To answer this question you have to know whats the most important thing for you…
iPhone / iPad Control
Tethering typically means connecting computer to your camera (using the camera’s provided software, Lightroom or Aperture) in order to see images large for proofing during the shot and immediate download the pictures into your workflow location. You could add distance to the camera and tethered computer by just remotely triggering the shot. The discussion below will be talking about the benefits of adding the iPad into this process. This can remove the computer altogether or not.
What are you looking for?
Maintain Absolute Control Wirelessly
If you want to retain absolute control but be away from the camera and the computer then you should use onOne Software’s DSLR Camera Remote ($10-$25). This means unfortunately that the camera is still connected to the computer.
It’s they most powerful app out there hands down. It can do anything you could dream of and then some, it’s amazing! But do you really want to have a computer plugged into your camera? I’ve never found a use for this. i’m sure for some studio shooters this may be useful.
Pictures Show up on iPhone / iPad
Own a WIFI camera, like the Canon 6D, get a WIFI adapter, or get an SD Eye-Fi card. This is the easiest way to appreciate the benefits of tethering but not having a computer be in the equation. $50 – $99 plus a eye-fi app (free) or shuttersnitch ($16) and a bit of set up pain and you can shot your camera like you normally do, be completely free.
The biggest benefit I see here is a bigger screen for reviewing you shots. This is crucial for checking sharpness. Having the image be away from the camera allows you to show someone else what you are capturing. Add a remote camera trigger and some neat possibilities emerge. Imagine the camera is on a tripod and you are standing by your subject just out of the shot. You trigger the shot, see the results and are there to adjust the subject.
This book, The iPad for Photographers: Master the Newest Tool in Your Camera Bag, covers in detail how this wifi capture on the iPad could aid your workflow even. It include different scenarios of adding ratings and a discussion of the decision to use RAW or jpeg in this workflow.
Wait for it all
A Kickstart project called CameraMator is able to be wireless from the camera, control the camera, and show pictures on the iPad. All this and no computer involved. It’s supposed to ship to backers last month. I’ll update this blog once it’s available to buy, I’m on their email list.
Update 1 – Wait for not quite it all
Another Kickstarter project made company, Trigger Happy, has a wire ($49) and free app that gives you control of your camera from your iPhone or iPad. No wireless set up needed. Plug the iOS device directly to your computer and have not just full control but lots of stuff you can’t do with your camera. The biggest thing would be the powerful intervalometer. It’s pretty neat, but I’ll stick with Magic Lantern myself for my intervalometer.
Update 2 – Pay Premium for it now
November 2012 saw the release of CamRanger. It looks like it does it all but at a hefty price, $299. The up sides are that it looks like it has all the benefits I can ever imagine coming from iPad DSLR tethering. It has a lot of camera control features. The app looks very capable.
The issues keeping me from getting it are the price. I also would want to be able to customize the app to serve as an expanded histogram and be quicker at showing if the shots are in great focus. I also didn’t hear anything about rating and LR integration.