Remote control your DSLR for less than $40

Jul 14, 2016

Alan Lawrence

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Remote control your DSLR for less than $40

Jul 14, 2016

Alan Lawrence

We love it when our readers get in touch with us to share their stories. This article was contributed to DIYP by a member of our community. If you would like to contribute an article, please contact us here.

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For several years now, Camranger has been the only choice if you want to tether your Nikon, Sony or Canon DSLR wirelessly to your phone or tablet. While the Camranger is a worthy device that allows you access to all your camera settings remotely as well as instant viewing of your images, even in live view, the $299 pricetag, to me, seemed excessive. By the time you add extras such as the USB cable, mount, etc, you’re approaching $400 not including your tablet.

Well, this weekend, I’ve discovered a $40 alternative. All you need is a TP-Link MR3040 Battery Powered 3G Wireless Router and a $9 app called qDslrDashboard (Android or iOS).

If you go to dslrdashboard.info, you can download new firmware for the router that will turn your $30 device into a $300 Camranger, with virtually the same functionality. When I got the TP-Link router, I was surprised that it is the exact same device used for the Camranger, just rebranded. Same case, etc.

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You will also want to pick up a 1-foot USB cable to attach to your camera. For my Nikon D810, I needed a USB-3 Mini cable.

Here are the steps to create your wireless tethering device… Since I am using Windows 10, that’s what I’m describing here. I’m sure if you Google your OS, you can find what you need.

  1. Download the TP-Link MR3040 ddserver OpenWrt Firmware. You can get it here. If your TP-Link only has a two-way switch, you’ll want the V1 version. The B&H link I listed above is for V2 so you should be fine. Note where you downloaded this file.
  2. Plug the TP-Link directly into your computer’s ethernet connection. Make sure the router’s battery is fully charged or that you have the device plugged in with the adapter.
  3. Flip the switch of the router to 3G.
  4. Access the router’s control panel by typing into a browser 192.168.0.1. Once there, you will type in a user name/password of Admin/Admin.
  5. Once in, click on System Tools/Firmware Upgrade

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  1. In firmware upgrade, choose the file that you downloaded in step 1 above.
  2. When the firmware is upgraded, the router will restart. When it restarts, you will lose the connection because the firmware changes the IP address.
  3. Once restarted, type in 192.168.1.1. Now you will have access to the new OpenWrt firmware.
  4. Now, in the Open WRT password login. It’ll warn that there is no password. Simply type any password into the password and log into the router.
  5. Pick another router password. This will be the admin password.

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  1. Ignore SSH – Hit Save and Apply
  2. Go to System/System
  3. Pick Sync with browser to set the time
  4. Create a wireless network
  5. Click on Network/Wifi
  6. Enable the Generic SSID (mine was already enabled)
  7. Edit Settings
  8. Under ESSID change the name of the network from OpenWRT to whatever you want to call it.
  9. Check the LAN button under network.

That’s it. Download the app to your tablet or phone, connect to the new wireless network (I called mine DSLR Dashboard) and you can now completely control your camera from your device as well as see images instantly as you take them. When using my iPad for tethering, while RAW files work fine, they are huge files on my D810 so I shoot in RAW and JPG so that the JPG files transfer instantly.

There you have it. Enjoy!

About the Author

Alan Lawrence is a commercial, real estate and event photographer based in Seattle, Washington. Alan also teaches photography and post production classes and workshops at Bellevue, Cascadia Community, and Lake Washington Technical Colleges in Washington.

You can find out more about Alan and his work on his website, or reach out to him through Facebook. This article was also published here and used with permission.

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21 responses to “Remote control your DSLR for less than $40”

  1. Reuben Avatar
    Reuben

    does it work..? Had been planning on buying a CamRanger at the end of the month…

    1. masic Avatar
      masic

      It worked for me.

  2. Fadi Shaban Avatar
    Fadi Shaban

    Adel M. Takash

  3. Tor Ivan Boine Avatar
    Tor Ivan Boine

    It’s awesome. Used it for the last two years.

  4. Enrique Avatar
    Enrique

    Some things in photography are overkill overpriced. Replace Tplink to Camranger and voila, it costs 260$ more!!! Same with GPS receivers, wich I think that has to be built in EVERY camera… but put a 5$ chip on a “nikon” housing and… voila!! 200$… and if you think that the crappiest phone today has it… omg….

  5. Satit Putarakkit Avatar
    Satit Putarakkit

    Satit Putarakkit

  6. NaQueall James Avatar
    NaQueall James

    Camranger works with Sony?

  7. Henrik Karlsson Avatar
    Henrik Karlsson

    Too bad I don’t live in the US. AFAIK B&H don’t ship worldwide.

    1. John Aldred Avatar
      John Aldred

      Search google and hit the shopping tab. I found a few places in the UK that have them, so there’ll probably be some sellers in other countries, too. :)

  8. Duka Istvan Avatar
    Duka Istvan

    You can use digiCamControl in same way as dslrdashboard but only Nikon is supported and working only with windows

  9. Taylor Maduro Port Avatar
    Taylor Maduro Port

    I’d actually get one of these now…

  10. Michael Ciurleo Avatar
    Michael Ciurleo

    Wish this was out 4 years ago when I bought my camranger ?

  11. Sean Avatar
    Sean

    My cost? $9. D750 has wireless and works great with qDSLRDashboard. :) No need for external devices. Of course my D700 and D300 are out of the picture but my D750 is my primary anyway.

  12. udi tirosh Avatar
    udi tirosh

    Have been doing this for a few years now. It’s great (not as good as camranger, but still great for when wifi is not crowded). One thing is that you must use that annoying Nikon usb cable. Generic ones didn’t work for me.

  13. Patrick Shipstad Avatar
    Patrick Shipstad

    I LOVE my Camranger… but FYI it does not work with Sony (yet, but I can’t wait till it does!).

  14. John Cornicello Avatar
    John Cornicello

    In step 4 above, the name/password should be all lower case: admin/admin

  15. Monte Morgan Avatar
    Monte Morgan

    Have been using this for about two years with dslr controller app on canon 7d and my 60d. I tried it at a friend’s wedding setting up a second camera with this attached to it and during the kiss I had a friend of mine taking pictures with the remote camera as I was taking pictures with the front got some very good usable pictures with that setup using this very tp-link and the app I mentioned above

  16. schabu Avatar
    schabu

    Will it work with capture one or LR on win10 tablets, laptops etc?

  17. Bryn Price Avatar
    Bryn Price

    Anyone tried to install the CamRanger firmware on the TP-Link? given it’s likely the same hardware, should work and give you the full CamRanger experience.

    DSLRController is working well for now – wish it would also support my FujiFilm X-Series cameras

  18. Lee Burkhardt Avatar
    Lee Burkhardt

    I’ve been using this for about a year. I haven’t had any issues and I followed these instructions. Just get a Android Cellphone charger/data cable. I have one thats about a foot long and it works great. Those cheap ones that only charge probably won’t work. Works great on my D810.

  19. Jennifer Marquez Avatar
    Jennifer Marquez

    I just upgraded the filmware and it isn’t letting me into the new IP address with any password, It says the password is incorrect. Username is root