Tethering Solutions

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Tether Tools

Important note for Firewire 400 / 800 cable users: (USB users scroll down)


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All Apple computers made since 2013 and later (Which has only Thunderbolt port and no Firewire port), and if you are using Apple Thunderbolt to Firewire 800 adapter to connect to Firewire device, you may need additional powered fire-wire 800 repeater, as the thunderbolt adapter may not provide enough power to run your device.

This may not apply to older Apple computers or any desktop PC where you connect Firewire cable directly to the computer.

•           Use the finest quality Firewire cable (like Tether Tools FW cable)

•           Remove the CF / SD card from the digital back / DSLR while tethering to apple computer (desktop/notebook).

•           Use Firewire 800 repeater (you buy this separately, Cost around 20,000/-) (we supply against order)

•           Try keeping the powered repeater / hub, closer to the camera / digital back.

•           Try reversing the Fire Wire 800 to 800 cable as both end are identical. (use the camera end in computer and vice versa.)

•           One can also use the new Apple Cinema Display (as on october 2014) with Thunderbolt connectivity as a firewire hub. The new apple display has various types of interface including firewire 800. Connect the display to Apple using Thunderbolt and connect the Camera to display using the Firewire.

•           Avoid using the Firewire Cable + Firewire 800 to 400 adapter for connecting to older generation Firewire devices.  Use a direct Firewire 800 to 400 cable instead. ( we sale this cable, please call us to know more about the price and delivery time )

Important note for USB 2.0 / 3.0 cable users:

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As mentioned above, all Apple computers made since 2013 and later have reduced power outputs on all communication ports.

As with previous USB versions, USB 3.0 ports come in low-power and high-power variants, providing 150mA and 900mA respectively while simultaneously transmitting data at SuperSpeed rates. Additionally, there is a Battery Charging Specification (Version 1.2 – December 2010), which increases the power handling capability to 1.5A but does not allow concurrent data transmission. The Battery charging specification requires that the physical ports themselves be capable of handling 5A of current but the specification limits the maximum current drawn to 1.5A. (so two different port on the same machine can give different power outputs and thus camera will tether to one port and may not tether to another port) (reference from Wikipedia, more information on USB 2.0 //en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USB_2.0#2.0 and more information on USB 3.0 //en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USB_3.0

USB 3.0 requires more power than USB 2.0 and is especially noticeable when tethering longer distances. Some computers have underpowered USB 2.0 ports and are not compatible with USB 3.0. (So if your computer has USB 2.0 port do not use USB 3.0 extension cable)

Try the other USB ports on the computer to see if it works better.  Not all USB ports on a computer have the same output power.  If you have an iPad (not iphone or ipad mini), check which USB port on the computer will actually charge the iPad. They will all sync but typically only one port will charge the iPad; try tethering to that USB port. If you do not have an iPad, trial and error is the best method.  Try a powered USB hub / repeater.

There were some known issues with Capture One and USB 3.0.  Try removing the CF / SD cards from the camera before tethering. Use Capture One Pro 7.1.6 or later (always use the latest version, as on october 2014 C1 pro V8 is the latest). This may help.

When it comes to Phase One IQ1 and IQ2 backs they need a minimum of firmware version 5.00 (always use the latest version). ( you can check the firmware version on info settings of the digital back) If firmware version is lower, then download and upgrade firmware from www.phaseone.com. Make sure of this two points: 1> We recommend that you download the firmware package, put it on a CF card and upgrade that way. (Firmware menu on back) 2> make sure that the camera back is not connected to a camera body during the upgrade process. The Phase One digital back will remind you about this but it does not hurt to emphasis it an extra time.

Try the following quick test:

  1. Use the finest quality USB 2.0 / USB 3.0 cable (like Tether Tools FW cable)
  2. Remove the CF / SD card from the digital back / DSLR while tethering to apple.
  3. Use powered USB 2.0 / USB 3.0 repeater (you buy this separately) (we supply against order)
  4. Try keeping the powered repeater / hub, closer to the camera / digital back.
  5. While using Nikon / Canon camera with Captue One Pro 7.0 software or later, first go to the preference setting of Capture on pro, and select respective Nikon or Canon camera system. Unless this is correctly choosen the camera will not tether to the computer.
  6. Have you tested only 1 cable or multiple different cable and found none of them are working? (may be one of the cable is defective, test with 2 or 3 different cables)
  7. Are you using 1 extension or trying to use multiple, daisy chained together?  USB 3.0 is limited to only 1 Active extension.
  8. Always use Active extension cables ( passive extension cable will not work )
  9. Confirm your computer has USB 2.0 or USB 3.0?
  10. (In PC the USB 2.0 socket will be black in color from inside, and the USB 3.0 socket will be blue in color from inside, but you can make 100% sure by checking in system preferences.) (With Apple it is impossible to tell from the look or color of the USB port, you need look into system info. Go to Apple menu ( top left, then about this Mac, then more info, then USB)
  11. Is the computer Mac or PC?  Do you have the ability to test the cable on both?
  12. Are you using the USB cable / USB extension on a Digital back or with the Nikon D800?
  13. Are you using the USB 2.0 / USB 3.0 cable or USB 2.0 / USB 3.0 extension. First use only the cable without extension and check if it works.
  14. Have you tried it with other tethering software besides Capture One?  try to determine if it is a hardware or software issue.
  15. Have you tried it with other computer ?
  16. Do you have Apple / PC computer ?
  17. Have you tried it with other devices besides a camera? E.g. portable hard drive ?
  18. Have you tried using a powered hub for testing purposes to see if the cable is working at all?

