Arsenal’s handheld mode enables you to focus on composing the perfect shot while your intelligent camera assistant takes care of the details. It’s especially useful when you’re shooting in tricky conditions and don’t have time to worry about manual settings.

Get ready to shoot with Arsenal

Before shooting, always make sure that:

  • Camera is powered on
  • Arsenal is powered on
  • Camera is connected via USB cable to Arsenal’s left port (except for Sony cameras that connect via WiFi).
  • Camera is set to Aperture Priority mode (Turn your camera’s mode dial to select Aperture Priority (“Av” or “A”).

Enable handheld mode

Unlike Arsenal’s other shooting modes, you won’t need to pull out your phone! 

If your device isn't already powered on, briefly press the power button to turn it on. Arsenal's blue LED bar will animate during startup, then turn off. A green indicator light indicates Arsenal is on. Once your Arsenal has booted, press and hold Arsenal’s power button for three full seconds. Arsenal’s blue LED bar will animate and blink twice to show that handheld mode is starting. A single blue light will continue to pulse while you are in handheld mode. 

Note: If Arsenal powers off instead, make sure your camera is turned on and connected with the camera cable. Then turn on Arsenal and try again.

Shooting in handheld mode

Once you’re in handheld mode, all you need to do is point and shoot. Arsenal will intelligently assess current conditions and find optimal exposure settings. Just as with other shooting modes, each photo is saved to your SD card. 

The Arsenal app is not required during handheld mode. However, if you do open the Arsenal app when shooting with a DSLR, you'll need to turn off Live View to use your camera's viewfinder.

Focusing in handheld mode

Handheld mode uses your camera’s built-in focusing system. Rather than choosing a focus point with Arsenal’s app (which would be cumbersome while holding a camera), you can use your camera’s built-in focus point selection or focus manually. This enables you to focus faster and phone-free.

Handheld shooting with DSLR cameras

When shooting handheld with DSLR cameras, Arsenal faces a challenge: it needs to leave the mirror down so you can use the camera’s viewfinder, and this prevents Arsenal from “seeing” the scene. (This isn’t an issue on mirrorless cameras, since Arsenal can continuously see the scene and update settings in real-time.)

To overcome this hurdle, Arsenal’s handheld mode updates certain calculations after each shot is taken with a DSLR. These are used to inform the subsequent shot. 

To improve Arsenal’s handheld accuracy with DSLRs, shoot a test photo when your subject or lighting changes. Arsenal will optimize settings for your new scene. 

Review Photos 

To review your photos in Handheld mode, Enable the "handheld photo review gesture" in your app settings prior to moving into Handheld Mode. 

To review the photos on your camera’s LCD simply tilt the camera 90 degrees down towards the ground and Arsenal will pause updates to the camera's settings to allow photo review. Tip it back up to resume handheld shooting. We think this is a fairly natural gesture when reviewing photos. We've also added an LED indicator so you can check if you are in photo review mode (the single moving LED will be replaced by two LEDs at the left and right of the LED bar).

Note: Only available for Nikon, Canon, and some Sony cameras currently

Other settings changes

When shooting handheld, Arsenal also disables certain settings that require a tripod. These include:

  • Exposure stacking
  • Focus stacking
  • Long exposure stacking
  • Mirror lockup
  • Refocus before shot

Exiting handheld mode

To exit handheld mode, hold Arsenal’s power button for three seconds until the blue lights flash again.

Learn more

Check out our other Getting Started articles:

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