Canon Wi-Fi Pairing for Beginners

This post is about what you need to do on the camera to pair it to my ShutterCount, ShutterCount Mobile and Kuuvik Capture apps over Wi-Fi.

Why? Because Canon’s cumbersome and ill-designed Wi-Fi user interface is accompanied with an equally bad user guide (the dreaded Wi-Fi Function Instruction Manual). People are struggling with the camera side of the process, and my goal is to help them to overcome the pairing hurdle.

Nevertheless, I recommend everyone to take a look on that manual. First, because some topics, such as entering passwords, are covered there, and second, because you’ll appreciate our simple pairing process (and this post) compared to what Canon has to offer.

Assumptions

  • I expect you to follow this guide step-by-step. If something is not clear, re-read. If still not clear, ask.
  • Your camera has Wi-Fi. You’d be surprised how many people want to connect a Wi-Fi-less camera over Wi-Fi… Newer models have a built-in transceiver, but the 5DS, 5DS R and 7D Mark II requires the optional W-E1 card. Similarly, the 5D Mark III and 7D Mark II will work with the WFT-E7 brick.
  • You have a local Wi-Fi network and your device running ShutterCount or Kuuvik Capture (iPhone, iPad or Mac) is connected to that Wi-Fi. While other configurations (such as camera-created network, and device-created network) are also possible, these are not for beginners. So I assume that both your device and camera will be connected to the same, existing network.
  • You read the camera’s user manual at least partly, and know how to enter a Wi-Fi password for example.
  • You know how your Wi-Fi network is configured, have a password for it, or have the person who manages your network at hand.
  • The camera must be paired directly to our apps. No Canon software should be running. You must quit all Canon apps (as well as others that may connect to your camera) before attempting a pairing, as they will almost certainly cause trouble.
  • If it does not work, you are doing something wrong. Or have a faulty hardware (unlikely, but happens). Not joking. Every single “does not work” case over the years boiled down to these causes. So read again and ask.

In the App

You have to do only one thing in the app: put it into pairing mode.

  • On iOS tap Connect and tap New Camera Pairing…
  • On a Mac click Wi-Fi and Ethernet Pairing… in the ShutterCount (or Kuuvik Capture) menu. Or press F2.

That’s it. The app will automatically come out of pairing mode once the camera is successfully connected.

On the Camera

Different Canons have different Wi-Fi configuration screens. Most new ones have a consistent user interface, but still, there are minor variations. To avoid a hundred page post detailing each camera model separately, I’ll describe the common process, pointing out differences (this is denoted by /a and /b after the step’s number).

The Wi-Fi menu is called either Wireless communication setting or Built-in wireless settings (and is tucked under Communication settings). Older models, and the W-E1 card doesn’t have a top-level Wi-Fi menu item, just Wi-Fi function.

The paring process have four phases: preparation, mode selection, network connection and finally the actual pairing.

Phase 1 : Preparation

This phase is about preparing the camera for using a Wi-Fi connection. Since I don’t want to deal with any previously created configuration mess, you’ll need to reset the camera’s Wi-Fi configuration to the factory default.

Step 1/a : Cameras having either a Wireless communication settings or Built-in wireless settings menu, the Clear settings item is on that menu.

Step 1/b : Older models hide the clear function in a different place: go into the Wi-Fi function menu and press the INFO key. The resulting General sett. screen will have it. Note that the camera’s network (MAC) address is also displayed here. If you use MAC address filtering on your Wi-Fi, you should enable access for this address.

After the reset you can begin setting up the camera: besides enabling Wi-Fi, you may need to give it a nickname.

Step 2 : First choose Wi-Fi settings (or Wi-Fi/NFC settings) from the menu.

Step 3 : Choose Enable to enable Wi-Fi support. Be aware that enabling Wi-Fi may disable the USB port on the camera, so if USB stops working after this, you need to come back here and disable Wi-Fi. NFC is not supported on Apple devices, so I recommend to turn it off when your camera has that option.

Step 4 : The camera may ask for a nickname. There’s no other option here, but to confirm that you will provide one. It doesn’t matter what the actual nickname is. Our apps does not use it for anything at the moment. I usually recommend to accept what the camera offers.

Phase 2 : Mode Selection

Canon cameras offer a bunch of different network communication modes, and only one of those is suitable for our apps. Choosing a wrong one is a recipe for connection failure.

