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Thread: Using smartphone as bubble level and rotator.

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Jyrkka

Posts: 1
Location: Sweden
Registered: 29 Nov 2012
Using smartphone as bubble level and rotator.
Posted: 29 Nov 2012 at 9:41 GMT
Hello Good Folks at this forum !!
I am a complete newbie, but a crazy one. I am trying to come up with an extremely compact and travel friendly pole setup. Using lightweight cameras like GoPro or Sony Nex I will try using two carbon fibre monopods schrewed together "top-to-top" .(these are the screw-off-monopods from two traveller tripods restuffed into one with two "monopods" and one without) With really light weight cameras I guess one could also add the center columns to increase height. This setup makes a pole of @ 4 meters and the weight of the complete thing is less than one kilo. And now to the really weird bit....
Suppose you attach a smartphone on the rod (aligned of course)with some bicycle holder (still looking for the perfect one) and then run a software like "Theodolite" (Free version is perfectly o.k.)on it. You would now on-screen have all you need for levelling the camera and also, using the compass, the aid for rotating the stuff through the correct angle increments. Background picture shows where your aiming.
Covering the phone camera lens will make scales easier to read. There is even a "crosshair based bubble level" on screen. WiFi enabled cameras open up further possibilities. The ideal app would be a large bubble level and some really clear indicator of the shooting angle plua a real time display of what the camera sees and a release button and .... well, like a GoPro app with a bubble level and a compass. I think I am on to something here. Any comments ???
//Jyrkka
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Judy-A

Posts: 582
Location: Edmonton, Canada
Registered: 20 Jan 2010
Re: Using smartphone as bubble level and rotator.
Posted: 29 Nov 2012 at 15:43 GMT

Jyrkka said:

WiFi enabled cameras open up further possibilities. The ideal app would be a large bubble level and some really clear indicator of the shooting angle plua a real time display of what the camera sees and a release button and .... well, like a GoPro app with a bubble level and a compass. I think I am on to something here. Any comments ???


I have the Nodal Ninja Series 1 poles and use a Manfrotto 032SPL Autopole spirit level. It’s very light but a bit bulky.

I wouldn’t fasten an iPhone to the pole, because the pole needs to rotate. You should determine how many shots around you take, and just rotate by increments. For example, if you need to take six shots around, just use six markers on the pole.

One of the biggest problems I’ve had with my pole is getting pleasing landscape compositions.

I’ve just ordered a CamRanger to use with my pole. It’s a wireless transmitter that attaches to a Nikon or Canon DSLR camera and gives full camera control, including preview, to the iPhone or iPad. It also provides extended bracketing.

www.camranger.com/

Judy Arndt
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DennisS

Posts: 1787
Location: Los Anglels, United States
Registered: 1 Sep 2007
Re: Using smartphone as bubble level and rotator.
Posted: 29 Nov 2012 at 17:01 GMT
I’ve just ordered a CamRanger to use with my pole.
Thanks Judy. Just when I thought I had all the toys. Looks like this will be my Christmas present this year.
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Tim Eastman

Posts: 210
Location:
Registered: 15 Nov 2006
Re: Using smartphone as bubble level and rotator.
Posted: 29 Nov 2012 at 17:23 GMT
I looked at Nikon Control and was impressed, but the CamRanger to Ipad looks even better! All I need to do is win the lottery!
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No One

Posts: 541
Location: Sri Lanka
Registered: 14 May 2004
Re: Using smartphone as bubble level and rotator.
Posted: 1 Dec 2012 at 20:12 GMT
Hi Judy,

I've been playing around with CamRanger now for a couple of weeks and it does work as advertised. And I've been giving the developer lots of input as it could work better for Nikon's and perhaps Canons.

At this moment, it does NOT extend the bracketing on Nikon's, still stuck in 1 stop max mode, but a update s/b released any day that changes that. And then perhaps, sometime down the road, the HDR function will really be integrated into all modes of CamRanger so you can use it with LV in silent mode, focus stacking, etc.