For more hardware related settings on Apple refer to the “Tether friendly settings for Apple Macbook Pro / Mac Pro” chapter.


Tether friendly settings for Apple Macbook Pro / Mac Pro:

Always use the tried and tested operating system for your primary work machine. Wait for minimum 4 to 5 months before migrating to the newer operating system and newer capture softwares, as all new operating system / capture softwares always has issues which takes time to be identified by company and get resolved. For any computer making company, the digital back / DSLR users (compared to their own product e.g phone/tablet) shooting tethered are a minority and will always have lesser priority in issuing a bug update.

To identify what kind of USB port on your apple, first connect the external USB 3.0 drive to the USB port then go to apple menu (on top left) then go to about this mac, then more info, then USB, here select your hard disk. If you see the speed as 5 gbps then its USB 3.0 port, also see what power is available on that port 900ma / 500ma / 150ma ? if its 900ma it should be fine. 

Try following setting on your Apple if you are using the USB 2.0 / USB 3.0  or Thunderbolt adapter for fire wire.

  • Make sure your Mac OS (10.8.xx or 10.9.xx or 10.10.xx) is installed using apple installer / Mac App store internet recovery method for every individual device. Loading the OS from a common disc image stored on a Hard drive may not install the correct USB 2.0 /3.0 or FW drivers required for your apple computer.
  • Make sure your computer is connected to internet, Start your apple computer by Apple + R key, and then install the latest OS from the apple server. This will ensure the latest firmware are installed on your device and also you will get the very latest version of Mac OS.
  • It is not recommended to install the Mac OS from common disc image stored on installer drive.
  • Always keep the original charger connected to the Apple Mac Book Pro while tethering.
  • Don’t keep your computer, camera, or tether cable close to WIFI or any other transmitter.
  • Keep all other things like sound, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Time Machine, auto backup, switched off. ( to save on battery power, so that computer can allot all power for tethered shooting )
  • Quit all other unnecessary software / application.
  • Keep minimum auto start up / widget application. as they continuously draw power from computer.
  • Go to settings, then energy settings and optimise for more processing power. (on battery and power both)  do the following – Deactivate automatic graphic switching, Display – Always ON, Hard Drive – never sleep, activate do not dim display, Deactivate App Nap while on battery power and power adapter, select prevent computer from sleeping, deactivate put hard disk to sleep when possible.

                                                   tethering-solutions-mac-instructions        tethering-solutions-mac-instructions


  • Do not use any other device which takes power from USB or Thunderbolt at the same time.
  • Connect your Camera / digital back first and then start the computer and respective software
  • Deactivate App Nap feature in Apple OS (10.9.xx) Mavericks (refer to page 2 for more info)
  • Always keep the operating system, Java, flash and the respective capture software upto date with latest updates. (most of the known issues reported by users worldwide are resolved in latest updates)
  •  In case if all of above does not work, then disconnect everything, remove all batteries, remove all cables, switch off computer, wait for 5 minute and then reinsert batteries, connect all cables, start your computer, start your software. In many case this works.

How to deactivate App Nap in Apple Mavericks (OS 10.9.xx):

One of Apple’s goals with its latest version of OS X is to preserve battery life for Mac Book Pro by implementing a number of features which automatically reduce energy usage.

These features include App Nap, which tracks the programs and processes you have in the foreground, and “pauses” any which are hidden from view.

For example, if you are using Capture One Pro, but then move another window/application over Capture One Pro so the Capture One pro is completely covered, then the Capture One Pro will be paused so processing power is not unnecessarily dedicated to keeping it running while not in view. (when this happens even the power to your device will get cut off and it will require a reconnection)


While great for battery life, there may be times when App Nap could be undesirable. If you have a program that takes advantage of App Nap, but you’d prefer to leave it running at full capacity at all times, then you can disable App Nap for that particular program. To do this, locate and select the program file in your Applications folder, and then get information on the file by pressing Command-i, or by choosing Get Info from the File or contextual menus. In the information window that opens, under General, you will see several application options you can enable or disable. These include opening the application in 32-bit mode, opening it in low resolution, locking it, and, for programs that support it, an option to prevent App Nap. Check that option, and that particular program will no longer “pause” when it’s in the background, or minimized.

If you are in doubt, please confirm type of camera/digital back and computer you use and we will quote for the correct Tether Tool cable and fire wire repeater for your workflow.