Tethered Shooting Options with Lightroom Update

Hey there my fine tethered friends (that was such a bad joke – sorry). I wanted to give you guys a quick update on tethered shooting options for Lightroom. As usual, there’s a few different options and most of them are for Nikon shooters. If you’re wondering why, its because Canon DSLRs come with a free program that takes care of tethered shooting.

1) Canon EOS Utility (Mac/PC, $Free, Canon only) – This is the program if you’re shooting Canon. You use it to tether your camera to your computer and transfer files into a folder that you set up. Then you set that folder as a watched folder for Lightroom to automatically import from.

2) Nikon Capture Control Pro (Mac/PC, $150+) – If you’re a Nikon shooter then this is probably the most stable option. Its from Nikon and works great when you set it up with Lightroom. It’ll run you at least $150 but if you’re doing this for a living you’ll make that money back pretty quick.

3) Sofortbild (Mac only, Nikon only, Free) – This one is a newcomer to the market and looks really good. I haven’t personally tested it out but Scott Kelby has and is incorporating it into his next Lightroom seminar so I’ll probably do the same. Speaking of Lightroom seminars, I just happen to be teaching one in Chicago on July 20th and New York on July 22nd. I’m just sayin’ :)

4) Mountainstorm Studio & Lightroom Tether (Mac only, Free, Nikon only) – I’ve had pretty decent luck with this one. Plus, it supports Live View which is kinda cool. They have a very easy-to-follow manual and you can get a good idea of how it works from reading it (takes about 2 minutes to read).

5) There’s is another free option for Nikon (only tested on some cameras) but it’s only for Windows users. It’s called DiyPhotoBits.com Camera Control 4. Here’s the link. Interesting side-note: There also appears to be a script for viewing in Bridge as well.

So while the Lightroom/Tethered party isn’t a fun one yet it definitely looks like things are getting better. Software developers seem to recognize the need for tethered shooting and are coming out with new versions of their software to help out. Should be interesting to see where it goes in the future.

One more thing. If you’ve got experience with any of the above-mentioned products then let us know in the comments. It think it helps others out as they’re trying to figure out which software will work best for them. Thanks!

Author: Matt K

Matt is a full time Education Director for the NAPP and Kelby Training. He's a best-selling author of various books on Photoshop and Photography co-hosts the live weekly photography talk show "The Grid" and is co-host of "Photoshop User TV". In his spare time he practices as a 1st degree black belt in Taekwondo and enjoys spending time with his family in Tampa, FL.

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39 Comments

  1. There is also DSLR Remote Pro from http://www.breezesys.com/ comes in a couple of different flavours PC only sorry, DSLR Remote pro for Canon, the same again but for multiple cameras. NKRemote for Nikon DSLR’s and PS Remote for Canon powershot point and shoots with an option for multiple camera setup as well.

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  2. And for Sony shooters there is a free utility that comes with your alpha series camera called “Remote Camera Control” that works in a pinch.

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    • Where can I find this utility?

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  3. Hi Matt,
    Tx for this post. It just so happens I need to shoot a box full of products on a light-table. My client, a plastics producer, gave me these yesterday and as I saw your post I thought this was a perfect opportunity to try some remote capture software.
    I downloaded both Mountainstorm and Sofortbild because I am on a Mac and because free is the right price. I was attracted to Mountainstorm because of the nice website and the integration with Lightroom. It installed fine, and I managed to get it working, but it seems quirky to me: I can’t seem to figure out how to keep the tethered shooting session to act correctly. Also, the shutter closes and so you have no view through the view-finder, just on screen with few controls (no WB, for instance). The LCD on the camera says the camera is transfering files the whole time, so this process is a drain on the battery.
    I dediced to download Sofortbild also. It installed easy, ran the first time – and works like a charm! I I can use both the screen and the viewfinder; I have lots of controls, I can go full-screen and there is no drain on the battery.

    I am now running to the store to get a longer USB cable and then I’ll start my shoot. This is going to be fun – and will make my life easier!

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  4. I use Canon EOS Utility with a PC and find that it works quickly and as expected (although it isn’t the most intuitive to set up).

    Hopefully, LR 3 will be a little more robust in this area!

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  5. Another option to shoot tethered introduces the iPhone into the mix by using OnOne Software’s DSLR Remote Pro application. I’ve used it since the day it was released and am amazed as to how well it works.

    Plus, my hunch is that with the iPhone 3.0 software being released next week, and the fact that they opened up the USB API, I could imagine that you will be able to connect a USB cable directly from the iPhone to the camera and use it as a remote trigger with built-in live view.

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  6. I’ve been using the EOSUtility for quite some time now. Never had any major issues with it. Though my biggest complaint is that it always exits when it looses the connection to the camera (either if you turn off the camera or the cable/wireless disconnects). So you have to restart it once in a while.

