How to wirelessly tether your camera to Lightroom

By on December 4, 2013

Ever since I started doing large scale photoshoots, I’ve always looked for a solution to wirelessly tether to my computer. Tethered shooting is a pain because I tend to move around too much and trip over my cables bringing the entire shoot to an epic end.

Wireless tethering was only a long-gone dream with the only couple options the affordable Eye-Fi Card which was slow, unreliable and had terrible desktop software… and the completely unaffordable WT-5 units from Nikon.

Why tether you ask? Focus checking, framing, presenting shots to the clients on an actual screen, camera controls, live view, just to name a few… And all those are possible tethered directly to an iPad or a Computer using a nifty 300$ device named the CamRanger.

But as cool as all that is, what if you wanted the functionality of tethered shooting to Lightroom (apply presets, crop/frame, etc…) , without sacrificing the additional live view camera controls afforded by the CamRanger? Was there actually a solution?

Disclaimer: This post was not sponsored by CamRanger.

After pondering for a while, I found the solution:

5 Easy Steps to set up your computer for wireless tethering to lightroom.

Step 1:

wireless-remote-shutter-system-2

Buy a Camranger - (Amazon | B&H | Vistek). Sorry but there’s really no way around it.  (Only works for Nikon/Canon. Be sure to check compatibility here) Though the EyeFi is somewhat of a solution, it is so terribly unreliable and unstable that I would NEVER recommend it for professional (or even semi-professional use).

 

Step 2:

Load up the CamRanger preferences and select the “Saved Images Directory” that you want.

Make sure that you select “Auto-Download Images” so that the images are automatically saved to your computer.

CamRanger Preferences 1

Step 3:

Set you camera to transfer RAW+JPG (I personally use Fine+Small on my D800E but depending on which camera you have, your settings might be different.

You CAN choose to transfer RAW files but those 50mb files take time to transfer!!

DSF1150 as Smart Object 1

Step 4:

Set up “Auto-Import” in Lightroom.

Head over to the Auto-Import Settings, and define your “Watched-Folder” by selecting the folder previously determined in Step 2.

Lightroom wireless tether 1

Auto Import Settings

Step 5:

You’re done! Enjoy the power of wireless freedom.

Hope you enjoyed this tutorial, here’s a preview of next week’s BTS video:
Camranger 2

Note to bloggers: Please do not copy the contents of this article. Feel free to link to the video and direct people here. Thanks!

 

 

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  • James

    ***Set you camera to transfer RAW+JPG (I personally use Fine+Small on my D800E but depending on which camera you have, your settings might be different.

    You CAN choose to transfer RAW files but those 50mb files take time to transfer!!***

    I’m not sure I understand this step. So what are you transferring? RAW or JPG, or both? How long does it take each file to transfer? And how many files can you shoot before you have to pause shooting to let the buffer catch up? One of the reasons I use Capture One Pro 7 is for the tethering. It’s lightning fast importing tethered images and I generally don’t have to wait for imports. Lightroom was such a dog it was killing my sessions by having to wait for it to import (the model would be hitting her stride and then we’d have to stop)…and this is on wired tether!!!

    • http://www.vonwong.com/ Benjamin Von Wong

      It transfers the JPGs and keeps the RAWS+ JPGS on the card that way buffer is not an issue! Takes only like 1-2 seconds and the small jpgs are transferred

    • James

      So when importing the RAWS later, how do you match them up to the jpgs that were initially transferred? Or are you basically just using the initial tether for quality control while you shoot and then creating a new folder when you import the RAWS?

    • http://www.vonwong.com/ Benjamin Von Wong

      It’s just for quality control and proof of concept and to make pre-selects that you can just then filter back onto the RAWS when u import them in :) At least that’s how I use it.

    • James

      Good stuff. I’ve been contemplating the cam ranger. I’m mostly studio so I’m wired, but I think come next spring I’ll be getting outdoors a little more with the camera. Looks like a great option. Thanks Ben.

