DSLR Remote review with a Canon 5D Mark II

As stated a few days ago, I bought the DSLR Remote on the day of release, picking the Pro version. For a 8$ difference, I don’t understand how someone could go with the lower-end alternative.

Installation & Setup

On One Software really did a great job to make the setup process as easy as it could be. Basically, all you need to do is  download and install the server application on your computer, plug the camera via USB, start the iPhone app and voila!

Note: If you are like me and dont read instructions, you might be looking for Liveview and the intervalometer for while. They are hidden under the FIRE button. You need to press the FIRE button and hold it for a few seconds to make the options appear. Took me a moment to figure that one out!

Things I liked

1:1 zooming

Being able to zoom in at 1:1 is incredible. It allows you to review shots faster at the press of a button. The problem with the current implementation is that you either zoom at 1:1 or you dont. It is impossible to do fractional zooming like in the iPhone photo app.

Note: you can only zoom after the shot is taken and zooming is disabled in live view.


Adjusting the exposure settings from the iPhone and automatically seen the update on the screen is very cool. Well, its like the first time I used liveview but now I can adjust the lights as I am looking at the result on the iPhone. Brilliant!

Time lapse (Intervalometer)

If there is one thing that I hate about Canon bodies, compared to those from Nikon, is how crappy their firmware are. Nikon gives its user more control over bracketing and allow them to set time lapses in ways that are even better than what you can do with the dedicated and over priced Canon remote trigger. DSLR Remote solves part of this issue by giving its user the ability to take X shots (up to 1000) at any given constant interval.

Note: if you activate the bracketing, only one picture will be taken per interval period. My suggestion to the developper would be to add a check box to set the camera to take 3 (or even better, x) consecutive shots per interval.

Things missing / Wish list

Auto focus

You have to prefocus, even the AF button of the 5D can’t be used remotely. Blame it on the Canon API.

Video recording

While I would have been happy with just the ability to press the record button and have the camera starts recording, a more advanced version would be even better. I am thinking here about the ability to zoom while recording. Doing so would transform the iPhone into the perfect follow focus screen. And, while I am at it, what about plugging the iPhone directly into the camera? (On One Software said that is something they plan to explore once the new iPhone SDK is out, cool!).

Adding filters to the live view

This is a follow up to my previous point. If it was possible to have a high pass filter on top of the video preview, it would make follow focusing even easier/better. I doubt the iPhone has enough CPU power to do this but still, everyone is allowed to dream, no? A more realistic request might be to enable/disable zebra mode with the press of a button when shooting pictures.

Big screen mode

Once the parameters are set, the only required button is FIRE. Why not then hide all the other buttons and put the picture full screen? Even better, rotate it according to the orientation of the iPhone.

Bracketing Assistant

I love bracketing. I don’t know how many times it saved me  when shooting outside or in HDR. Unfortunately, DSLR Remote does not offer a bracketing assistant. I would have loved to be able to set it up like the intervalometer: assigning a number of pictures to take and the variation in exposure between each shot. This feature alone would motivate me to bring a laptop in my bag the next time I go in the wild.

Shortcuts to some user made presets

I hate switching my camera settings, even more so if the menu I need to change is deeply nested into the custom functions. Wouldn’t it be great to click on one icon and have all your HDR landscape preferences loaded? Then click another to move into time lapse mode? Of course to be really useful the software would need to be able to access the camera custom functions and I have no idea if it is possible right now…

What I couldn’t test

I wish I had the wireless battery grip to see if it worked. I think it does since it allows tethered shooting but I would love to know if someone has tried it.


Should you get the application? At the current intro price of 10$, it is a no brainer. It is obviously  a very first try and some more iterations will be required to satisfy the more demanding users. Yet, the current version does what it is advertised for, never crashed during the 200+ shots I took and saved me from round tripping between the camera and the light stands while adjusting lights to do some product shots.

I am happy.

Buy DSLR Camera Remote

Buy DSLR Camera Remote lite

Btw, there is a trouble shooting document here in case you run into any issues and a FAQ.

About Tommy

Photography allows me to be what I want to be, to be where I want to be, and to do what I want to do ... I'm not professional photographer and I don't need a title, I love to take photographs and that is what I do, I love to learn and I always try to do it better ...

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