Android-Based Portable Wireless Remote Control Setup for Nikon DSLR Cameras

Install the DSLR Dashboard app on your Android device, and you can use it to control a Nikon DSLR camera via a USB connection. But in certain situations, tethering the Android device to a camera using a cable is not ideal. This is where DSLR Dashboard’s wireless functionality can come in rather handy. Using this feature, you can link up two Android devices running the app via a Wi-Fi connection. In this case, the device connected to the camera acts as a wireless bridge (or client in DSLR Dashboard’s terminology) between the camera and the master (or server) Android device. And the latter is used to control the DSLR camera remotely. Here is a diagram that illustrates this setup:

Wireless remote setup diagram

  1. Nikon DSLR camera
  2. Android device running DSLR Dashboard that acts as a client
  3. Wi-Fi access point (AP)
  4. Android device running DSLR Dashboard that acts as a server

As shown on the diagram, both devices must be connected to the same AP. Instead of using a regular wireless router, you can opt for a mobile router like TP-LINK TL-MR3020 to make the entire setup portable. The clever part is that many mobile routers can be powered via a generic power adapter which can be bought cheaply on eBay. This allows you to create a wireless network whenever and wherever you need it and use it to link Android devices running DSLR Dashboard.

To set up this portable wireless remote control solution, you need the following items:

  • Two Android devices running Android 2.3 or later
  • A USB OTG cable (can be bought cheaply on eBay)
  • A USB cable supplied with your DSLR camera
  • A mobile wireless router like TP-LINK TL-MR3020
  • A battery power adapter

Power up the mobile wireless router and configure it as an AP (consult your router’s documentation on how to do this). Connect the Android device that will act as a server (i.e., the device for controlling the DSLR camera) to the wireless network created by AP. Tap the Menu button and choose the Start Network Server command. Connect the other Android device to the DSLR Camera using the USB OTG and the USB cables. Enable Wi-Fi on the device and connect it to the wireless network created by AP. Turn the DSLR camera on and launch the DSLR Dashboard app. Once the app has detected the camera, tap Menu and choose the Start Network Client command. This should automatically hand over control to the server device which you can then use to operate the DSLR camera in the usual manner.

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6 comments on “Android-Based Portable Wireless Remote Control Setup for Nikon DSLR Cameras
  1. Andy Burdett says:

    Can you use the wifi hotspot capability of the android phone instead of the router?

    • Dmitri Popov says:

      Interesting idea, but I don’t think it’s possible.

      • Well that would require another phone I think and would be possible as long as they are connected together. So that would actually make it 3 phones. Correct me if I am wrong.

      • Gautier says:

        I do not see any reason why it should not work. At the network level it is nothing special as well as at the service level. For some reason I cant install the software on my second Android phone so I cant test it, but I will try again. I guess it can even be use from another IP network using a port redirection on the router

    • Chris Forand says:

      You absolutely can do this with the wifi hotspot capability on an android phone. You only need a phone, another phone (or tablet), and the USB OTG cable. I created this post to illustrate that this works:

  2. Mustafa D.can says:

    It works flawless. Thanks for tips. I use it with Nikon D700 +samsung s3 + Battery powered Tplink AP + cheap Piranha brand android pad. Very good solution and mobile!

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