Manfrotto Announces Digital Director Tethering System

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Manfrotto has announced the Digital Director, a new advanced tethering solution and real-time live view monitor for Canon and Nikon DSLR cameras. The Digital Director comprises an Apple-certified iPad holder and a downloadable software app that runs on a user-supplied iPad Air or Air 2. The entire system was built and designed in partnership with Apple, helping to ensure that it runs seamlessly with the iPad and the Digital Director app.

The Digital Director is more than just an iPad mount—it features a built-in ARM Cortex A8 600MHz microprocessor to provide a low-latency live view feed and fast transfer times when sending images from your camera’s memory card to the iPad.

Once mounted on the Digital Director’s Lighting connector, the iPad is connected to a Nikon or Canon DSLR camera with a USB cable, which further enhances speed and also provides stability in connectivity as compared to a wireless connection.

The Digital Director app has a host of features that allow you to control your camera’s settings from the iPad. It turns your tablet into a real-time stills and video monitor, with displays showing your exposure controls, histograms, white balance, focus controls, and audio levels when shooting video. You can also change the camera settings and see how the image or video is affected on the iPad.

Interactive Focus allows you to tap anywhere on the iPad's screen and the camera will focus on that spot. Digital zoom magnifies the selected focus point to ensure that your intended focus spot is accurate.

When taking photos or videos, the files are stored on your camera’s memory card. Images can then be transferred easily to your iPad as full-size JPEG files for sorting, rating, and editing. The app’s editing feature allows you to adjust the image's exposure, contrast, and light. You can also crop and rotate the image, check the histogram and EXIF data. Once edited, the images can be shared from the app by FTP transfer, email, or to social media sites right from the iPad’s camera roll.

The back of the Digital Director has a 3/8"-16 threaded mount for attaching it to a variety of supports, and two notches to accept Manfrotto’s anti-twist mounts. There are also four cold-shoe mounts on the back for attaching various accessories.

The Digital Director is powered by four user-supplied AA batteries or by the included AC adapter, which when plugged in will charge the iPad, as well as power the Digital Director, thereby only limiting your shooting time to your camera’s battery life.

The Digital Director is available for both the iPad Air and Air 2.

Discussion 24

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Is it planned to work on Android Devices such as Sony and Samsung tablets?

The entire system was built and designed in partnership with Apple, helping to ensure that it runs seamlessly with the iPad and the Digital Director app. As such there is not currently any information suggesting that they will have options for Android based tablets.  If something changes and they do offer an option for Android, we will then update this article or create a new article for the subject at that time.

So, limited overpriced hardware... Shame they didn't make it using a good mobile platform that can do things like support external USB devices and SD cards instead of locking it into apple's game.

+1, this is why I still avoid using an iPad

You can do the same with Android devices using DSLR Controller, a $7.99 software package available at Android Marketplace. I use this software with a used Nexus 7, 32 gb for which I paid $95. I bought a Square Jellyfish mini tablet tripod mount and secure it to the camera with a Vello multi-function ball head. You'll need a Micro Connectors USB cable to connect your tablet to your camera.

Ron,

I'm trying to find a tethering way to connect my Canon 7D to some type of device. I'm not using that often so I didn't want to spend as much money as this new Manfrotto device.

Could your send me more specifics with how you did what you mentioned here?

Thank you for your time

Rick there are not many options for the 7D to connect to tablets and smartphones on the less expensive side of the spectrum.  We do happen to carry a product which should suit your needs, called "Weye Feye" by a company called "Xsories".  Its priced much lower than this Manfrotto Digital Direct, and can work with just about any device that is Wi-Fi enabeled, and they offer a custom app to work with it also.  You'd still need to invest in a device but this would definitely be more affordable to consider.  See the link below for details on the remote.

http://bhpho.to/1wq3HzY

I am using a mini USB connector that connects to the tablet. The other end is a female connector that fits into the USB cable that came with you 7D. I bought mine at Microcenter. Hope this works for you.

Good idea for the old industry nikky & canot but where is the new generation?   Please make it work for all ipads (modular) and all manufacturers (sony, hassleblood etc) or you manyfotto will have to face a lot of chinese copies of yr MDD manufactured by yongnuo or benro or sirui... For now Im using a used mini tv with hdmi in and a remote control for about 40.00€$ or so... 499$ at adorabiles? No thks! 

So it seems like iPad 2 won't be supported?

Hi Tony -

The Digital Director is available for only the iPad Air and Air 2 at this time.

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

Looks great! The question is will it support all Canon DSLR models or is it specific to certain models?

Presumably yes.  Based on the current information published about the device, it indicates that it connects to the cameras via USB, which all Canon DSLRs feature.  As time passes and more information is released, we will have a better idea.  If there is a specific model you would like to enquire about, feel free to send us an email to askbh@bhphotovideo.com and our agents there can assist you.

The list of supported cameras seems to be a key issue. Does the DD support the Nikon D810? Reasonably, yes. Does it support the D1? Maybe not. And the D2X or the D3X?

As of this point I have not been able to find anything published by Manfrotto regarding what models are/will be compatible.  Those details are sure to surface at some point prior to the product's release.  Feel free to email us closer to June when they project it to be available regarding any new details that may come up by then.  You may contact us at askbh@bhphoto.com.

The weak link here no matter what device your using is the fragile hdmi & usb ports.

Will this work with the Sony SLT A77, NEX EA50uh and the HDR CX900?

No. Currently it is only being offered to Nikon and Canon DSLR models. 

How about photographing in daylight with the sun shining? What kind of effect has the sun on the display, would it still be possible to view my photo?

Yes it would be possible to view the screen in daylight.  The system utilizes the Apple iPad Air and iPad Air 2 models, both of which feature Apple's renowned "retina" display which is very sharp and very bright.  In most outdoor situations the tablets are viewable.  If the sun was directly overhead/behind one so that the light is directly shining on the tablet, it could be more difficult to view (as would be the case with any type of monitor/screen). A simple fix would be to use some cardboard and gaffer tape to create a quick shade over the screen.

Can you download the App without buying the tethering system?

At this point Manfrotto anticipates the APP and system to launch some time in June of this year.  At this point the APP is not currently available in the iOS App store (I use apple so I could not comment on the Android APP store) so I was not able to do a test download.  In theory I see no reason one could not download the app without purchasing the system, however use of the app requires you purchase the system (the Digital Director also has its own processor built into it...so it is required to function). 

Any idea if they will do a version for Ipad mini?

At this time they have only indicated it working with the iPad Air and iPad Air2 devices.