So I decided to have a go at tethered capture inside Lightroom. I have the camera connected, powered on, drivers were found and installed, Lightroom can see the camera and I can even shoot with it using the shutter button inside Lightroom.

But for some reason Lightroom doesn't allow me to make any camera changes like setting shutter speed, aperture and ISO. These are only listed as is in Lightroom and greyed out, I can't click on anything to make changes. Is this by any means normal for Lightroom? I know I can do all of these things and more inside the EOS Utility.

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While we are at it, how does focusing work inside Lightroom? Is it possible to press the shutter button half way to auto focus? Inside EOS Utility there are options to manually focus or auto focus. Having these options inside Lightroom would make my switch to Lightroom for tethered capture easier.


I tried using EOS Utility for camera control and Lightroom for capture. It didn't work very well. They can't be used simultaneously side by side.

If I start the remote shoot option in EOS Utility first, and then start tethered capture in Lightroom, the camera becomes locked to EOS Utility. Lightroom can detect the camera but camera settings are unavailable, i.e. they don't even show up on the tethered capture bar, and the shutter button inside Lightroom doesn't work.

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Closing EOS Utility doesn't help. I have to close Lightroom also and then start it again to re-enable tethered capture inside Lightroom.

If I go the other way around and start tethered capture in Lightroom first, and then start EOS Utility I just get an error message. "Failed to communicate with camera."

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So this is by no means going to be an optimal working solution for tethered capture. This is of course best done in one single program. But until we get camera control in Lightroom we will have to look for other solutions for tethered capture. I will just use EOS Utility and then import the photos normally to Lightroom.

  • Why such silence? I take it that this just isn't possible with Lightroom?...
    – Samir
    Jul 21, 2013 at 20:42
  • 3
    I'd allow more than two hours for a response; it is Sunday after all! To help people answer, could you identify the model of camera you are using?
    – user456
    Jul 21, 2013 at 20:56
  • @NickMiners FWIW, the camera I used for testing was a 50D. But it didn't work with the 5D Mk2 either. So I just assumed that camera model was irrelevant. I understand now that Lightroom simply lacks camera control altogether. Coming from EOS Utility I always thought of "tethered capture" as control+capture, i.e. that tethered capture also means that you have some level of control. I know better now.
    – Samir
    Jul 21, 2013 at 21:56

4 Answers 4


How do I change camera settings inside Lightroom using tethered capture?

It is not possible with the current versions of Adobe Lightroom(3-5). Tethered Capture is simply a way to immediately preview, import, and download images while shooting. You still must use the camera(or additional software) to manipulate settings such as aperture, shutter speed, or ISO.

Here is a feature request for the functions you are describing on the Adobe Forums:

Lightroom: Tethered Shooting Camera Control

  • So there is no camera control at all in Lightroom? Not even for simple camera settings, i.e. shutter speed, aperture and ISO? That's a pity. I guess I will continue using EOS Utility then. I will try using it alongside Lightroom, i.e. EOS Utility for control and Lightroom for capture. Pro products like DSLR Remote Pro by Breeze systems are just too much for my needs. I did purchase their Downloader Pro because often times I don't like waiting for Lightroom to import and to render previews when I'm in a hurry. For simple photo import Downloader Pro is much faster.
    – Samir
    Jul 21, 2013 at 21:47

While Lightroom does not have the kind of camera control that you are looking for, many cameras come with applications that do, like Canon's EOS Utility. By setting up a watched folder in Lightroom and having the camera control software save to the watched folder, you can create the solution you are looking for.

I've used Lightroom's tethered shooting quite a bit and found it to be frustrating. It disconnects randomly and takes a long time to load an image. I've found that using the camera manufacturer's tether control software along with LR's watched folder a much more reliable solution.

