A few bits and pieces about photography header image 2

Tethering unplugged

December 12th, 2008 · 25 Comments

So exactly what should happen if you are in the middle of a tethered – via usb cable – shoot and someone trips over the wire?

First, it shouldn’t rip the cable out of the camera and damage the usb connector on either camera or computer.

To that end it helps to put some sort of knot or fastening at both ends so the strain will not be taken by the USB connectors.   For the camera end it probably makes sense to attach to the camera strap or perhaps a tripod head plate, while on the PC end it may be as simple as clamping to the table.

But what if a really big pull is made on the cable?  In that case it is better the cable comes unplugged — so that’s a good reason to use a two part cable — USB extender plus cable — so that it can basically just come unplugged in the centre.

Ok so that’s the physical part, but what about the software.  How should the software respond?

I recently learned that Nikon CameraControl Pro 2 — which I have never tried — causes images taken during a tethered session to only be saved to the PC, not to the camera as well.  I’m quite amazed by that actually — when designing Camera Control I deliberately made the decision that the images would be in BOTH locations — it seems like an obvious backup.  In fact I’m a little concerned that it is saved in only a single location on the PC and I’ll be adding features (eventually!) that allow the images to be instantly backed up to another location such as an external drive, file server, or maybe even an internet service — imagine tethering directly to Flickr!

Anyway, the point is what happens when you realize the cable is unplugged and plug it in again?

1. Nothing happens — you have to restart the software 

This is typical it seems, that’s what my script does

2. The software notices the camera is gone and waits for it

And when it is plugged in it downloads any new images that were taken while it was unplugged

I think #2 makes a lot more sense don’t you?  It doesn’t sound that hard.  Ok when you plug in the camera again the annoying choice thing pops up but you can (I think) ignore that.  Or maybe I can look for it and send a Cancle to it.  Then the script can see the camera is back — look for any new images, download them, then go back to what it was doing before.

Ok sounds like a plan — or can you suggest an alternative, or maybe some options that would make sense?  I’m all ears.

Tags: Ideas       

25 responses so far ↓

  • 1 haru // Dec 13, 2008 at 4:01 am

    sir, i am a fine arts major who is having a hard time compiling and installing the open source gPhoto. instead, your DIYphotobits camera control is like rain on a hot day and i thank you so much!
    am tethered now, d70 to XP service pack2 of Obee laptop 🙂

  • 2 Daniel // Dec 13, 2008 at 7:20 am

    Just ordered my 15ft usb 2.0 extender for about 12 dollars – should be able to use the tethering properly now…thanks for remind me to do knots on the tripod!

    Interesting question – if there’s no SD card in the camera will CC still work?

    And any word on the other “non-greens” features? 😉

  • 3 raymond // Dec 17, 2008 at 6:42 am

    No, won’t work without a memory card. I think that’s reasonable as a safety measure.

    Non-greens features, not yet. Maybe over the Christmas holidays when things are less busy? Hopefully.

  • 4 Tony Mah // Dec 20, 2008 at 9:58 am

    I can’t seem to get it to work if I manually press the camera shutter on my D50. Is there a way to get this to work?

  • 5 zald // Dec 22, 2008 at 1:00 pm

    @ Tony Mah …..Same here.

  • 6 raymond // Dec 23, 2008 at 6:52 am

    Tony, zald — it should work. Did you press the Start Tether button to go into tethering mode first?

  • 7 Tony Mah // Dec 23, 2008 at 7:43 am

    I pressed “Start Tether” and it worked!
    I am using another program “Capture One” to display the raws but it doesn’t seem to pickup the new files. It works with Nikon Capture Control, but with your Capture Control, it doesn’t detect that a new file has been copied into the folder.
    Test 1:
    1. Start Capture One
    2. setup capture folder
    3. setup capture one to display newest file
    4. copy raw file from desktop to capture folder
    5. Raw image appears on the screen
    This also works with Nikon Capture Control Pro

    Test 2
    1. load Capture one
    2. Load your capture control
    3. setup your output folder to the same as capture one capture folder
    4. Take picture with you capture control
    5. file appears on the explorer window
    6. Capture Once doesn’t see it
    7. Need to refresh Capture One to see any new pictures

  • 8 raymond // Dec 28, 2008 at 8:05 am

    Tony, strange indeed. All my program does is save the file in the specified folder — as I presume any tethering software would do. The only “odd” thing my script does is that it saves the file first under a temp name, then *renames* it to .jpg or .nef as appropriate. This is necessary to avoid Adobe Bridge choking. But perhaps Capture One is looking for an image file to be open/created and that never happens, instead a rename happens.

    Maybe try manually moving, copying, renaming, creating dummy files into a folder while Capture one is watching to folder to work out what is the “trigger” that it is looking for.

