Manfrotto is well known for its tripods, but that’s not all that the company produces and alongside its extensive range of supports Manfrotto offers a huge range of other camera accessories. One of which is the Manfrotto Digital Director, a clever device that transforms your iPad into a fully featured control and preview screen for your Canon or Nikon camera.

The way the Digital Director works is pretty simply, plug into your iPad, then wire it directly into your cameras USB port and once the app has downloaded you’re ready to go.

Once opened, the interface of the Manfrotto Digital Director app will give you access to a range of camera features, even extending the functionality of your camera by offering features that you wouldn’t usually have.

One of those features offers superior focus adjustment and checking and is known as high-precision focus. In this video I’ll show you just how it works alongside a Canon SLR to capture some macro shots. I’ll also take a look at the kit that you need.

Alongside the Canon SLR, Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM lens, SD Card and battery that are obvious kit essentials, I also needed a Manfrotto 055 tripod, Digital Director, an iPad  and, for convenience, a Manfrotto Friction Arm to mount the the Digital Director on the tripod.

Setting up Manfrotto’s Digital Director

01 Connect the Digital Director to the Tripod

Manfrotto Digital Director Easy LinkStart by connecting the Manfrotto Friction Arm to the Easy Link thread on the crown of the tripod and then to back of the Digital Director.

02 Link the camera and Digital Director with a USB cable.

Manfrotto Digital Director connect USBAttach the tripod base plate to the camera and attach it to the tripod. Then connect the camera and Digital Director together using a USB cable.

03 Open the Digital Director app on the iPad

Manfrotto Digital Director open appSwitch on the camera, load and open the Digital Director App on your iPad (https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/digital-director/id969939511?mt=8) The Digital Director interface and a live preview of the shot will now appear on the screen of the Digital Director.

Using the Manfrotto Digital Director’s high-precision focus feature

01 Tap the screen to focus

Manfrotto Digital Director in useThe iPad screen can now be used to give a large preview of the scene and you just need to tap on the point where you wish the camera to focus.

02 Use the Digital Zoom to check focus

Manfrotto Digital Director in use
The digital zoom control is positioned in the bottom left of the screen, tap the + symbol to enlarge the preview to check focus.

03 Tap to check focus

Manfrotto Digital Director in useTap around the enlarged preview to check focus.

04 Use the manual focus wheel

Manfrotto Digital Director in useFor high-precision manual focus, use the focus wheel to adjust the point of focus.

05 Switch on high-precision manual focus control

Manfrotto Digital Director in use
For greater manual focus accuracy, tap the Settings option and then select ‘Use high-precision manual focus control.

06 Use high-precision focus to adjust the focus point manually

Manfrotto Digital Director in useSwitch back to the main interface and you’ll see the Focus Wheel has been replaced by a series of arrows enabling single to multiple step focus.

07 Use focus peaking

Manfrotto Digital Director in use
To further help with focusing, switch on Focus Peaking. This will add a mask overlay to the high contrast edges.

08 Change focus peaking colour

Manfrotto Digital Director in use
To adjust the Focus Peaking colour, tap Settings and in the ‘Focus Peaking’ options change the ‘Color’

09 Tap the shutter button to take the shot

Manfrotto Digital Director in use
Return to the interface and when the shot looks right tap the shutter button on screen to take the shot.

It’s easy to see how the Digital Director can help you to get better sharper shots, for more information check out manfrotto.co.uk

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Ali Jennings
Reviews editor - Action Cams, Drones and Accessories
Ali is our accessories, drones and action cam reviewer.
Being surrounded by cameras and kit from a young age, Ali’s interest in photography really took off when he was given a Canon AE-1 and super 8 camera. After a few small commercial photo jobs and involvement in short film projects he joined the publishing industry in the late 90’s. 


In 2003 Ali joined Digital Camera Magazine, and more recently worked as the Imaging Lab Manager, testing cameras and lenses for the photography portfolio. In the last couple of years he has specialised in the testing of the latest action cameras and drones and is presently training for his drone licence.