I hooked up the 50D to my MacBook Pro the other day at home and found it great to see exactly how a photo is going to turn out on the big screen before taking it and was wondering when such a setup might be used and how frequently it is used, considering it's not exactly something you can roam about with.

I guess the obvious ones such as long exposure (astronomy, landscape) etc, but are there other uses? Model photo shoots?

Is it better to simply use a remote instead of hooking it right up to a computer?


4 Answers 4


It's called tethered shooting, and is mostly used in studios; as you say, it's not exactly a portable setup. It has the advantage of letting you write photos direct to disk, bypassing the memory card, and as you said, you can see a photo preview large and on-screen before shooting, like a high-res version of live view.

Press photographers at football matches and other events can use wireless tethering, with a laptop connected to the internet, so that picture editors back in the office can access the photos directly almost as soon as they are taken.

If there's no overriding need to get your photos on disk immediately, however, then using a remote will do in most situations.

  • \$\begingroup\$ +1: Also, that it's mainly used by studio photographers, including in studio shots, and on-location shots. \$\endgroup\$
    – Alan
    Aug 24, 2010 at 8:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ I've done two stills projects using a tethered camera, and it is much better to preview and arrange stuff on the big screen, especially when working together with another person. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 29, 2010 at 21:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ +1. Interresting. Does the speed of USB2 prevent some shooting modes (burst) ? And does the camera "buffer" the photo until it gets through to the computer (ie, prevent loss when for some reason your computer/cable underperform)? \$\endgroup\$ Nov 14, 2013 at 17:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ Shooting tethered still saves images to the memory card if you have one in the camera, so if the connection to the computer fails or is slow you will still have your images. They are buffered in the same way they are when shooting untethered. If you shoot without a memory card inserted, the buffer will still be used until it is full, so the number of shots you can take in a single burst will depend on the speed of your connection. If the connection drops while transferring, the images will be lost. (Note this is based on using a Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Lightroom tethering on a Mac) \$\endgroup\$
    – user456
    Nov 14, 2013 at 18:46

Tethering also allows you to capture Timelapse images if your camera doesn't support this directly.


I used this to take product photos for a customer, and he could see the output on a 15.4" screen before the picture was taken.

Furthermore precise macro focus can be done way easier on a 15.4" screen than on a 2.5" screen.


Nick's answer pretty much nailed it.

I will add, that when I am playing around with self portraits, I will use Tethered Mode so I can more easily see the image, instead of running back around to check the LCD on the camera.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.