Fstoppers Reviews the New CamRanger 2

Fstoppers Reviews the New CamRanger 2

Earlier this year, I wrote a review of the CamRanger Mini. As I mentioned in my article, I was looking for a way to remotely trigger my camera when I can't be located in a particular area for the action sports I shoot. I found the CamRanger Mini was a terrific device for remotely controlling a camera, but for me, I needed a little faster reaction time. So, now that the CamRanger2 has been released, will it satisfy my demanding needs?

As I concluded in my previous article: "If you are like me and are looking for more range and speed, you might want to hold off to see how the CamRanger 2 performs." So, when I got the opportunity to review the new CamRanger 2, I couldn't wait to test the manufacturer's claims of greater range and higher connection speeds.

The CamRanger 2 is the third CamRanger product for remotely controlling your camera. The original CamRanger was released in September 2012, while the second product, the CamRanger Mini, was released in August 2018. I never used the original CamRanger, so I can't compare how the latest unit compares to the original. Still, according to the manufacturer's website, the new version is five times faster and has a range three times greater when compared to the original CamRanger. As far as compared to the Mini, the speed is two times faster, and the range has increased by 25 percent to 500 feet. 

The unit comes in a very nice hardshell container. While the case may be overlooked by photographers who will primarily use the unit in a studio, for other photographers who will use the unit out in the wild like me, this hardshell case is appreciated. Obviously, this case helps to protect the unit when not in use, but it also contains all the other hardware that comes with the unit, which includes one battery, a Micro USB charging cable, a USB camera connection cable, a hot shoe mount, and of course, a quick start guide. It did not include the nice little carabiner that the Mini's case had. This small package is excellent for keeping everything together and makes it simple for me to throw everything I need in my travel bags in one shot.

New Features

  • Fujifilm and Sony compatibility (not available in older models)
  • Built-in SD card slot (SD/SDHC/SDXC card compatibility)
  • 500 ft range (150 ft in original and 400 ft in Mini)
  • 300 Mbps 802.11n 2.4 GHz network (60 Mbps throughput)
  • 433 Mbps 802.11ac 5 GHz network (180 Mbps throughput)
  • Bridge into existing WiFi networks
  • Approximately 5 hrs battery life (5-6 in original, 3 in Mini)
  • Replaceable 3,300 mAh Lithium-Ion battery (2,000 mAh in original and internal 1,800 mAH in Mini)
  • Charge in device with USB micro: 5V 2A, or with an external charger

The CamRanger also has released a new app that features:

  • Barcode scanner workflow (iOS and Android)
  • Photobooth app (iOS)
  • Auto share/save/transfer images
  • Social media upload (iOS and Android)
  • Edit and crop images (iOS)
  • Image comparison (iOS)
  • Multiple camera control (MacOS and Windows)

CamRanger does a beautiful job of making products that are easy to use right out of the box, and the newest unit is no different. After the required initial charge of the battery, the setup using the new app was straightforward and extremely simple. Like the initial setup, the CamRanger2 app is laid out in a way that is very intuitive and easy to use. To me, this is very important, as I don't want to be out in the field during a shoot and have to be thinking about how I make changes to the camera. I want it to be straightforward, and to me, the app was. However, if you ever do need clarification of how to use the unit or app, the app contains an owner's manual that can be accessed offline.

Let me expand on a few of the things I liked about the CamRanger2. First are the range and speed, which were the two things I didn't care for with the Mini. I admit that my expectations for the Mini where somewhat unreasonably high because of my needs. For me, the CamRanger2 has met those high requirements. When I tested the unit for the range, I was able to get consistent speed and control at the 400 to 500-foot range with the 2.4 GHz network. The 5GHz gave me less range, yet that is a fact with any 5 GHz network. The speed was good with the 2.4 GHz network and even better with the 5 GHz network.

I don't recall if I missed it in the earlier CamRanger apps, and if I did, it was my fault, but I do like the preset camera settings library. I find this function to be very useful out in the field, as I can get different styles of images with only a few taps of the screen on my iPad. To me, this is a money-making feature, as it increases the number of different styles of images I can potentially sell to my client.

Uploading content to social media as an event is happening is now the standard for photographers. The CamRanger 2 not only lets me upload to social media, it also permits me to upload to FTP without using the CamRanger 2 app. This might not be an issue for non-professionals, but if you are shooting sports professionally, this is crucial and a much-appreciated addition.

Saving files to the unit's SD card is another feature that I appreciate. It gives me one more means of having backups of my images. With numerous cameras like the Nikon Z 6 only having one card slot, this feature of the CamRanger 2 is welcomed.

What I Liked

  • Ease of setup and use
  • Build quality
  • The ability to control almost any camera setting that I would need while shooting
  • Ability to bridge into existing Wi-Fi networks
  • Select and rate images from within the app
  • Integration with Mac and Windows
  • Ability to save files to the unit's SD card
  • The ability to auto-share, save, and transfer images
  • Ability to upload to social media
  • Image comparison
  • Better transfer speed
  • Improved range

What I Didn't Like

I honestly can say that there wasn't anything that I did not like about the unit. If I had to say anything, it would be the size, yet that isn't really even an issue.

