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

Set your camera to Aperture Priority

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! 

To enable handheld mode, 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. 

Important: Some cameras cannot review images on the camera's LCD screen while Arsenal is connected. To review images, disconnect from Arsenal or open the Arsenal app on your phone.

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. 

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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