It’s been three years since we saw the Tether Tools Case Air unveiled at Photokina 2016. It offered a lot of options for wirelessly tethering your camera to their dedicated app running on a tablet. Now, though, the new Tether Tools Air Direct lets you wirelessly tether any camera using your regular desktop software. Lightroom, Capture One, or whatever you want.
We caught up with Tether Tools at PhotoPlus 2019 to find out more about it and its capabilities.
Shooting tethered is pretty common for a lot of photographers, particularly in the studio. It allows you to get your images up on the big screen quickly so you can easily determine whether or not you’ve got the shot. You can see if you’ve nailed the focus perfectly or if you’ve missed some distracting element you couldn’t spot through the viewfinder or the little LCD on the back of the camera.
Typically, though, tethering is done via a USB cable. The wireless options so far have mostly been fairly limited to either proprietary grips and dongles that cost almost as much as the camera, or you can only tether to mobile devices like your phone or a tablet. Or, they’re limited to specific brands and models of camera. Tether Tools’ new Air Direct also lets you tether over WiFi, but it allows you to do it to your usual desktop tethering software. And it can do it with just about any camera, too. Any camera that offers wired USB tethering support should work with the Air Direct.
The Air Direct supports both raw and jpg, sending over the jpg file first so you can get a quick preview while the raw carries on transferring. It operates on both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz networks for maximum reliability and distances of up to around 200ft between the camera and computer. And if you still want to tether directly to a phone or a tablet, and skip the desktop, like you can with the Case Air, you can do that, too by just flipping a switch on the device.
Power is supplied by a Canon LP-E6 battery, and not a built-in battery. Internal batteries are great, but when they run out, your unit is often useless until you recharge it. Here, when your battery dies, you can just swap it out for a fresh one. And it’s not like LP-E6 batteries are uncommon. Many other devices use them, too, like the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K & 6K, and compatible 3rd party batteries are available very inexpensively. There’s also a DC power socket, too, if you want to power it from another source.
The Tether Tools Air Direct is available to pre-order now for $329.99 and is expected to ship on December 26th, 2019.
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