At a time when everything is gaining the “smart” tag, integrating Wi-Fi, and generally becoming cleverer, DSLRs continue to be disappointingly dumb. You even have to buy an Eyefi card to be able to upload pictures to your computer wirelessly, and remote control phone apps have thus far been somewhat underwhelming. But as always, Kickstarter has an answer. Meet the MaxStone, a small wireless dongle that provides complete control of your camera from your phone.
It looks like the keyfob of a futuristic concept car, but inside, the MaxStone isn’t all that complicated. Its role is to act as a bridge between your Bluetooth-enabled smartphone and your infrared-only camera. This method of communication works with all the major manufacturers’ cameras, provides a range of 100 feet (between you and the camera) and it is very energy efficient — the MaxStone can keep going for 300 days on one button battery. It’s all packed into a weather resistant casing, too.
All of that is merely the hardware support for the accompanying app, though. As expected, it turns your iPhone (Android is also on the way) into a standard remote control for firing off selfies or capturing wildlife, but there are also timelapse, bulb and video modes available, each of which will keep going even if your iPhone runs out of juice. Being a versatile little gadget, though, the MaxStone isn’t done there. It actually doubles as a remote control for your iPhone’s camera, and a very able one at that. Aside from triggering the shutter, it is actually possible to control the flash and adjust focus using just this remote.
The MaxStone’s other tricks include acting as a tracking tag so you can hunt down your camera, providing an alarm function (useful for timelapses), and one version even works as a mini weather station, complete with barometer and thermometer. This is almost getting silly.
Sadly, with Kickstarter funding done, there’s no way of getting your hands on a MaxStone until the project’s backers have taken delivery of the first batches. However, that is happening right now, so the opportunity for the rest of us to purchase one is not that far away. When that time comes, expect the price to be around the $30-$40 mark, and if you’d like to be kept informed, I recommend you sign up to the newsletter here.