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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Flip the switch of the router to 3G.
- 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.
- Once in, click on System Tools/Firmware Upgrade
- In firmware upgrade, choose the file that you downloaded in step 1 above.
- When the firmware is upgraded, the router will restart. When it restarts, you will lose the connection because the firmware changes the IP address.
- Once restarted, type in 192.168.1.1. Now you will have access to the new OpenWrt firmware.
- 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.
- Pick another router password. This will be the admin password.
- Ignore SSH – Hit Save and Apply
- Go to System/System
- Pick Sync with browser to set the time
- Create a wireless network
- Click on Network/Wifi
- Enable the Generic SSID (mine was already enabled)
- Edit Settings
- Under ESSID change the name of the network from OpenWRT to whatever you want to call it.
- 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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