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Wireless photography with an iPad and ShutterSnitch - Continued
ShutterSnitch FAQ: Canon WFT transmitter tips

canon_and_transmitter.jpg
The screenshots and answers below are based on the WFT-E2 II/WFT-E2 II A transmitter for the EOS-1D Mark III, EOS-1Ds Mark III and EOS-1D Mark IV.

You should be able to configure the WFT-E4 II/WFT-E4 II A for the EOS 5D Mark II and the WFT-E5/WFT-E5A for the EOS 7D much the same way. And possibly the WFT-E3/WFT-E3A and other older Canon transmitters too, though we've not verified this.

Be sure to read the router configuration tips page first for an understanding of the settings we recommend for all devices on the wireless network, including Canon transmitters.

Considerations

ShutterSnitch can detect and display incoming pictures from a Canon transmitter, even if the transmitter's [Directory structure] option is set to [Camera]. Doing so forces the creation of a series of nested folders within the active ShutterSnitch collection, in a structure that mimics the folders on the camera's memory card. Turning on this feature is one way to ensure that multiple cameras capturing and sending pictures with the same file names don't stomp on each other, since each Canon transmitter will create its own master folder within the collection.

On the other hand, it can make it more of a hassle to extract pictures from ShutterSnitch's FTP server using an FTP client on your computer, should you want to do that. Sometimes we do, and so we've left [Directory structure] on its default setting of [Default]. A number of Canon and Nikon digital SLRs give the option of customizing the first three or four characters of the file name; make sure each camera you use is creating unique file names, if possible, and then you won't have a file name collision problem with multiple transmitters in use simultaneously.

Canon transmitters offer both manual and wizard-based ways, within the menus of compatible cameras, to get them configured. We've found the manual way to be generally quicker, and the screenshots below assume you'll go the manual direction too.

When the configuration will include the creation by the transmitter of an ad hoc network, it can be helpful to enter the connection wizard briefly. That's because within it - and only within it - you can see a list of existing wireless networks and, more importantly, the channels they're operating on. When you're on location you can use this wizard feature to quickly see which channels are in use and then adjust your ad hoc channel selection to steer clear of them. You can use the same wizard feature to help you decide which channel you want to set your portable router to also.

While the Canon transmitters and some wireless routers will automatically choose an operating channel for you, there's no guarantee they'll choose a clear one. Th network listing feature of the Canon transmitters' connection wizard can help you to find a channel that you know is clear and therefore likely to provide the fastest transmitter-to-ShutterSnitch throughput.

wft_e2_ii_wiz_networks.jpg
To access the list of nearby wireless networks, choose [Connection wizard] in the camera's [WFT settings] menu. Then, choose [FTP trans.], followed by [Wireless] and then [Connect with wizard]. When you see the next screen (shown at right), you've arrived.

Scroll through the list of networks and channels in use, then decide on a channel number that's not taken or at least not used by many networks. If you can, make it a channel that's at least two away from all others, as this can help minimize interference from nearby channels.

Once you've figured out the channel you like you can leave the connection wizard. The quickest exit is to half-press the camera's shutter button, or you can navigate backwards out of the wizard by selecting [Cancel] several times in a row.

wft_e2_ii_failed_transfer.jpg
A Canon transmitter in FTP Transfer mode is a less than ideal choice for remote camera setups, since it won't automatically re-attempt to send pictures that couldn't transmit during a temporary interruption in the connection. Instead, it puts them in a failed transfer list, and there they stay.

The only way to get them out of the list and into the air is to press buttons on the camera, which is either inconvenient or impossible to do when the camera is set up remotely.

Because of this design flaw, we neither use nor recommend a Canon transmitter for remotes, or at least we wouldn't put it in charge of transmitting photos to ShutterSnitch. Switch the transmitter to WFT Server mode and you'll find us singing a much happier tune. There's more about that at the end of this page.

Q: How should a Canon transmitter be configured to connect to a wireless router?

The screenshots tell the story. If you've set up your router as recommended earlier in the article, then you can configure your Canon transmitter as shown with only a few obvious personalizations. We've done all the configuring in the camera itself, but you can probably speed up the process with Canon's WFT Utility for Mac and Windows. To download the software, surf here, choose your operating system and then click on the WFT Utility link.