Step 5 : Choose Wi-Fi function to begin. Note that the location of the Wi-Fi function menu differs from camera generation to generation.

Step 6 : You must choose Remote control (EOS Utility), even if the app is running on an iPhone or iPad. The camera will think it’s talking to EOS Utility, when in reality it will talk to our apps. Pressing the INFO button on this screen will show the network (MAC) address of your camera. If you use MAC address filtering on your Wi-Fi, you should enable access for this address.

Step 7 : Newer devices will show you this screen. Since you are connecting for the first time, choose Register a device for connection. Later on, you can recall specific settings here to quickly re-connect with different apps on different devices (but that’s a topic for another post). If the screen is skipped by the camera, don’t worry.

Phase 3 : Network Connection

Newer Canons create a Wi-Fi network by default. You should never ever use this one for anything. Really. It’s extremely slow, unreliable crap. You’ll want to select your good old, existing Wi-Fi network.

Step 8/a : On newer Canons, choose Switch network at this point.

Step 8/b : Older models will present the Connection method screen, where you should choose the Select a network option. Even more older ones will call the Select a network option as Infrastructure mode. On these more older cameras you will also need to choose Find network on the subsequent screen.

Step 9 : Choose your existing Wi-Fi in the next step. Forget about Camera access point mode (described just above) and WPS/PBC. Choose the network your iPhone, iPad or Mac is connected to. A word of caution though. Canon’s Wi-Fi implementation is unable to handle Wi-Fi roaming (that is when you have multiple Wi-Fi access points in the house). Each access point will appear as a different network here, and chances are that the camera will pick a wrong one even if you are selected the correct one. Try the pairing procedure close to each access point to see which one the camera sticks to if you experience connection issues.

Step 10 : Older models will bother you with a question about the key format. I’ve never seen a Wi-Fi network in my entire career that hasn’t used a textual password, and Canon also realized the uselessness of this option and eliminated it from newer cameras. But you should choose Enter 8-63 ASCII characters if the camera insists.

Step 11 : Enter the password for your Wi-Fi network. Again, if you use MAC address filtering, you will need to allow access for the camera’s MAC address, otherwise this screen will not appear or the password will not be accepted.

Step 12 : Choose Auto setting to get the IP address (and other basic networking parameters) from your router automatically. Just line your phone does.

Phase 4 : Pairing

If you made it this far, the camera is now successfully connected to the Wi-Fi network and can start communication with the app. If not, the problem is with your Wi-Fi network or camera, not our apps.

Step 13 :  This is a “this page is left blank intentionally” kind of screen… Choose OK.

Step 14 : The camera now entered pairing mode. If you haven’t done so, put ShutterCount or Kuuvik Capture into pairing mode. Don’t let the message fool you, do not start EOS Utility – it’s not needed, and would just cause trouble. The camera will think that it talks to EOS Utility when it talks to our apps.

Step 15 : This last screen confirms that the camera found the app. Choose OK and enjoy the app! Again, don’t let the message fool you. The camera seems to think that everything is a PC. If your camera prompts for saving the newly created Wi-Fi settings at this point, choose SET1.

Bob’s your uncle – as the British say. Normally the pairing process should be done once, and the next time you use the same app on the same device, it will re-connect to the camera (if Wi-Fi is active). Change the device or even the app, and a re-paring has to be done. But this is a topic for another day.

Mark II Artist’s Viewfinder 5.2 Released

The latest update to my Mark II Artist’s Viewfinder app is available on the App Store. The big news are iPhone X optimization and Smart Function Keys, so I’ll begin with discussing these.

iPhone X

The irregular shaped screen of iPhone X presented quite a design challenge. We wanted to maximize image display without unnecessary obstructions (think the home indicator in landscape orientation), but also keep the display’s aspect ratio as close as possible to the simulated cameras. From several concepts the following one made into the app.

The image area is slightly wider than with rectangular screens, but not too wide to be unusable with 3:2 and 4:3 aspect ratios. The “horns” next to the sensor notch became home for additional user-assignable function keys.

While I don’t use the X personally, I liked the concept of these additional keys so much that ported it to Plus sized iPhone and all iPad models. The only difference is that on these devices the additional keys are located in the toolbar.

Speaking of the function keys, there’s a departure from the lone Fn Key found in previous versions. So much, that they deserved a new name.