The developer is very responsive and positive and appreciates suggestions for product improvement. Not saying he's doing what I've noted above, but he understands why I'm asking for the enhanced functionality and seems to think it makes sense to do at some point.

And, get use to using medium to small jpegs in addition to RAW as that's the only way you can review Nikon shots on the iPad/iPhone.

Happy Holidays to you.

Robert
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Judy-A

Posts: 582
Location: Edmonton, Canada
Registered: 20 Jan 2010
Re: Using smartphone as bubble level and rotator.
Posted: 2 Dec 2012 at 19:46 GMT

No One said:

I've been playing around with CamRanger now for a couple of weeks and it does work as advertised.

Hi Robert,

Oh good. I’ll know who to go to for help, when needed. smile

My Nikon D5000 and D7000 offer 2EV bracketing limited to 3 frames, so I hope I’ll be able to continue to use 2EV steps. Five frames at 2EV spacing should cover most situations like sunsets and interior/exterior scenes.

I had tried a few night sky scenes with the D7000, but with the camera pointing up, no flip out LCD, and my old eyes well into bifocal territory, I found it difficult to see the LCD and change settings.

I had also tried to take some low-angle panos of mushrooms on the forest floor. By the time I’d crawled around on hands and knees among the dead leaves and bugs, I’d trampled half the scene. I’m hoping the CamRanger will make composition and focusing easier in those awkward situations.

Waiting impatiently for all my gear to arrive,

Judy
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mediavets

Posts: 2178
Location: Isleham, Cambs., United Kingdom
Registered: 8 Feb 2008
Re: Using smartphone as bubble level and rotator.
Posted: 3 Dec 2012 at 12:50 GMT
Judy,

Do you have any experience of using ControlMyNikon for tethered shooting control?:

www.controlmynikon.com/

Andrew
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Judy-A

Posts: 582
Location: Edmonton, Canada
Registered: 20 Jan 2010
Re: Using smartphone as bubble level and rotator.
Posted: 3 Dec 2012 at 15:23 GMT
Hi Andrew,

I hadn’t looked at ControMyNikon. I see that it’s Windows only and requires a USB cable tether. I have a MacBook, but no Windows laptop.

A laptop would be a heavy addition to carry around when doing landscape panos. A cable tether would be awkward when doing pole panos, and USB cables have distance limitations (about 5 meters).

My main requirements were:
- image preview
- bracketing control
- wireless connection and
- light weight of components.

CamRanger offers all this and more. GPS tagging of JPEG images will be a bonus.

Sofortbild (free Mac app) requires laptop and USB cable. It does bracketing but is not well supported. I haven’t tried it.

DSLR Camera Remote by onOne Software requires a tethered laptop as transmitter to iPad or iPhone. Very cumbersome.

Nikon Camera Control Pro 2 ($180) and Nikon WT-4A Wireless Transmitter ($1,000), are very expensive and require a laptop computer.

For HDR bracketing, I had seriously considered a Promote Control, handheld wireless which is light weight but does not offer image preview or visual focus control.

I don’t know of any direct competition to the CamRanger at the moment.

Judy
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mediavets

Posts: 2178
Location: Isleham, Cambs., United Kingdom
Registered: 8 Feb 2008
Re: Using smartphone as bubble level and rotator.
Posted: 3 Dec 2012 at 16:31 GMT

Judy-A said:

Hi Andrew,

I hadn’t looked at ControMyNikon. I see that it’s Windows only and requires a USB cable tether. I have a MacBook, but no Windows laptop.

A laptop would be a heavy addition to carry around when doing landscape panos. A cable tether would be awkward when doing pole panos, and USB cables have distance limitations (about 5 meters).

My main requirements were:
- image preview
- bracketing control
- wireless connection and
- light weight of components.

CamRanger offers all this and more. GPS tagging of JPEG images will be a bonus.


I understand - I hope CamRanger does offer a good extended bracketing mode. I look forward to your reporting back.

