Friday, January 3, 2014

Wireless Previews from Canon (or other digital) camera to iOS, Android, or PC.

Yea, title is a bit long, but I wanted to really explain this.

Unless you are just shooting some snapshots for fun, most  folks want a good image.  It is very hard to get feedback on if the image was good or not until you pull the card and view it on a monitor. (there are some other expensive technologies to do this...)

For me, I need to see if I got a good focus on a long exposure shot...I just can't do it on the LCD on the back of the camera.

As you saw a while ago, I do have the ability to tether my Android device to the Canon camera for live view etc...and that is very handy.

But maybe I want to remotely check the images or I want to give clients near instant feedback on shots. (not me but a buddy of mine is doing this).

I present a hack from a German language website.  Do It Yourself - Wireless File Transfer.

It is in German, Google will translate it, but it screws up some of the code in the process.  I recommend having one window with the translation, and one untranslated, so you can cut and paste the code.

The summary is, TP-Link builds a small battery powered wifi router the TL-MR3040.  It is designed to have a 3G/4G usb modem plugged in and act as a hotspot.

This bit of code installs OpenWRT onto the device to make it a more open platform.  Then it installs gPhoto2 to allow the MR3040 to talk to your camera.  Most cameras are supported, but check the list to be sure.

Luckily the author Benedikt Weimer hosts all the files needed on his server, so it is easy to get and install.

I won't copy his instructions here...I might make a bigger mess.   But I will say, he uses the 'vi' text editor.  If you are not used to it (like me) stop editing hit ESC, then colon ':' then command...'w' to write 'q' to quit.

so :w or :q

He uses :wq, but I did them separately to be sure.

Some notes...

The first part of his installation you log into the router and upload openwrt firmware...The ones he supplied didn't work for me (I have a v2.2), I had to download from OpenWRT the latest 'trunk' version. (near bottom of page).

The second part, you log into the 3040 using Putty then edit the OpenWRT installation to put the 3040 on YOUR network.  So if you are using as your home network router's address, then copy his instructions...otherwise change as necessary.   The reason for this step is to make the rest of the installation using his server files much easier.

Other than that, I copied everything he did, every setting, even the passwords/usernames...with the exception of the step that has you put the MAC address of your router...use your own MAC address.

In my setups, the reboot command was not working for whatever reason, so if I needed a reboot, I would turn the 3040 off, wait a bit, then turn back on.

Speaking of switches, the other switch on the 3040 I set to AP...don't have any idea if it makes a difference.

So let's assume it is working (one way to find out is use the 'TOP' command while you have putty connected to the will show the processes running.  (and CTRL-c to exit)  but honestly, if you can log into the new wifi router on the 3040, you are probably ok.
(note you can see gphoto2,, etc)

So now what.

He includes a Java app to run on your PC, and links to an Android app and iOS app.   The iOS app is $20.  (site is now down...use Wayback machine)   The iOS app is ShutterSnitch

I tested all three, the Android app didn't do the job.  It is a FTP server app, and it receives connection and file info from the 3040 but no pictures are transferred.   (it may be a limitation of my hacked Nook...I will soon get a Nexus7, and we will see if that changes anything)

The Java app seemed to work, not as pretty as the iOS version, but free.

The iOS app is the best, (once you put the password you had in the 3040 installation 'benedikt' in my case) it connects to the 3040 and starts receiving pictures.

You can see some quick shots I took of my monitors and dirty desk with morning OJ glass in front...screenshot from iPhone, an iPad would obviously give a bigger preview.

I am using a Canon 1000D (Rebel XS), and it takes from 20 to 30 seconds to move a preview to either the iOS device or PC.   I think it is partially the camera...but maybe I made a gross error in the software installation process...My buddy's setup with newer camera only takes 6-7 sec to move the photo.


In the years since I wrote this, there has been more write-ups and demos listed.  Here is a short list of what I found...


I found that I couldn't log into ddwrt on the TP-Link...I guess I forgot the password...

...long story short I did a 30/30/30 reset on it which got me back into telnet.then SSH.

And then I did this...

And to install the software I went here

Original website is down.

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