Smart Function Keys

In the original Viewfinder app there were four functions keys, each labeled with the abbreviation of the assigned function. In the Mark II these abbreviations were lost as there were only a single Fn Key, and memorizing what’s assigned to it wasn’t difficult. Then we added the ability to override the EL and FL keys. And now two additional function keys. Memorizing five keys assignments, especially if you use the app sporadically, is basically impossible.

Smart Function Keys are not only labeled with the abbreviation of the assigned function, but also show the state of the function. Wide Mode is on? The W key will indicate it. Using a non-native aspect ratio for the active virtual camera? The A key will show it (just like on the above illustration).

There’s another trick the FL key learned in this release. When continuous AF is turned off, the key starts a single AF operation, and now it’s labeled appropriately.

Catalog Restore

While it was possible to back up views via iTunes File Sharing, we observed a growing need to be able to also restore views into the app. Moving to a new device, reinstalling the app, whatever the reason.

Now you can safely restore views via iTunes, as the app gained a new function to rebuild the Catalog after such an operation. It’s available from the menu.

Odds and Ends

The usual camera database updates, workarounds for iOS 11 peculiarities and a few bug fixes complete this release. For the exhaustive list of what’s new, please refer to the Release Notes.

Version 5.2 is a free update for existing Mark II Artist’s Viewfinder owners. New user can purchase the app from the App Store.

We offer upgrade bundles for former Viewfinder Pro/Cine edition owners, so they can upgrade for a reduced price.

Change Your Canon’s Daylight Saving Time Easily

I prefer to keep the clock in my cameras set correctly, so I have to go through all of them twice a year to set and reset the daylight saving time setting (which they don’t do automatically for some strange reason). At this time I manage five Canon DSLRs we use exclusively for software development and testing in addition to my three cameras that I also use for my photography – and updating this setting was always a royal pain for me. This is why the Synchronize Date/Time function was born in my apps.

It is available in Kuuvik Capture as well as the Plus Pack add-on for ShutterCount (both the Mac and iOS versions). Just turn the synchronization on in Preferences, and the next time you connect a camera all time-related settings will be updated to reflect that of your Mac (or iPhone/iPad).

My previous posts (here and here) discuss time synchronization for both apps.

Introducing the ShutterCount Plus Pack

Last night we released a substantial update to my ShutterCount app in the form of the Plus Pack add-on. Let me go through all its features.

Graphing and forecasting

This is the most eye-catching addition, and I think the following screen shot speaks for itself.

A few words on how it works, though. The source of the graphs (as well as for the forecast) is your existing history logs. The horizontal axis is time, in month/year format. Vertical axis is the number of shutter actuations in thousands (k) or millions (M). Grid lines are placed automatically. There’s also a thick horizontal red line, representing the camera’s shutter durability rating, which is visible only if you are nearing it.

You have the option to display the trendline calculated from the data. This trendline is also the base for the forecast, which looks for the intersection of the trendline and the durability rating’s line. The app needs at least four measurements in a 30-day or longer interval to make a forecast. But be aware: this is just a forecast, and not future cast in stone. Your shutter may work much longer, but might even die at half of the rating. It helps you plan preventive maintenance before a long and/or important trip, though.

Date/time synchronization

This is the exact same feature we’ve introduced with the latest Kuuvik Capture update, so I’d recommend to read my post on that.

Outdated firmware warning

There are people who go to great lengths to keep their cameras’ firmware up-to-date, but there’s also quite a huge crowd who do not even know that it should be updated from time to time. This feature helps both camps.

Since Canon’s firmware updates aren’t frequent, the app contains a database of current firmware versions at release time. This database is updated with each new ShutterCount version.

History duplicate removal

If you happen to use a camera less frequently, your history logs may fill up with identical readings. At least mine did. It bothered me quite a lot, so the duplicate removal feature was born.

You have two options: manually initiate a cleanup from the history window, or flip the auto-removal preference and let the app do it for you. In case a manually initiated removal, a backup is created from the log (in the same folder as the original).

Availability

The Plus Pack is an optional add-on, and can be purchased from within the Mac and iOS versions of ShutterCount. On a Mac, click the ShutterCount > Store menu item, on an iPhone or iPad tap More on the tab bar and tap Store in the menu.

In both cases the in-app Store will be displayed, where you can make the purchase. If you have the app on more than one device, then make the purchase on one and use the Restore Previous Purchases button to get it on others. Just like with the app itself, the Mac and iOS versions has to be purchased separately.