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Wireless Control of Canon EOS DSLRs with DSLR Controller and TP-Link MR3040 Wireless Router


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Wireless Control of Canon EOS DSLRs with DSLR Controller and TP-Link MR3040 Wireless Router

 

DSLR Controller $8.00 (Google Play store)

http://dslrcontroller.com/

http://dslrcontroller.com/guide-wifi_mr3040.php

 

TP-Link MR3040 Wireless Router  ~ $30.00 (Amazon and other sources)

http://www.tp-link.com/en/products/details/TL-MR3040.html

 

 

            When doing astrophotography, most of us use a laptop for camera control, autoguiding and image display.  At public outreach stargazes we often just want to take a single time exposure in order to show visitors what 'that fuzzy blob' they see in the eyepiece really looks like, it's often not at all convenient to set up a laptop.  A tablet is an excellent tool for image display, but there's still the problem of a USB cable from the tablet to the camera.  Many tablets don't even have a full size USB connection or require a special adapter or cable, but they all have WiFi.  That's great if you're using a camera that has WiFi capability but what about those DSLRs that don't?  Enter the TP-Link MR3040 Wireless Router.

 

            The MR3040 is a small wireless router, readily available for about $30.  It has a full size USB 'A' port which connects to a camera, a USB 'Mini B' port for charging its 2000mAh battery, and an ethernet port.  After installing dedicated firmware (following the guide at the website listed above) it connects via USB to any Canon DSLR, the MR3040 will then establish an ad hoc network and provide a wireless connection to an Android tablet or Android phone running DSLR Controller.

 


                                   

                                         Canon T5i and TP-Link MR3040 Wireless Router

 

 

 

            What can you do with DSLR Controller and the MR3040?  Pretty much everything you can do with the controls on your camera - even more, from the basics of setting ISO, white balance, and exposure duration to more advanced features such as bracketing and time lapse.  Magnify the image and tweak focus with an autofocus lens attached (although you'll have to turn off AF before taking the shot).  The Liveview image is displayed on the tablet or phone instead of the camera's LCD.  Once the exposure is complete, the app takes a few seconds to download the jpeg image to the tablet and displays it.  Zoom in with thumb and forefinger.  You can transfer the jpeg image (or multiple images) to your tablet, or select Play and tap on one of the thumbnails to display it full size.    

 


                                      Shutter speed setting screen in DSLR Controller

 

 

            The club I belong to (Escambia Amateur Astronomers Association, in Pensacola FL) provides a lot of public outreach, three weekends per month from spring to fall, and numerous stargazes for local schools and scout groups.   At our most light-polluted public location (Pensacola Beach), a modified Canon DSLR, tablet with DSLR Controller, and the MR3040 provides the perfect way for visitors to see the Ring, Dumbbell, Lagoon, Trifid and other objects as something more than faint, colorless smudges barely discernible through the light pollution.  A real treat is letting older children operate the Hand Controller and take the photos with the tablet.  So far I've used the MR3040 and DSLR Controller with Acer A500 and Samsung Galaxy Tab4 tablets, Canon 40D, T2i, T3i, T5i, 60D and 6D cameras.  (Although it's somewhat redundant with the 6D as it has WiFi built in).  I'm usually with ten feet of the MR3040 but have used it up to thirty feet away.

            The MR3040 is not confined to strictly astro use either, use it anytime you want to use your camera without holding it; set it up near a bird feeder and sit far enough away so as not to spook the birds.  Want to take a group photo with you in it but don't want to run back and forth between the camera and the group?  Using your tablet, you can ensure everyone is in the correct position, eyes open, looking at the camera, set a two second delay and press the shutter icon, giving you two seconds to move the tablet discreetly out of the shot.

 


                              Some of the available settings options in DSLR Controller

 

 

Problems and persnickities:

 

            Only jpeg files can be displayed or transferred to the tablet.  If the camera is set to record only RAW, the default jpeg that is embedded in the RAW file will be transferred and will take a few seconds.   By selecting RAW+jpeg in the DSLR Controller app, the jpeg will be displayed on the tablet and will transfer faster than the jpeg embedded with the RAW file.  All files are always saved on the SD card in the camera. 

 

            My sequence is to turn on the tablet, then turn on the MR3040.  I then connect wirelessly to the dslrcontroller network.  Once the connection is made, I connect the camera to the MR3040 and turn the camera on.  Usually, but not always, DSLR Controller will start up and the camera will be placed into Liveview (displayed on the tablet).  Sometimes the camera connection doesn't get made, in these cases I find it necessary to turn the MR3040 off, leave it off for 10-15 seconds, then turn it back on.  A quick off/on or disconnect/reconnect doesn't do the trick.  If DSLR Controller does not start up, I tap the icon for it and it quickly finds the camera and starts up.

 

Summary

 

            Camera manufacturers have embraced WiFi capability for newer models but many of us still have and use older models (many of them modified for enhanced sensitivity) without WiFi.   Whether it's astro, sitting at the waterfront taking photos of the sunset, or unobtrusive photos of the kids at a family gathering, the MR3040 and DSLR Controller provide the freedom to shoot untethered and instantly review photos in a larger format than the back of the camera LCD.


