Shoot Tethered with Canon DSLR Controller

The ability to shoot tethered is imperative for most professional photographers. Not only does it let you study your captured images on a big screen as soon as they’re taken, but it also allows for your client to give instant feedback. This opens up the collaboration aspect of your photo shoot. Thanks to evolving technology, apps let you easily shoot tethered on a smartphone or mobile device using just a tether cable. Some tethering options and remote shooting can be achieved wirelessly on cameras with built-in Wi-Fi like the Canon 6D, or popular mirrorless cameras. But this blog is for cameras without Wi-Fi.  Read on to learn how to shoot tethered with the Canon DSLR Controller app and an Android device.

Note that the apps and cables needed for tethered shooting will vary according to which camera brand and model you have, as well as what type of phone or device you are using. At the bottom, you’ll also find tethered shooting options for Nikon and Apple devices.

How to shoot tethered with Canon DSLR Controller app

What is tethering?

Tethered shooting lets you connect your camera to a computer so your captured images can be viewed on an attached screen as soon as they are taken. Sometimes, tethering also allows for remote shooting or controlling your camera through the connected computer. In particular, tethering is useful for studio or food photographers who want to zoom in and check every detail of a photo as they shoot. It’s also a valuable service to offer to clients as makes it easier to collaborate during a photo shoot.

Traditionally, photographers use a cable to connect their cameras to a laptop computer, but this is often means having to carry extra gear on a photo shoot. Fortunately, technology has evolved so that tethered shooting can now be conducted via a tablet or mobile device. This is a much more portable option.

5 Steps to Tethered Shooting with Canon DSLR Controller App

If you have a Canon camera without built-in Wi-Fi, DSLR Controller is the app for you. Available on for iOS and Android devices, this app was among the very first that allowed for full control over a Canon EOS DSLR from an Android device using either a USB cable or Wi-Fi connection. It remains among the most reputable and reliable Canon tethering apps on the market today. Be sure to check both camera and phone compatibility before buying.

How to shoot tethered with Canon DSLR Controller app

Canon DSLR Controller App Features

Although not a free app, Canon DSLR Controller packs in a ton of features to easily justify its $7.99 cost. With this app, you can control most camera settings (ie. change aperture, shutter speed, ISO, focus point), capture a photo remotely, and review images and video as soon as they’ve been captured.

DSLR Controller App

What You Need

Of all the items on the list above, the one you’re probably least familiar with is the Micro USB OTG (On-The-Go) cable. Small and cheap, this handy cable allows you to attach to your mobile device almost any USB devices such as a mouse, keyboard, flash drive, or camera. With this cable, you could use a USB-powered mouse or keyboard and fully control your phone in lieu of touchscreen if you wanted to.

How to shoot tethered with Canon DSLR Controller app

Tethered Shooting Guide for Canon DSLR Controller

1) First, plug your Micro USB OTG cable into your mobile device, and connect the OTG cable to the USB 2.0 cable.

How to shoot tethered with Canon DSLR Controller app

2) Connect the other end of the USB 2.0 to your camera. The USB 2.0 plug should exist on pretty much every Canon DSLR. In the above photo, I’m connecting to my Canon 5D Mark III.

How to shoot tethered with Canon DSLR Controller app

3) On your Android tablet, open the DSLR Controller app that you installed earlier. This app is specific to Canon EOS DSLRs and Android devices, and both your camera and mobile device must be compatible.

How to shoot tethered with Canon DSLR Controller app

4) Next, turn your camera on and fire up the DSLR Controller app. Follow the screen prompts and allow the app to access the camera, and violà! You’re pretty much done!

How to shoot tethered with Canon DSLR Controller app

5) Congrats! You can now shoot tethered on your mobile device!

Other Ways to Shoot Tethered

Canon DSLR Controller is specific to both Canon cameras and Android devices. If you’d rather do shoot tethered wirelessly, or have a Nikon camera or Apple device you do have some options, but they are pricey.

Camera-Specific Wi-Fi Apps

By now, many modern cameras come with built-in Wi-Fi and their own corresponding apps that will allow for remote and tethered shooting options. The Canon EOS 6D, for example, has built-in Wi-Fi and thus can achieve tethered shooting via Canon’s own EOS Remote or Canon Camera Connect. Thus, if your camera comes with built-in Wi-Fi, you likely already have a method of tethered shooting.

Add Wi-Fi to Any Camera

If your camera doesn’t have built-in Wi-Fi, you can add this feature by investing CamFinder or Case Air Wireless Tethering System. Both options are not cheap, but they are extremely flexible, allowing you to wirelessly tether and control your camera from any portable device. Compatible with most Canon, Nikon, iOS and Android devices.

Desktop Computer Apps

You can also shoot tethered using Adobe Lightroom and other similar desktop computer applications.

In Conclusion

Tethered shooting is an important practice for many photographers who wish to remote control their cameras and view images instantly on a larger screen during a photo shoot. The exact apps and methodology of tethered shooting depend largely on the devices you are using. Do you shoot tethered? If so, what tools and apps have you found useful? Let me know in the comments below.

How often do you shoot tethered?

