DSLR View Camera
Slow photography (or how I turned my Canon 5D Mark II into a view camera)
I bought the 5D new recently. With the advent of the Mark III run out prices for the Mark II were heavily reduced. The Mark II takes an excellent image but has been overtaken by more recent models particularly in the focussing and low light departments. I have a 7D that works very well for taking photos of stuff on the move but for subjects like Architecture and Landscapes the full frame sensor of the 5D has the quality upper hand. When mounted on a tripod and with the use of Live View and a remote shutter release the downsides are greatly diminished.
Some time ago I came across an excellent android app (see the link below for details) that allows a Canon owner to control the camera tethered to an android smart phone or tablet. It also lets you do things like exposure bracketing beyond 3 shots, focus bracketing and timelapse.
The screen size on the 5D is 3" and not tiltable nor is it a touch screen and the nexus 7 tablet is well..7” and mobile with a touch screen so for setting the camera position low to the ground I can control the camera: setting aperture, ISO, exposure, focus and release the shutter all from a non-grovelling position. Sure a larger tablet could be used but weight is a consideration for mounting to the tripod
While I can use the tablet just tethered to the camera I figured it would be useful to have both hands free to adjust the Tilt Shift lens so using a collection of bits made by RAM mounts I cobbled together a holder for the tablet that clamps to one of the tripod legs. I can adjust the tilt and position of the tablet and also its format for Landscape or Portrait. The Tilt Shift lens works very well in this setup for both shift and tilt adjustments. I can accurately adjust the manual focus via the “big” screen. The auto focus of the other lenses can be managed via the live view and touch screen.
There are specific cables required and I also "ruggedized" the tablet with an Otterbox.
The technical details are below.
So how does it shape up? Excellently: it changes my seeing approach from impulsive to considered but with one issue: screen brightness and reflections are a problem in bright daylight. The only solution is a black hood.
2. Canon Camera with Live View capability: 5D Mark II
3. Camera L-Plate
I can change from Landscape to Portrait without having to fiddle with the ball head or tripod position. It also keeps the Camera centre of gravity over the tripod axis for better stability.
4. USB 2.0 Device Cable
This cable exits the USB port at right angles so that when the Camera is mounted in portrait orientation the cable is out of the way of the tripod head.
6. Nexus 7 32 Gb Tablet (android)
7. On-the-go cable
Connects the Device Cable to the microUSB port of the tablet
Universal Small Tablet Mount RAM-HOL-TAB-SMU
Standard Double Clamp B Size RAM-B-201
Clamp Base 1 Inch Ball RAP-B-121BU
1" Ball with Diamond Plate RAM-B-238
Armour for the tablet