How Do You Like Your CamRanger And How Are You Using It?

August 5th, 2013

Back in January I did a post CamRanger just after I got mine. I have to say I’ve not come across any major issues with it. It has everything I expect in a wireless tethered device. I use mine with an iPad Mini for shooting time-lapse, macro and bracketing. What’s more, I’ve  heard pretty positive feedback from everyone that talks about CamRanger. Mike Kelley did a detailed review of the CamRanger in March and was very positive about it.

Last week I talked to Melissa, co-creator of the CamRanger. Turns out she is a PFRE blog reader! Melissa was interested to get real estate photographer feedback on the CamRanger and know about Pole Aerial Photography and what people are using to for PAP.

Some of the feedback I’ve gotten from real estate photographers using the CamRanger is as follows:

  1. You can’t do custom white balance with a grey scale card. You need to do it before you activate the CamRanger and then save it as a custom setting which can then be pulled up on the CamRanger.
  2. You cannot use spot metering to control the bracketing starting exposure.
  3. Long (3 hrs) time-lapse it not recommended because of the danger of the CamRanger stopping when it’s battery runs down.

What is your experience with CamRanger? How are you using it? I can pretty much guarantee that Melissa will be reading this post, so here’s your chance to give your feedback to the creators of CamRanger. I was very impressed that Melissa and her husband are actively seeking  feedback and suggestions. You don’t usually have the opportunity to talk directly to the designers of your gear. Be nice now!

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30 Responses to “How Do You Like Your CamRanger And How Are You Using It?”

  • I have a friend who bought one for his Canon 5d2, and I work with him a lot and LOVE the cam ranger.. I was VERY disappointed to discover that there is ZERO support for Sony slr’s. I even tried his on my A850 just to be sure, but it wouldnt even detect the camera. I can shoot tethered with a cord to my mac and all the things the other 2 brands do, so I doubt it is some internal camera limitation. I am wondering when/if there will be Sony support with the cam ranger?

  • First…that fact that I don’t have people hovering around to look at the back of my camera is enought to buy this…
    Setting up and adjusting lights in far rooms has always been a problem. I’ve tried other solutions like the DSLR remote et al, but found them to be unreliable and slow to set up. The CamRanger with the ipad interface changed the way I shoot instantly. I can now adjust the power levels of my flashes AND the placement without returning to the camera to take a test shot. I now take 2-3 strobes place and set the power levels and take the shots without returning to the camera until I’m ready to go the the next set-up.
    Having the ability to download a particular file to my iPad, and use software like PS Touch and Snapseed to make edits allows on the spot delivery of images if the need arises. NO, I’m not taking the whole shoot, but to be able to get the exterior and a interior to MLS before I leave takes the stress of the agent, who has seen and approved the images.

    Using it for portraits is amazing…everyone can see what the shoot is looking like and again…I don’t have to have people crowding behind my camera.

    I don’t use it on ALL my shoots, but it’s always in my bag, and now that it’s available on Android, I throw a Galaxy Note into the bag too.

  • Imagine being able to control all the native camera controls of your DSLR on your iPad’s big, beautiful, retina touch screen. Imagine using your iPhone to set your shutter, aperture, white balance, and shot duration to create tens, hundreds, even thousands of images for a time-lapse video. CamRanger (or CR if you will), by tethering to your DSLR then connecting wirelessly to the CamRanger iOS app, allows you to do all that, and with a level of control that is altogether remarkable.

  • Using the Cam Ranger is fun, but I have not had many practical uses for it since I bought it over a year ago. I’ve actually only used it maybe 5 times for actual productivity. I have used it to see hard to reach angles and to also give the talent of whatever video I am shooting a monitor to view themselves.

    My feedback:

    I have pretty much zero technical understanding about how any of the mechanics work on the Cam Ranger, so you may already be able to do this and I am just not aware of how. My only real gripe at this time is the need for a password. My phone, device, or computer should remember the Cam Ranger the first time, but it doesn’t. I have to enter the password every time which is somewhat annoying.

