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Free Tethered Shooting Script for Nikon

May 23rd, 2008 · 205 Comments

Update: This version is now obsolete,

download latest from here .

Update: The With Bridge version provides almost instant image viewing in Adobe Bridge without any keypresses.  If you use Bridge instead of Adobe Lightroom then download that version.  I’ve also made a video to show how to use this script.

If you’ve been keeping up with the blogs of various big photography bloggers out there you’ll certainly have been seeing quite a bit about tethered shooting recently. Not that it is a revolution or anything, but it certainly is a help to be able to see your images immediately on a big screen — and that doesn’t just go for those with failing eye-sight but basically the images you see on the LCD at the back of your camera are only the jpg preview, not the RAW (should you be shooting raw).

Even if you are shooting jpg just having to view them on such a tiny screen really makes it hard to tell if they are sharp or perhaps shaded as you are hoping. Sucking them right into your PC seems just so logical.

If you are a Canon shooter then no issue – the software comes with the camera (so I’m told).

If you are a Nikon shooter then it gets a little more difficult. If you are a Mac user you could use Aperture, but for Windows you seem to be stuck with Nikon Camera Control Pro. That’s a $160 or so software which does a lot more than just tethered shooting, but is probably overkill if like me you are a hobbiest just messing around.

So in true geeky DIY mode I thought it can’t be that hard to write a script that sucks pictures out of a USB connected camera and saves them onto the PC. And after a little poking around I find that actually it’s true, it isn’t that hard.

The thing that makes it practical is that most of what you need is built into Windows, another chunk comes as a standard optional microsoft download, such that the glue you need to pull it all together is just a few lines of code.

Part 1 is Windows Image Acquisition (WIA) – that’s built in

Part 2 is WIA Automation Layer

– a free download from Microsoft for Windows XP SP2 or higher

Part 3 is a script to tie it all together – which I present here


This is now obsolete, use instead the free Camera Control 4.0



  • Windows XP SP2 or higher
  • A Nikon DSLR (D40, D60, D200 and D300 tested ok)
  • USB cable


Well nothing really, just unzip it and put it in a folder anywhere — I suggest c:\program files\tethered but anywhere would do.


  1. Empty your camera card — that’s optional but a good start for reasons that will be apparent later
  2. Plug your camera in via USB — you should make sure USB in your menus is set to PTP
  3. If your PC pops up one of those windows wanting to download stuff, just cancle it
  4. Run “tethered.cmd” by double clicking on it
  5. Open your image viewer of choice – I use Bridge – and set it to look in the c:\tethered folder.  If you are using Lightroom then you’d want to set that to be a watched folder.
  6. You are now ready to start shooting.  Anything you shoot will turn into a file in a folder called c:\tethered within a second of you completing the exposure
  7. When you are done just close the Tethered window.


  • All your images are also stored on your memory card so you have a backup without using a D3 and two cards
  • If you shoot more than 1000 images in one session it is liable to give an error as the filenames wrap around.  That’s why it is good to empty your memory card first so that you are starting at file number 000.
  • I’ve tested this with a Nikon D40 and it works fine, in theory it should work with any WIA compatible camera but the other Point and Shoot ones I have refuse to take pictures while the USB cable is connected so I can’t test them.  I’d be very pleased to hear from those of you who have tried it on other cameras and if it worked or not.
  • If you want the images stored somewhere other than c:\tethered then edit the .wsf file to change the location

Tags: Software       

205 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Bob Law // May 27, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    What I have found in using this. Is that although it occasionally has trouble connecting to my D90, I am able to get it working after a try or two. It downloads both jpeg and NEF files although it only shows jpeg files in its review. What I do is have it save the files in a folder that I have ViewNX2 running in the background. The picture list is automatically updated by ViewNX2 and I can easily look at the NEF and make any changes I want, although I mostly use it to verify the focus point and check the histogram.

  • 2 DSLR tethering with Nikon D90 // Jun 8, 2011 at 1:49 am

    […] a way” and with much perseverence, I found some nifty applications/workaround for free. DIYPhotoBits  has provided a script that lets you tether the DSLR with the laptop via USB cable. Now I can […]

  • 3 zulm // Jun 12, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    thanks n its works on my d5000 with WinXp sp2

  • 4 daniel jenkins // Jul 12, 2011 at 10:46 am

    i am using this with nikon d7000. connects fine, no compatibility issues. however, i was expecting to be able to LIVE VIEW preview what i was shooting for composing on the laptop, which is what i thought tethering was. i want to use this for some low angle camera shots and using the camera viewfinder is almost impossible.

    so, is there something i am missing here? can i use this app as a live view preview?

