Man­frotto Dig­i­tal Di­rec­tor

Turn your iPad into the ul­ti­mate dig­i­tal SLR cam­era ac­ces­sory

Mac Format - - RATED - Man­u­fac­turer Man­frotto, man­ 0.29kg Bat­tery life 15 hours 3/8-inch uni­ver­sal mount

Man­frotto de­scribes this ac­ces­sory for con­nect­ing your iPad Air (there are dif­fer­ent mod­els for the orig­i­nal Air and the Air 2) to your Nikon or Canon SLR as a “work­flow man­age­ment pro­ces­sor”, which de­serves some sort of award for be­ing the most as­ton­ish­ingly bor­ing de­scrip­tion for an ex­cit­ing new bit of tech we’ve ever heard.

The Dig­i­tal Di­rec­tor is a cra­dle for your iPad, and con­nects to its Light­ning port. It then con­nects to a com­pat­i­ble cam­era us­ing a USB ca­ble, and, via the ac­com­pa­ny­ing app, gives you a live feed of the cam­era’s view and con­trol of its func­tions. But not in some mid­dling way, like most cam­era com­pan­ion apps. Man­frotto has been work­ing with Canon and Nikon to get di­rect ac­cess to their pro cam­eras’ in­nards, to ef­fec­tively recre­ate al­most the full con­trols of the cam­eras in the app. You can’t change the cam­era’s shoot­ing mode from the app, but aper­ture, shut­ter speed, fo­cus and much more can be ad­justed live on the touch­screen, with the live view show­ing ex­actly what you’ll get on the iPad’s lovely big, de­tailed dis­play. The app even adds some ex­cel­lent fea­tures such as fo­cus peak­ing, en­sur­ing you al­ways get the right part of the shot in fo­cus.

Shots you take can be viewed right away on the iPad, and you can rate im­ages as you take them (though these won’t carry over to man­age­ment soft­ware such as Light­room, sadly), and have them up­loaded to an FTP server.

While this is all phe­nom­e­nally ex­cit­ing for things like video work or macro pho­tog­ra­phy (the in­cluded one-me­tre USB ca­ble means you can stay well back out of the light for this kind of shoot­ing), the Dig­i­tal Di­rec­tor isn’t per­fect. We’ve al­ready men­tioned its trou­ble ty­ing in with Light­room, but also it lacks true depth of field preview – when you change the aper­ture set­ting, the bright­ness of the im­age is ad­justed to sim­u­late the im­age’s ex­po­sure, but the aper­ture isn’t ac­tu­ally closed down, so you can’t see how depth of field changes.

Is it worth £400? If what you’ve read has you ex­cited at the pos­si­bil­i­ties, you may have al­ready made up your mind, and we think you’ll en­joy us­ing it. But it’s a lot of money, is lim­ited to cer­tain cam­eras, and isn’t quite a home run yet. Ali Jen­nings & Matt Bolton

Dig­i­tal Di­rec­tor en­ables your iPad to talk di­rectly to and con­trol cer­tain DSLR cam­era mod­els from Canon and Nikon.

The Man­frotto Dig­i­tal Di­rec­tor con­tains its own pro­ces­sor for in­stant im­age pro­cess­ing.

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