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CamRanger Review

CamRanger Review - Daniel Bell uses the CamRanger to shoot wirelessly from an iPad to a Nikon D5100 DSLR.

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Category : Digital Cameras
Product : CamRanger
Price : £269
Rating :
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Features
Handling
Performance
Verdict

CamRanger

CamRanger is a device that connects to select Canon or Nikon DLSR cameras via a USB cable (please visit the CamRanger website for a compatible camera list). It creates an ad-hoc Wi-Fi network that your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch can then connect to. The free CamRanger iOS app then enables control of the camera. There is no need for a computer or existing internet connection. You can purchase the CamRanger for £269.00. We have tested the CamRanger using a Nikon D5100, iPad 3 and iPhone 5.

CamRanger

CamRanger Features

  • Operates on a rechargeable, replaceable battery
  • Battery life varies upon usage but 3 to 6 hours is typical
  • Charges with and can be powered by provided USB charging cable or US AC adapter
  • Wireless network enables connections up to 150 feet
  • Comes with protective case for storage and secure attachment
  • Includes Ethernet cable for firmware upgrades for future enhancements
Live View
  • Wirelessly stream live view from the camera to an iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch
  • Double tap to increase magnification
  • Single tap to focus on an area or make incremental focus adjustments
  • Perform focus stacking
  • Frame rate of about 6-18 fps depending on camera
Take and view pictures
  • Wirelessly capture images in multiple drive modes
  • Thumbnails automatically appear on the top of the screen after taking a picture
  • Tap a thumbnail to view the image and its associated meta-data
  • Images are always saved to the camera card and optionally downloaded to the iOS device
  • Optionally select to have images automatically view on the iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch
View full resolution image
  • Double tap to view the image at full resolution
  • Supports full screen mode to maximize the screen size
  • Toggle a variety of overlays: AF points, highlight, shadow, grid lines, and aspect ratio
Auto-View
  • Configure your iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch to automatically display pictures as they are taken
  • Toggle on “Client Mode” to remove camera controls from the iOS device
  • Allows others to quickly and wirelessly view the shots after they are taken
Movie Recording
  • Start and stop movie recording
  • View video while recording
  • Focus adjustments and touch focusing
  • Movie features are very camera dependent, see supported cameras for more details
Intervalometer and Bulb
  • Configure as an intervalometer to take time lapse pictures
  • Supports bulb mode with specific shutter lengths
  • No need for your iOS device to remain connected after starting
View and set camera properties
  • Shutter Speed
  • Aperture
  • ISO
  • Metering Mode
  • Drive/Shooting Mode
  • White Balance
  • Image Format
  • Focus Mode (Nikon only)
  • Auto Exposure Mode (Nikon only)
  • Exposure Compensation & Bracketing
  • Software Auto-Focus toggle to toggle AF/MF
HDR / Advanced Bracketing
  • Take a series of pictures automatically varying Shutter Speed, Aperture or ISO
  • Images can then be post-processed
View Camera Card Contents
  • View thumbnails of the images on your camera’s memory card
  • Select images to be permanently deleted or download them and save into your iOS photo library
  • Double tap image to view full resolution image
Macro Photography
  • Precise focusing control
  • Great for situations requiring awkward camera placements
  • Perform automatic focus stacking to enhance depth of field (post processing required)
CamRanger

CamRanger Handling

Firstly you need to insert the battery, which is a little fiddly. It would be easier if there was a sliding cover, rather than one you have to pull off. To charge the battery, you need to connect it with the provided USB cable to your computer. Next you need to download and install the free CamRanger app. When you launch it, you need to remain connected to the internet and register the device. The app guides you through the process and when complete you need to exit the app.

Camranger Screenshot 4 Camranger Screenshot 8 Camranger Screenshot 7

The next move is to turn the CamRanger unit on, it takes around 30 seconds to fully turn on and initialise. Next connect your camera to the unit via the USB cable (some cameras require the cable supplied with camera). You then need to switch the camera on and then use your iOS device to connect to the CamRanger device. Relaunch the app and you're ready to go.

Camranger In The Field

The CamRanger comes with a handy protective case which can be clipped to your tripod when in use. As it comes with a US power adapter, if you want to charge via your mains you'll need another adapter if you're in the UK.

The app works equally well whether using an iPad or iPhone, but the larger screen on the iPad does make it better for viewing live mode and easier to set the focus more accurately.

CamRanger

CamRanger Performance

You have to set the camera to the mode you want to use, via the app you can change the aperture, shutter speed and ISO dependent on which mode you are using. You can also adjust the exposure compensation, metering mode, drive mode, white-balance, image format and auto focus mode. In drive mode you can perform continuous shooting, you're limited to 10 shots but the fps rate is the same as if you were controlling the camera yourself. There is also a live histogram available to help you ensure your pictures are correctly exposed.

CamRanger

Focusing stacking

This mode allows you to focus on different areas, taking several shots which can then be merged in Photoshop. You simply need to focus on the nearest point in your picture that you want in focus and set the step size and number of shots. The shot below has been taken using five pictures and merged.

Focus Stacking Image 1 Focus Stacking Image 2 Focus Stacking Image 3 Focus Stacking Image 4 Focus Stacking Image 5
Focus Stacking Example

TimeLapse

You can record from 1 to 10000 shots which delays from 1 second to 59 minutes and 59 seconds in order to take shots to create a TimeLapse video. The beauty of the CamRanger here is that once you have set your camera recording via the app, the CamRanger unit does the rest, so you can close the app and continue to use your iOS device as normal.



HDR

This mode is a simple enough idea, but hasn't been particularly well executed. Firstly, you need to be in manual mode, then select whether you want to change the shutter speed, aperture or ISO. Given that the typical and easiest way to do HDR is to change the exposure compensation, it's strange that this isn't a given option. Also, it starts at the lowest / darkest exposure and steps up to higher / lighter exposures, so you need know which settings to start with - this takes time and perhaps more knowledge than some users may have. It would be better if you could input the correct exposure and the CamRanger then take exposures either side.

HDR

Video

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.



Any pictures you take automatically load as small thumbnails across your screen. You can view any image on your memory card and choose to either save it to your camera roll or delete. If you are working with a client present, there is a client mode which removes the camera controls from the main display, ideal for showing them the pictures you have taken without them accidentally changing any settings.

Camranger Client Mode

CamRanger Verdict

The CamRanger is an impressive piece of kit but also carries quite a high price. It allows complete wireless shooting to your DSLR with a range of up to 150 feet whereas other iOS remote triggers such as the ioShutter and Triggertrap are completely wired.

The focus stacking mode is fantastic but the HDR mode could be made simpler. Perhaps this may come in a future app update. Also, when shooting in time lapse, you can set the camera shooting and use your iOS device as normal - it doesn't need to remain connected the whole time.

 
  The CamRanger packs plenty of features as well as offering wireless shooting.

CamRanger Pros

iOS device not required when time lapse recording has commenced
Comes with a case which attaches to a tripod
Allows for wireless shooting
Battery easily replaced if you purchase a spare
Focus stacking mode is a great feature

CamRanger Cons

Very expensive
Can't view or download videos from camera to device
HDR mode is complicated
Works with a limited number of Canon and Nikon cameras

FEATURES  
HANDLING  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
OVERALL  

The CamRanger is available to purchase from Wex Photographic for £269.00.

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