The CamRanger has been a lot of fun to test out over the last couple of weeks. As far as tethering goes, I think it does a good job. It’s portable, lightweight, creates its own wi-fi network and most importanly, it’s easy to use. All of which are key to ensuring continued usage. You can find it for as low as $299 and it must be used with a free app downloadable for Android and iOS devices.
There are really three key features that will entice people to purchase this. Those are the larger Liveview on your device, the ability to control just about any function on your camera remotely and the opportunity to review each photo at a much larger size than the camera’s LCD. But although the Liveview on your device is actually quite helpful, I want to be clear that you don’t get any new functionality from this simply because it is being run on an app. The same is true of the photo review, the benefit really only comes in due to the size of the screen on your device. But, and this is a big but (ahem), that larger screen can really impact your shots. The one big drawback though is that when you want to review a photo, it takes a few seconds to download to the CamRanger. This isn’t such a big deal when shooting one or two stationary shots but when you are taking many shots of something moving fast, the download speeds are not up to the task. Finally, the fact that you can control the camera’s functions is critical for the CamRanger since the whole point is not having physical contact with your camera and the controls do work well (At least on my Nikon D800).
The screen on your tablet can also be used to set a focal point but as I stated, there were mixed results. Sometimes it would lock on just fine while other times it would set the wrong focal point. This may be lens dependent. Focusing is also not very fast so when it does work correctly, it’s best used for stationary objects. Which brings me to my trial with Focus stacks. While, I was able to get an acceptable stack of a ladybug, I did have to wait until it had calmed down and stopped moving in order to take the successive pictures. With insects, this is not always an option as they tend to move quite a bit. But, once the ladybug stopped moving, the CamRanger successfully shifted the focal point in small enough increments for me to put together a convincing stack. The slow focus is also relevant when trying to capture any moving subject from insects to animals to vehicles. Again, it is not up to the task for moving objects.
Night Shots and HDR worked well with the CamRanger but for different reasons. The Night shots came down to two things, (1) The larger, brighter screen of the tablet and (2) the remote control. The tablet screen was very important for review since you are able to get a much better view of the image. The remote control allowed me to leave the camera and observe the scene I was shooting and focus on my timing instead of trying to get in the right position to look through the viewfinder and time it correctly. Being on the tall side, I’m 6’2″, the camera isn’t always in a good spot for me to look through. When it came to shooting HDR with the CamRanger, it really did a great job. You were able to set the exposure differences you wanted and the number of shots and the rest was automatic. It worked very well here.
Creates on wi-fi Network
Works with both iOS and Android
Easy to use/learn
Focus feature is inconsistent
Focus is very slow (2-3 seconds)
Photo review is slow
So, all in all, I think this is a great little piece of kit but it isn’t for everybody. If you shoot a lot of stationary subjects or HDR, I think it can help you with your photos. However if you are typically shooting moving subjects or take a lot of burst shots, you won’t get much out of it. It doesn’t break new ground in terms of tethering but makes good use of the gadgets and devices we are already carrying with us.
I hope this review helped you become better informed. Please leave a comment and let me know what you thought.