If you have followed my blog over the past few years, you may have read some of the articles I wrote on the subject of tethered shooting with your Canon DSLR together with either a tablet or smartphone.
I love tethered shooting with portable devices, mainly because they are small and easy to carry around, I can trigger the camera remotely and I can see a larger review image on the remote screen afterwards. In fact, my most widely read blog post is one I wrote in November 2013 titled Tethered Shooting With Your Canon DSLR And Android Tablet.
But since then, a lot has changed. Many of the newer Canon DSLR bodies now offer Wi-Fi, such as the Canon 6D, 80D, 70D, 1DX Mark II (via the Canon WFT-E8 adapter), all versions of the Rebel T6, and the 7D Mark II (via a recently released Canon W-E1 Wi-Fi Adapter). But best of all, the newest Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, which was just released last month, is Canon’s first high-end, full frame DSLR to have full Wi-Fi built in. So an updated post on this subject was needed.
I’m also shooting with a 5D Mark IV as of the beginning of this month. So in this post I am going to walk you through the simple steps (by implementing a free app) for you to shoot wirelessly tethered via Wi-Fi on either an Apple or Android device and with any of the Canon DSLR bodies I just mentioned.
Bear in mind, when I posted my first article on tethered shooting back in 2013, I was only able to shoot tethered via USB to my 5D Mark II because that camera does not have Wi-Fi. So I ran it through a cable to my Samsung tablet using an Android app called DSLR Controller.
At that time there also was (and still is) a 3rd party tethered option for Apple iOS devices called Cam Ranger. But Cam Ranger is a $300 add-on and requires use of an additional dongle that hangs off your Canon camera. Not ideal.
So DSLR Controller was the more practical, convenient, and cost efficient method back then (especially since I had an Android tablet already). The only cost involved was around US$10 to download the DSLR Controller app from the Google Play Store. DSLR Controller is no longer the best option for me though.
However, I am going to go into more detail about DSLR Controller first, as I had covered it extensively in previous posts, but also since many of you might still be using it. If you never heard of DSLR Controller though then you can just skip over the next 4 paragraphs by clicking here.
DSLR Controller (technically still in BETA at the time) was really great in 2013-2014, but then the app developer didn’t update the app again after November 2014 for nearly 2 years. He finally updated it with a new release about a week ago, which is Version 1.01. But he is still yet to develop a Non-BETA version for non-jailbroken Apple iOS devices, which is much needed now that you can connect a Canon DSLR that has Wi-Fi to an Apple portable device using just software. Something one could not do with older, non Wi-Fi Canon DSLR bodies because Apple does not permit one to use a USB cable to connect a camera directly to an Apple iOS device using a 3rd party app.
But when I first got the 5D Mark IV earlier this month, I tested it using DSLR Controller running on my Samsung tablet and the oudtaed 2014 version of DSLR Controller (the only one available at the time) and it didn’t work at all, neither wirelessly or with a USB cable. I tried both. I then moved onto Canon’s own free tethered app, which works great, and I dropped DSLR Controller all together. I will get back to the free Canon app in further detail in a minute.
I then tried the new version of DSLR Controller that came out last week and the wireless connection now kind of works with my 5D Mark IV, but it is not stable in my opinion. I can’t get images to transfer over from the camera for viewing them on the tablet and none of the functions which allow you to change shutter speed, aperture, and ISO on the camera from within DSLR Controller seem to work with the 5D Mark IV. Auto focusing with the 5D Mark IV and DSLR Controller is also not great. Hit or miss at best when trying to change the focus points.
So after that short test, I didn’t even bother to try the USB cable tethered connection with DSLR Controller to my 5D Mark IV since I am only interested in connecting over Wi-Fi now anyway. The issues I am having with DSLR Controller and my 5D Mark IV might have something to do with my particular Android device. I don’t know, but if results with an app will vary from device to device then that makes the app buggy in my view. I would suggest forgetting about DSLR Controller completely at this point, unless you have an older Canon DSLR like the 5D Mark II or Mark III that doesn’t have Wi-Fi. And you can’t use DSLR Controller with Apple devices anyway, so its limited just to Android, which isn’t good.
So if you have one of the Canon DSLR bodies I mentioned above that has Wi-Fi, then you no longer have to pay any money for a 3rd party app like DSLR Controller when using an Android device, nor buy an expensive add on like Cam Ranger if you are using an Apple device. And the great thing about Canon Camera Connect is that, not only can I control my Canon 5D Mark IV DSLR with it tethered via Wi-Fi, but I can use it either via my Apple smartphone or my Android tablet. So lots of great new possibilities.