  • I received a Kindle Fire HD 8.9 for my birthday in May and was going to purchase a CamRanger until I found that I could not download the app to the Kindle. Amazon blocks Google apps on their Kindles! I made a request to have the CamRanger app available on Amazon apps, especially since they sell it on Amazon, but it’s still not available. I really don’t want to purchase another tablet to run the CamRanger and I don’t want to “hack” my Kindle and void my warranty. I use a 21′ Wonder Pole and the CamRanger would be invaluable in eliminating the guess work in positioning my dslr for the shot.
    Will the app be available on Amazon apps and when? Please hurry!!!
    Best regards,
    George

  • I use mine for PAP (even built a mount for my tablet), hands-free HDR/fusion, and for times when I have a speedlight a long distance from the camera. It’s great not having to run back to the camera every time I make a lighting adjustment.

    I’m using the Android version which is still in beta. I don’t know if it was the beta update or the 4.3 android update, but suddenly the app has developed some bugs. Other than the update issue, this system has been fantastic.

  • I had my CamRanger from Amazon in my hands two days after reading Larry’s comments on it. I have used it on perhaps 30 shoots and am extremely happy with it. I find I can now get in one shot what it took me to grope out 4 or 5 shots and has reduced the time I spend on a shoot dramatically. It has worked flawlessly since i started using it and I have no complaints – at least for my work flow practices. I purchased a thingy that connects my iPad to one of my tripod legs and the CamRanger connects to the O – Ring on the Manfroto so everything moves from shot to shot easily and efficiently. My customers love being able to see each shot as it is created.

    One problem I’d like to see corrected. The battery life seems very short. Also, battery charge will drop dramatically even while off if the unit sits for a couple of days. I am contemplating getting an oxilliary power module so I don’t end up with a dead unit in the middle of a shoot. Nice going otherwise.

  • I LOVE my CamRanger. It’s one of the best investments I’ve made since starting RE photography. Not only does it make my job easier, but clients think it – and by extension me – is really cool and cutting edge.
    Just yesterday I did my first pole photography shoot, with the CR attached to the pole on a little shelf. It worked great.

    One of my suggestion is to have a setting where it allows the user to have the over/under exposure highlighting automatically turn off when the image is enlarged, rather than always having to go back and forth to manually turn it on and off.

    Great invention, great investment in my photography career.

    -Jesse

  • I love the camranger. I have only used it a few times and was unable to spend some time learning it as its always “go time” when I get it out. I use it for video. I can shoot myself while doing the talking head videos. I use my iphone, get into position. Pull focus on my face and hit the record button. Before I had to leave a $4,000 5Dm3 in the bag and use a $300 camcorder, bring my wife and she not always available. I look forward to spending the time necessary to learn all the cool features. One thing I have noticed is that if I don’t use for a while the battery is almost always dead.

  • I must have missed the prior articles and was not aware of this product. I was just what I was looking for. I am going to order one ASAP. Thanks for a great article!

  • I don’t have one (yet) but with so many PFRErs hopping into the filmmaking side I’d love to see more video support (especially for the c100). Even with the DSLRs I can’t seem to get a straight answer whether video works or not, and if so what functionality it supports. Even if I can use it as a remote trigger on my 5d3 that would be awesome. I don’t want to drop money on it until I can get a decisive yes or no, though.

  • The day we read about it on Larry’s blog we actually had a chance to try it with a local photographer at the ASMP meeting. Wow – I was really impressed. We went out and purchased our unit that day.

    Malia – as a remote trigger it worked great (although quite slow). As a live view focus and as a minor bracketing tool it worked excellent. But as a company that does more than just “real estate” although everything we do does fit in with an architectural theme, it did not meet our needs in the following ways. The bracketing and focus stacking was more limited than the customized programming choices we were able to create from our promote control and were considerably slower than the promote. When we use our robotic photographer to do our panosphericals in HDR, the robot uses all of the connection slots leaving no room for the cam ranger to plug in. We use a second monitor (SmallHD) for composition, color, focus, etc that is an HDMI connection and our clients love to look at that, so we already had a solution for this purpose.