    Lately I’ve been using it with the wireless transmitter, and while a bit more pricey than a USB cable, the added mobility and not having to watch a trip wire all the time is worth every penny.

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  7. I’ve personally tested the DiyPhotoBits.com Camera Control version 3 and also another software, which the name escapes my mind atm, on Windows Vista 64-bits and it works great if you’re shooting in JPG but if you’re shooting RAW then you might run into a couple of issues due to an application that Microsoft provides which is needed for this tethering process.
    I’m still trying to get more play time with these applications and I’ll also test those mentioned by the other commenters.

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  8. I use Nikon Capture Control Pro with a Mac laptop to shoot pictures of my wife’s jewelry (she is a jewelry designer and maker – http://www.lynnshawdesign.com). Tethered shooting of such small objects is a must because the camera is so close to the object and the lighting, etc. have to be so carefully controlled. I find Capture Control Pro works great, although I use it with Adobe Bridge rather than Lightroom. I prefer Bridge to LR for the initial culling of photos while shooting the product.

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  9. I am not versed in writing scripts but Image Capture does a pretty good job of recognizing when a file appears on your camera when connected to your Mac. The downside is that you have to manually tell Image capture to download the new files into a folder. I’m sure a script can be written to tell Image Capture to automatically download the new files and have Lightrooom watch that folder. I hope this helps.

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  10. I am not versed in writing scripts but Image Capture does a pretty good job of recognizing when a file appears on your camera when connected to your Mac. The downside is that you have to manually tell Image capture to download the new files into a folder. I’m sure a script can be written to tell Image Capture to automatically download the new files and have Lightroom watch that folder. I hope this helps.

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  11. I’ve been using the Canon software and Lightroom combination on a Mac. It took a while to get the settings right, and for those who’ve had their camera a while and not used the Canon software before, make sure you have the latest version from the Canon website. Once up and running it works a dream.

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  12. Downloaded and was using Sofortbild all morning. Looks like a real winner!!!!!

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  13. Matt,

    I’ve been using the Canon EOS Utility for several months now with great success. I wrote up a post back in April with screen shots of the entire setup if anyone’s interested.

    http://bit.ly/6vUlm

    Jeff

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  14. You say: “4) Mountainstorm Studio & Lightroom Tether (Mac only, Free, Nikon only)”

    Yet the Mountainstorm website lists a bunch of Canon and a couple Fuji bodies. Tethered in not a big thing for me, but I’m pretty sure last time you discussed this, I downloaded it, tried it out and got it working with my canon gear….

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  15. Can you tell me why is it not possible to use the “frame lines” on Eos Capture live view mode with a 5DII ?
    it’s possible with a 1DIII or 1DsIII
    thanks Mr Canon !
    I have 2 elastics on my MacbookPro to preview framed works tethered !!!
    if someone have another solution…

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  16. I was selecting my 4000 photos from my last week’s foto-trip, and discovered a feature by accident. Did you know that if you press capital X instead of small x on a photo, it not only flags the photo as a reject, but also moves to the next photo! That saves me approx 2000 extra keystrokes! Just wanted to share that. Thanks, Edgar

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  17. OH MY GOD! This is the post I have been waiting for. I was about to dive in and buy Nikon’s CCP, but I didn’t want to spend the $150, they already are grabbing me with the cost of everything else, so this was a welcome post. THANKS.

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  18. Can you do any elaboration about how to get the speed up when shooting tethered? I stopped using LR because it takes too long and bogs up having to import from the watched folder. I’m shooting RAW to a MacBook Pro (with all the bells and whistles) to EOS Utility linked to Preview and found that it’s much faster. I also shoot with an active USB cable. My shooting speed is a bit faster because it is usually with models. I’ve seen pro swimwear photographers shooting into MacBook pro’s to LR and they don’t seem to have any problem with images bogging. Am I missing anything?

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  19. We ran a workshop the other day for Leaf users using LC11 running tethered in the background on a PC with Lightroom in the forground. Once set up the dual monitor set up in Leaf and the dual monitor set up in Lightroom worked seamlessly. One could flick between each app or use either depending on your preference.

    The Lightroom interface is an improvment over Leaf Capture 11.

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  20. Hey Matt,
    I posted about the sofortbild a little while ago after Scott told me about it. It’s not as robust as Camera Control Pro but for simple tethered shooting, it more than does the job. If folks are wondering why there are so many tethered options for Nikon and almost none for Canon it’s because Canon actually includes the EOS Utilities with the camera when it is purchased. They don’t make you buy an additional piece of software to perform this function. Something I have been gripping about in the Nikon world for quite some time.

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  21. Hi Matt,

    I had purchased Nikon Camera Control Pro 2, and then had to return it after discovering that it doesn’t work with Mac OS X 10.5.6 or later. That put me on the hunt for an alternative for shooting tethered with Nikon and Mac. I found Mountainstorm Lightroom Studio Tether, and the studio tether part works great for me. But the Lightroom component crashes everytime I’ve tried it (and reinstalled and tried again). When I take a photo with it enabled, the LR component causes studio tether to quit unexpectedly.

