SLR Remote Control: Camranger

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In some situations, awkward camera placements make you wish to operate your camera from a distance. For example when using a photo-mast, where your camera is many meters high, or in macro photography when your camera is very low and you either don't want to touch it, or can't oversee the viewfinder. Operating your camera using Wifi is the solution, but there aren't many camera's with built in WiFi, at the moment. CamRanger is a stand-alone device that connects to your Canon or Nikon SLR camera and creates an WiFi network that your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch can connect to. The free CamRanger iOS app enables control of the camera. There is no need for a computer or existing Internet connection. To charge the battery, you connect the Camranger with a USB cable to your computer. After that you open the CamRanger app and start taking pictures. It comes with a pouch a carabiner on it to protect it during use and travel.

Camranger
 

CamRanger: Remote Camera Control

 

You first have to set the camera to the mode you want to use. After that, you can use the the app to change the aperture, shutter speed or ISO settings, dependent on which mode you are using. On Nikon camera's you can additionally view and set the Focus Mode and the Auto Exposure Mode. We've tested the Camranger using a Canon 650D.

Remote camera control using the camera indeed is simple and straightforward. We've used it during our Megaview photomast review, where our camera was five meters high. The Camranger shows thumbnails of the images on your camera's memory card. You can select these images to be permanently deleted or download them and save into your iOS photo library. We've used an old Ipad version, where it wasn't possible to view full resolution images, but using the latest Ipads, you can double tap an image to view a full resolution image

The UI is clear and easy to use. As you can see in the image below, the Camranger shows a nice histogram, helping you to preserve the highlights. You can also check the focusing by enlarging the image on your IOS device, by tapping on the screen.

 

When you are very near a subject, even f/22 will not be enough to show your subject completely in focus. The two images of a white flower shown a little further below, are either sharp in the core (left) or on the frontal petal (right). Focus stacking (also known as focal plane merging or focus blending) is a image processing technique where you combine multiple images taken at different focus distances. The result will be an image with a greater depth of field (DOF) than you possibly could obtain at even the smallest aperture on your lens. And that's where the Camranger Focus stacking function comes in handy:

CamrangerSettings
CamrangerScreen

CamRanger: Focus stacking

 

Focus stacking using a Camranger is easy and provides very precise focusing control: You simply focus on the nearest point of your subject you want in focus and set the step size and number of shots using the Camranger app. When you choose for large steps, even the background several meters away will be sharp (click on the image below left). When you choose for small steps, only the image is sharp (click on the image below right). You could argue that you don't need the Camranger: you could perform focus bracketing by changing the focusing distance manually. But this could inflict a very small movement of your camera (a few pixels), which make it more difficult to combine them to one image. Furthermore, it is almost impossible to adjust the focusing distance in, for example, 10 steps as the Camranger does.

The thus produced images have to be combined afterwards using photo editing software like Heliconfocus or the focus stacking function in Photoshop.

FocusStackingScreen

Fstack1

Fstack2

CamRanger & Advanced HDR Bracketing

 

You can also configure the CamRanger to take a series of pictures, automatically varying Shutter Speed, Aperture, or ISO. In order to achieve this, the camera has to be in manual mode. You can choose whether you wish to vary your aperture, shutter speed or ISO setting in a series of images. You can set the step size and the number of steps. Using the Camranger you have much more flexibility than using the bracketing features in your camera.
Images can then be post-processed with 3rd party software. You don't have to use HDR software to obtain that grungy typical HDR effect or for night photography. The image below was edited using Photoshop, to open up the shadows and increase the micro contrast.

 

Click (2x) on the image below.

HDR Camranger

UnsgharpDemo

Video or  Time Lapse Photography

 

During video recording you can change the point of focus by pressing the screen on your iOS device. Although you can view your video during recording, it's not possible to play it back on your device.

 

Increasingly more photographers start making pictures at regular time-intervals and show these images subsequently as a short video movie. Possibilities are endless, from showing the aging of a banana (Time Lapse Test Banana 1 Week ), a decomposing watermelon, stars in the Atacama night sky or Beard grow during a one year walk through China. I think you'll get the picture. We haven't tested this, but the menu seems pretty simple.

 

  1. Time Lapse photography tips
  2. Learn Time Lapse
TimeLapse

Conclusion

 

Pros

  • Allows for wireless shooting
  • Easy to install and use
  • Comes with a case and clip to attach it to your tripod
  • Focus stacking mode
  • Time Lapse mode

Cons

  • Not yet available for Android: IOS only
  • Supports Canon and Nikon cameras
  • Can't view or download videos from camera to device
For those who wish to remotely control their Nikon or Canon SLR using an IOS device: Camranger is the solution for you offering several features: not only remote camera control and viewing the images on your camera, but Time Lapse, Focus stacking, HDR bracketing and remote video as well. It is easy to install, easy to operate and fun to show your results after you've edited them. At the moment it is only available for IOS, but hopefully it ill become available for Android in the near future.
Ivo Freriks
Author: Ivo Freriks
With Camera Review Stuff I hope to make a modest contribution to the pleasure that you get from photography. By testing cameras and lenses in the same way, evluating the results and weighing up the pros and cons, I hope to help you find the right camera or lens.

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