Tether Your Camera to a Microsoft Surface Tablet: And Why You Shouldn’t Do It

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Shooting tethered is always something people love doing when they get the chance to. Tuts Plus has an interesting feature on how to shoot tethered to a Microsoft Surface tablet. How? Well, since it is a Windows 8 tablet you’ll just need to have Lightroom installed. Then you’ll need to go through the normal process of shooting tethered: which essentially means connecting the camera to the tablet via a USB cord, shooting, and waiting for the images to transfer into Lightroom as you shoot.

From a guy who used to shoot tethered often in a studio and also manage a computer for many studio shoots, I highly recommend not ever doing this–and there a couple of very good reasons why. First off, this is a tablet and you’re not using this to replace your dedicated machine. The Surface is quite powerful with up to 128GB of memory and 4GB of RAM, but it isn’t practical. If you’re doing one or two macro photos at home, then we understand why you might want to do this but you’re just going to have to move those images off of your machine anyway to edit on a significantly better display that can be easily calibrated. Plus, a lot of room has to be between the device and your camera to make tethering practical. Shoots are often done with 12 foot cables or longer because the cables tend to move in and out of their ports–so you’ll need to use gaffers tape to secure them.

However, I see one other application where this might be useful: the journalist at CES or another show that need to shoot a photo during a conference and send images immediately as it is happening. I’m positive that there is someone at Engadget that may just do this. There is a wireless way to do this through use of an Eye-Fi card and the Eye-Fi app–and that’s a bit more practical to be honest.