There are many programs available for shooting tethered to a computer. Working up to an interior lighting demo for my students, I revisited Canon's EOS Utility/DPP and Lightroom 3 (the old Watch or "Hot Folder" method), a couple of software programs that support tethering. In the past I had not been impressed with earlier versions of either program for tethering. Both were flaky IME. For clients on a shoot that required a larger viewing experience, I used to resort to using a card reader or spend half my time fiddling with the computer link, embarrassing and stressful. LR3 now has a specific tethering feature that works with most recent major Canon and Nikon cameras (for supported cameras see. Nikon also has free software that comes with their cameras but I am not familiar with it.
Both programs seem much more stable now. Cannon EOS Utility/DPP supports full camera exposure control (plus ISO etc.) from the computer, while LR3 supports shutter firing and exposure info display only. Neither will work firing from the computer if you shoot with the Mirror Lockup on. I only shoot with the Mirror Lockup on, to minimize vibrations, so firing from the computer is not important to me. Why mirror locked up? Not to sound like a broken record, but to do truly professional quality work with a DSLR you have to make every possible effort available to maximize image quality. However both these programs seem less than happy when you shoot with MLU on, especially if you et the camera go to sleep and then try and wake it up by firing a shot. If this is an issue go back to regular firing.
In any event of the two I found LR3 to be the program that best fit my skills and workflow. I have never gotten comfortable with DPP. As I always shoot RAW and use Adobe Camera RAW in Photoshop to process the files, it is a short leap for me to the RAW processor in LR3, which though it has a slightly different interface than ACR is basically the same program. In the spirit of KISS (keep it simple stupid), a nod to my aging brain, the Canon 5d MKII>LR3>Photoshop workflow keeps things streamlined. Now of course LR3 is not free like the Canon DPP software suite is (DPP comes with the Canon camera and you can't download DPP from their website unless you have the original disks). Lightroom approaches $300, which may be a consideration for many.
Only the DPP suite supports tethered Live View. LR3 will not-again not very important to me.
One annoying thing. If you have the DPP suite loaded on your computer, even if you also have LR3 loaded and running, DPP seems always to be the default program to open up when you make an image while synced. if you work continually it only comes up the first time, but if you take a break and let the camera go to sleep and come back and try to fire the camera, the EOS Utility want to open up again. There seems to be no way around this unless you uninstall the EOSU/DPP suite. Anyone have any ideas on this? For teaching purposes I want to keep both on my laptop and for the odd time I want to shoot tethered in Live View. See the discussion below with Jim Hunter for a fix he found for this for both Mac and PC. See also Mac Fix.