      - James

  • Spencer

    Are you using CamRanger’s software on the iPad to view the photos wirelessly or what?

    • http://www.vonwong.com/ Benjamin Von Wong

      yep!

  • http://kurnikoff.com/ Kamil “kurnikoff” Kurylonek

    In “Client Mode” can your clients select, rate, star images, colour code them etc like in Lightroom? Is there any rating system at all?

    • http://www.vonwong.com/ Benjamin Von Wong

      Yes there is a rating system you can export in a text file but it doesn’t sync with lightroom. It’s a manual process but it works. No color coding, its a 3 star rating !

    • http://kurnikoff.com/ Kamil “kurnikoff” Kurylonek

      Thanks! Would be great if we could just import and sync text or xml file with Lightroom in the future :)

  • Deb Smith

    Is this new? I bought Camranger 3 months ago and called them about msking it work into Lightroom snd they said they were working on making it work. Dud you let them know so they can inform everyone? I’ll have to try this later today.

    • http://www.vonwong.com/ Benjamin Von Wong

      haha it’s kind of a workaround I suppose but it works! :)

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  • K Holt

    All kinds of awesome!! As a food photographer, I really appreciate this post!!
    PINNED!
    Thank you,
    K-

  • http://www.positiveimage.biz/ Positive Image

    I have been using the Eye-Fi card and an app called ShutterSnitch for over a year to wirelessly tether my Nikon D90, D2x (with CF to SD adapter) and Nikon D800 to my iPad. I shoot RAW+jpeg and send the jpeg’s to the iPad at jpeg medium. It takes 3-5 seconds to transfer the jpeg to the iPad. When on location I use a portable battery powered router to increase the wifi range (without the router the range is about 15-30 feet because of the camera body shielding the wifi signal). I just purchased a 16gb Eye-fi X2 pro card for $59.95 from B&H. You need the Eye-fi X2 Pro for shooting the RAW format. Photo during the Black Friday weekend. Here’s the Fstoppers video for the set up of the Eye-Fi card…

    http://fstoppers.com/how-to-tether-your-camera-to-an-ipad-without-jailbreaking

    You can find the router for about $60.00. Here’s the video for setting up the portable battery powered router for extneded range…

    The ShutterSnitch app is currently $18.99 for iPad and iPhone…
    https://itunes.apple.com/app/shuttersnitch/id364176211?mt=8

    I’m so spoiled behind using the iPad as an extended viewing monitor that it’s difficult to show without it.

    Enjoy!!!

    • http://www.positiveimage.biz/ Positive Image

      Should have read… “I just purchased a 16gb Eye-fi X2 pro card for $59.95 from B&H Photo during the Black Friday weekend.”

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  • Sam Paul

    I recently saw a press release about XtremeTether, seems it does the same as CamRanger

    • http://www.vonwong.com/ Benjamin Von Wong

      wow looks like some factory in china got a hold of it lol. its EXACTLY the same build

  • Riker

    um ok.. how do I get to step 2 – CamRanger preferences?

    • http://www.vonwong.com/ Benjamin Von Wong

      Upper menu bar,right next to the apple icon, click on “camranger”

  • Michael Christensen

    Anyone knows how to tehter from a Sony camera?

  • iphoto27

    Search for the ATG AK1 Un-Tethered Systems.

    - Shoot up to 24fps RAW/JPEG wirelessly from camera or Windows
    - Dual live-views
    - Saves on card/pc or pc
    - Built-in wireless radio flash
    - Control all settings from Windows which Adobe Lightroom can not do.
    - Control wireless radio ETTL II from Windows or on camera.
    - Only one is needed to be fully compatible with many C/L/O/N/P/S

    If you can’t find information on ATG, call Alzo Digital, CT.

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  • Alan

    Unfortunately, my LR tells me that it cannot transfer the image to the chosen location. I’m guessing that it is because LR is trying this while the file is still downloading from the camera.

  • dewayne

    Hello von, can you share from mac to iPad. they say you can but can’t figure this out