  • Dennis H., Raginar, saguaro and 2 others like this


23 Comments

Very neat, great article. I notice that one function looks like it can be used as an intervalometer. Is it possible that the captures also be sent to a computer folder on the same network?

I have been using this app for several years. It works real good but is a little finicky. I typically connect to my galaxy 10 and 1000D. It is sometimes difficult to connect. I found that cold temperatures really affect the router connection. If it is below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, I place it in an oven mitt. If it is even colder I put in a battery hand warmer in as well. Otherwise it will not connect to the camera.

The intervalometer works good but does not give the correct time to finish capturing. It seems to ignore the exposure length and calculates the time only based on the number of exposures and delay. Therefore you must perform your own math. I mentioned this to the developer but he blew me off and said it works.

One more issue is I cannot get my SL1 (100D) to zoom using the tablet. Everything else works but that function. Even with those issues I still like the app because there is no other option to get wireless control of older Canon cameras. Especially at this price.

I tried this setup which you can build yourself very easily. Not much invested in terms of cost  and a free app from the developer. The problem is the connection drops out  and it is a bit bulky with the way it connects

I wanted connectivity with my iPad as well and this was problematic.

I tried IUSBport 

If you have not tried IUSBport , then give it a shot

It is costlier but the connections are solid and it has excellent support from the manufacturer for firmware updates etc

also I can easily mount it in the horseshoe of my Canon and it does not get in the way at all.

That sounds interesting but I use the horseshoe for mounting my zero power finder from scopestuff.

Works great with Nikons as well.  I use it all the time with my DSLR.

 

One of the best things about it is it allows focus control on your phone.  You can literally spin the focus motors from where ever you're standing and really get it squared away.

I've been using DSLR Controller since it came to the market. It works flawlessly with Android phones and tablets with a direct usb connection (Android provides a host capability) eliminating the need for a computer in the field. I think the wireless module will be useful in group situations where you do not want a direct connect cable.

Great article! I use CamRanger for my Canons, to connect with my iPad. You can also connect to an iPhone, or a laptop running either MAC OS or Windows, as well as Android. The CamRanger looks identical to the TP-Link.

Photo
margin_walker
Oct 06 2016 04:42 PM

Really interesting article, thanks for writing it. I never knew this existed and I need something that works with iOS. I've seen a review on Amazon that says the CamRanger is a rebranded TP-LINK TL-MR3040 at about one tenth of the price. Looks like I'll be doing some more homework. Much appreciated.

Unfortunately CamRanger is much more expensive, but it does work on every platform and is very reliable. The interface is also well designed and you can control all settings on your camera and lenses. I used it for pro photo jobs well before I had a telescope. I like this review because it is a much cheaper alternative that would work for a lot of people.

Would I be able to use this with my Android smartphone?

The CamRanger will work with an Android smartphone.

Thanks for the reply... Will it work on the less expensive TP-Link MR3040? The CamRanger is a bit out of my price range.

Tom

Yes, the article states that it works with Android phones and tablets.

Raginar, the Google Play store listing for this program says it does not work with Nikon. Can you give me a source for your information that it does? Have you used it yourself with Nikon; which model? Thanks for any information.

It works with Canon eos dslr cameras and not Nikon.

Are there any options out there to  connect my Canon DSLR to my Windows 7 laptop via WiFi?

 

Thanks,

TomH

Will the camranger connect with a ZWO ASI 120 or is this just wishful thinking? or the TP-Link MR3040 wireless router as an alternative?

Daryl T

Considering one can find EOS DSLRs on Ebay from $50 up, this is a good alternative to video cams

 

http://www.ebay.com/...toAAOSwmLlX5e2v

I just set this up in under an hour using my Samsung S7 to download and push the firmware update and make the final connection.

I haven't had something come together this easily in a very long time.

Great article.  Great instructions on the website and great software to make it all just work.

I can't wait to get it out in the field!

Thank you for sharing!

Will this work with Backyard EOS?   Does the router just "extend" the USB port wirelessly?

The MR3040 is not a wireless USB port, i.e., it doesn't "extend" the USB port wirelessly.  It works in concert with DSLR Controller and the firmware installed on the MR3040 to operate the camera wirelessly with DSLR Controller.  The iUSBport may be what is needed for what you want (I think it is, but don't know for sure).  It's also 10X the price of the MR3040.

 

Will this work with Backyard EOS?   Does the router just "extend" the USB port wirelessly?

How well do wireless DSLR controllers focus for astrophotography purposes?

Photo
ASSNE.Prime
Jan 01 2017 10:44 AM

Is there noticable lag using liveview with the router? Would using a faster router such as the TP-Link N300 Wireless Wi-Fi Router (300 mbs vs 150 mps) be enough of an advantage to offset the lack of battery and has anyone tried the N300 for camera control?



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