Now, when I feel like bringing my tablet along for a large wireless external tethered preview screen experience, I do just that. And when I want to keep things simple, and only control the camera remotely over Wi-Fi with a device that is already in my pocket, then I just pull out my smartphone. Let me add that I believe you can use the free Canon Camera Connect app with any Apple iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch running at least iOS version 7 or any Android smartphone or tablet running at least Android version 4.0.
And if you want to wirelessly tether your Canon DSLR to your laptop or desktop computer, you can use the Canon EOS Utility program which you can install for free and is included on the EOS Digital Solution Disk CD-ROM included with your Canon camera when you buy it. You can also download the latest EOS Digital Solution Disk Software package, which is version 31.4A and includes the EOS Utility program here for PC and here for Mac. I am not going to get into the use of the EOS Utility software in this post though (I may cover it more in a future blog post) as I want to focus just on Canon’s Camera Connect app capabilities at this time.
Below is a screenshot of the first page from the Canon 5D Mark IV user manual that discusses use of the 5D Mark IV via Wi-Fi with an external device. To use the 5D Mark IV with the free Canon Camera Connect app, either with your smartphone or your tablet, you need to choose the connect to smartphone option on your camera menu as seen in Step 5 of the screenshot below. So that option is the one to select for both smartphone or tablet Wi-Fi use with the camera and Canon should have made that clear in their instructions, but they didn’t.
Click here to download a PDF I created with all 7 pages from the Canon 5D Mark IV user manual, which fully explains how to quickly connect and disconnect the camera from a smartphone or tablet using Wi-Fi.
On page 5 and 6 of the PDF it also shows you how to connect the camera via Wi-Fi to the Canon Camera Connect app and a smartphone, but again, the steps in the manual for connecting Camera Connect via your smartphone to a camera are the same for using it via a tablet.
I would suggest also loading the PDF onto any mobile device that you plan to tether the camera with so you can refer back to it while shooting if needed. Bear in mind, this PDF is from the Canon 5D Mark IV user manual. So camera menu settings will be a bit different on other Canon DSLR cameras when connecting a device via Wi-Fi.
Here are the options Canon’s Camera Connect app gives you when it starts up:
Below are some screen shots of the Canon’s Camera Connect app layout running on my iPhone with actual photos I took recently with the 5D Mark IV. First in vertical:
And in horizontal:
In conclusion, this wireless tethered setup for Canon DSLR bodies using the Camera Connect app is fast, works great, is very stable and can be used on both iOS and Android devices. Canon also keeps updating and improving the app regularly and was just updated for both Android and iOS again earlier this month. In addition to simply triggering the camera’s shutter remotely, you can use it to review images from the camera, shoot in live view mode via the app, change settings from the app like the auto focus point, the drive mode, and you can set other things on the camera like shutter speed, ISO, aperture, etc. Click here to see a more detailed summary of Canon’s Camera Connect app features on the Canon web site.
So that’s it and I would suggest no longer using any 3rd party camera controller apps if you have a Canon DSLR with Wi-Fi. Just go with the Canon Camera Connect app. It’s free for both Android devices and Apple iOS devices and is the best solution out there at the moment for wireless tethered shooting in my opinion.
If you have any questions or comments please feel free to post them below as always.
Is it this seamless for shooting video as well through the camera?
Not really recommended. There will be some serious lag with that kind of setup. Better to use a small, 5” or 7” external monitor mounted onto your camera’s hot shoe mount and then connected to the camera via the HDMI output port on your camera.
How much shots can i get with the wifi turned on until battery die?
Thanks for tht info good article, you might want to add the 5DS and 5DSR to the list of Canon cameras that will use the new W-E1 wifi adapter plus there are firmware updates available now for 7D mkii 5DS 5DSR to enable them to use the wifi adapter.
I have pre-ordered a W-E1 wifi adapter, but currently no delivery date is being given in the UK which is pretty frustrating. I was wondering if 3rd party wifi adapters would work the same? I have searched on-line but can find no blog or review on this, do you have any knowledge if they will work the same?
Thank you for your thoughts Nigel. I did mention the 7D Mark II in the article for use with the W-E1. And yes, the two 5DS cameras support the W-E1 now too via firmware updates, but with such big RAW files I would would be surprised if Wi-Fi speeds will be fast enough to transfer the files within a reasonable time on a 5DS. With the 5DS series it might be best to stick with cable tethered shooting for reasonably faster transfer speeds.
Which Canon body are you shooting with by the way? There is a 3rd party SD Card Wi-Fi adapter made by Eye Fi. Have you seen these before? As opposed to the W-E1, the Eye Fi cards can be used for storage as well, not just for Wi-Fi. See link below. Best wishes…