Everyone who owns a good camera ultimately wants some degree of remote control. It could be just getting a selfie, taking a time lapse, or creating bracketed photos.
Operating the camera without touching it and causing it to shake is another obvious thing that photographers want. In the old days we had cable versions for some of these functions, and as cameras advanced we were given more sophisticated hardware, wired and non-wired, to give us some basic control over our cameras.I just thoroughly tested Shutter, an iOS app for Sony cameras that offers a great deal of control at a very low price. It does not work the same on all Sony cameras, because not all Sony cameras have the same capabilities. I’ve been using it with my new Sony a7 IV, and it’s full featured. Later in this article, I will go into detail about compatible cameras.
What did you get
During testing on the camera, I can specify initial delays and time intervals between images (interval scale), as well as control exposure settings remotely. An on-screen histogram ensures that highlights aren’t clipped or shadow detail lost.
With the help of this interval meter, you can get rid of the dedicated cable version. You can take raw photos and use the normal raw photo editor and video editor to collate time-lapse movies.
This is also useful for astronomical photography, especially imaging the Milky Way. You can set up the app to take, say, 50 15-second exposures, and then use the software of your choice to align them, all without touching the camera.
The shutter supports both burst mode and bulb mode on most Sony cameras.
The app also works with a single tap to focus on the a7 IV, where you can tap the iPhone screen to get the focus right where you want it. With the recent Eye-AF update for Sony’s 3rd generation cameras, Shutter can always focus on the eyes. Shutter can also control video on many Sony cameras, but I think the app is best used by photographers.
The shutter is new and not perfect yet. It is very easy to connect your phone to the camera. You tell the app which Sony model you have, and it gives you a step-by-step communication process. On my Sony A7 IV I could easily connect, but the app (or camera) dropped the connection multiple times. Restart the connected application immediately. There are few errors on the screen. I have an SD card in the second Sony slot, but the app did not report the SD card. The developer has acknowledged the bug and will fix it quickly. On the other hand, it was a cosmetic issue, because the camera was working fine and my photos were saved to my camera and my iPhone. Fortunately, after I reported the bug, the developer fixed it after a day.
Speaking of the developer, it seems to respond quickly to any issue, day or night. I thought this might be because I was a reviewer for the app, but regular users are reporting the same thing.
what I like
The shutter is easy to understand and gives me a plethora of features I haven’t seen remotely, wired or wireless. I have a Sony BT remote control (Sony Wireless Remote). It can automatically adjust the lenses and trigger the shutter, but that’s all there is to it. It’s better than the old infrared remotes, but only slightly. Shutter does much more than that, doesn’t actually connect me to the camera, shows me what the camera sees, and provides a range of bracketing options and timers for astrophotography or time-lapse photography.
What I don’t like
The app can be a bit unstable. I’ve seen some disconnections. This may be the application or the way Sony provides third party connections. I’ve seen similar complaints with Sony’s Imaging Edge app, which again, isn’t quite as featured as Shutter.
There is a second or so delay between the camera screen and the iPhone screen. For landscapes and astrophotography, I can work with that. However, it is not intended for sports photographers, when what you need is zero lag.
A summary of the above
Despite a few teething glitches, I think Sony camera owners will want this app if they’re on iOS. The Android version is being worked on.
If you are interested in the application, the developer has provided a list of compatible cameras and the functionality that you will get, depending on what features Sony opens to third-party applications.
The app also includes an Apple Watch app that I haven’t tested. It offers display and remote operation, as well as exposure control and self-timer settings.
Shutter’s price is $16.99 in the Apple App Store, and the developer offers a refund after seven days if you’re not satisfied. I like the app and the work done by the developer. It’s not perfect yet, but I like where it’s headed, and updates have been frequent and well worthwhile. The shutter is worth considering for what it is now and what’s to come.