi-Fi off
when not in use or you could end up with a
dead battery after a few hours. Of course,
you could use an external power supply to
power the unit, but then you’d have a wire
connecting it to a power plug and then you
would not be working wirelessly!
Above: The CamRanger device connected to
a PT Hub and a motorized tripod head is a
great way to have complete control over a remotely situated camera. Left: The CamRanger
app, seen here on an iPad, provides a good
number of functions to control a camera
connected to the CamRanger Wi-Fi router.