    But, since I am a positive type person rather than negative – I would have to say – if I were only doing real estate photography and my choices of remote triggers included the cam ranger – I would still choose it as it really makes sense for the real estate market photographer. It still is as exciting to me as the first time I heard of it and saw it. It just isn’t for our business. I have recommended it to my real estate photographer friends.

  • Hi Malia, I’ll try to answer your questions about video (and we try to always be responsive to email questions as well). First, we do not support the Cx00 video series, unfortunately they are quite different than DSLRs. Though we do have reasonably robust video support for DSLRs. The main features are getting a live feed of the recording, changing settings, touch and incremental focus, and starting and stopping recording. These features do vary a little bit based on camera (for example older Canons can’t touch focus while recording).

    To address those comments on battery drain while not in use, there is a very slight drain on the battery while powered down. It is very slight, but enough that it is noticeable if it hasn’t been used for a couple weeks. A quick workaround at the moment is to just pop the battery out and store separately when not in use.

    Thanks to all the feedback thus far. We do take customer feedback very seriously and are always trying to improve the product. As someone who doesn’t do real estate photography we appreciate getting everyone here’s perspective.

    – Melissa
    CamRanger

  • I have been using the CamRanger for about six months now and love it. It is by far the best purchase I have made this year. When I ordered it I added a spare battery. Haven’t had to use it yet and most days, like yesterday, my CamRanger was on for almost six hours straight. So, I’m not having an issue with the battery not lasting. I use it for PAP as well. Saves a lot of raising the pole, taking a few shots, lowering the pole, checking the images and then repeating to get one shot. With the CamRanger I only have to send the camera up once and I’m done. I agree with Wayne’s comments on saving time and energy when using multiple flashes. When I was shooting tethered to a laptop before I got the CamRanger I could trigger the shutter from afar, but, always had to return to the laptop to see the results. Thanks for creating a great product that is enabling me to be far more efficient in the field!

  • I’m with Wayne Capili on the joys of speedlights and a CamRanger for PFRE work! Being able to stand next to a light stand and adjust the flash output and NOT have to walk back to the camera is PURE BLISS!! Once I set the composition at the camera I am free to roam about the scene and adjust the lighting/scene, bang off a frame and re-adjust without the mad/annoying repeated walks back to the camera! It’s easy to use and a big time saver in a complicated scene with multiple speedlights to fine tune! Thank you Melissa for an AWESOME product!!

  • I´m pretty happy with the CamRanger. Like mentioned, it´s nice to be able to adjust your lights without constantly running back to the camera to check.

    I have a few issues with the device and the software:

    1.
    After using the CamRanger with my Nikon D300s , the “in-focus-audio beep” is not working properly. The “beep” is working ok when using the D300s together with the CamRanger, but when I use the camera normally, (without any gismos attached to it), the “beep” is gone. (even if the green “in focus” light is lit.) Maybe a factory reset of the camera will fix it. But will the CamRanger mess it up again?

    2.
    I would be awesome if the iPhone and Android apps would support instant full screen preview.

    3.
    The CamRanger for Windows is not working very well on my touchscreen device. I don´t know if it´s only my device having these issues. (Samsung XE700, touchscreen + wacom pen input). Anyway, the CamRanger for Windows is still in beta, so I guess it will be fixed sooner or later.

  • I use it, primarily for pole photography. While I haven’t built a mount on the pole for the ipad, it can be done solo, reaching down to pick up the iPad after raising the pole. If the homeowner or Realtor are present, I let them hold the iPad for me, and they are impressed. Then I tell them to go ahead and press “Capture”. This may be user error, but my critism is the length of time it takes to download. I shoot RAW, but even when I had it RAW + jpg it was very slow. Frankly, I wish there was a way to tell it not to download…as I trash that photo on the iPad anyway, processing the RAW file on the camera SD card.

