Shooting tethered means that you connect the camera to a computer, then adjust the camera settings and trigger the shutter release from a software program on the computer. With each shutter release, the image gets downloaded immediately so you can instantly review the photo to make sure it is captured properly.
For lucky Canon users, they have the free EOS Utility to work with. For Nikon users, you will need open your wallet to Nikon to get the Camera Control Pro 2, which is quite expensive in comparison. Camera Control Pro is definitely a nice piece of software. You may be able to justify the price if you are a professional photographer or perfectionists who always want the best. If you are a hobbyist photographer like me, or many other readers of this blog, a free piece of software that does pretty much the same thing is certainly nice.
So, check out DIYPhotobits and the Camera Control software that is available for free. The user interface is definitely crude. However it offers quite complete control of the camera and provides time lapse function for Cameras (e.g. D40, D60, D80, D90, etc) that do not have it built-in.
The program is Windows only. It works great on Windows XP. You can shoot RAW (NEF) or JPG by toggling a radio button on the software. It downloads the image instantly if you want it to do so. On Windows Vista, it only seems to work when you shoot JPG, or RAW+JPG (set it on the camera). The software cannot toggle between JPG and RAW. It cannot download RAW either, only JPG. If you set the camera to RAW only, the software (currently V3.1) will freeze up. You will then need to kill process “mshta.exe” from Task Manager. Raymond Lowe, the programmer, is aware of this issue. A fix is hopefully coming soon for the freezing issue. However the RAW support may never come to Windows Vista due to the lack of RAW support in the Windows Image Acquisition API on Vista. This shouldn’t be too much of an issue though. The JPG file is good enough for review purpose. If you shoot RAW+JPG, you could still download the RAW files from the memory card using conventional method later.
Keywords: DIYPhotobits, DSLR Camera, Nikon, Software, Tethered Shooting