Cheap Wireless Tethering for your 1DX with no Hacking
April 25, 2013 • 6 Comments
This is an ongoing project, please read the updates at the end of this article.
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When I first started out on this little project, I really thought this was too easy to work. I have always run into things where if it were too easy either someone would have thought if it up already or it just doesn't plain work.
If you have a Canon 1Dx and are like me and spent all their money to get the 1DX and really don't have the extra cash to spend to get that cool wireless tethering option, then this is for you. No hacking required, off the shelf parts and easy set-up and all for under $100.
Yes UNDER A $100.
Canon has the option of buying the WFT-E6A wireless transmitter, but at a steep $599 retail in the US. AT the time of this writing, the WFT-E7A was coming out at $849. Other options like the Eye-Fi™ card are only available in SD cards, not CF cards as in what the 1Dx uses.
After a Google search for other alternatives, I really found nothing, with the exception of the WFT-E6A adapter.
While setting up a security cam installation at my home, I wondered if they made a ethernet to wi-fi adapter, to ease my installation of the DVR for my security cameras. Running a dedicated CAT5 wire was great, but I thought, what if I decided to move things around later, don't want to keep putting holes in the wall and running more CAT5 cables, there has to be an adapter for this.
The device I found that had the best results was the Netgear WNCE2001, Universal WiFi Internet Adapter. Designed for adding internet ready devices to a network that lack a wifi connection such as some Blue-Ray™ players, game consoles and such.
Now for the techy part:
This install allows you to attach your Canon 1Dx wirelessly to your computer for transferring files and remote shooting capabilities. Perfect for studio shooters or anyone who benefits from remotely sending photos directly from the camera.
*This process is intended for already established home, office, studio and other wireless networks. Due to a vast number of equipment manufacturers and and infinite number of network configurations, I will only go into the basics of attaching this to your already established network.
First things first, follow the directions on setting up your wifi adapter. If you have any type of encryption protection for your wireless network, then you need to follow the directions as per the manufacturer to allow access to your network. I used a laptop and turned off the wifi to set my Netgear adapter up to ensure that it would connect flawlessly to my home network which has WPA2 Personal security.
Since there is way too many configurations of networks and equipment like routers , switches and hubs, I am not going to get into the tech discussion on how to set them up. If your network is up and running, just FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS.
For the Netgear WNCE2001, it was pretty straight forward and was up an running in just a few minutes.
Setting the camera up for wireless tethering. It may seem like a lot of steps, but I wanted to detail each step to ensure that you have an easy set up and should not have any problems. All in all, the total time it took to set this up was less than 3 minutes.
Setting up the camera is fairly easy, just a few settings to change or set if they aren't already. Most of it is just confirming the "auto" settings.
Once the Menu screen is up, select the Set Up section which is the yellow wrench and select Set Up 3 by using the toggle button above the dial.
As long as the LED for the LAN is blinking, this is a good sign. No blinking light, means no ethernet port communications. :-(
Since we have the LAN searching for a connection, it is time to set up your connection. Go to Network Settings and press set and select Set Up. If Network Settings is greyed out and not selectable, you need to scroll up to Communication func and select enable.
You should see the name of the camera, in this case 1DX and that the LAN type should be wired. Select "select" and press set.
Now we're going to the Connection Wizard to run our pairing process and select the type of connection, which will be the EOS Utility. After you select and confirm the EOS Utility, it will start the pairing process.
Use the Auto setting unless you have particular preferences to change to meet the needs of your network. Do not worry about the IP address, it may not match the actual IP that the router assigns, as long as the camera is getting a private IP [example 192.168.1.1] that is fine. Your IP may be different if you have manually assigned IP addresses in the configuration settings of your router.
After you see this last window informing you that the WFT-XXXXX is pairing, you should start the EOS Utility. I have found that in both Windows and MAC, the EOS Utility doesn't have to be running, but you have to look out for the banner that indicates EOS Pairing Utility is running.
If you miss it, don't worry. Just select cancel and run it again.
The banner will display in the lower right corner, just above the clock in Windows and on the MAC it will be in the upper right-hand corner,just below the clock.
If you get this error, below, check your ethernet port and/or your ethernet cable. This is usually an error indicating that the ethernet port is not turned on or not communicating.
If the EOS Utility pairs successfully, a small window should appear on the desktop with the name of the camera, the MAC address and IP address that it is assigned by the router. If everything is correct, select the camera and click on "Connect" on your desktop.
AT this time, the EOS Utility software should prompt you to look back at the cameras LCD screen for a confirmation of the pairing.
Select OK and press set.
The camera LCD screen should default back to the Menu screen. Go back to your EOS Utility and if it is not already selected and running, choose Camer Settings/Remote Shooting
The image above shows that option still greyed out, due to I took the screenshot afterwards. When your camera pairs successfully, this option will be selectable, click on it with your mouse, trackpad or other pointing device to start your remote shooting and wireless tether session.
If everything is paired correctly, you should see something similar to the image on the left, similar to as if you had the 1Dx connected to your computer using the USB cable that came with it. The only exception is, NO WIRES.
I tested this on both Apple, a 17" iMac running OS X Mountain Lion and an older laptop running Windows 7 64-bit. All my test shots were done shooting in RAW in both single shot and high-speed without an issue.