  • 5 Tasha // Jul 21, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    I have downloaded most of the tethering downloads and i’m finding that none of them are working , a script error keeps coming up to close , i get to the white page that has all details such as camera selected , folder selected , jpeg or raw but nothing comes up when i shoot etc , what am i doing wrong ? I have a laptop with Windows 7 and i’m using a Nikon D90 :))

  • 6 Andy Davis // Jul 24, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    I just wanted to say thanks amillion, this is the only way Ive been able to do ANY remote shooting so far with my D3100, ok so its a beginners camera, Im new to DSLRs, just this last couple of months, but this is proving to be an invaluable tool in aiding my learning curve. Many Many Thanx…. No live views a bit of a shame, but ultimately not really necessary

  • 7 John Stickney // Aug 1, 2011 at 11:06 pm

    What are the “issues” in using the capture software with a Nikon D90 ?

  • 8 What software/connectors do I have in order to connect my Nikon D90 directly to my laptop ? // Oct 10, 2011 at 7:30 pm

    […] and how would I be able to do this? Check out our user posted comments/solutions, or post your own! ben s asks, I wish to connect my Nikon D90 to my laptop and take photos so that they can be viewed i…href="#comments">comments/solutions, or post your own! WordPress › […]

  • 9 Victor // Oct 19, 2011 at 8:08 am

    Hi! Well, the software looks great, especially because it supports D3100, which is not supported anywhere else. For those who are missing bulb mode for astro purposes, I recommend to build a simple controller based on FT232 USB driver and connect it to wire remote control via e.g. DTR signal. The software to control the device is also very simple.

  • 10 Ehsan // Nov 1, 2011 at 6:58 am

    I have completed the download and it work fine with my Nikon D70. Now if i like to view an image on my computer before taking the shot how will i do that.

  • 11 Dennis C Richmond Sr // Nov 1, 2011 at 8:02 pm

    Is there a fix for the D700 to be tethered ? I’d hate to spend $1,000.00 on Nikons equipment just for tethering. HELP…………

  • 12 Siddharth Bhatla // Nov 5, 2011 at 7:05 am

    awsome software!!!
    works on Nikon D3000!!
    I am too damn happy..
    I am a Sun authorised java programmer and i want the source code of this software..
    Hope someone among u people could help me get its source code ..

  • 13 Siddharth Bhatla // Nov 5, 2011 at 7:05 am

    it works on Nikon D3000!!
    I am too damn happy..
    I am a Sun authorised java programmer and i want the source code of this software..
    Hope someone among u people could help me get its source code ..

  • 14 ATG // Nov 24, 2011 at 2:42 am

    Like to shoot wirelessly instead of tethered and getting live-view wirelessly to a computer?
    Then I got answer and the products.

    ATG AK1 Un-Tethered Systems
    Shoot RAW up to 24fps wirelessly from camera or pc.
    Supports wireless radio flash when needed.
    Supports & adjust settings & modes & fire from pc.
    Live-view with supported cameras.
    Compatible with many dslrs: CLONPS

    Made & built in the USA for over 6 years strong with thousands of happy shooters.

    Works on Window XP/Vista/7
    Not compatible with Nikon D3000 & D3100.

    Any questions, please ask.


  • 15 Siddharth Bhatla // Dec 5, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    Why dont you edit the script to use bulb mode to expose the shutter as long as you want.

  • 16 Dexter Ricaplaza // Feb 9, 2012 at 10:04 am

    Hi.I want to know if this works on MAC computers?

  • 17 Dexter Ricaplaza // Feb 9, 2012 at 10:05 am

    Hi.I just wanna ask if this works on Mac Computers?Thank you.

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  • 19 James Regan // Feb 17, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    I expected a few hours of frustration only to be followed by resignation. It worked!! A few simple clicks and I was there! Thanks for the script, I’m using a D50 which I didn’t have much hope for with Windows 7.

  • 20 ATG // Feb 17, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    If you all wonderful friends are in town, please stop by tomorrow, Saturday.

    Free ATG Photo Class & Competition & Check-up

    Cascades Library
    21030 Whitfield Place
    Potomac Falls, Virginia 20165
    10:11 to 15:00

    Be happy to get you tethered /or un-tethered with your CLONPS.
    Also see & use the ATG AK1 Un-Tethered Systems on a pc.

    CLONPS = Canon, Leica, Olympus, Nikon, Pentax and Sony.

  • 21 timo // Aug 7, 2012 at 6:24 am

    just tested on d800, works pretty well

  • 22 Tethered Shooting – HowTo « Fotografie Mauer – Blog – Fotos aus Schwabach und Nürnberg // Aug 12, 2012 at 8:59 am

    […] ich für Windows und Mac jeweils ein Programm für Nikon-Kameras. Für Windows ist dies Camera Control 4.0. Die Macher haben zwar bereits vor einigen Tagen eine Beta für Mac released, jedoch stieß […]

  • 23 Ranajit Tendolkar // Jan 27, 2013 at 6:35 am

    Works just great on my Nikon d70s. Thanks a ton

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