Everyone who owns a good camera eventually wants some degree of remote control. It may be simply to get in a selfie, to take a time-lapse, or to create bracketed images.
Triggering your camera without touching it and causing vibration is another obvious thing photographers want. In the old days, we had cable releases for some of these functions, and as cameras progressed, we were offered more sophisticated devices, wired and unwired, to give us some basic control of our cameras.I've just had an extensive test of Shutter, an iOS app for Sony cameras that offers a lot of control at a pretty low price. it doesn't work the same on all Sony cameras, because not all Sony cameras have the same capabilities. I've been using it with the new Sony a7 IV, and it's full-featured. Later in this article, I'll get into detail on compatible cameras.
What You Get
Testing on my camera, I can specify an initial delay and intervals between photos (an Intervalometer), as well as remotely control exposure settings. An included on-screen histogram ensures you don't clip highlights or lose shadow details.
With the help of that included intervalometer, you can get rid of a dedicated cable release. You can capture raw photos and use your regular raw editor and video editor to put together time-lapse movies.
This is also very useful for astrophotography, especially doing the Milky Way. You can set up the app to take, say, 50 15-second exposures, then use the software of your choice to align them, all without touching the camera.
Shutter supports both burst mode and bulb mode on most Sony cameras.
The app also works with tap to focus on my a7 IV, where you tap the iPhone screen to get the focus where you want it. With the recent Eye-AF update for third-generation Sony cameras, Shutter can always focus on the eyes. Shutter can also control video on many Sony cameras, but I think the app is best used by still photographers.
Shutter is new and not yet perfect. Connecting your phone to the camera is pretty easy. You tell the app what Sony model you have, and it gives you a step-by-step connection process. On my Sony A7 IV, I could easily connect, but a few times, the app (or the camera) dropped the connection. Re-running the app connected instantly. There are a few little onscreen bugs. I have my SD card in slot two of my Sony, but the app reported no SD card. The developer acknowledged the bug and will quickly fix it. On the other hand, it was a cosmetic issue, because my camera functioned fine and my images were saved to the camera and my iPhone. Happily, after I reported the bug, the developer fixed it one day later.
Speaking of the developer, he seems to respond quickly to any issue, day or night. I thought that might be because I was a reviewer of the app, but regular users report the same thing.
What I Like
Shutter is easy to understand and gives me a whole lot of features no wired or wireless remote I've seen offers. I have a Sony BT remote (the Sony Wireless Remote Commander). It can autofocus lenses and trigger the shutter, but that's about it. It's better than the old IR remotes, but only slightly. The Shutter app does a lot more, doesn't tie me physically to the camera, shows me what the camera sees, and provides a host of bracket options and interval timers for astrophotography or time-lapse imaging.
What I Don't Like
The app can be a bit flaky. I've seen a few disconnects. That could be the app or the way Sony offers third-party connections. I've seen similar complaints with Sony's Imaging Edge app, which again, is not as fully featured as Shutter.
There's a second or so of lag between the camera screen and your iPhone screen. For landscape and astrophotography, I can work with that. It's not for sports photographers, though, when zero lag is what you need.
Despite some teething glitches, I think Sony camera owners will want this app if they are on iOS. An Android version is being worked on.
If you're interested in the app, the developer has provided a list of compatible cameras and what functionality you'll get, depending on what features Sony opens to third-party apps.
The app also includes an Apple Watch app that I haven't tested. It offers a screen display and remote triggering, as well as exposure control and self-timer settings.
Shutter is $16.99 in the Apple app store, and the developer offers a refund after seven days if you are not satisfied. I like the app and the work the developer has put in. It's not perfect yet, but I like where it is going, and updates have been frequent and worthwhile. Shutter is worthy of your consideration for what it is now and what's coming.
If you're passionate about taking your photography to the next level but aren't sure where to dive in, check out the Well-Rounded Photographer tutorial where you can learn eight different genres of photography in one place. If you purchase it now, or any of our other tutorials, you can save a 15% by using "ARTICLE" at checkout.