Manfrotto has taken notice of the success of CamRanger and has announced a somewhat similar competitor product of their own called the Digital Director. They even went the extra step of getting the device through MFi (Made for iPad) certification through Apple.

UPDATE: Curious how the Digital Director handles? Check out our full review here. 

Manfrotto Announces the Digital Director

The digital director is designed to make shooting photos and videos much smarter. Unlike the CamRanger that relies on WiFi, the Digital Director works to give you a larger monitor using your iPad that works via an actual tethered connection. You can control your camera through a USB cable plugged into an interface with a dedicated CPU that then connects with an app on an iPad wirelessly. The app supports “remote ” (but still physically tethered) control of a Canon or Nikon DSLR.

Manfrotto Digital Director Platform

If you are unfamiliar with CamRanger, the Digital Director works much the same. The Digital Director App enables all the key parameters of Canon and Nikon DSLRs to be monitored and dynamically modified in real time (Exposure, ISO, Shutter Speed, Aperture, Manual Focus, WB, Image Quality, Focus Camera/Drive Modes, Battery status), allowing photographers and videographers to concentrate on creativity instead of settings.

Manfrotto Digital Director

Shooting remotely via the iPad, the App enables real time “Live View” monitoring and adjustments. The dynamic histogram and audio level display allows greater control, whilst the Focus control is guaranteed thanks to the Interactive Focus, which can be used to select the focus point anywhere on the screen. The digital zoom magnifies the selected focus point to ensure crisp accurate focus.

Based on images I’ve seen, the Digital Director is much larger than the CamRanger, likely because the CPU powering the connection is much stronger. What I expect in exchange for this kind of size increase is a performance boost. Hopefully the frame rate on the screen is good enough to actually use in video production work.

The Digital Director allows users to immediately share their images, direct to FTP, by E-mail and on social networks if so desired.

The Digital Director will retail for $499.99 and it will be available in June 2015. We just completed our full review and are very happy with it. Make sure you check that out before picking one up for yourself.

  • That’s great. Looking forward to seeing it in action.

    • I’m going to give it a run-through later today (4 PM PT). I’ll be sure to post my impressions 🙂

      • Lars Steenhoff

        Please ask which camera’s are supported

        • I was just told “Nikon and Canon DSLRs.” I’m sure there is a complete list though that will be available from Manfrotto.

  • philnolan3d

    It’s a shame most people can’t use it.

  • Lenny Bruno

    Quick question: on android peripherals like cameras are natively supported, so all I needed to control the camera was an USB-otg cable and the right app.

    Does the same apply to the ipad or do I need some sort of adapter or other hardware?

    • It depends. I think an app could be made to work together with a simple cable, but the latency would be an issue. The reason the Digital Director has such a large body/frame is to hold batteries and the chip that allows the iPad to keep up with the live view of the camera with no latency.

  • E-Nonymouse A

    The Achilles heel of this type of implementation (video and control signals VIA USB) is that the vid signal that goes out the USB port varies in quality. I did research on this stuff a while back when I was choosing RC software, Canon’s usb video was slightly higher quality than the Nikon camera’s. If someone came up with a way to use the camera’s video out port for Live view and the usb for command and control, then the resulting previews would be much higher resolution.
    At the time of my research I ended up choosing two items for tethering, Control My Nikon and Cam Ranger (for when I wasn’t near a computer).

    PS. The video out VIA usb port was only 1024×768 at its highest, that may have changed but I doubt it.