How to: Connect your DSLR with your Android / IPhone phone or tablet / Ipad

I enjoy digital photography and have been upgrading my camera gear since the past few years. I started my hobby with a 2 megapixel Olympus Digital Camera back in 1998, upgraded to a Sony DSCV-3 in 2004 and got myself a Canon 40D in 2007 before going for a vacation to Grand Canyon and Las Vegas.
 
Canon DSLR allowed me to improve my gear even more with a wide range of lenses, external flashes, and several other products. I enjoyed the 40D a lot before I felt it was time to get a full sensor DLSR and Canon 5D Mark III was the camera I chose. I am totally in love with this camera, but the accessories in my wishlist are pretty high ticket items like the Canon 28-300 L series lens which costs around $2600. 
 
In an attempt to save some money for the high ticket products, I started looking for alternatives on low priced items like the CamRanger Wireless Nikon & Canon Camera Controller for iPad, iPhone, Mac, Android. This product allows you to control your camera using your mobile devices enabling you to perform a few basic functions that makes photography a lot more fun, and gives you more control over compositions, live view photography, wirelessly transfer photographs to your device etc.
 
I was able to setup my phone (Samsung Note 2) to work with my DSLR (Canon 5D Mark III).
 
Here is a quick alternate way of connecting your phone (or tablet, Ipad, etc) to your DSLR Camera using a Micro USB OTG to USB 2.0 Adapter. (OTG stands for On The Go).
 
(Since I use a Samsung Note 2, I use the android app and use a Micro USB OTG cable. You can find the alternatives for your device)
 
Step 1. Download DSLR Controller App from the Google Play Store (Price: $7.99 as of Aug 2014).
Step 2. Get the Micro USB OTG Cable. You will need this to connect your DSLR to your Mobile Device.
Step 3. Connect a USB cable to your A/V Digital Out port on the camera, to the OTG cable, and the OTG cable to your Mobile Device.
Step 4. Turn on your Camera and launch the DSLR Controller Application and you will be able to control your camera with your phone.
 
Some of the important things you can do with your phone is:
a) Click on the screen to set the focus point.
b) Change the Aperture (F stop value)
c) Change the Shutter Speed.
d) Change the ISO.
e) Toggle Video / Camera mode
f) Click the picture
g) Transfer Picture from your DSLR to your Phone or Tablet
h) Delete files on your camera
i) ... and much more.
 
This setup allows me to get a fair idea of what picture am I really getting, on my device (which is a much bigger screen than my camera) and allows me to see better in sun, and also almost give me the luxury of using a touch screen interface.
 
So for a total one time investment of less than $12, you can get access to all the cool features that would allow you to get professional quality pictures.
 
Now if you want to take things to the next level and make the above setup totally wireless, here's how it's done:
 
How to Connect your DSLR Camera to your Mobile Device Wirelessly?
(Since I use a Samsung Note 2, I use the android app and use a Micro USB OTG cable. You can find the alternatives for your device)

DSLR - Phone
In this setup, the basic functionality remains the same as above, but instead of connecting your phone using the USB cable, you will connect it wirelessly. This will allow you to be away from your phone, and still take a picture and control your camera.
 
However, we will purchase a router ($34.80 as of August 2014) and will need to upgrade / replace it's firmware with the one provided by DSLR Controller. It means this router will only be used for controlling your camera, and can't be used as a normal router.
 
Also note: This is considered a hack, and there is a possibility that your router can go bad, so you need to be willing to take the hit if it happens. However I did the same thing, and everything worked without any issues, but it is my job to make sure you are aware of the risk involved.
 
Before you proceed, please make sure your device and camera are compatible by visiting this link.
 
Step 1. Download DSLR Controller App from the Google Play Store (Price: $7.99 as of Aug 2014).
Step 2. Get the TP-LINK TL-MR3040 3G/4G Wireless N150 Portable Router, AP/WISP/Router. This is a very handy, battery operated, router that will do the job for us.
Step 3. Once you get the router, open it's cover and look at the UPC code for the hardware version. This is written under the placeholder of the battery (if you installed battery, remove it to see the version) below UPC it should say "ver" followed by a number (either 1.x or 2.x). Note this down as we will need it to get the right firmware from DSLRController website.
Step 4. Turn your router on and connect to it from your phone or a computer (the wireless network name will have TPLink in it). The wifi password can be found below the UPC code when you open the cover.
Step 5. Once connected to the router, open browser and visit http://192.168.0.1. It will prompt you for username and password. Username is admin and password is also admin.
Step 6. If you were not able to get the hardware version on the router you can get it from the System Tools > Firmware Upgrade screen of your router.
Step 7. Depending on your version
(a) If the hardware version of your router is 1.x download this file
(b) If the hardware version of your router is 2.x download this file
If in doubt, visit: dslrcontroller.com/devices.php
Step 8. Once your firmware for the appropriate hardware version has been downloaded to your computer, go to [ System Tools > Firmware Upgrade ] screen on your router (192.168.0.1 page), click Choose File button, select the firmware file and click on Upgrade.
Step 9. The above step will take a few minutes and give you a success message. It will now also rename the wireless connection to DSLRController and the wireless password is set to dslrcontroller
Step 10. Connect a USB cable to your A/V Digital Out port on the camera and insert the other end of the USB cable into the TP-LINK TL-MR3040 Router. Turn the camera on, turn the router on.
Step 11. Connect your phone or other mobile device to the DSLRController WiFi network and open the DSLR Controller Application.
Step 12. It will find your camera and give you the control.
 
The wireless router is pretty compact, you can tie it to the strap of your camera with a rubberband (which is what I do) and enjoy wireless photography experience with your phone.

wireless router
 
I am in love with the DSLR Controller application and feel that the < $8 bucks is totally worth it. Assuming that you already have an Android / IOS phone, USB Cables etc, this setup would cost you around $43 ($35 for the router + $8 for the app) which is more than $250 less than products like CamRanger which are great if you can afford investing into those and don't want the hassle of setting up your router, firmware, app, etc yourself.
 
I would like to thank DSLR FilmNoob for the information for helping me get my setup up and running.
 

 

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