If you have a newer camera and have never activated the smartphone app it comes with, or if you’re wondering what features to look for on a new camera, this post is for you. I pooh-poohed the need to put yet another app on my smartphone, this one to manage my new DSLR, but I took the time (and learning curve) to do it and I’m sure glad I did. Here’s why.

I touched the screen to focus on the bird when it landed…
  1. It allows me to take images remotely. I put my camera on a tripod, focused on a bush the birds seemed fond of visiting for its fruit or bugs. Now, sitting around waiting for birds to decide they’re hungry is like watching a pot on the stove, waiting for water to boil. I leaned back in my chair, and when the birds landed, I hit the shutter release – on my phone app. Bingo, images made.
  2. I don’t jiggle the camera when I press the shutter release on the camera. That happens, even on a tripod, and usually when I’m so jazzed about what I’m shooting that my heart beats fast. I can shoot without creating camera shake.
  3. The phone screen works just like the LCD on the back of my camera. I can touch or move a focus point. All settings are available to adjust. It mimics the back of my camera, all while I’m sitting in my chaise a few feet away.
  4. I can share the images through the phone to my social media accounts. Right away. Like – zoom! I haven’t done this often enough, telling myself I still want to spend time on post-production before I send it into the world, but for an upcoming trip, I plan to practice this more.

What’s not to love? There are a couple of things.

…seconds later, the egret took flight – and I almost missed it on click delay.
  1. I shoot Canon, and their old phone app felt clunky and wrong. They replaced it with a completely new app, much more efficient and streamlined. It’s not perfect (but then what app is) but it’s a far improvement over the old one. Expect to spend time on a learning curve to understand how it all works.
  2. Maybe it’s me, but after reading the directions through many times and installing and uninstalling a couple of times, I cannot get mine to work on Bluetooth alone. It needs a Wi-fi connection, which can be frustrating if you’re out in the rain forest.
  3. There is a slight delay between the command to click on the phone and the click actually happening in the camera. Maybe a millisecond, but as we all know, sometimes that’s the difference between a meh shot and a great one.

All in all, though, the smartphone app is a terrific tool. Try it out if it works with your phone. It’s not the be-all for every shooting situation, but it has its place in your toolbox for those shots where your patience may otherwise wear thin.