Give Your DSLR a Brain by Connecting an Android Phone

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Here’s a walkthrough of how I hooked up my Android phone to my DSLR. Why did I do this? Because of Dropbox, social media, quick editing for the web, an intervalometer, macro/low-angle photography, an external LCD screen for video, Wi-Fi, and more.

Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

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Connect the camera to the phone using the USB OTG cable and choose one of installed apps:

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CapCam is a great for tablets but also work well on smartphones.

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The most interesting feature of CamCap is that photos shot using the DSLR will automatically be saved to your phone.

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…and that gives us endless possibilities for things like… Wi-Fi file transfers:

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DSLR Controller (which only works for Canon EOS cameras) provides a LiveView for photos and video. This is great for low-angle shots and for quick overview with pinch-to-zoom and tap-to-focus feature.

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To attach the phone to the camera I use a standard hot shoe mount adapter and a modified phone holder for tripods.

That’s a taste of what you can do when you combine your Android phone/tablet with your DSLR.

About the author: Maciej Pietuszynski is a photographer based in Dublin, Ireland. Visit his blog here and his Facebook page here. This article originally appeared here.

  • jon

    buy a camranger and be done with it

  • Superstarseven

    Camranger is just for iOS though.
    That’s a stupid suggestion.

  • Me

    Kinda hard to go with 36 MP on d800 with transfer to your phone..

  • Maciej Pietuszynski

    you dont have to transfer raw files to your phone i shoot raw+jpg(s) and i choose only jpg for saving to the phone when is needed for quick share.

  • Carsten Schlipf

    Well, I’ve tried such an setup, but there is absolutely no app (at least I haven’t found any) that can process RAW images. Those few that claim that they can just process the embedded JPEG and not the real RAW image.

    And as for the controller part – I have Magic Lantern installed. Works much better for me as I do not have to attach my phone of tablet to it.

  • Mike

    I have my own brain to work with already.

  • Igor Ken

    Ok, I have a MarkII and a HTC Sensation, it’s a 2011 phone, can I use it for that, it’d be interesting to try it!
    Can you do that with an iPhone?

  • Dredge

    LOL – Holy freakin’ gadgets! To think I don’t like using zoom lenses because I find they get in the way of my process. Just connecting this contraption would make me want to give up and go home.

  • Rob

    Spooky… my OTG cable just came in the mail today. I spent the last 3 hours playing with it and experimenting with some of these types of programs on a Nexus 7 and my Nikon D7000. Only then did I just happen to flip through my RSS feeds and see this article.

    I’ve yet to find the single feature I was really looking for though: Instant Image review on the tablet, while retaining full camera control and image storage at the body. I’d literally like the image to pop up full screen “immediately” (obviously there’s some load time over the cable, esp. with large files).

  • Canon6DFTW

    You should note that the Canon EOS 6D has built in Wi-Fi and, paired with their free EOS Remote App for iPhone or Android, can do all of the above and more but wireless.

  • FlaPapiChulo904

    I’ve been using DSLR Controller for a while now when I’m doing video using a crane. Comes in real handy. Allows my tablet to double as a second screen mounted to the tripod while the camera is high on the crane. I’ve never used it for photography, though.

  • Michael Edward Clarke

    Great idea just a sham the App is only for cannon camera. I can only hope that the App makers release one that can be used with pentax DSLR.

  • sxinias

    Excellent. Thanks for posting. I’m looking for ways to have my tablet married to my computerized telescope and Canon DSLR.

  • 9inchnail

    Well, does your brain have bluetooth? Everything’s better with bluetooth, you know.

  • John R

    shuttersnitch for the iPad

  • John R

    you lost me at instagram

  • Maciej Pietuszynski

    hi and no htc sensation dont have usb host capabality.

