Wirelessly tether any camera to your desktop with Air Direct

Nov 1, 2019

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Nov 1, 2019

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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It’s been three years since we saw the Tether Tools Case Air unveiled at Photokina 2016. It offered a lot of options for wirelessly tethering your camera to their dedicated app running on a tablet. Now, though, the new Tether Tools Air Direct lets you wirelessly tether any camera using your regular desktop software. Lightroom, Capture One, or whatever you want.

We caught up with Tether Tools at PhotoPlus 2019 to find out more about it and its capabilities.

Shooting tethered is pretty common for a lot of photographers, particularly in the studio. It allows you to get your images up on the big screen quickly so you can easily determine whether or not you’ve got the shot. You can see if you’ve nailed the focus perfectly or if you’ve missed some distracting element you couldn’t spot through the viewfinder or the little LCD on the back of the camera.

Typically, though, tethering is done via a USB cable. The wireless options so far have mostly been fairly limited to either proprietary grips and dongles that cost almost as much as the camera, or you can only tether to mobile devices like your phone or a tablet. Or, they’re limited to specific brands and models of camera. Tether Tools’ new Air Direct also lets you tether over WiFi, but it allows you to do it to your usual desktop tethering software. And it can do it with just about any camera, too. Any camera that offers wired USB tethering support should work with the Air Direct.

The Air Direct supports both raw and jpg, sending over the jpg file first so you can get a quick preview while the raw carries on transferring. It operates on both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz networks for maximum reliability and distances of up to around 200ft between the camera and computer. And if you still want to tether directly to a phone or a tablet, and skip the desktop, like you can with the Case Air, you can do that, too by just flipping a switch on the device.

Power is supplied by a Canon LP-E6 battery, and not a built-in battery. Internal batteries are great, but when they run out, your unit is often useless until you recharge it. Here, when your battery dies, you can just swap it out for a fresh one. And it’s not like LP-E6 batteries are uncommon. Many other devices use them, too, like the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K & 6K, and compatible 3rd party batteries are available very inexpensively. There’s also a DC power socket, too, if you want to power it from another source.

The Tether Tools Air Direct is available to pre-order now for $329.99 and is expected to ship on December 26th, 2019.

DIYP’s coverage of PhotoPlus Expo 2019 is sponsored by Luminar, Cosyspeed, PhotoPlus, and Spiffy Gear – check ’em out.

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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11 responses to “Wirelessly tether any camera to your desktop with Air Direct”

  1. Clement RENAUT Avatar
    Clement RENAUT

    If you shoot tethered, you mostly are in studio… How do you plug your flash transciever with that thing on the hot shoe !

    1. Madelien Waegemans Avatar
      Madelien Waegemans

      Clement RENAUT I had this problem when I used a speedlight ringflash adapter. It’s not ideal, but you can use a flash bracket in the tripod mount and put the transceiver in there and trigger it with a cable in the Camera Flash socket. I know Pocketwizard has this option, don’t know about other triggers.

  2. Brett Russo Avatar
    Brett Russo

    Sold!!!

  3. Peter Foote Avatar
    Peter Foote

    If it had a pass through hot shoe it would be less clunky. Good starting point for sure.

  4. Robert Hicks Avatar
    Robert Hicks

    Flashair cards have been wirelessly tetherable to LR for years

  5. Henrik Heigl Avatar
    Henrik Heigl

    Well. nice try. If someone shoots in the Studio I doubt that batterie is an issue, because there will be plenty batteries around. Also why should someone fiddeling around the WLAN Settings and connection losses if there is a steady cable connection? The ONLY point would be that nobody would trip over that cable. But again, you got WiFi builtin or an old EyeFi Card which send the RAW Images directly to the computer. If not directly to the Tether-Folder you can copy those images there periodicly without any extra $300,- for ANOTHER Gear that has to be charged, clunky as hell and “steals” my hotshoe. But if anybody realy will use it – go for it! Enjoy.

    1. Duncan Dimanche Avatar
      Duncan Dimanche

      Henrik Heigl if you have ever used those eyefi cards you’ll know that they are slow and so much trouble to work with.

      If this can do really fast transfer than i’m all in.

      The cable is a problem. And you can easily mess with the camera’s sync port. I know a few who have ?

  6. Jim Huang Avatar
    Jim Huang

    The issue is the cable,especially for Nikon. The Micro USB connector for D750 or below is just terrible. They get loose all the time and you can’t really buy a short one on eBay or Aliexpress.

  7. Hollywood Avatar
    Hollywood

    CamRanger

  8. Gareth Jones Avatar
    Gareth Jones

    Can you imagine buying a wireless tether device and plugging it into the wall to charge it while you use it?

  9. Phokitall Avatar
    Phokitall

    that buffer looks terrible