    Malia, I have used it for video on the D7000. Most creative was when having myself on camera and shooting solo. Pre-setting the framing and pressing “Record” with the iPad just out of the frame.

    Finally, suggestion…more cameras! I took it to the local photo club and everyone loved it. Unfortunately, many didn’t have cameras that were supported. While Sony and the Canon C100 were mentioned earlier, I’m thinking the other way. There is a shift toward the smaller size of the mirrorless, Olympus and PAnasonic 4/3 models, Sony’s NEX, and Fuji. Plus who knows what Canon and Nikon will do.

  • I’ve had my CamRanger for a couple of months now and use it all the time. I LOVE it. People really love being able to see the shots as I take them and I’m sure it has improved the speed and quality of my work. I purchased a fabulous Koenig & Meyer iPad holder that attaches easily to my tripod making it simple to move around from room to room. I also purchased a second battery but haven’t needed to change batteries mid shoot yet. I’m looking forward to doing some time-lapse stuff with it soon. It’s great for inside work but I tend not to use it outside as much. Particularly if it’s raining. (Don’t want my iPad getting wet!) CamRanger is a fabulous product. If it could facilitate using an iPad as a field monitor for video (which it never will be able to unfortunately) it would be punched into the stratosphere!

  • Mellissa,

    Thanks for coming here and addressing issues mentioned by pfre members since your product is immensly popular and useful in our field.

    Again I am asking DIRECTLY what your plans ( or lack of) are for Sony dslr support?

    I have emailed cam ranger as a company twice before this in the last few months and I was the first commenter in this thread, yet I have never recieved any reply about this. I just want to know if my waiting for sony support is a pointless one.

  • Ronnie – What do you mean my instant full screen preview? And yes, some touchscreen PCs have some issues currently and we are working on a fix.

    Larry – You do have options in the settings to have the image automatically download or not and even whether you don’t want the thumbnails to even download.

    Jason – We do respond to all the emails we get. I see one email in February from a Jason regarding Sony support that we did respond to, but I don’t know if that was you. Anyways, the official answer is that we would like to be able to add Sony but it is a balance between time, priorities, and capabilities. I’m intentionally being a bit coy as we don’t want to make promises we can’t keep, but adding Sony support is something we would like to do. One large issue is the Canon and Nikon are very good with the level of USB control that is possible. Sony is not as good. And unfortunately for companies like Olympus and Fuji it’s pretty much non-existent. So while there is a lot of interest in the 4/3s and whatnot, it is often a non-starter.

  • I purchased the CamRanger after my first interior shoot where I used multiple strobes. I figure I had logged a few miles of walking to and from the camera to check the results and move lights. It saved me a huge amount of time on the very first shoot. It always works as expected. It’s probably my most used piece of equipment that isn’t a camera or lens.

    I recently used it for my first attempt at pole aerial photography with great success. Live view helped me align the shot perfectly.

    Yesterday I used it on an interior shoot that included motion-blurred models. It was great to be able to show the models exactly how their movement was appearing to the camera on the big iPad screen. I don’t think I could have done the shoot without my CamRanger.

    The only issue I recently experienced is that after I installed the android app on my phone and tested it out, I found that I had to force my phone to forget the CamRanger network during a shoot (where I was using the iPad) because the phone disables its 4G data when it is connected via WiFi – even if the WiFi network doesn’t have internet connectivity. I wondered why I hadn’t received any email messages during the shoot. Not really CamRanger’s issue.

    Now that the android app is available, I’ve been using my phone as a wireless remote for long exposures and other settings where it is a bad idea to touch the camera.

    I’m very pleased with the device.

  • The CamRanger is an invaluable tool and I find it to be far more stable and usable than the cumbersome collection of MacBook and Capture One. The one thing I miss is that CamRanger currently only supports 1 iDevice at a time, whereas Capture One’s Capture Pilot could drive multiple iDevices all at once, which is invaluable for big shoots with an agent or art director on site. But for most shoots, 1 iDevice is sufficient and it saves millions of hours of photoshopping and billions of trips back and forth to lights/makes it easier to yell at, I mean direct, my assistant and speeds efficiency in the shoot/makes for better images.