When I shot my RAW files, the iMac was super fast, but it also has much more computing power and is much newer then the Windows laptop. Both received all the files that were shot. On the iMac, the RAW files took just a few seconds to completely download and kept the same pace when shooting in succession. The iMac, like I mentioned earlier is newer and has a bunch of processing power, so the faster and more powerful your machine, the easier the downloading should be, at least for the computer side of things.
~ The Computers Used ~
The iMac I am running, has a 3.4 GHz Intel i7 processor with 32GB 1600MHz DDR3 RAM.
The laptop, I used for the testing is much older. It is a HP 8710w running an Intel Duo Core T7300 running at 2GHz with 4GB of RAM. The RAM is actually from an old MacBook Pro I had that died.
For the network side, I am using a Linksys/Cisco WRT160N version 1 with updated firmware. No hacks or special running software, the router runs in mixed-mode but this is for connectivity of my other devices.
When I tested the speed part, I did not run the high-speed until the buffer was full, but only in short 4-6 image bursts.
I still need to find the right battery to run the WiFi adapter, but I felt that this simple wireless alternative needed to be exposed. I am hoping that people with more skills then myself can come up with a good viable solution for the power portion of this.
The WiFi adapter I am using from Netgear is only 5v, but rated at 1A. I don't believe the 1Dx's USB port supplies a power output and if it did, not sure what the impact would be on the camera battery life.
I ran this experiment from the wall power supply that came with the WiFi adapter, nothing was attached to the computers that I tested, so I know it works. Now it is time to work on the power supply part and I am hoping you out there can help.
The Netgear WiFi adapter is so small and light, it would probably make an easy attachment to the hot-shoe, depending on how big and heavy the power source is. If you are using a 2.8 or lower lens on this camera, then you already know that weight can be a factor, even if it is just a few extra ounces.
I was thinking of a power pack that can be attached to your pants or fit in your pocket and just use a small wire to feed to the adapter, but that is why I jumped the gun and posted this earlier before moving on to the power issue.
Anyway, I made a real cheesy YouTube Video, embedded above. I do apologize for the quality, I usually don't do video and was by myself.
Update #3 - It was brought to my attention that a item can be bought for fairly cheap, cheaper then what I was doing and achieve the same result.
Using the Hame MPR-A1 for about $25 can achieve the same result. The Hame unit is self powered wifi router that is rated to last for about 4 hours.
All the same set-up procedures should still be the same for the camera, just follow the directions for the Hame unit for proper set-up.
I have not tried one out for my self, but the end result should be the same. If you try it, please reply back to let us all know if it a good set-up or not.
Update #2 - made a make-shift battery from an old digital camera I had, nothing really special but meets the power requirements. With randomly shooting full resolution RAW files and performing speedtests while completely wireless, the whole deal ran for an average of about 2 hours.
The battery was from and old Sony Mavica FD-88 and rated at a measly 7.2 volts, 1800mA. I wanted to stay with something small, unlike my huge Vagabond power pack, which would not be so bad if it weren't so bulky. Anyway, gives new life to the idea that this can be done at a reasonable cost and work fairly well.
Update #1 - Just finished testing the wireless tethering on a Ad-hoc network. I did this to simulate for field shooting to a laptop with no established wireless network running, like the one in your office or studio.
I set up an Ad-hoc network using my Windows 7 based laptop that is probably 5 years old or so. Not the fastest and greatest, but it works. Setting up the Ad-hoc network was fairly simple, it will vary slightly depending on your OS, but you can Google it for better instructions.
Once the Ad-hoc network is setup, the rest of the installation is relatively the same.
I had one question from Nikon users, Will this work on their ethernet enabled cameras and can they use the EOS Utility?
To tell you the truth, I don't know for sure 100%. The network part of the wireless tether will definitely work, since it follows TCP/IP protocols. As for what software to use and if Nikons can utilize Canon's EOS software, not sure. An alternative software would be something like Breeze remote software, but would love to know for sure.
Below are some of the screenshots of using the wireless shooting. All these screenshots were taken wirelessly, the camera 10' away from the computer shooting in RAW and going through the features:
If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail me.
Please leave a comment if you like.
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@ Chris - not sure on the 5dMkIII, if it has an ethernet port, then yes, if it does not have the ethernet port, not 100% sure.
I haven't tried doing this using the mini USB port, that may require a whole different approach, but worth a try.
As for the iOS app, again, I wish I could give you a clear answer, sorry. I used an iMac and a older Windows 7 based laptop, both using Canon's EOS Utility software. If the app work similar, then it should be feasible to do this, but the set-up and interaction may be completely different.
this is awesome! anyway you could do this on a 5D MK III? could it be possible to use the iOS app for the 6D with this?
Thank you John. To tell you the truth, I really would have never thought of a security issue for the images.
I would tend to think that deleting the images from the camera would be a waste of time for someone, but in today's competitive market for certain types of photographers, that could be a act that someone could do in desperation.
I could see this in the sports imaging markets or paparazzi where the image can make and break you.
You catch the perfect shot and the guy near you knows it.
He hacks your camera to copy the image and deletes it from your camera.
He promotes the images as his own and sells it to top magazines.
That would Suck Royally!
Another advantage of this solution is that it may be more secure than the Canon solution. There was not too long ago on the Linux Weekly News (www.lwn.net) website a writeup (http://lwn.net/Articles/544792/) about a presentation at a computer security conference on how easy it was to hack the WiFi connection on Canon cameras. Most of the things they listed as possible things people could then do would not typically be an issue, but the possibility of stealing images or deleting them is a risk.
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