Aug 09 AT 1:25 PM Clark Wimberly 26 Comments

DSLR Controller brings live view Canon shooting via USB

A couple of weeks ago, Futureboy, a user here, complained that we used the phrase blow your mind too loosely around here- that we say things will blow your mind when in reality they might not. Well, DSLR Controller blew my mind, and I’ve shot the above video and written this post to tell you why.

If you haven’t figured it out by its clever name, DSLR Controller is an app that lets you control your DSLR camera (more specifically, your Canon EOS DSLR camera). You can link up your camera and your Android device via USB (we used a Toshiba Thrive for easy testing) for things like a live view from the lens, focus controls, aperture settings, etc right on your device screen.

I’ll admit that part of the mind-blowing-ness comes from the fact that I’ve only used a Canon camera with live-view for about a year now, and shooting tethered with the EOS utility is even newer for me. But few years ago my DSLR camera didn’t even have a live-view function at all, let alone one that could pop up on my phone screen.

The other part of the mind-blowing-osity comes from the new uses this rigging would allow, none of which I’ve actually thought of yet (so far I’ve just tinkered with it around the office). But I imagine things like posting a camera up out of reach and running cord down so you can see/control everything would be pretty handy.

The developer uploaded his own video which does a good job of exploring some of the deeper functionality, but if you’re that much of a photonerd you might as well just buy the app. Seriously, playing with this thing has left me absolutely delighted.

Do we have any photographers among our ranks here? If so, do you shoot tethered very often? Would you see the usefulness of shooting tethered to your Android device?


Clark is a developer living in Austin, Texas. He runs ClarkLab, a small web firm with his wife, Angie. He's a big fan of usability, standards, and clean design.

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  • Kevin

    What about us Nikon-ers? I’m not a big fan of Canon EOS’s. It’s a very cool idea but who would actually purchase a tablet just to shoot pictures through your tablet? You’d get much much better shots just wielding the camera itself!

    • pekosROB

      True, but considering a shutter release can cost at the very least a few bucks up to $40-50+ if you got a wireless one and this app being less than $10 is fun to play with. Of course, that’s assuming you have all the gear and don’t have to go out of your way and buy it.

  • carlos

    Nikon will follow I am sure…but to keep the topic on the App (not which cameras are better) I would see this as much more useful if there were a bluetooth accessory vs USB cable. I like the concept, but if I am going to be that close to my camera anyway I would rather control it directly/natively. Will this app work with the camera if you are running one of the WiFi accessories?


    Innovations are always good.. Im not a big on taking pics.. But this may lead to something better

  • fatspirit

    This is pad only thing?

  • richard bown

    whilst not photographer at all I have a Samsung sh100 which lets me do the same thing over wifi, with my galaxy s – very handy for shots in a crowd at gigs etc , or doing family portraits.

  • AME

    Perhaps I’m not a very creative person, but I don’t see how this would help somebody with their photography. I’ll give you that it is neat, but I don’t see the practicality. You wouldn’t be able to use this out in the field because you can’t juggle a camera in one hand and a tablet in the other and expect to get a good photo.

    The only way I would pay $8+ for a camera app is if it gave me more functionality and a better camera experience. This looks like it just makes the viewing window bigger. Does it offer any extra tools for photo manipulation once the camera has captured the picture?

    • Taylor Wimberly

      I could see it being useful when using a tripod to take shots. Instead of standing up or being bent over at a weird angle to control the camera, you could sit comfortably and still have full control over your device.

      • AME

        It could also work in that way pretty well in like a photography class where the instructor has to show many people at a time.

      • pekosROB

        Or to reduce shake from physically pressing the button – maybe it’s a close up on a telescopic lens, maybe the photographer is trying to capture something that’s moving and needs to be absolutely still.

        Plenty of applications! And I went ahead and bought the app when I saw chainfire post it on xda in the Xoom forum.