  • Maciej Pietuszynski

    we know that but 5d mark2, mark3 and other canon eos camera dont have wifi

  • Maciej Pietuszynski

    that is just for a joke;)

  • Maciej Pietuszynski

    the same people say about video recording on dslr… and i dont move from my home without prime lenses ;)

  • Maciej Pietuszynski

    i use mobile only for quick share, with raw files i work only on the comuter

  • Maciej Pietuszynski

    when your tablet have usb host only what you need is long long usb cable

  • Maciej Pietuszynski

    i can say but have look in play store maybe you can find something there for your camera

  • B.K.

    Do either of these apps allow you to geotag the photos? That would be a useful feature, in my opinion.

  • albin roussel

    When will people learn how to spell “Canon”?
    It’s weird how many people do that mistake.

  • targ8ter

    A remote for a camera is always a neat option. You can set your camera up on a sidewalk and snap pictures of passersby who think you are just texting on your phone, for example.

  • Ozan Yasar

    There was an article that showed this connection wireless…This… This looks totally stupid. Only thing can fit this connection scheme is something like google glass, so it’ll make my viewfinder independent from the camera.

    Ok, now you are using an expensive camera to post on Instagram; and a totally useless controller to take a photo when your camera has all those features… You are using both your phones and cameras battery at the same time… If you realy have a problem with “sd card space” buy a wireless one…

  • Maciej Pietuszynski

    My camera is missing two features one is wifi for quick sharing (not for instagram share but for dropbox) and tilt screen when i want shoot something from low angle…and i fix that without buying extra expensive tools using only what i have already.

  • Ron

    I shoot with a 60D and an Eye-Fi card. Works great. Beams the JPEGs to my tablet, which I can then post online.

  • cas_e

    I’m guessing CamCap wouldn’t work with my Nikon D3100?

  • gokbay

    I found an application named ” dslrdashboard” in googleplay and tried on my nikon d90. I especially used lv mode and the result was perfect. The app is like the android version of nikon camera control pro and the best thing is it is free and free of ads. I advice you all to try this app. Thank you for your idea

  • Gina

    Any chance I’ll be able to do this with my Sony Alpha55 someday?

  • Björn Luminaire

    Perhaps a Borg would enjoy it.

  • Horacio

    I’m just an starter, student of photography, but i ask, isn’t it a little “awkward” for pro or artist use made filters from apps? just to have the photo ready to share? I’m mean is not part of being a photographer do the appropiate image processing?

  • PixelPete

    I always get excited about things like this and then get knocked down with the lack of love for anything that isn’t canon or nikon =[

  • leo

    for nikon cameras the best one is dslrdashboard, and it’s free!!!

  • vinicius

    Nikon D5200 has a wifi dongle. With tha u can use your smartphone as a intervolumeter like here, quite nice, even more “mobile”, AND you can transfer data direct from you camera to a computer. Althought good idea, especialy for me that dont have a D5200.

  • Collin

    Not working on my D3100…

  • Collin

    This app just lists the message “No DSLR camera found on USB”. Not working for me.

  • Charles

    Do you have an OTG cable? I tried a female-female connector and got the same message, Worked when I used an OTG/Host cable as the usb port appears to have an extra connection between pins 4 and 5 in order to recognise host mode and with that enable the phone to connect to the camera.

  • Ian Yates ヅ

    Will this become available for Sony?

  • Andrew Kullas

    I am a filmmaker, and I have been thinking of rigging up something like this with my Canon and Samsung tablet.
    Seeing that you have done it, I’m confident that I had a good idea, gonna have to try that now. :)

  • John is Awake

    Congrats on being an ass.

  • Mohit Mac

    I got the Micro USB OTG to USB 2.0 Adaptor however my question is which port should I connect the wire on the Nikon Camera is it USB A/v Out port?

    And I came across app named as DSLR Remote & TrigerTrap apps from google play they are awesome !!

  • Roel Tipay

    try DSLR DASHBOARD android apps its free works perfect in quadcore cpu phone and tablet

  • John Sabol

    does it work JUST with micro-USB OTG cable? i bouhgt a micro-usb to mini-usb cable and it doesnt works