Nikon makes Camera Control Pro, a nifty program that allows you to instantly capture and playback photos on your computer, completely bypassing the need for a memory card. You can also control all the camera settings and even take photos directly from the computer. The program retails for about $160; you can download a free 30-day trial too.
So that’s great. I’ve been looking to purchase the software since my trial period ended, but I just couldn’t bring myself to shell out the cash for what seems to be an overpriced piece of software. Fortunately, I don’t need to anymore.
Two days ago I heard about DCam Capture. It’s a free program made by someone(s) in Germany. I’m normally a little leery of stuff like this, but the first handful I comments I read said it was legit, so I decided to give it a shot last night.
Did I mention you can record video with this? That’s right, I recorded a video with my D300. Love it!
Overall, the software is fantastic, but there are a couple things to keep in mind…
The Live View mode will only work for cameras that support it, so don’t expect to get that functionality out of your D40.
All of the cameras that do have Live View can use the software to record video. The quality can’t touch what you get from the D90, but for free software I’m not complaining! The resolution comes out to 640 X 426 –kind of an odd size, but great for shooting web videos. I still have a few questions about the frame rate and exposure values, but I will test those later. Also, there is no audio. It would be nice to see the program utilize your computer’s microphone, but I’ll cross my fingers and hope for that feature in a later release.
There were a couple glitchy issues with it on my Vista 64-bit machine. Namely, it took the program a long time to initialize when I plugged in my camera. It seemed non-responsive like it had crashed, but when I just waited it out, everything worked fine. It also did this after several minutes of non-use. I don’t know if the screen saver puts the software to sleep, or if it’s something else, but don’t expect to plug everything in and shoot a photo right away. The software takes a while to wake up. …maybe that’s why we get along.
Tethered shooting is not for everyone or every industry. Photojournalists, wedding, and wildlife photographers will not likely benefit from a tethered setup. However, if you watch behind-the-scenes videos for high-end commercial photo shoots you will notice that almost all of them are shooting tethered. Here’s a good list of reasons from a company who knows what they’re doing.
If you’re a Nikon user and you’re trying to figure out how to take your work to the next level, I would suggest looking into tethered shooting. DCam Capture is a great place to start, and you can’t beat the price!