I think, much like me, even Capture One got tired of waiting for Apple to bring an iPad with macOS on it. Apple finally decided to add more features in the iPad app to match their desktops. Now, Capture One has added tethering support for many modern cameras in the Capture One for iPad app. This is an important step as it helps professional photographers pack light in terms of gear when on location photoshoots. If you read my earlier review of Capture One for iPad, you’ll remember the pain points I made about the release version of the app. Capture One has addressed one important feature which was lacking back then. But what can and can’t you now do when tethering your camera to Capture One on the iPad?
As a Nikon shooter, I’m concerned that only one mirrorless camera currently has wireless tethering capabilities with Capture One for iPad. I’m not surprised at which one is supported as it’s Nikon’s flagship by far. I would have expected even cameras like the Z6 II and Z7 II to be able to wirelessly send images to Capture One for iPad. Anyhow, the Z9 and the Z6 II were the two cameras I tested with the latest version of this app. For the Z6 II, I had to use Apple Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter to tether to the iPad since my iPad is a 6th generation model. I believe if you have one of the more recent models, or an iPad Air or Pro, you can directly connect your camera to it.
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The Big Picture
No complaints. The tethering feature works great. Wireless tethering of course, depends on how far the camera is from the iPad and how strong the WiFi signal is between them. But even for a high-resolution camera like the Z9, RAW image files were transferred in under 10 seconds. This is when the iPad is connected to the inbuilt WiFi network created by the Z9. I wouldn’t go putting the shutter mode on burst and expect the images to fly back. But I love that I can probably now leave my Macbook at home when I’m on a shoot and still be tethered to Capture One. Plus, when I get connected to a WiFi network, all the images from the shoot can be downloaded to Capture One on my desktop. This is something really handy, and the app and its tethering feature certainly run rings around Nikon’s Snapseed.
For now, there’s no Live View feature in tethered mode, not even when wired. I’m hoping that future updates of Capture One for iPad will support this. I don’t see this being a hardware-related hindrance, given how powerful Apple’s M1 and M2 chips can be.
This review is limited to the scope of the new tethering feature in Capture One for iPad.
- Tethering setup is fairly straightforward
- RAW file is supported during tethering
- Many brands and models of cameras supported for tethering (even that handful among you who purchased the Zeiss ZX1
- Support even for older iPad models with a lighting port
- Ethernet cables can be used for tethering too
- Assign any existing album easily for tethering, or just make a new one
- You can auto-apply image edits on the import
- No wireless tethering support on any Fujifilm camera currently
- Wireless tethering isn’t supported for all recent cameras in other brands
- No support yet for Phase One digital backs and camera systems
- Live View isn’t available yet on Capture One for iPad
I tested Capture One for iPad v1.2 on a 6th generation iPad (lightning port model) with a Nikon Z6 II (wired tethering) and Nikon Z9 (wireless and wired tethering).
Ease Of Use
Depending on what camera you’re using, the initial setup (for wireless tethering) varies on how to connect the iPad to the camera. With wired tethering, be sure to use the right cable and/or adapter to connect to the iPad. I tried using a lighting cable that had a USB-A end and connecting that to my Z6 with a USB-A to C adapter. That didn’t work out, and I had to use a USB to Lightning camera adapter (which luckily I had at home).
Now, here’s where things got confusing. I tried out 3 different USBA to C cables attached to the Apple Lightning camera adapter and my Z6 II. None of them worked. I did all the steps mentioned on the Capture One for iPad support page. Then, I did them again, slowly and more carefully this time. Still no luck. After almost 20 minutes of struggling, I began to wonder if there were some settings in the camera that needed to be changed. I could see that the app was able to see the Z6 II as a storage device and not as a camera. But again, it couldn’t read the images on the card; it was only able to see a storage device. The Z6 II wasn’t showing up under the “Cameras” tab.
Capture One, Why Is This An Issue?
Was the Apple adapter faulty? Were the cables all not the right type? I was about to give up when I remembered one key issue with Capture One for desktop tethering. This drove me absolutely batty the first time I tried tethering on Capture One. When a memory card is inside the camera, almost every single time you try to tether to Capture One, the software cannot detect your camera. At least this has been the case for me consistently over the last few months. So I took the SD card out of the Z6 II and voila. Capture One for iPad was now able to see the Nikon Z6 II as a connected camera.
Once it’s connected, Capture One for iPad can detect your camera. The name and model show up under the “Cameras” section. You can assign any existing album to be the Capture Album for your tethered session, or just create a new one altogether for this. Once done, click the shutter button and watch the images fly into your app. Every other feature of Capture One for iPad that we covered in our earlier review can be used to edit these images.
You get to see full EXIF data for files that are imported during tethering. There’s also a small shutter release button on the bottom right of the app. This can be used to trigger the camera’s shutter.
There is no Live View for now. I guess the lag might be a bit too much even when tethered via cable, but I do hope the engineers at Capture One are working to integrate this feature soon. It’s a convenient feature to have for photographers who want Capture One for iPad to replace the desktop app when they are on shoots or traveling.
Z6 II testing (wired)
Once I got over the connectivity hurdles mentioned earlier (Capture One, you really need to sort this out and give the app an option to bypass any memory cards in the camera), the rest was easy. But there were no more niggles. Full resolution JPEG images were transferred almost instantaneously. Full resolution RAW NEF files took a couple of seconds to come through.
Z9 testing (wired)
Much like with the Z6 II wired tethering test, this one needed the card removed from the camera for the app to detect it. Just ensure your Z9 is not set to burst mode, so that you don’t fill up your iPad’s storage in a few minutes.
Z9 testing (wireless)
I connected the iPad to the inbuilt WiFi network of my Z9 and assigned a new album for this session. Almost instantaneously the app recognized the connected camera as the Nikon Z9. File transfer speeds depended on how far I was from the iPad and the file type (jpeg/NEF). This is a good method to use if you don’t want to be bogged down by wires. For most purposes, I would probably opt for the wired tethering, just for the super fast transfer speeds.
Is It Worth The Price?
I wish Capture One for iPad had included the ability to view and edit images from your desktop catalog(s). But I’d say, with the inclusion of the new tethering feature, it’s worth the $4.99 a month for professional photographers or even part-time shooters. Tethering has been available on Adobe Lightroom (on the iPad) for a while now, and I’m pleased to see Capture One release it too. I feel it’s best used on M1 and M2 iPad models. Capture One is taking important strides towards making its iPad app invaluable for photographers on the go.