Trying An App for Connecting Your Sony Alpha Camera to Your Smartphone

Trying An App for Connecting Your Sony Alpha Camera to Your Smartphone

For people that want to connect their cameras to their smartphones for control it can be a nasty bug ridden adventure. If you look at apps designed to connect for Nikon, Canon, and Sony cameras you'll see reviews that go from faint praise to horrible.

I've had a Sony a7 III for more than a year. Recently Sony's Playmemories app was discontinued for any Sony Alpha Series camera, so now it's up to 3rd parties to provide some solutions. (Update: Our readers correctly point out that Sony released a replacement app called Imaging Edge Mobile. I've tried that app and it has pretty much the same problems as the original app and the same low ratings from users.)

One app I've recently checked out is CCPro. It sells for $11.99 and offers a variety of features, including a time lapse assistant,  a sequence builder, camera settings control, and an image browser allowing you to download and share images.

Currently, it supports the Sony a7 III, a7R III,  and the a9 (firmware <6.0). The a7R IV and a9 II are not supported yet.

Other features of note are an Astrophotography Assistant, that will calculate the longest shutter speed to to avoid star trails. This is helpful for milky way photography. You can choose between rule of 500 or NPF rule. 

The Time Lapse Assistant that let's you choose the time between each image, and select the total time of the time lapse (up to infinity). During the time lapse you can change shutter speed and ISO. This makes a time lapse of sunrise or sunset easy.

Shutter speed control is easy too. Type the shutter speed you want, and the number of images you want taken. 

With the Sequence Editor you can define different sequences of camera settings and play each sequence one time or more often with just one button click. And if you want to use the sequence again, you can reopen old sequences. 

The app can also function as a monitor, so you can see images that would normally be on the LCD screen on your camera. 

CCPro supports downloading images to your phone, but the rub is they can't be raw images, only JPEGs. That's a Sony issue, not a problem with the app.

In theory, it's all very nice. In practice, like the apps for Canon and Nikon, there are frequent issues connecting to the camera. I had the most success with WiFi, but there are also options for using an NFC connection or do the setup from a Camera displayed QR code. Those methods often did not work or were flaky. Other users report the same issues. I think this is more down to how the camera makers deal with connectivity. Looking at forum posts, and app store reviews, most people are not happy with how these apps work. 

Although CCPro has a help icon, when you tap it, it turns out to be a web link. That won't be helpful if you are away from cellular towers or WiFi.

Personally, I would not want to rely on smartphone connectivity in my photo work. I find that using a cable-type release for time exposures works better, and I've had good luck with the Pluto Trigger on Canon and Sony Cameras, but that's a very versatile hardware solution, not a smartphone solution. 

CCPro does work, once (and if) you reliably connect. I tried some time exposures, a short time-lapse, and adjusted settings on the camera successfully. On the other hand, the GUI is in need of a rethink. When you go to the page where you get options to connect, if all the options fail, you can't get off that page. The only way to get back to your phone screen is to crash out of the app. It's a silly oversight and should be an easy fix.

At least on my Sony a7 III, it worked after I got used to the connection foibles, but a couple of times the camera dropped the WiFi connection. CCPro has potential, but Sony needs to make camera connection easier, eliminate the many steps it takes to connect, and publish a simple protocol for developers. 

From reading reviews, Canon and Nikon should do the same. There may be people who are using these kinds of apps reliably all the time, but I think they are not ready for daily use yet. Please share your experiences, good and bad in the comments.

What I Liked

  • Many functions
  • Menus are clear
  • More functional than the similar apps I've looked at

What I Didn't Like

  • Camera/smartphone interface is clunky and unreliable
  • Some menus are dead ends that can't be exited from
  • Pricey
  • Help not built in

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20 Comments

Seems like Play Memories Mobile is replaced by Imaging Edge Mobile.

Phillip Breske's picture

I was going to write the same thing as soon as I read the second paragraph. And this isn't new. I've been using Imaging Edge Mobile for months with my A99ii. How can the author not know this? When Sony made the change, it was VERY CLEAR what was happening.

Mel Martin's picture

Thanks for the comment... I was aware of Imaging Edge and have tried it... should have mentioned that in the review, but it gets the same low ratings as the PlayMemories app and does not solve the problems I've pointed out. Thanks for your comment. Mel

Maurice Waters's picture

Perhaps Imaging Edge was intentionally omitted to give the article reference? "Recently Sony's Playmemories app was discontinued for any Sony Alpha Series camera, so now it's up to 3rd parties to provide some solutions."

Reads like a paid for comment article, if you were talking to a retail customer and said that line in Australia, based on consumer law you would have refund the full purchase price to the customer based on misrepresentation.

Phillip Breske's picture

Come clean right now: Were you compensated by the makers of CCPro?

Mel Martin's picture

f course not. I even paid for it. A bit conspiracy minded I think.

Phillip Breske's picture

"Conspiracy minded"? Dude, if you had mentioned that the software this competes with was actually replaced instead of stating that it was discontinued, maybe we wouldn't assume you were a shill for the CCPro developer.

Musing Eye's picture

Thanks for the review, even if it didn't end up being a sterling solution. I'll hope to hear more if you find better solutions. I've been considering shooting tethered with my Sony A7R3 but a wireless solution would be great.

Edison Wrzosek's picture

Try this, just got announced:

https://www.tethertools.com/air-direct-2019/

Works with Sony now and all major supported applications...

Micah Burke's picture

Camrote is a pretty good app replacement. Much more stable than Sony's. That said, I've had some issues with it consistently saving RAW to the camera.

Kody Cheyne's picture

I can't get camrote to focus properly. Otherwise the interface is much better.

Alexander is right. Sony still has an official app they just renamed it Imaging Edge Mobile.

Could anyone recommend a Sony Alpha compatible app that will do focus bracketing (esp. for macro)? I'd understood some time ago that this was problematic, but I'm hoping that those hurdles have been overcome by now.

There's a side-loading hack called OpenMemories, with which you can install FocusBracket. I think it only works with Sony cameras that take PlayMemories apps. Works with my a6500. It's a bit geeky, but I found some instructions here: https://sonyalphanex.blogspot.com/2016/07/how-to-install-openmemories-ap...

Reginald Walton's picture

Not really sure why people try to use these apps anyway with the file sizes from these cameras nowadays.

Musing Eye's picture

It's true. Even loading direct from the card to my iPhone from the SonyA7R3 chokes some apps.

How has nobody mentioned camoodoo yet? Is only for Android but it is way better than CCPro. If you have a Sony camera you should definitely get it.

Kody Cheyne's picture

I'll check it out. Thanks. What makes it better than this or Camrote?

Bracketing is better implemented (not perfect, but better than manual with Sony app), interval shooting, and faster image previews.

Keith Mullin's picture

I definitely used the Imaging Edge app with very little issue. It can do all of the standard things listed in the article (as long as the camera has the functionality) like timelapse, and full control over settings, etc. This article should come with a "sponsored" label.