Have you ever shot tethered, or thought about it? Did you know that it could now be done totally wirelessly? While at WPPI, I had the chance to talk with Tether Tools about its new Air Direct wireless tethering technology.
What is Tether Tools?
VP of Business Development Lauren K. Simons put it best — “Tether Tools is a company in the photography industry whose focus is to make sure that we educate and equip photographers to shoot tethered. What that means is to move your images directly from your camera when we’re shooting to whatever screen you need it to go to.”
How it all started
As people started to transition from film to digital, there were very few resources available. DSLR photographers now had to shoot tethered with a cable to move their images from their camera to a computer. The problem was, they wouldn’t know where to put their computer.
The first thing that Tether Tools developed was an accessible and usable laptop stand. This allowed photographers to put their computer directly on a tripod. Basically, everything started with that table. From there as they started talking to more photographers who were shooting tethered and recognizing there were so many unreliable aspects of cables. The next thing they’ve introduced has been really strong reliable cables that were designed to specifically remote on file transfer. (Regular USB cables are sending data and work files that are very different from a big photo file.)
“We supply all the power that you need to be on location for your camera, your computer, your wireless devices. Any of the things you need to power on location, we provide all the power solutions for that,” said Simons.
Since then, their mission has been to make sure the technology side of photography is a seamless process. That way, when photographers are on set, they are able to engage with their subjects and build that relationship that allows them to do their best work.
A revolutionary tethering technology
The majority of people who are shooting tethered use a cable from their camera to a laptop or computer into a tethering software like Capture One Pro or Lightroom Classic. The TetherPro cables are some of the company’s staple products that have been offered since the beginning.
The new (and very cool thing) is that Tether Tools has recently launched wireless transmitters called Air Direct. The transmitter moves both JPEG and RAW images wirelessly from any camera to any computer into the tethering software that photographers were already using. Good news: They are compatible with all major camera brands (Canon, Fujifilm, Hasselblad, Leica, Lumix, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic, Phase One and Sony). They now also have applications that allow you to move pictures to your mobile devices as well (like phones and tablets).
A time-saving workflow
It is recommended to shoot RAW and JPEG for maximum efficiency. As you wirelessly transfer, the JPEG file is going to transfer first onto your computer (the RAW file will follow shortly behind). There’s no need to be in an area with wireless service to be connected. The nice thing is you get instant visibility with the JPEG. That allows you to jump in and make sure you’ve got the images you’re looking for.
Then, you also get that RAW file into your editing software. So when you’re done shooting, you go to your computer and you’re ready to go. You don’t have to wait to upload files — there’s no intermediary software in between. It’s exactly the same workflow as using cables. Tether Tools has already got really great response from the commercial photography industry and the wedding photography industry, which are almost all mobile.
As a sports photographer, shooting tethered has never been an option I’ve considered. I would’ve never wanted to be hampered by a cable or connected to something as I was moving in gyms. Tether Tools’ new wireless technology might just be the key for me to a faster workflow without compromising the mobility and freedom I absolutely need. I’d love to give it a try on real events to see if the benefits are worth the investment. I’ll let you know if I get a chance to have a hands-on review with the Air Direct transmitter.
What about you? Are you a tethering photographer? If so, what do you find the most useful with that workflow? Are there situations where the absence of cable could benefit you? Please let me know your experience on the subject by writing your comments below!