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Canon tethered shooting


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By | 2016-12-26T12:29:18+00:00 December 19th, 2016|31 Comments

About the Author:

Suzi Pratt is an event, food, and concert photographer based in Seattle. She started Intrepid Freelancer to inspire and teach others how to start a photography business. View her at photography portfolio, and subscribe to herYouTube channel.

  • Super helpful! Thanks for sharing. Hopefully I can get something similar going between my 5d mark III and iPad 🙂

    – r

    • Thanks for reading! If you come up with a great iPad solution, I’d love to hear it. Keep me posted!

  • Great tips! Thank your for this one. I was rummaging over the internet to know the steps by steps on how to shoot to tablet and digital camera.

    • No problem! Glad to be of help. Let me know how it turns out 🙂

  • whoah this weblog is excellent i really like studying your articles.
    Stay up the great work! You understand, a lot of people are hunting around for this information, you
    can help them greatly.

  • Great tips Suzi!

    • Thanks for reading Susie 🙂

  • Thank you for the tips Suzi. Someone pointed me to this article as I was looking for a solution for my Samsung 7″ tablet to get a bigger tethered preview screen when shooting. I already put a free Android App into my Samsung Tablet which looks pretty good too. It is called Helicon Remote. It will run on any Android based device, including large screened Samsung smart phones too. I just need to get the OTG to USB 2.0 cable to hook the tablet to the camera so I can test it out. I am excited now.

    I am surprised though there haven’t been any similar solutions arise for the iPad yet. Well, I guess another reason not to buy an iPad 🙂

    • Thanks Marc! I love hearing other people’s solutions and approaches to tethering. While I don’t have a Samsung tablet, I do have the Galaxy S3. I’d be curious about trying the Helicon Remote on my phone 🙂

      Also, I checked out your site and love your content! Keep up the great work.

      • I tried Helicon before I found your blog. It isn’t a patch on DSLC Controller, merely being a remote, but it is free, and it works.
        Thanks for writing this article. It was just what I needed and will fire it up this weekend doing star trails 🙂

    • Billy

      There is one solution for iPad called XtremeTether, similar features, but totally wireless, the other cool thing is, you can also PAN and TILT the camera wirelessly from their app!!

      • Whaaaat that’s awesome! I totally want to look into it. Thank you for sharing, Billy!

      • theslyon

        How is that even possible… is this XtremeTether a tripod mount with motors? Or is the ipad really just THAT awesome?

  • Dan

    Hey Suzi, does this app allow you to shoot in RAW?

    • Great question, Dan! I’ve actually ONLY shot in RAW with this app, and it works out beautifully. It takes the app a few seconds to process the image when you hit the shutter button, but other than that, I can’t complain.

  • greg

    is there a app or program that works similar to lightroom. I dont want to use the app to shoot with I only want to use tge tablet to allow ny ckients to view the imaged

  • antonio

    The tip is very helpful. I immediately looked for a cable in Belgium. Not so easy. But I found an OTG adapter in MediaMarked. The app on Google play is easy to find but not possible to download or install because in Europe VISA and Mastercards are not common. They do not accept Paypall or bank transfers. So we can only download free apps. I hope this app will be available outside Google play store somehow. It can take another year till Google decide to accepts Bancontact (EU) or Paypall (WW). For the moment it’s only US.

  • bryant

    Travel is a great need for a good powerful feature phones, the ability to record all the accompanying lenteen

    • rough neck

      This one does the same, plus lets you change the camera settings remotely (iso, wb, shutter speed, aperture, etc), see the viewfinder remotely, pan and tilt the camera remotely, and some other stuff i cant remember right now…

      • Awesome! Thanks for the tip–I’ll have to check out Xtreme Tether. It sounds pretty rad!

  • Thank you for the info. Will put it to use!

    • Any time! I’m glad the info came in handy for you 🙂

  • wow! I have to try this! thanks for the inspiration

  • RJ

    Great information. Although, I own a Nikon D3100. I’d rather know the apps to download as I now know and understand how to connect my Samsung Galaxy 10 2014 Android tablet to my DSLR camera.

    • Hi RJ! Unfortunately, I don’t have access to a Nikon camera or a Samsung phone. I did a bit of research and it looks like Nikon may offer WiFi mobile adapters that might help? Sorry for not being able to offer more advice. I’ll let you know if I find any other resources out there!

      • RJ

        Wow… Greetings Thank you so much for taking the time out of your schedule to help assist me. I have been doing research as well. I have found some information along the way that I may take advantage of too. I first must begin with ordering all the connector cables and in doing so, I was told that my tablet will automatically upload/download the qualifying apps for my camera and install all the key components too. It would be so awesome to do a photo shoot, view them in real-time from my larger screen tablet and doing some quick notations or changes prior to my complete post-editing agenda before processing them or completing the order(s) for my clientele. I appreciate you and your work. I will add you to my go-to list for future reference and questions. You continue being a blessing while being blessed. “Your memory is our Moment” ~MidCity Publishing.

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  • Eric Schilling

    I am trying to connect my 60d to my galaxy s8. The app keeps prompting me to use a wifi connection method; my camera doesn’t come with wifi or bluetooth capabilities. What should I do?

    • It looks like the 80D is compatible with DSLR Controller, although the Galaxy S8 is not currently on their list of supported devices. Could be that the app needs to be updated by the DSLR Controller folks to work with newer phones. I’d perhaps contact them directly:

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