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USB Tethering the Canon EOS 5D Mark II to the Samsung Galaxy S III

Tethering a 5D Mark II to a Smartphone – whatever for?

If you’re a photographer, professional or otherwise, chances are it has crossed your mind more than once of the inadequacies of the on-board 3″ LCD for critical viewing. And with the immense popularity of the Apple iPad and other Android or Windows based 10-inch tablets you would think the concept of tethering required nothing more than buying a long enough USB cable and plugging into your favourite tablet. Unfortunately this is not the case. The iPad for one only adds misery to your day if you spend too much time wishful thinking – at time of this post, it can’t be done. Period. Your only saviour is either an Android (maybe Windows too) tablet (see compatibility list). This blog post began for reasons (and disappointment) I have explained in the opening paragraph of Tethering USB Flash Drive and Memory Card Reader to the Samsung Galaxy S III.

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Replace the smartphone with a compatible 10″ Android tablet and you’ll have a great external display for critical viewing. I only wished I had this set-up during my two week hotel photography assignment in Singapore. Would have eased my workflow when client would be certain “we got the shot.”

With an appropriate USB cable and DSLR Controller tethering “Live View” is finally possible and real as these photos indicate. There’s just one problem — ability to control my camera isn’t really what I need or even desire. What I do need is quite simply one that works like Canon’s EOS Utility and ZoomBrowser combined much like how I’ve always been able to use on my Windows 7 laptop. I’m hoping this blog post gets the attention of the person behind Chainfire  to develop an app specifically for this purpose.

A close-up of the DSLR Controller user friendly interface on the Samsung Galaxy S3

14 thoughts on “USB Tethering the Canon EOS 5D Mark II to the Samsung Galaxy S III

        1. You’re looking at the Manfrotto Magic Arm Kit Part 143. Don’t know about the kit that holds the tablet up. I used to dream about a setup like this for food and architecture assignments but decided against the idea. In reality, I often do not have the luxury of space to work with a rig like this. Also, even since I discovered how incredibly well EOS 5D Mark III, Eye-Fi X2 Pro and iPad 2 work together, my setup is a lot more mobile without messy cables.


          1. Thanks. I didn’t realize that was a magic arm. A magic arm with that clip you were using would be good I think if they attach to one another. Most of the time I either just hold the tablet in my hand or place it on the table next to me if I am shooting food. To be honest, a clip, clamp, arm probably really isn’t needed, but when I saw it on your blog it caught my eye.

            Yes, the Eye-Fi setup is good to get rid of all the messy cables if you just want an image preview, but that’s all it can do and it really isn’t enough for my needs. I want to be able to trigger the camera, change camera settings, capture RAW files, and see an image preview all with the tablet. Sadly that isn’t possible with Eye-Fi. The most important aspect for me is camera settings control. The tablet setup has made my workflow much better for taking multiple exposures where I may have to layer images. Now I can change shutter and aperture from the tablet without touching the camera and perhaps changing its position by accident in the process. A great step forward.

            The real solution will be the next generation of Canon full frame bodies that have should have wifi built in. Then you will be able to use DSLR Controller and utilize all of its capabilities without any messy cables either. But that is still a year or so away. Oh well…


  1. When I shoot food, it’s usually a full day assignment in which case I prefer to tether to my Dell Studio 17-inch laptop. The large high definition screen gives me and my client opportunity to critically review each dish before moving on to the next. This is where Canon’s EOS Utility and ZoomBrowzer EX work incredibly well for such jobs. So far my work doesn’t require the ability to remotely control the camera so the Eye-Fi works for me. To think I came so close to ordering a CamRanger — that would have been costly and overkill for my needs. The idea of managing more cables and batteries did not appeal to me one bit. Next generation full frame with wireless capability is a given seeing how this year’s EOS models including the PowerShot G16 is also equipped with wireless technology.


    1. Yes, definitely, a large laptop screen is an even better solution if you don’t mind the extra weight, etc. And the client will appreciate it. The pinch zoom though on the DSLR Controller app is great for seeing fine detail on a tablet. I used it for a food shoot and was able to see all the imperfections and correct them for each shot.

      Yes, the CamRanger does seem like an expensive piece of hardware considering there are good software solutions out there already and only more to come.

      There is also now a very inexpensive US$40 router which runs on a rechargable battery which you can buy to connect to your 5D Mark III to make your tablet/laptop wireless too and then have all the control that DSLR Controller offers wirelessly. It is basically like a CamRanger setup, but for a lot less money. If you are interested you can see details about it on my blog post about tethered shooting here in the second to last paragraph:

      Yes, on the Wi-Fi. The Canon 6D and 70D DSLR bodies already have it built in. Best wishes… Marc


  2. I think the Note 8 is a brilliant smartphone and one of the most powerful Android devices on the market. Completely agree with the article and thanks for sharing. Do you have a social media I can follow?


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