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.

Manfrotto Digital Director Firmware Update Supports iOS 9

The latest firmware update to the Manfrotto Digital Director system is intended to enhance performance and compatibility with Apple devices running the most recent versions of iOS 9. For simple installation, the new firmware update is available automatically though the Digital Director iOS app. Manfrotto has also provided instructions for a manual firmware upgrade, should the app fail to update automatically or become unresponsive. The manual procedure is easy to complete using Manfrotto’s step-by-step instructions, available here, and requires only a PC or Mac, a blank USB flash drive, and an Internet connection. Also, users are advised to check compatibility and features for their specific camera model, available here.

35 Comments

Hi, Can you use elecrtonic flasheads with this Kit?

You could incorporate flashes into this rig, yes.  If you have specific questions, you might send us an email letting us know what exactly you are looking to do.  AskPhoto@bhphoto.com

I have been trying to connect my Canon 1DX and 7D mark2 to the Digital director, but failed it keeps saying (The connected device is not supported )'I have tried to get help from Manfrotto sites but failed. I see other parties are having the same problem. I have tried my iPad Air, and iPad Pro which you state are compatabile with the Digital director. Please can anyone help a lot of money wasted for .....what.

I am sorry that you’re experiencing this issue, unfortunately we are not properly set up to troubleshoot this. I would make sure both the firmware for the camera bodies, as well as for the digital director are all up to date. If the problem persists, I would then reach out to Manfrotto directly: 

Manfrotto

Tel: (201) 818-9500 

Email: info@manfrottodistribution.us

Website: http://www.manfrotto.com/

I have exacly the same issue one day it was working fine the the next time I came to it I got the same message, Spent £400 on this not Happy :-(

Andrea O. wrote:

I am sorry that you’re experiencing this issue, unfortunately we are not properly set up to troubleshoot this. I would make sure both the firmware for the camera bodies, as well as for the digital director are all up to date. If the problem persists, I would then reach out to Manfrotto directly: 

Manfrotto

Tel: (201) 818-9500 

Email: info@manfrottodistribution.us

Website: http://www.manfrotto.com/

WE HAVE A DIGITAL DIRECTOR FOR THE IPAD AIR. WE ARE USING A CANON 1DX AND A CANON 7D MARK II. WHEN WE HOOK EVERYTHING UP, WE GET, "THE CONNECTED DEVICE IS NOT SUPPORTED". HOW DO WE FIX THIS?

I would recommended updating the firmware if you have not already done so, this PDF from Manfrotto will take you through the steps involved. If the issues you are expereince persist, I would then reach out to Manfrotto directly: 

Tel: (201) 818-9500 or repairs 480-940-1103

Email: info@manfrottodistribution.us

Website: http://www.manfrotto.com/

I have just got the Digital Director for iPad Air 2. When I plug it in and connect it comes and says the Apple embedded USB  device is not supported.

I have a Nikon D800 which it says in the book is a device that Digital Director supports.

The light on Digital Director lights up green, and have the camera set to video.

I am sorry that you’re experiencing this issue with the device, unfortunately we are not properly set up to troubleshoot this type of issue.  For this, you would need to contact Adobe directly.  See below for their contact information. 

Manfrotto

Tel: (201) 818-9500 or repairs 480-940-1103

Email: info@manfrottodistribution.us

Website: http://www.manfrotto.com/

I was looking to see if it is compatable with canon 5D mark 2 but only shows 7d mark2 and 5D Mark 3. Is that correct that it won't work the 5D Mark2?

It is compatible with all Canon DSLRs.  It was designed around 2015 Canon camera architecture (so in a sense is more optimized for the newer models), but is backwards compatible with all Canon DSLR cameras.  Once you download the app to the iPad, there is a chart within the app that one may download showing all the levels of compatibility with each camera model.

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. 

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). 

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.

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. 

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

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.

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.

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

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! 

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.

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