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Published on February 2nd, 2011 | by Gbemiga


BlueSLR: Wireless Camera Control

Its seems like not a day pass­es by where you can’t do some­thing new with the iPhone, iPad or with Blue­tooth. The lat­est trick ac­tu­al­ly re­quires two parts, both hard­ware and soft­ware, and al­lows you to step out from be­hind your cam­era and fo­cus on ad­just­ing a group or mak­ing sure that you’re in it.

The BlueSLR Wire­less Cam­era Con­trol from the Cana­di­an com­pa­ny XE­quals is the lat­est thing to add to the iPhone func­tion­al­i­ty. The BlueSLR comes in two parts, a slim unit that plugs in­to your cam­era and an app that lets you con­trol your cam­era re­mote­ly. With both in place, we could ad­just the fo­cus, change the shut­ter speed, and ad­just the timer- good for those group pho­tos that al­ways have us run­ning to get in­to place quick­ly. You can even tell the cam­era to take a cer­tain num­ber of pic­tures over a giv­en pe­ri­od of time! We loved that the BlueSLR de­vice comes with the abil­i­ty to ge­olo­cate and GPS tag your pho­to, al­low­ing you to re­mem­ber where that cer­tain pic­ture was tak­en. It us­es your iPhone to ac­com­plish this, with the ex­pect­ed lim­its ver­sus a tra­di­tion­al GPS mod­ule. In oth­er words, it works bet­ter in­doors than most sys­tems, but has some re­stric­tions. It does not ap­pear to re­quire a live da­ta con­nec­tion, so you can dis­able roam­ing da­ta and it will still work OK (though per­haps not quite as ac­cu­rate­ly).

Set­ting up the BlueSLR was sur­pris­ing­ly easy– we were half-ex­pect­ing some ar­cane rit­u­als would be need­ed. Once the hard­ware was set up and and the de­vice paired with your iPhone, it au­to­mat­i­cal­ly helps you to down­load the soft­ware. And with those sim­ple steps, you’re able to take pic­tures any­time, any­where, re­mote­ly with your iPhone. A lit­tle tid­bit that we loved was the abil­i­ty to al­so take pic­tures us­ing the iPad or any­thing from new­er than a sec­ond gen­er­a­tion iPod Touch, al­though An­droid and Black­ber­ry sup­port is on the way. And re­mote shut­ter of­fers the added ben­e­fit of less shut­ter shake- it’s eas­i­er to sta­bi­lize the cam­era when you don’t need to press the but­ton on the cam­era, re­sult­ing in clear­er pic­tures in low-light con­di­tions.

Un­for­tu­nate­ly the BlueSLR is cur­rent­ly on­ly com­pat­i­ble with Nikon cam­eras but sup­port for Canon is com­ing soon. There are three dif­fer­ent mod­els of the de­vice avail­able: Nikon Es­sen­tial, Ad­vanced, and Pro­fes­sion­al. With these three prod­ucts you’ll find sup­port for the D3100, D5000, D90, D2Xs, D3, D3s, D3x, D200, D300, D300s, and D700. It was a bit an­noy­ing that dif­fer­ent mod­els re­quire dif­fer­ent units, thus lim­it­ing the util­i­ty of the don­gle to a spe­cif­ic class of cam­era (ours was a D90-on­ly edi­tion). Fur­ther, we no­ticed one sig­nif­i­cant down­side, which is that you’ll need to do some con­fig­u­ra­tion and make sure that the BlueSLR App is run­ning in the back­ground of a sleep­ing i-de­vice in or­der to cap­ture the ge­olo­ca­tion in­for­ma­tion (which does work even when us­ing the cam­era’s built-in trig­ger). GPS ac­cu­ra­cy is on­ly as good as that in your de­vice, so WiFi-on­ly iPod Touch­es or iPads don’t of­fer quite the lev­el of per­for­mance as an iPhone. With our iPhone 4, even our el­e­va­tion and head­ing were cap­tured though.

We’ve tried out some oth­er so­lu­tions, but this one is fair­ly unique. It’s low cost and con­ve­nient fea­ture set make it per­fect for iOS users, and it doesn’t much af­fect our cam­era or phone bat­tery life, or re­quire ex­tra bat­ter­ies. We feel that the BlueSLR is a great gift for the am­a­teur pho­tog­ra­pher but it could al­so make a good pre­sent to a pro­fes­sion­al too. The BlueSLR is avail­able for $149 and the app is free in the App Store.

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About the Author

In Gbemiga Sodipe's 28 years on this planet, he has lived on every continent but South America and has had a wide variety of jobs and experiences. He has worked as a Technical Writer for Microsoft in Beijing and as a coupon delivery guy in Springfield, Missouri. He loves books and is partial to Sci-Fi and Nonfiction but if you put any book in front of him his mind will be gone from this world and into the world of the book. Unless of course you put Uncle Toms Cabin or any book by L. Ron Hubbard in front of him, then he will first beat you to a bloody pulp with the book then commit what he considers to be one of his Seven Deadly Sins i.e. burn the book. In fact he for a time considered books much more interesting and less problematic than girls but that was during his early teenage years (ok maybe also every now and then but don’t tell his girlfriend that). Gbemiga speaks English and Mandarin Chinese fluently, understands but can’t speak Yoruba (to his mother’s eternal chagrin, even though it’s her fault) and knows the insults and swear words of 5 other languages (thank you International upbringing).

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