AMITIAE - Thursday 4 June 2015
Tethering the iPhone 6 - Taking Photographs Directly onto Computers - Good and Bad
By Graham K. Rogers
I noticed a few years ago that images of the equipment they were using for senior year projects were poorly focussed and needed some basic editing. As a result I introduced a couple of imaging themes into my English Communication for Engineers and that included photography.
The students are quite happy with the physics involved, so discussing the theories of time, ISO and aperture are relatively easy. To demonstrate the way lenses change a scene, I tether a camera to my Mac and take a series of images using the lenses I have with me for the purpose: 24mm, 50mm, 85mm, 70-300mm. The Mac is connected to an overhead projector so that the students can see what I am doing
Although Apple's Aperture has a tethering feature, I prefer an app (available on the Mac App Store) from a German developer, called Sofortbild. This is reliable, saves a TIFF image in the user's Pictures folder (as well as the files on the SD card), and displays a basic range of metadata.
Both PhotoStream and iCloud Library may have some delays as the photos are sent to Apple's servers and then back down the internet to the other devices, even if the devices are sitting next to each other and on a fast 802.11ac network. There is a case here for an and/or approach: synchronising devices on the same network and also sending the images to iCloud for storage and to feed to other devices, then or later.
Despite a number of attempts, no photographs appeared in the designated album. After an examination of the setup, I tried turning OFF the Personal Hotspot which comes on automatically when a USB cable is connected. That did the trick and I was able to take photographs which then appeared immediately in Aperture.
Unfortunately, Sofortbild was not cooperative and failed to recognise the iPhone at all. This was not a surprise as the application is designed specifically for tethering with Nikon cameras.
As support for Aperture is to end in a year or so, Apple has switched its attention to Photos, which is designed to link with iCloud and have all a user's photographs on all devices: Mac or iOS. In its current state, it lacks several features that a regular user of DSLR cameras would want. I tend to use it for my iPhoto images (which also appear in Aperture with PhotoStream), occasionally dropping a RAW image from the Nikon into Photos when I want to ensure that is available on the iPhone, iPad and the other Mac I use.
One feature currently missing from Photos is tethering, although the Photos & Automation site does have a number of Automator scripts for Photos and a Services file for tethering is included in one of the downloads. I wrote some more on this a few weeks ago in a Bangkok Post article that is also on eXtensions. A link a number of other articles I wrote about alternatives to Aperture are lower down this page.
Seeking AlternativesAn app that was recommended in a 2012 article on tethering by Derrick Story is ProCamera, but this is not available in the iTunes App Store for Thailand. One app that appeared as a result of a search in the App Store here was Tethered Shooting, but this was for transferring images from DSLR devices to iOS. I am already able to do this with the Eye-Fi SD card I have in the camera and use this often.
Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand where he is also Assistant Dean. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. He is now continuing that in the Bangkok Post supplement, Life.
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