A fundamental premise of EDA360 is that software now sells hardware. The self-evident proof of this statement is obvious everywhere from smartphone apps to apps running on tablets and HDTVs. People buy these products because apps give hardware the flexibility to morph into whatever you need, within the limits of the device. The PC created this paradigm and the notion of apps now drives this flexibility into a wider and wider range of products. The $8.48 DSLR Controller app from Chainfire, a new entry in the Android Market, is the first example of an app I’ve seen that I think can open an whole new market for a couple of device classes: smartphones and tablets. This app allows a device running Android Honeycomb or a smartphone running Android 2.3.3 or newer to control a Canon digital SLR (dSLR) camera over a USB tether. (The Android device must support USB host/OTG/On-the-Go.) The list of controllable Canon dSLR’s currently includes: the Canon EOS 600D/T3i, 550D/T2i, 60D, 50D, 7D, 5D mk II, and 1D mk IV.
Many professional and semi-professional photographers strongly desire the ability to operate their cameras with a remote control that gives them easier control over camera functions, especially in studio settings. The Chainfire dSLR controller app offers many control options including touch focus, histogram, bulb (long-exposure) image capture, and the ability to change many of the camera’s shooting settings such as white balance, as shown below.
The app is currently advertised as being in “pre Beta” and the company says that it plans to add functions including time lapse (intervalometer), video recording, and image playback are still under development. The price of the app will go up as more features are added but early pre-Beta purchasers can upgrade to version 1.0 for free. Chainfire also has plans to provide Nikon support once the Canon features are complete.
The Chainfire dSLR app is an excellent example of a low-cost app that provides so much customer benefit that it can actually sell a relatively high-priced piece of hardware into a new market. I believe that photographers who previously never considered the purchase of a tablet are suddenly considering such a purchase.