WFTRouter
TCP/IP
Wireless 1
Wireless 2
Wireless 3
FTP 1
FTP 2
Confirm 1
Confirm 2
Q: How should a Canon transmitter be configured to create and connect to an ad hoc network?

Before you begin, you need to decide on the IP addresses each wireless device should have. You'll subsequently enter this, along with subnet mask and router/gateway info, into each device that's going to be a part of this network. This includes your transmitter(s), iPad, perhaps your computer, perhaps your iPhone and so on.

Here's our list. You'll note that it closely resembles the DHCP Reservations list on the router configuration tips page. The difference is that a router's DHCP server can dole out network parameters to each device on the network for you, whereas in this instance the information has to be added manually into each device.
  • 192.168.3.100 Laptop
  • 192.168.3.101 iPad
  • 192.168.3.102 iPhone
  • 192.168.3.103 Canon WFT-E2 II A
  • 192.168.3.104 Nikon WT-4A
The screenshots below reflect this list, in that the WFT-E2 II A's IP address and the destination FTP server (iPad) address are derived from it. The list of IPs and the devices they're mapped to is ultimately just for your reference. You'll want to come up with a list that represents your own wireless equipment.

What follows is a summary of this and other network information relevant to the establishment of an ad hoc network. Personalize the settings as necessary.
  • IP address for the on-site computer: 192.168.3.100
  • IP address for the iPad: 192.168.3.101
  • IP address for the iPhone: 192.168.3.102
  • IP address for the WFT-E2 II A: 192.168.3.103
  • IP address for the WT-4A: 192.168.3.104
  • Subnet mask for all device : 255.255.255.0
  • Router/gateway for all devices: 192.168.3.1

  • FTP server (aka ShutterSnitch) port: 26000
  • FTP server (aka ShutterSnitch) username: lgm
  • FTP server (aka ShutterSnitch) password: ---
  • Passive FTP transfers: no

  • Canon WFT Server username: lgm
  • Canon WFT Server password: ---
  • Canon WFT Server port: 00080

  • Wireless network band: 2.4GHz, 802.11g
  • Wireless network name (SSID): LGM Camera
  • Wireless network type: Ad hoc
  • Channel: Any clear one
  • Authentication: WEP (5 ASCII)
  • Password: ---

WFTAdHoc
TCP/IP
Wireless 1
Wireless 2
Wireless 3
FTP 1
FTP 2
Confirm 1
Confirm 2
The matching iPad configuration is shown below. Note that [Static] has been selected and the IP address and other two fields of network information have been entered manually. The iPad hangs onto this information, such that when connecting to the same transmitter's LGM Camera ad hoc network at a later date, the iPad will remember and use the same manually entered network information when it rejoins.

iPadLGMCamera
Connected
Manual IP configuration
The following screenshots show a Mac running OS X 10.6.4 connected to the same network.

MacLGMCamera
Connected
Manual IP configuration
Reconnect automatically
Q: I want to see on an iPad what my remote camera is capturing, and I would like to also be able to adjust camera settings remotely. Can this be done?

Yes. With the help of a computer connected to the remote camera, this can be done with onOne Software's DSLR Camera Remote. Please see our 2009 article DSLR Camera Remote for iPhone comes to life in v1.1 for an overview of what it's about.

If your camera is the EOS-1D Mark III, EOS-1Ds Mark III or EOS-1D Mark IV, and you shell out for both an Eye-Fi card and a WFT-E2 II/WFT-E2 II A, then you can do this without a computer. The Eye-Fi card is in charge of transmitting pictures to ShutterSnitch as you shoot them, while the Canon transmitter, set to WFT Server, sits ready to make camera settings adjustments.

If this sounds complicated or prone to all sorts of goofups, it isn't. We've been testing the heck out of this with an EOS-1D Mark IV and it has been rock solid. Nor is it particularly difficult to configure everything. What you'll need:
  • Eye-Fi card
  • Canon WFT-E2 II/WFT-E2 II A and compatible camera
  • Wireless router
The configuration of the Eye-Fi card doesn't need to change at all, relative to what we've outlined earlier in the article. Same goes for the Canon transmitter, which requires only minor adjustments from what's outlined in the router section of this page. Specifically:

In the WFT Settings menu, change [Communication mode] to [WFT Server]. Then, choose [Set up] in the same menu. Scroll down to [WFT Server settings], select it, then enter at least one username/password combo in [WFT Account] and check that [Port number] is set to 00080 (change this only if you know why you should).