    Fearsome that it couldn’t make it through a shoot, I bought 3 batteries but it blows my mind with the battery lasting through even 14 hour shoots – incredible! The one drawback is that you need a separate iDevice, as connecting to the CamRanger network (currently) will disable your 3G/4G/LTE connection on your iPhone… until CamRanger finds a workaround or Apple allows multi-stack networking configurations, a dedicated iDevice is best. My next plan is to add more CamRangers and cameras for simultaneous angle capture to grab the magic moment front and back. Or long and wide. Clients love CamRangers and after they realize you’re not texting (it can look like that if you have the camera on silent/live view), they think it’s just the coolest thing they’ve ever seen.

  • Melissa – Thanks you for your response. I never received one to the emails but will take your word for it that you responded.

    Sean – When did you stop using me as an assistant and hiring Valets 😉

  • Thanks for everyone’s insightful comments and experiences with the CamRanger! All these comments are a huge help to anyone that is considering purchasing a CamRanger and it’s useful for Melissa and David.

  • Purchased the Camranger a few weeks ago and was disappointed a bit that the live view capabilities were a bit limited for my D600. ISO, aperture and shutter speed changes had no effect on the live view and live histogram. This on the other hand has nothing to do with the camranger, but with the D600. Please warn your potential customer that the live view capabilities of the camranger is limited to the live view capabilities of the camera.

  • Like others have commented, the ability to adjust lights while away from the camera is truly wonderful and saves a lot of time. It also allows me to put the camera in positions back up against a wall that I would otherwise not be able to do. The CamRanger has changed the way I shoot. Two minor issues: the image on the iPhone does not rotate when the phone is in a horizontal position, so the image remains small. Second (and I realize this is not CamRanger’s fault), the iPhone thinks that it’s connected to a wifi and tries to get mail, but can’t, so I get five alerts that mail is not available (for my five accounts); wish there were a way to stop that.

  • Clark, full screen iPhone landscape support is coming in the next iOS update

    Sean, 14 hours of battery! Wow, that’s got to be some kind of record. So if we were like most companies we would advertise “Up to 14 hours battery life!”

    And to everyone commenting on no cell network comms while WiFi is connected, I feel your pain. I’m not sure why Apple designed things this way, but unfortunately not really anything that we can do about it at the moment.

    Also, we are working on multiple iOS/Android device support, so that multiple ones can be connected at one time. Thanks for all the feedback.

  • Melissa, I don’t think it was necessarily on the _entire_ 14 hours (Jason the super assistant probably turned it off during lunch 🙂 but I have been pleasantly surprised with the battery life.

  • Interestingly, WiFi+Cellular was an option is iOS6 beta 4 but it never made it to the release version. Apple must have had too many issues with it http://www.idownloadblog.com/2012/08/10/wi-fi-plus-cellular/

  • I have to say, I love the CamRanger and have been waiting for ages for someone to develop a useable solution to wireless tethering, and I love all the extra benefits of remote triggering! Recently, I have been using my CamRanger to take remote images of my cats that I could not get if I were in the same room. I could not be happier with my purchase.

    A few people here and elsewhere have expressed concern regarding limited battery life. For anyone concerned about battery life, my suggestion would be to use an external battery power pack (i.e., charger pack), normally used to charge cell phones. I got a PowerGen 9000mAh that fits into the larger pocket of the CamRanger case, and a short 9″ Red Band Smartphone Quick Charge Cable USB Micro Right Angle RIGHT (do not get LEFT) to charge the CamRanger. Now the CamRanger can be charging while it is being used, with both devices nestled comfortably in the CamRanger supplied case. The camera battery will likely run out of juice long before the CamRanger discharges. 🙂

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