Mobile Workflow – Part 1

Getting Images onto your Mobile Device

I am about to take a two week trip to Tenerife, so my thoughts have been turning to a mobile workflow.  This is from an iOS user perspective, though most of the concepts and ideas should also apply to Android users.

WiFi or Cable?

Support for WiFi is pretty good with Fuji X cameras, we don’t just get to transfer images we also get to control the camera.  However, I’m going to focus on getting the images from the camera rather than the remote control aspects of WiFi.  That’s for another post someday.  If you are interested in working with the RAW files forget about WiFi.  Fuji X cameras do not support the transfer of RAF files via WiFi.  If you are happy with just JPEGs, don’t forget to change one tiny little setting on the camera.  Go into your Set Up menu and look for Connection Setting, Wireless Settings and make sure Resize Image for Smartphone is set to OFF.  This is ON by default and will downscale all your images to 3 megapixels when you transfer them.

On iOS the three options I have been playing with are the native Fuji app Camera Remote iOS App Store Google Play Store , Shutter Snitch and Cascable.

Fuji Camera Remote

Clearly this is custom made especially for our Fuji X cameras, it is also free.  Until recently this was my go to app for getting images onto my mobile device

Pros:

  • Fast
  • Remote Control
  • Supports Geo-Tagging
  • Free

Cons:

  • Only works with Fuji cameras
  • Not terribly reliable
  • Only works in portrait mode even on an iPad – I know that’s not a big deal, but it is not pretty!

The reviews for the app on the iOS store are nothing short of scathing, people report disconnects and unreliability.  I have never had any of these problems on numerous iOS devices and different cameras.  I will admit it can be a little frustrating getting disconnected from the camera WiFi every time you close the app.  The alternative is leaving your phone or tablet connected to the camera rather than your normal connection.  That means no email etc. and a depleting camera battery.

Shutter Snitch

This has been around for a quite a while and does so much more than just transfer files to your mobile device, I’ve barely scratched the surface of the capabilities on offer.

Pros:

  • Supports literally everything, from Eye-Fi cards to pretty much every camera with WiFi capabilities
  • Connects to Flickr, Dropbox and other online services natively
  • Offers an element of DAM (Digital Asset Management) you can organise your images into collections, nothing is automatically added to your mobile photos.
  • Supports Geo-Tagging
  • Active and comprehensive support forum
  • Lots more, needless to say it does everything the Fuji App does and much more,

Cons:

  • Not free or even especially cheap.  $16.99 for the iOS app with additional in app purchases to unlock some functionality
  • In my experience it is slower than the Fuji App

This scores a very respectable 4.4 on the iOS app store, call me cynical, but you have to be quite invested in your mobile workflow to stump up $16.99 for the app.  I think those invested users are more likely to learn how to use the app before leaving a negative review.  Besides, the developer is very engaged with the users and has an active support forum and community.  That is an oft overlooked point and something you can’t put a value on.

Cascable

Cascable was knew to me this year and has supplanted Camera Remote as my first choice in getting images off the camera and onto my device.  I believe it has been around since 2016 (as opposed to 2010 for the venerable Shutter Snitch.)

Pros:

  • Supports lots of cameras
  • Basic version is free – in app purchases to unlock geo-tagging, RAW support (not for Fuji cameras anyway) and a quick proofing feature
  • Seems to be very fast
  • Warns you that it’s going to disconnect
  • The most comprehensive camera control stuff I have ever seen including recipes

Cons:

  • Pro version is expensive?  I’m struggling here, as you really don’t need the pro version.

On the UK iOS App store this is coming in at 4.2 all the 1 star reviews have been answered by the developer.  This app is impressive,

How Do I Get The Pictures?

The choice of app doesn’t really matter for the camera side of things, there are a couple of points to watch out for though.

1. Turn on the camera and enable WiFi – you can either dig through the menus or map it to a button.

2. Connect your phone or tablet to the new WiFi created by your camera, it’s obvious which one it is, it usually starts with Fujifilm

3. Check the name of the app on the back of the screen, this is a stumbling point for a lot of people.  If you want to connect using a different app you have to press the OK button on the back of the camera. See the (OK) CHANGE in the bottom left.

Screenshot showing WiFi settings on the back of Fuji X-T1

Waiting to connect to Cascable and it will ONLY connect to Cascable

Screen shot of the back of Fuji X-T1 camera showing WiFi settings.
Waiting to connect to any compatible app on your phone.

4.  Go to your chosen app and open it up, Camera Remote and Cascable will connect automatically.  Shutter Snitch will connect when you go into an existing collection or create a new one.

5. Browse the images on the camera and download the ones you want.

Want RAW files?

If you want to edit the RAW files you will need a cable of some description.  If you are an Apple Fanboy like me, you’ll be best served by the Lighting to USB3 Camera Adapter, it provides a USB port for the cable to the camera and a Lightning passthrough to charge the iPad.  In my experience,  you don’t need the passthrough plugged in.  The camera draws very little power from the USB socket.  On the other hand, I’ve never managed to make it work with a USB card reader, even with a powered up Lightning cable in the passthrough socket.  But we are all about a mobile solution here and a card reader is an extra piece of kit we don’t need to carry.

When you plug in the camera and power it up, your iOS device will open up the photo import dialog.  Select the images you want and it will download both JPEGs and RAWs.  It isn’t immediately obvious that this is happening as you will only see the JPEGs and unless you open up an app that can deal with RAW files, you won’t know they are there.

I believe Android users can mostly get away with just using an OTG (On The Go) cable from the camera to their phone.  Google told me this, whilst I admire and appreciate Android things, I don’t pretend to understand how they work.

Screenshot of a RAW image in Mobile Adobe Lightroom CC
RAW file in Adobe Lightroom CC for iOS