  • ntan97

    i would just like to point out that the graphic at the the bottom of the article whic referneces to the odnload syas that it is free yet its $8.49 on the market. Just pointing that out.

    • Angie Strickland

      Yes, thanks. There is something messed up that won’t let it display correctly.

      • ntan97

        k just thought I’d point it out

  • Thorpeland

    As someone who is a photographer, this is HUGE. I see the app is still in beta but appears to be quite polished for where its currently at. Shooting “tethered” gives the photographer a better idea of what their capturing. It might be a landscape or a model, but viewing what you’re about to shoot on a 10 inch screen gives the photographer a good idea of how it will look to someone viewing it on a PC screen. Seeing it on the big screen allows you to come home with more keepers, less junkers because you see things you would normally miss on the camera’s LCD or through the view finder. Normally photogs have to lug around a laptop with a 2nd stand to put it on. But having this on my Xoom will be simply awesome. With normal tethering to a laptop, you only see the final product after the shot. This is going to let me see my subject, compose my shot, adjust my exposure and then capture the image. AWESOME!! I can’t wait to put it to use. Im sure as the app comes out of beta, it will support more devices and more cameras.

  • Futureboy

    #Corrections That should read, “A couple of weeks ago, loyal androidandme follower, Futureboy, kindly mentioned that perhaps we used the phrase blow your mind too loosely around here”


    And yes, this is where it should be used.

    This looks like an awesome app which gives that extra bit of freedom in positioning a camera for a shot. There have been several times where I’ve set up cameras very low to the ground or tight to a wall (even with a wide angle lens), and this app would have been incredibly handy. Definitely not an every-day app, but more of an “invaluable when you need it” app.

    Finally, @Clark, I’ve submitted both “mind-blowing-ness” and “mind-blowing-osity” to Merriam-Webster. Nicely done.

    • Clark Wimberly

      Haha, glad you enjoyed it.

  • Toranto7

    Let us know when it works with nikon DSLRs

  • Louis

    This is HUGE especially if you’re a videographer. This’s something I have always dream about!! The cost of an average 5″ 1200 x 800 field monitor is $800. A really really great start! They should work hard to extend it to more cameras, panasonic gh2 etc. Why do I have to buy a different field monitor when I can just use my 10″ 1200 x 800 tablet as my monitor or EVF? Great work guys, now extend it to other cameras and see your sale raise.

  • Rod

    Do I get it right that older cameras which don’t have liveview will suddenly have this capability with this app? ‘Cause that alone already makes it very useful (a 5D original owner, tired of waiting for a 5Dmkiii)

  • Oz

    hey guys.. i love the app and really waiting for the gh2 support to come out and test it out with my andriod tab…

  • al

    has the app for the Nikon photographers been developed yet?

  • Seth Blaustein

    Just to be clear…does this work for video mode on the t2i as well??

    If so, ditto Louis…monitors are essential for videographers and they are not cheap at all. This would be a big breakthrough if it does in fact work with video mode.

  • euro

    Thats wot i need to know…. will it work with canon hfg10 video cameras?
    They dont normally stream on usb but i know theres an adaptor for rca plugs which allow u to plug composite video into a usb input, so i wonder if that output on g10 could b read by this software as it comes in to an andoid tablet thru usb? Any solutions ? Thanks

  • Michael

    this would be absolute gold if you wanna set your camera up on a jib!

  • Astro imager

    My hobby (read expensive addiction) is Astrophotography. I use software called Backard EOS for prime focus imaging with my Canon 60DA on my laptop. I also use my Canon EOS T-3, centered on the same spot for wide angle imaging of the same object. I looked for a while for a method to control both cameras through the same PC simultaneously. I bought a Samsung Galaxy just so I could use it with DSLR controller to control the second camera. It works great!

  • asd

    is it possible to change picture styles with your app? would it be possible to implement this feature? the canon cameras have three custom picture styles which can be loaded from a computer using EOS Utility, but computers are big to carry, so an Android app to change picture styles would be nice.