Manfrotto, maker of tripods, monopods, camera bags, and a long list of other photography-focused accessories, has just added a new contraption to its vast inventory – the Digital Director. Unveiled at the 2015 NAB Show, the system is designed for professional and enthusiast videographers and photographers.
Designed specifically for the iPad Air and working in conjunction with the Digital Director App, the device functions as a large, high-resolution Retina display for a Nikon or Canon DSLR, as well as a remote control system that offers comprehensive control over taking not only still images but video, too.
To get the Digital Director up and running, you simply connect it to your DSLR with a USB cable, and to the Air via the tablet’s Lightning port. The device, which also functions as a cradle for your iPad, incorporates a dedicated CPU and operates via the accompanying mobile app. This displays the camera’s viewfinder image and lets you control the settings for exposure, focal point, aperture, shutter speed, and more. You can also view other elements, such as the camera’s drive mode and battery status.
The system lets you immediately download high-res photos to the iPad where some basic post-editing can be carried out before saving the images or firing them off to the client, or sharing to social networks.
It’s been noted by Resource and PetaPixel that the Digital Director is similar in some ways to the CamRanger, though the latter is much smaller and also has the advantage of being a completely wireless system, which may work better for some users. The CamRanger also works with a wider range of mobile devices.
Using the Digital Director will, of course, mean more equipment to lug around, and presumably you’ll need to consider the issue of viewing the iPad Air’s display when shooting outdoors in bright sunlight.
Manfrotto’s Digital Director is expected to hit stores in June. However, at $500, it doesn’t come cheap, suggesting it’ll be mainly pro shooters hitting the “buy” button for this particular piece of Manfrotto kit.
Enid Burns contributed to this article.