Fujifilm’s Camera Remote app is the company’s mobile application for connecting to, controlling, and transfering images from X and GFX series cameras. To date, it has been a somewhat rudimentary app that felt to be little more than an afterthought cobbled together in order to have something out there. Could that all be about to change?
This month, I had an entirely different article drafted and ready to go for the FujiLove blog. But, just a few days back, our favourite rumour-mill, FujiRumors, popped up with the news that Fujifilm is allegedly working on an update to the Fujifilm Camera App. So, I thought I’d take this opportunity to offer my thoughts on what could be done to improve the app and get a discussion going with our readers here about what you feel might make the app a better offering for your own purposes. Hopefully, the good people at Fujifilm will see our desires and some of this will make it into future versions of the app.
Feature 1: Connectivity
Honestly, this isn’t really a feature so much as a basic requirement of the app. Connectivity, while it has improved with the inclusion of Bluetooth chips in Fujifilm’s more recent cameras, is still possibly the biggest hangup I have with the app. Speed and reliability are the two main things that need work here.
More often than not, I find myself giving up before the camera even manages to connect to my device. It can often take several tries to simply get a camera to connect. Given that my headphones pair in less than a second after being switched on, as does my bluetooth keyboard, or my laptop when I want to transfer files to my phone wirelessly, I feel like there’s certainly some room for improvement in Fujifilm’s implementation of Bluetooth connectivity.
Once the app is finally connected, it seems to be up to the app’s mood on the day as to whether or not files will transfer. This has been especially true of GFX bodies in my experience. Sometimes the camera will flawlessly transfer 10 images across, sometimes it will simply give the “connection is lost” message and I’ll have to go through the whole process of connecting again.
The final thing that I feel needs some work is the ability to connect to multiple devices. As someone who uses both a tablet and a phone, the annoyance of having to manually switch the camera’s “pairing destination” in order to connect to one device or the other is a problem that no other device I own has.
Feature 2: Live View Shooting
Again, this is one of the basic things the app needs to get right. I’m not sure where the bottleneck is currently, but the live-view shooting experience is unbearable for anything that is moving. It’s great for things like setting up a flat-lay image or composing a landscape image. But, when anything in the scene is moving, the latency makes it impossible to judge movement and the lag after triggering an image means that you’ll miss moments more often than not. It would really be great to see this lag reduced significantly for applications where subjects are moving. Perhaps being able to switch the feed to a lower resolution for moving subjects and then back to high resolution for critical focusing when needed would be a solution to this if bandwidth cannot be increased.
Feature 3: Backup/Transfer/Set-up of Camera Settings
This one would likely take significant firmware changes to Fujifilm’s cameras, but I’d love to see two things implemented if possible.
The first would be the ability to backup and transfer settings between camera bodies. For example, I have my X-T4 set up exactly as I like it. All of my buttons have been customised, screen settings dialled in, file formats, copyright data, and quick menus are all set. However, if I then get a second X-T4, it would be great if the app could then backup the settings from my first X-T4 and apply them directly to my second camera. Not only would this save 30 minutes when a new camera is acquired, but it would allow rental cameras to be set up quickly, or a camera that comes back from the service centre with its factory settings reset (I’d love to say this has never happened to me) to be set up in an instant with minimal fuss.
The second thing would be an extension of this by allowing applicable settings to be copied between cameras. For example, you could have a master set of basic settings that you want on all cameras. This might include things like file formats, copyright information, screen setup, Auto ISO settings, etc. These settings that are common to all cameras could then be copied from your master settings into any new or rented camera.
Feature 4: Raw File Support
There are a couple of ways I can see raw file support being added to the Fujifilm Camera Remote App. Of course, Low Power Bluetooth and AdHoc WiFi might end up being the limiting factors with such support, here are a couple of use cases as I see them.
Firstly, with mobile post-production becoming more and more common using tools like Lightroom, sometimes it would be nice to be able to transfer a couple of raw files across on the fly and work on them. As someone who travels and commutes using public transport a lot, the ability to transfer a couple of quick images from the days shoot for a client and edit them on my tablet or phone for immediate posting would be great.
Secondly, as we saw with Fujifilm X Raw Studio, the processors of the newer cameras are able to connect over USB and be used as a raw converter. Having this ability using your phone or tablet would be great as well. Simple commands should work just fine for the bandwidth available, so an interface much like the Raw Studio one would allow multiple images to be batch processed on the camera and jpg files to be sent back to the app.
Feature 5: Timelapse Functionality
Fujifilm includes a simple intervalometer, or timelapse function, in their cameras. However, with the screen real estate of the rear LCD and controls available on the camera body, it is a necessarily simple implementation. By harnessing the additional processing power and larger touch screen interface of an external device, I see much more powerful functionality being possible.
Having a larger screen and more processing power could allow for functions like exposure ramping to be added. We could also benefit from a more user friendly interface like those found in smart phone cameras which could allow us to set up a timelapse by desired duration and framerate rather than simply the number of frames and the interval. In addition, presets for certain types of timelapse could be made and saved for later use.
These are a few of the thoughts I’ve had over the years when it comes to the Fujifilm Camera Remote App. Do you make use of the app in your own photography? What functions do you use most? What would you like to see added or improved in an upcoming app?