  • 9 Ken Elliott // Jan 3, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    A nice feature would be to add a way to execute a script after image capture. In this case, the script (or command) would be to copy the file from a temp folder to a folder Capture One is watching.

    Great product, BTW. I’ currently tethered with a pair of 15 foot USB extension cables, using LightRoom 2.2 to automatically import from a watched folder. I’m quite impressed with your program – much simpler than Nikon’s Control. Thanks!

  • 10 raymond // Jan 4, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    Ken, yes I have planned for that — obviously pretty easy to do it basically but I wonder if I can do it multi-threaded or at least allow choice of prioritizing either downloading or processing what is already downloaded.

    My main thought was that calling an arbitrary command line would allow for things like executing a PS droplet so you can do a basic standard post process routine before the customer sees anything!

  • 11 Patrick L // Mar 11, 2010 at 7:02 am

    I have an old Nikon E 950 that only works with a serial cable. It’s broken at the moment anyway. Anyway My question is this. Does this software work with or can it be modified to work with a Pentax Optio W 80? Via USB2. I know it’s kid stuff compared to the others, but I don’t have the cash for the big guns any more. my last real Nikon was an F3 35 mm. This tiny little point and shoot Pentax has allot of hi end features. And if you know how to create art with a machine, understand the theory and know how to set the controls to make the camera see what your mind is seeing, 12.1 mpx, and HD Video from something very close to the size and weight of a pack of cigarettes is just fine for now. Bottom line. Do you know where I can get Software similar to yours for this camera? Thanks in advance for any ideas you may have. Patrick

  • 12 Patrick L // Mar 11, 2010 at 7:08 am

    PS. Connecting to a Dell Lap top or Desktop running XP pro. or Vista Ultimate. P.L.

  • 13 raymond // Mar 11, 2010 at 7:11 am

    Patrick, I have yet to see a point-and-shoot which works. But there is a first time for everything. Why don’t you try it and let us know?

  • 14 Patrick L // Mar 11, 2010 at 7:26 am

    I may just do that? I’m going to look around a bit more first. If I do decide to try it I’ll let you know, either way.


  • 15 claive // Oct 4, 2010 at 10:29 pm

    do you have the no. 2 already on your script?

  • 16 Jan Kijlstra // Mar 11, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    When working with CameraControl (5.2) I would like it very much if I could see on my laptop screen a preview without having to make the photo first.
    This would allow me to change settings before actually taking the photo. Would save a lot of time.

  • 17 Phil // Jan 12, 2012 at 11:44 pm

    I just wanted to say that I’ve been giving your software a try with my D80 and it works like a dream, with no effort whatsoever. Thank you so much for the great work. You should seriously consider having a ‘Donate’ button on your site – I’d definitely send some cash your way, and I’m sure plenty of other people would too!

    Either way, keep up the good work!

  • 18 Barry // Jan 13, 2012 at 11:41 am

    Thanks Dave, for your input on installing diy… I have only used it for about a dozen photos, to see if it works.
    Seems to work fine with my nikon d3100, cant wait to use it in the field . Can anyone direct me to where I can purchase a ( I believe its called a micro usb/to/usb long tether cable). I looked it up on e-bay, but maybe Im looking it up wrong. Their does not seem to be any? Would prefer a 30′ foot cable if possible, A quality one would be good too. Has anyone figured out how to tether this program wireless ??? Thanks photobit !!!!!!!!!

  • 19 Phil // Jan 13, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    Barry: You just require a long USB cable. Be aware that USB specifications state the maximum length of a USB cable for high speed devices, for which tethering would qualify, is 5 meters (about 16 feet). Anything longer and you’re going to suffer very slow performance at least, and probably corrupt image transfers.

    This is an example of the kind of cable you need:

  • 20 Ken Elliott // Jan 13, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    Barry, Phil: I shoot with a 60′ extension with no issues at all. I use a “usb repeater cable” which has a powered repeater. Think of it as connecting a series of cables and USB hubs. They are inexpensive and work well. I have several that I connect in series.

    I’ve got a wireless USB that works too, but its flakey. The cable is cheap and reliable.

  • 21 Phil // Jan 13, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    Ken, that’s interesting to know! Thanks for sharing, it could be very useful information.

  • 22 Barry // Jan 14, 2012 at 12:58 am

    Thanks Ken and Phil for all your input on the cables.

    I think ill pick up one and start to have some fun with this thing. Have you noticed much,if any delay with longer cables ? Thanks guys


  • 23 Adrian Fischer // May 26, 2012 at 12:55 am

    I connect two usb cable repeater cables for a total of 20m and havnt noticed an significant delay in transfer

  • 24 ralph s // Jan 5, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    I been looking at tether software prices very I found yours and it works pretty good would like live view but works without oh I got the new DF Nikon all buttons seem to work

  • 25 walter // Feb 23, 2014 at 7:29 am

    I have a Nikon D5300 on Windows 7 64bit and it works whith your Software wel.

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