Cascable Review

August 11, 2016 | Amy Davies | Software Reviews | |

Introduction

Cascable is an app which is available for iOS devices which allows you to control Canon, Nikon, Olympus or Sony cameras from your smart device (including Apple Watch). You will need a camera equipped with Wi-Fi to use the app.

Originally, the app was only available to work with Canon cameras, but the latest version has expanded to add compatibility with 40 additional cameras across Canon, Nikon, Olympus and Sony brands.

It is available as a free download, but you can also add extra functionality by paying for “Pro feature packs”.

Ease of Use

In order to use the app, first of all you need to connect your camera to your phone or tablet. You have a couple of options, depending on what your camera is capable of. You can either connect both the phone and the camera to the same Wi-Fi network, or you can connect the phone directly to the camera itself.

During this review we used the Canon EOS 80D, and chose to connect the camera to the phone. The first time you ever do this, there's some time to set it up, but once it remembers the password it should be much quicker.

Within the app, you'll find help and instructions on how to connect it to whichever camera system you're using, which is useful if you're having any problems connecting.

Once you've connected, if you open the Cascable app, you can see whether the camera has been found by your phone in the top of the app. During our testing there was a few occasions when the camera wouldn't connect. This was solved by closing the app and restarting it - this could be down to it teething problems with the new version of the app, or it could have been an issue with the 80D we were using.

After you are connected then there's a good degree of control and flexibility afforded within the app, and although Canon has its own remote control app, you may find you like the layout of this one better.

You'll see that there's two round “buttons”. The one on the left, the smaller of the two is used to focus. You tap an area on the screen to select your focus point, and then press this button to focus. The feed that comes from the camera is a little laggy, but if you're photographing something either still or very slow moving, it's not something you'll notice all that much. Once you've acquired focus, you can use the larger, complete circle on the right hand side to take the shot.

If you have the standard version you won't see a preview of your shot, but one of the paid for upgrades includes this functionality. It's relatively slow for the preview to appear on your phone, taking up to 10 seconds. That can be particularly frustrating if you're taking a lot of shots in fairly quick succession, so that's something to be mindful of.

On the bottom of the screen there's a number of different parameters you can alter, quickly and easily. Some of them you won't be able to change if your camera's mode dial is in a certain position. So, for example, if the mode dial is set to aperture priority, you won't be able to alter shutter speed. In other words, it's not possible to change the camera's mode from within the app.

In this area you'll find aperture, shutter speed, ISO and exposure compensation. In order to make the changes you simply tap the one you want then use the sliding scale that appears to make a change. Just like you can on your camera, you can also set some of these options to automatic.

If you tap a small arrow to the right hand side of all of the settings, you can see even more options which you can change. You can switch Live View on or off, show a histogram and grid, change the focusing mode (the options here will vary depending on the camera you're using), switch on/off the ability to select AF points, change drive mode and change white balance.

Another option you'll find here is “shutter robot”. This gives you the opportunity to set a timer, or, if you have bought some of the pro packs set up a bulb-timer, intervalometer and exposure bracketing.

Anybody can use the timer mode, and this is really useful if you don't want to use the standard settings on your camera. You can change the duration in seconds and minutes - up to 59 minutes. Of course, this requires your camera and phone to be connected for that length of time, which may be a bit of a drain on your battery - and if you lose connection for some reason it could be problematic. To use the timer is also easy, you simply select the length of time you want, and then press engage. You can then set up your shot as you want it, then press the shutter button and it will take the shot after the given elapsed time.

The rest of the functionality in the shutter robot is available to buy as an additional pack. For the intervalometer you can change the time between shots - again up to 59 minutes 59 seconds. You can choose to stop taking pictures manually, after a fixed number of shots or after a fixed amount of time.

Another pro feature is the ability to show you focus peaking - this will show up as red areas of the shot that are not in focus. This is useful when photographing macro and fine subjects, and while you may not usually consider using a remote control app for this kind of work, by doing so it means you don't need to touch the camera and therefore eliminate the risk of camera shake. Also available in Pro mode is the ability to download both raw and JPEG images to your phone - this could be particularly useful if you need to send a raw shot to somebody and you don't have access to your computer.

In order to download shots via the app you can click on a gallery type icon, and you'll see any photos that you've taken on your camera - whether or not you were using the remote control to take them. Select any that you want to download, and if you have the Pro mode installed, you'll be asked if you want raw and JPEG, just raw, or just JPEG. It's takes a few seconds to copy across your pictures, but is roughly the same kind of time as you'd expect for any remote type app over a wireless network.

Finally, an extra useful tool here is the Neutral Density calculator - this will show you the shutter speed you need to use when using a neutral density filter, which is handy as a reference. Similarly, there's also something similar to help you calculate the shutter speed you need to get sharp stars when shooting long exposures at night. It's a niche tool, but if that's the kind of photography you like, undeniably useful.

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