Shoot with your Alpha camera tethered via a USB cable to your computer using Sony’s Free ‘Remote Camera Control‘ Software.
When you shoot tethered the images will be transferred directly to a folder on your computer instead of the camera’s memory card. It is possible to then Auto Import images from this folder into Lightroom as your shoot progresses (File > Auto Import > Enable Auto Import). For Lightroom to import the images automatically you will need to choose the folder that the Remote Camera Control software is saving the images into by going to File > Auto Import > Auto Import Settings. Lightroom calls this folder the ‘Watched Folder‘.
NOTE > There is no Live Preview of the image before you shoot when importing images into Lightroom. The advantage of this workflow is that you are simply reviewing the images you have captured on a larger screen rather than the LCD screen of the camera. If you just want to Preview images on larger screen before you capture you can purchase Phase One’s Capture One or use a Sony HD external monitor. An advantage to the tethered workflow is that you can also apply a Develop Preset to the images as they are being imported, e.g. you could apply a high-contrast black and white preset to the images being imported so that your client is seeing images closer to what they have asked you to shoot.
Here are the steps you need to take to shoot tethered using Remote Camera Control and Adobe Lightroom:
- Download the latest Remote Camera Control App for Windows or for Mac
- In the Menu settings of your camera set the USB Connection to PC Remote (found in the Setup section that looks like a Toolbox).
- Start the Remote Camera Control Software.
- Choose a folder in the ‘Save in‘ section at the base of the Remote Camera Control panel.
- Choose this same folder in the Auto Import Settings in Lightroom.
- Switch on the camera.
- Capture an image.
- If you have trouble finding where this image is in your Lightroom Catalog go to the Library module and in the Catalog panel choose ‘Previous Import‘. Then right-click on the thumbnail image that you just captured and choose the ‘Go to Folder in Library’ option.
- Double Click on the thumbnail image to go into Loupe view (full screen preview).
- Subsequent images that you capture will be now be shown in Loupe view rather than a thumbnail image automatically.
NOTE > In recent versions of my Mac operating system the Camera Control Software has been telling me (after a couple of successfully imported shots) that it is unable to save in the folder that I created and instead saves them to a folder it creates – Documents > Remote Camera Control > Dated Folder. Even if I choose this as the watched folder in Lightroom the software will still come up with the warning – clicking OK in the Remote Camera Control warning dialog will cause the import process to resume. To overcome this problem I have been using this dated folder as the watched folder and also keeping the Remote Camera Control software as the active window when I am shooting. This workflow has resolved the problems I encountered. I expect subsequent software updates (either Apple or remote camera Control) to resolve the current issue I am experiencing.
Realistic Expectations for Performance: When shooting Raw images in a tethered workflow using an A7RII you can’t expect to 42.4 megapixel images to appear a split second after you press the shutter release on your computer screen. I believe the USB cable from the camera is the ‘bottleneck’ in the pipeline and so I expect to have to wait 10 seconds before the image appears on my computer screen I will then wait another second or two while Lightroom builds a detailed screen preview.
Problems with a Tethered Workflow: The USB I/O is definitely a problem with the reliability of a tethered workflow but other problems include working with your camera tethered to a laptop computer. I would strongly encourage you to invest in a long brightly coloured USB cable and use a Jerk Stopper on the camera and computer to avoid damaging the USB ports if someone walks through the USB cable while you are shooting. A company called Tether Tools supplies all the equipment you require to make this workflow painless.