Published on February 2nd, 2011 | by Gbemiga0
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.