Friday, March 29, 2013

Remote Control your DSLR with Linux and Android

Beside being a linux fan, I'm also a long time amateur photographer, since the time of film and fully manual SLR, yes, I'm used to camera controls and manual focus....

Today, as I was quietly at home, and wife and kid were already in bed, I decided to take some macro shots. But before, I wondered if there was any free or open-source software so I could connect the camera to the computer and shot it from there.

I already knew Nikon's Camera Control Pro 2 (which costs something like 180$), and its only available for MAC and WIN (as usual), I even started downloading the free trial to test on virtualbox, but never got there....

For Canon lovers, there is also some proprietary software...

So I start investigating (as usual), and I found gphoto2, which is a command line utility that uses libgphoto and can control your camera using PTP (picture transfer protocol) which I found out its an International standard.

As I wanted to see the photos as soon as they were shot on computer, and I wasn't in the mood for a Script session, I investigated and found out this GUI that work with gphoto:

- gtkam - old user interface, lack of function (for me) - not very good
- digikam - for KDE, I'm a Gnome and Unity user...  - not for me
- and DARKTABLE, which is the software I use for RAW processing....

all software its on repositories...

In Darktable I just need to presss Remote Control, and all configs from camera are there. Aperture, shooting mode, speed, EV control, timers, Bracketing (for HDR), etc, etc. 

My camera is a Nikon D3000 that does not have live view on camera, and it doesn't work neither on Darktable, but I believe others will do, but after each shoot the photo appears on computer screen which is very handy and much better then camera screen.

I know, that you will say that this is not very useful, as you wont carry your laptop around while taking photos.... But you can take your phone, or you tablet.....

So the best and cheapest and free and open-source alike software for Android was DSLRDashboard, its on Google Play, however as my tablet was not compatible (dont know why), I went to and made the download and installation.

For Android beside the USB cable that comes with your camera, you will also need a OTG cable.

As you can see, Linux is easy, and Android too....

And yes, I took the Macro Shoot with the PC and Ubuntu...

PS: The Nikon software said that it don't have support for my camera...


  1. How about Entangle

  2. Thank you for this :) I have a Nikon D5000 and used Camera Control Pro with my Netbook. Now with my Android phone, it's even more convenient.

  3. I've read about entangle, however, I havent tried it yet. Maybe one of this days.

  4. Very good post about photo and open-source. Its very important that posts about specific target zone with an instrumental cameras, distros (UBuntu or others) and finally software. Greetings from Portugal.

  5. Amazing post. Thanks for sharing this. Even I own a Nikon D3000 and an android tablet. Thanks to you and DSLRDashboard, I can now control my D3000 from my tablet. Greeting from India. :)

  6. I installed this on Ubuntu and it didn't work.

  7. Thanks for review, it was excellent and very informative.
    thank you :)


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