    I emailed R Cooper (the developer) ’cause I’d REALLY love to use this app (and pay for it), but I can’t get it to work with LR2 the way it’s supposed to. Haven’t heard anything back from him, unfortunately. (Currently, I’m doing the workaround with LR’s watched folder / auto-import process–slow, but workable).

    Any suggestions…?

    Thanks!

    Jon
    jchphotography.wordpress.com

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  22. I use Nikon Camera Control Pro R into LR’s watched Folder/auto import and it works great but Slow and will just stop and not allow shooting when the buffer is full. Is there a work around to speed things up??? Otherwise it’s great.

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  23. OnOne Software plans to release a Nikon version of their DSLR Camera Remote Professional for the iPhone in July (at least it’s a rumor). I can’t wait. Live View and remote firing are worth the $20 in my opinion.

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  24. Okay, so I spent the afternoon trying out Sofortbild and Mountainstorm Studio & Lightroom Tether. I really loved Sofortbild. It was incredibly easy to install (just drop the icon in the App. folder and start shooting. The manual that came with it answered any question I had, and I was impressing my wife with tethered shooting with my 24″ iMac. We were having fun! Then I tried Mountainstorm Studio & Lightroom Tether and all the fun stopped. I am pretty tech savvy, and it took me forever to figure out who to get the plug-in to start in Lightroom. Then I spent an hour (I felt like an idiot the whole time) trying to get the program to show my shots and I couldn’t get it to work. I sent an email, which I doubt I will ever get a response back. I hope the upcoming “how-to” video will be fully comprehensive. I say have fun with Sofortbild, it is such a great, FREE program!

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  25. Thanks for all your work on LRKT, its very much apperciated but It would be nice if the lightroom/camera/photography world would remember there is more out there than just Nikon and Canon..

    Pentax Remote Assistant 3.
    http://www.dpreview.com/news/0705/07052501pentaxra3osx.asp

    Works great with LR2 and MacOS 10.5. Haven’t tested the Windows version.

    Try not to forget about the rest of us non-conformists. :D

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  26. Just read the tip abpout tethered shooting. Anyone shooting with Olympus out there (I know, there are not too many of us but hey….) might like to have a look at “ecapture” from http://www.imagecraft.com. It’s a simple little program that enables tethered shooting from any E System camera. Works great with my E3s and does not cost a fortune.

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  27. I have a Canon 5D and tried to shoot tethered to my laptop with the Canon EOS utilitiy. My laptop is a 64 bit Windows Vista. Guess what, Canon EOS utility does not support 64 bit windows systems and according to the folks I talked with at Canon there are no plans to develop one. Know of any utility that will work with my Canon 5D and a 64 bit Windows OS?

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  28. I totally agree with “Adrian St. Onge ” It would be nice if sony a300 owners could benefit from this too.

    Any suggestions? Please let me/us know.

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  29. I’ve been using Sofortbild beta for a few months now with my D300, and it’s been working great. They recently released 1.0.1 which is supposed to be almost identical to the beta (a few new cameras supported, GPS enhanced). I installed and immediately started running into problems. Connectivity with the camera is lost for no apparent reason every few frames, and sometimes the app simply crashes after the shot. I uninstalled 1.0.1 and re-installed the beta – and the issue was resolved. I sent an email to the developers, but in the meantime – I would suggest not to upgrade, or if you do and run into the same issue – to uninstall 1.0.1 and re-install the beta.

    Shaq

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  30. I tested both Sofortbild and Mountainstorm Studio with LR 2.5, and as a hardcore LR user it’s Mountainstorm Studio hands down. It’s quite simple really – Mountainstorm Studio integrates with LR (via the plugin) – I can launch it from within LR and the images are brought directly into it. Sofortbild doesn’t. I’ll keep Sofortbild on my computer in case I have a need for the few features it has that MS doesn’t seem to, but I doubt I’ll use it.

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  31. a video tutorial on how to use Sofortbild & Lightroom 2.6 together with a Nikon D700 in tethered mode.

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  32. How can I get the Lightroom 3 to recongnize my Sony A700 DSLR? I can set it up for tether no problem, just won’t recongnize it. Any help will be greatly appreciated.

    JT

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  33. I have searched and may have missed this but cannot find that during tethered capture with Nikon that I can bring in images as DNG. They come in as NEF.
    Guess that will be 3.x or 4.x

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  34. Will this work with an Olympus E system camera? Or are there any Oly shooters with experience doing this?

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  35. I am an instructor at an Arts College. We are doing studio lighting and I need a MAC software that will shoot teathered with BOTH Nikon and Canon as I have students with both brands.

    Any suggestions?

    Thank you

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