  • A watched folder, eh?... this could be something worth trying, but I'm not sure this is optimal. A watched folder means something quite different to Lightroom than to other programs. I have used many computer programs over the years that have a "watched" folder so to speak. How this works is you decide on a folder to watch for changes, i.e. set C:\Projects as watched folder because you store all your project files there and the moment you add or remove files from this folder this would be reflected in your projects in the program.
    – Samir
    Jul 22, 2013 at 9:49
  • This is also the way I would expect a "watched" folder to work in Lightroom. Allow me to explain. If I have all my photos stored in E:\ I would tell Lightroom to watch (or to "monitor") E:\ for changes. If I then copy some photo files to this folder, Lightroom will see the new files and automatically start importing them to the catalog which is stored in C:\Users\USR\Pictures\Lightroom. Note that it will only add the new files to the catalog! Nothing else!
    – Samir
    Jul 22, 2013 at 10:00
  • But the fact is that Lightroom moves all the files it finds in a watched folder to a new location. Not only does it move them to a new folder, it moves them to a subfolder of that folder. There is no way of just moving them to the top level folder (parent folder) without creating any subfolders. It doesn't allow you to decide on that. A watched folder in Lightroom works much like a shortcut, or better yet: like a slingshot! Whatever files you place in that folder it slings it to a new folder tree on the other side of the hill. Much like Robin Hood sending apples with an arrow.
    – Samir
    Jul 22, 2013 at 10:08
  • Create C:\myfolder as your new watched folder. In Lightroom, go to File, Auto Import, Auto Import Settings. For Watched Folder choose C:\myfolder. In the field Move To choose E:\ and now you will notice that you are forced to also choose something for the Subfolder Name and this is set by default to Auto Imported Photos. Click OK, File, Auto Import, Enable Auto Import. Save some photos to C:\myfolder and Lightroom will add them to catalog AND move them to E:\Auto Imported Photos. You can't avoid moving them.
    – Samir
    Jul 22, 2013 at 10:15
  • This is so strange to me. I don't see how this is flexible and useful. Like I said, it works much like a slingshot. Maybe you create a new folder on desktop and then save or copy some photos from a memory card to this folder, and the next time you start Lightroom it sees the files and then moves them for you to your normal storage location for photos (E: in my case) and adds them to catalog. Why this detour? If I am saving or copying new photos outside of Lightroom I will copy them to my E:\ drive directly, I won't save them to desktop first to have LR move them later. I'm not that lazy.
    – Samir
    Jul 22, 2013 at 10:19

I too have a 50D and tried using LR4 tethered. It "worked" but not very well. One big problem that I found was that the transfer to LR4 was slow, and so I could take a few shots quickly, but after about 4, it slowed down to being unusable. I now use Canon's DPP utility, it keeps up. I then load them into LR4 with the standard import function.

DPP offers full remote control of the camera

  • Does this answer the question or is it more of a comment?
    – dpollitt
    Jul 22, 2013 at 3:11
  • How quickly? Continuous high speed shoot (i.e. burst mode)? When you shoot tethered with Lightroom the photos are saved both in camera and in the computer. I imagine that if you use the shutter button on the camera for taking shots the writing speed should not be affected, i.e. the camera doesn't have to wait for the computer and Lightroom to write the file. The photo is first saved to camera cache memory, then to memory card, and lastly a copy is made in the computer and Lightroom adds it to catalog and lastly renders a preview. It will take time but it shouldn't skip any photos.
    – Samir
    Jul 22, 2013 at 10:38
  • I just tested low speed burst mode on my 50D and having the photos sent to Lightroom using tethered capture. The camera itself was able to take about 14 consecutive photos before it began to slow down, which of course is normal for burst mode shooting. All of the photos appeared in Lightroom with slight delay. Rendering previews is the worst part I think. Unfortunately you can't decide in Lightroom what kind of previews you want, or if you don't want them at all (option "None"). These options are not available for tethered capture. I'm sure rendering "Minimal" previews would make it faster.
    – Samir
    Jul 22, 2013 at 13:24
  • I could not get close to 14. I found it backed up after about 4 or 5. And this is not burst mode, but rather manual clicks as typical of a portrait session, where the model/subject changes her smile or eyes between pops. It could not keep up with the recharge speed of my speedlights. Jul 22, 2013 at 13:49
  • I was using burst mode, just for the test. I did not try normal (i.e. program) mode with flash. It could have to do with slow flash recharge rate, or perhaps some software/hardware bottleneck. When the computer or a given software gets slow it also sometimes helps to re-format and re-install the operating system if you have the know-how and the time to do it. This is especially true for Windows.
    – Samir
    Jul 25, 2013 at 22:18

While expensive, you can get all the tethered control you want and more with Phase One's Capture One software. Complete control over settings, faster transfer and preview, arguably better RAW conversion, more reliable tethered connection, etc.

It's not as strong at cataloging and its adjustments aren't visible to Lightroom (or vice versa), but it handles sessions in a nicely organized manner and can output high quality TIFFs.

There is a 30-day trial available.

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