Conclusion

So, at $350, the CamRanger 2 is not an inexpensive piece of equipment. However, for that price, I feel that the purchaser is getting a piece of hardware and software that does what it is supposed to do and functions as the manufacturer advertises. Is it something every photographer needs? No. But if you do need a remote to control your camera, it is worth considering.

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20 Comments

What is “good speed” in terms of MB/s?

Ted Nghiem's picture

I have one and use it with Fuji. The battery life of the cam ranger 2, with Fuji's specifically as they also note, is much worse. Also they are currently working on updates for fuji users to also be able to focus via live view on the ipad. It is however, sluggish.

I upgraded to the CamRanger 2 recently and I think it's great. I had some workflow questions and CamRanger responded quickly to my email with suggestions that made my process a little faster. The new mounting options are nice, as I sometimes struggled with arranging the original one.

1

Chip Kalback's picture

Having had the previous version of the CamRanger I can honestly say it more than paid for itself in terms of Clients being impressed with the ability to view images as they were being photographed on location, while holding my iPad. I don't think I once used it to control my camera remotely (despite the option to do so being nice), but moreso I used it as something to make the Clients life a little easier, and it absolutely was a solid investment.

Well, you can hardly call it a review... it's just an article about the new unit. You could at least make a real life comparison of the praised new features (especially the faster speed and farther range) with the old camranger. Writing "The speed was good" really doesn't mean anything

It's a review just not a technical review, There are quite a few of us who want to hear how a device works from an end user perspective vs "The range was 412 feet and 4 inches"
The obsession with comparing every possible stat in photography is ludicrous

I don't agree with you. I own the original CamRanger and use it with my 50MPx 5DSr, and the comfort of using it is mediocre. I'd really appreciate a head to head comparison with the new CamRanger, and a test how really faster it downloads big images. Without this writing that a speed was good tells nothing, as it can be very subjective

I could write you a list of the hundred things that can affect wi-fi throughput but hey there's google and maybe it can explain why moving a device a couple of inches can have measurable change

Douglas Turney's picture

Bartek,

I understand wanting a comparison with the original CamRanger, especially if you already own one. However as I mentioned I never used the original and didn't have one to compare to. The article was meant to be a usability type of review and not a technical review as I'm not really concerned with will the speed be X or Y. I wanted to see how the unit functioned from a usability standpoint like I did for the CamRanger Mini. As I convey in the article I think the unit definitely functions as advertised and is a usable product.

i had the previous incarnation of the CamRanger which I had hoped to use as a wireless tethering solution, and its lack of reliability (in terms of maintaining connection)., general clunkiness and slow speeds made it almost entirely unusable. On the few occasions I tried using it, I had to abandon it very quickly. I certainly wouldn't entertain buying another one.

Howard Ashton-Jones's picture

We've been using the camRanger 2 for a few months (not used any other versions so can't compare) - shooting directly to FTP server for events (the app isn't for us) .. speeds have been good, however you are limited currently to file sizes of no more than 5mb, for the quicker speeds. CamRanger support has been great they made a fix for us for larger file size (5mb +) however is a bit slow, as it writes the data into smaller chunks before sending - , so we are using med jpeg and its so far been faultless - battery time has been a good 4- 5 hours (we swap out to the spare half way though the day) with constant shooting at a sports event. Would recommend getting the spare battery and charger for ease of use. Coverage is good across a large sports arena (we set up a large wifi access point for it). Ordering a second unit for our 2nd shooters very soon. :)

Marc Perino's picture

I have the old one which worked quite ok. I just could not figure out to pinch zoom into the photo less than 100%. I think it is not possible. But maybe I am wrong. I was wondering if there you can do it with the CR2 (software)?

Other than that I am really keen on a review about the "Air Direct" from Tethertools which claims that you can wirelessly "tether" directly into Capture One Pro or Lightroom as well - in addition to their own iOS app. That would be the ultimate use for me. But it is not out yet. I just seen some ads and a video about it.

I use a remote camera setup for classical music concerts. I put the camera on a tripod and a Ronin-S gimbal. Then, the camranger to operate the camera. The Ronin-S is bluetooth, but unfortunately, I run out of range really quickly. So, I'm looking for a remote mounting solution where I can tilt and pan the camera silently using an app from the audience or back stage. Anyone know of another solution for this? A gimbal or other mount that is wifi with decent range?

Did you check Bluetooth range extenders capabilities?

Douglas Turney's picture

The CamRanger PT Hub is a tripod head that can be panned and tilted and uses the CamRanger to control it.

aurelien poulat's picture

someone who use a camranger as tested the dslr controller application? it's a 10 bucks app and do the same thing than camranger exept for the wifi battery use.
In the case where you don't have to be far from your camera, i wonder what the reason to buy a camranger?

Marc Perino's picture

I use the old CamRanger and the obvious advantage is that the signal is far better than what any camera can produce. So the range is higher.
And the battery of the camera does not get drained. I have 4 batteries for the CamRanger and 1 of them holds up a day of intensive shooting.

I wonder how this compares with the new Tether Tools wireless unit.

Marc Perino's picture

From a tech spec perspective the "Air Direct" from Tethertools seems superior because it is compatible with far more brands AND you can "wirelessly tether" directly into Capture One Pro. Which IMO is a killer feature. I will wait for some real live tests and reviews though. And I dont know how good their own software is in comparison to the CamRanger app.