Need to transfer your images from your Fuji camera to your phone? There’s an easy way to do it. Andrew Gibson explains...
As digital cameras and smartphones become ever more sophisticated, it is perhaps inevitable that camera manufacturers will come up with ways to allow the two to work together. Fujifilm is no different – if you have any of Fujifilm’s cameras with built-in Wi-fi you can download the free Camera Remote app, which is available for both iOS and Android, and get your smartphone or tablet talking to your camera.
There are probably two good reasons why you would want to do this. The first is to give you an easy way to transfer images from your camera’s memory card to your phone. From here you can edit your photos in an app such as Snapseed or Instagram, share them online with your Facebook and other social media contacts, or send them to somebody by email.
The other reason is that you can use your smartphone as a super-sophisticated remote control. Okay, maybe not that advanced, but one with a preview screen that lets you see exactly what the camera is looking at without having to touch it.
Creating a connection between your camera and the Camera Remote app is straightforward. When you press the Wi-fi (or FN) button on your camera it creates a named Wi-fi network that your device can detect and connect to, effectively turning your camera into a wireless router. Once your device and camera are connected and talking to each other, the app gives you four options.
This is the function that turns your phone into a smart, wireless remote control. This is more useful than you may think. For example, you could set your camera up in your garden, pointing at a bird table or other place where birds come to eat, and take photos from indoors without disturbing them. It might even save you the expense of buying a telephoto lens to do the same thing from further away.
Or – and I have actually read an article by a photographer who did this on the Shanghai Metro – you could hang the camera from your shoulder on a strap and use the app to frame and take street photos. Alternatively, you could place the camera on a table outside a café and surreptitiously snap photos of passers-by.
Perhaps the most useful feature (and the one that makes these ideas possible) is the ability to see a preview of the photo the camera is about to take on your phone’s screen. Double-tap the screen to tell the camera where to focus, and tap the silver button at the bottom to take a photo. It’s all very easy, although sadly the app doesn’t display a histogram, so getting exposure right is more guesswork than exact science. Nor does it let you zoom into the preview to check the focus.
A key thing to note is that you need to decide whether you are going to work in Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority or Manual mode before you connect the camera to the app, as you can’t change your mind afterwards.
Manual mode gives you control over both shutter speed and aperture, as you would expect. In Shutter Priority you can set the shutter speed, and the camera sets the aperture according to what the meter says will give the correct exposure. The app lets you use exposure compensation to override the camera if you need to.
Similarly, in Aperture Priority you set the aperture and the camera sets the shutter speed. Again, you can use exposure compensation to make adjustments. Regardless of what mode the camera is in, the app gives you full control over ISO.
Most other settings, like dynamic range, aspect ratio and image format work the same way – you need to set them up before you connect the camera to the Camera Remote app.
The list of settings you can control from the app itself, other than ISO, shutter speed and aperture, is quite short. Two of them, Film Simulation and White Balance, give you essential control over colour, especially if you are using the JPEG format. The other is the self-timer, aimed at those of you who enjoy self-portraiture.
In practice this seems to work quite well as it keeps the app interface simple and easy to use.
The receive option is for sending photos from your camera’s memory card to your smartphone or tablet. You can send one photo at a time, viewed and selected from the back of your camera. This works with JPEG files only – if you need to transfer Raw files to your phone or tablet (perhaps to work on them with Lightroom Mobile), then you need to find another way to do so.
You should also go into your camera’s menu and tell it whether you want the camera to send full-sized or reduced size JPEG files. You’ll need to go to Wireless Settings in the Set-up menu to do this. The smaller file size is sufficient for posting online, and is a good choice if your phone has limited storage. Select the larger size if you want to edit your photos using an app, as full-size files give you the most flexibility for printing or display.
This is similar to Receive, except that you browse and select the JPEG file you want to transfer from your camera’s memory card to your device using the app. Another difference is that you can transfer up to 30 images at a time.
With both Browse Camera and Receive, you can press the share button after the photo has downloaded to share it with your contacts on Facebook or Twitter, as long as you have the apps installed on your phone.
When you tap the Geotagging button, the app gathers the GPS data from your phone and sends it to your camera. Then – it’s important to note this – the app breaks the connection to the camera, which in turn embeds the transmitted co-ordinates into any photos taken in the next two hours. The weakness of this particular system is obvious. The second you walk away from the spot where you transferred the GPS data, it is no longer as accurate as it should be. But if you are taking photographs in one spot, or you just need an approximate indication of location, it works well.
Transferring Raw files
If you have an iPhone or iPad you may want to transfer Raw files as well as JPEGs from your phone, either as a backup if you are away from home or to edit in the latest version of Lightroom Mobile. The easiest way to do this is with Apple’s Lightning to SD Card Camera Reader. Once connected, the Photos app opens and you can select which photos you’d like to transfer.
The Camera Remote app, while useful, does have some limitations. It is important to understand what they are so you can decide whether you should use your phone to control your camera.
1. The app doesn’t support Bulb mode. If long-exposure photography is your thing, you need a cable release.
2. There is some bad news for HDR photographers – the app doesn’t support bracketing or continuous shooting. They don’t work even if they are set on the camera. Once again, a cable release is the better option.
3. Wi-fi uses more battery power, and you may have to change batteries more often.
4. The app doesn’t display a live histogram. If you want to make sure that you’re not clipping any highlights, or you want to expose to the right, it’s probably best to use the camera’s viewfinder or LCD screen.
5. Needless to say, your smartphone is a delicate device that won’t take kindly to being dropped on a hard surface or into water. If there is a risk of this happening, a cable release is probably a better option.
Step by step: How to Connect Your Fujifilm X Camera to the Camera Remote App
Set file size
Go to the Wireless Settings in the Connection Settings menu and set Resize Image for Smartphone to Off if you want to transfer full-size images, or On if you want to transfer smaller ones.
Select the exposure mode you want to work in (Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Program or Manual). Press the Wi-Fi or FN button on the camera.
Connect your device
Go to network settings on your device and connect to the Wi-Fi network emitted by your camera.
Authorise your device
Confirm on the camera itself that your device is allowed to connect.
Open the Camera Remote app to get started. You can control the camera remotely, or download pictures you’ve taken to your device. The camera’s menu is not available while the camera is connected to the app.