{quote]For HDR bracketing, I had seriously considered a Promote Control, handheld wireless which is light weight but does not offer image preview or visual focus control.

I though that the Promote Control required a USB tethered connection too?
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Judy-A

Posts: 582
Location: Edmonton, Canada
Registered: 20 Jan 2010
Re: Using smartphone as bubble level and rotator.
Posted: 3 Dec 2012 at 17:14 GMT

mediavets said:

I though that the Promote Control required a USB tethered connection too?

You’re right. The Promote Control unit itself is not wireless, but can be triggered by a wireless remote, which is still acceptable for most HDR work. Set up the bracketing sequence, walk out the scene to get your own shadow and reflections out of the way, and then trigger the shutter release.

www.promotesystems.com/products/Promote-Control-W...

The CamRanger can be used to set up a shot which can then be triggered by a separate wireless or IR shutter release. This method is recommended for time-critical wildlife shots.

I already use a Phottix wireless release, so I assume I’ll be able to use it with the CamRanger. The Camranger plugs into the camera’s USB port and the Phottix into the accessory terminal.

Judy
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Tim Eastman

Posts: 160
Location:
Registered: 13 Nov 2006
Re: Using smartphone as bubble level and rotator.
Posted: 3 Dec 2012 at 22:15 GMT
The ability to look at Live View from an I Pad is really interesting. It would be interesting to see how well the focus controls work for shooting video on my D7000. I suspect it would still rely on phase detect and be very slow, but as a larger monitor it would make manual focusing easier. The only downside would be the disconnect between looking at the I Pad while focusing the camera.
Probably a tool I will need to justify more before I could get it!
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mediavets

Posts: 2178
Location: Isleham, Cambs., United Kingdom
Registered: 8 Feb 2008
Re: Using smartphone as bubble level and rotator.
Posted: 3 Dec 2012 at 22:41 GMT

Tim Eastman said:

The ability to look at Live View from an I Pad is really interesting. It would be interesting to see how well the focus controls work for shooting video on my D7000. I suspect it would still rely on phase detect and be very slow, but as a larger monitor it would make manual focusing easier. The only downside would be the disconnect between looking at the I Pad while focusing the camera.
Probably a tool I will need to justify more before I could get it!


May be of interest?:
www.controlmynikon.com/cinepro.html

Andrew
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Tim Eastman

Posts: 210
Location:
Registered: 15 Nov 2006
Re: Using smartphone as bubble level and rotator.
Posted: 4 Dec 2012 at 0:23 GMT
Can ControlMyNikon use an IPad as a monitor? I like that for $ 60.00 I can get software that expands both still and video capabilities of my D7000. Tethered to a laptop is less appealing than streamed to an IPad. Still playing the lottery!
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No One

Posts: 541
Location: Sri Lanka
Registered: 14 May 2004
Re: Using smartphone as bubble level and rotator.
Posted: 5 Dec 2012 at 1:09 GMT
Hi Judy,

Keep working on that dream shot!

And perhaps this will help a bit. As noted, CamRanger update to the software today. Version 1.5 is out, lots of new enhancements for Nikon users - f#$%king yea!

This is really one of the best products I've seen in years in addition to PhotoNinja. 2012 goes down as a very big uplift in things just not possible before.

It's a great time to be a digital photographer with extreme post skills. Anything the client wants to pay for smile

Robert
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edispics

Posts: 8
Location: Canada
Registered: 10 Jan 2013
Re: Using smartphone as bubble level and rotator.
Posted: 10 Jan 2013 at 18:51 GMT
I have spent a while looking at the latest products. I could not afford the wireless solutions.

For USB tethered - the best I have found is camerarc.com Check the price, download the trial, try it out, I had to pick my jaw off the floor. Then I got some USB to RJ45 adapters for $15 and 100ft of CAT5 cable for $15 and now I have full remote control of my Nikon from 100 feet away. Not for everyone, but this remote control software is the best I have found for tethered shooting.
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