With just a USB OTG connector your Android device can be a great addition to your camera gear
Cameras generally scare me, but I do like exploring as many avenues as possible in pursuit of a good workflow. I recently picked up a new Canon 600D camera, and like all good nerds immediately started to look about for cool stuff I can do with it. Since I'd picked up a Canon, one of the first Android apps I looked at was the pretty excellent DSLR Controller by Chainfire. And, in hooking it up, I came across something that took me a little by surprise.
With no additional apps or tinkering, the Moto X I'm currently using asked me what app I wanted to use with the USB device. Two of the options were for photo import. This might be common knowledge to some of you guys out there, but it surprised me, so I figure I can't be alone.
It's pretty flawless, too. Selecting the Gallery app on the Moto X opened up a window organized by date of the – albeit currently random and awful – photos on the SD card in the camera. Select the ones that you like, hit import and they'll soon enough be on your device. We're only talking JPEG images here but that said I'm not sure I'd want to import a ton of RAW files to my phone or tablet.
I'm pretty happy with this, I won't lie. I've used an iPad in the past to pull photos off cameras with a much more expensive connector than this £2 USB OTG cable I have. But for whatever reason an iPhone never worked with the same connector, and I only ever buy WiFi tablets which aren't any good out in the field. Score for Android, then. Since I'm fortunate enough to enjoy a properly unlimited data plan, social sharing and cloud backups away from my computer are right in play. But I'm keen to use my Android device as a storage and viewing medium, too. After all, no matter how good your DSLR display is there's a lot to be said for going for something bigger.
While it is pretty awesome, there are things to consider. I've tried successfully with the Moto X and Moto G – because that's all I have lying around right now with life in it – both running Android 4.4.2. It might work with your phone, it might not. Likewise, you should be OK with Canon DSLR's, but I can't offer any advice for other brands. The quality of the cable and USB connector you're using is also important. The cable that was included in the box with my 600D works just fine, but an older, cheaper cable I had lying around wasn't so helpful. My £2 Amazon special USB OTG connector did the job admirably, however.
So, that's my experience. If you've got the necessary cables and connectors give it a whirl. Getting your photos onto your Android device opens up a ton of possibilities, so let me know in the comments your camera, Android device and how you're using them together!
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