Press the Menu button to get back to the [Set up] menu, and perhaps confirm that [LAN settings] is configured correctly before you leave the area. That's it. The transmitter will now be in WFT Server mode. The settings confirmation screens are shown below. On the WFT-E2 II/WFT-E2 II A, the LED will switch to a solid green when WFT Server has established a link with the wireless router.

WFTServerConfirm
Confirm 1
Confirm 2
You can connect to the Canon transmitter from most any modern web browser that supports JavaScript. To do that, surf to the transmitter's IP address (in this example: http://192.168.1.103), enter the username and password when prompted and you're in.

wft_server_ipad_01.jpg
At Your Service: Logged into WFT Server mode

Things to note:
  • Don't try to do this without a wireless router, even if you have an Eye-Fi Pro card, or your head will explode trying to get the networking bits configured in a way that works within the ad hoc parameters of each transmitter and the devices that have to connect with them.

  • When it's time to make a camera settings change from the iPad, you have to quit ShutterSnitch and launch Safari to access the Canon transmitter in WFT Server mode. While you're in Safari, ShutterSnitch can't and won't receive any pictures. It's not a big problem, since once you return to ShutterSnitch and open a collection, firing a frame is all you have to do to get the Eye-Fi card to blip along any unsent pictures shot while ShutterSnitch was unavailable.

    If quitting ShutterSnitch isn't an option, then use a browser on some other device to make camera settings changes. For example, start up Safari on your iPhone (this probably works on other smartphones too) and make remote camera settings changes with it, leaving ShutterSnitch to receive pictures, uninterrupted, on your iPad.

    A future version of ShutterSnitch will continue to receive pictures even when you switch apps. This feature will require iOS 4 and therefore won't come to ShutterSnitch until after Apple releases iOS 4.2 in November 2010.

  • While the camera can be triggered from WFT Server's Simple Control or Camera Control screens, for any sort of sports or other situation in which minimal trigger delay is important, the actual firing of the camera is best done with a dedicated wireless trigger. For us that means a set of PocketWizards.

  • Safari on an iPad (iOS 3.2.2) will run of out memory and crash if WFT Server mode's Live View is kept active for more than a minute or so. In Camera Control you can turn Live View on and off as needed using the play/pause button in the lower left corner of the picture preview area, thereby (mostly) avoiding a crash. Simple Control keeps Live View on always and will crash Safari on an iPad too, but not as quickly as when in Camera Control. Stability is otherwise a-ok in our experience, it's only Live View that can introduce problems if used more than briefly.

    The Live View situation was the same on an iPhone 3GS, before the release of iOS 4. With iOS 4.01 loaded, though, Live View-related Safari crashing problems seem to have been eliminated. With luck the same stability improvements will come to the iPad when it gets the iOS 4 treatment.
wft_server_shutter_scroll.jpg
  • When you attempt to change shutter speed from Safari on an iPad or iPhone, the shutter speed list extends beyond its section of the interface and no scroll bars appear (as shown in the iPhone screenshot at right).

    The solution is to scroll the list by dragging within it, using not one but two fingers simultaneously.

    You'll run into this as well when choosing a colour temperature for the K white balance setting.
  • If a Canon transmitter in WFT Server mode detects the wireless network has gone out of range or is otherwise temporarily unavailable, it will periodically scan to see if the network has reappeared. When it does, the transmitter will automatically reconnect to it, without user intervention. The reconnection seems to happen within about a minute of the network's return.

  • Neither an Eye-Fi card nor a Canon transmitter uses a lot of power. But when your transmitter is the WFT-E2 II/WFT-E2 II A, it's drawing power from the same battery as the Eye-Fi card, which is the same LP-E4 battery powering the rest of the camera. Therefore, you will see the battery gauge go down faster than normal, and it might be necessary in a remote setup to hook up the camera to an external battery, AC or plan to swap batteries partway through the event.
Nikon WT-4/WT-4A configuration tips are on the next page.
Next Page: FAQ: Nikon WT-4/WT-4A configuration tips
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