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.

Kuuvik Capture 2.3 Released

kc2icon@2xVersion 2.3, bringing Canon EOS 80D support to Kuuvik Capture 2 is now available on the Mac App Store.

Since Canon introduced quite a few changes with this body, I had to update both the camera control and the RAW decoder in my Digital Camera Library.

And at this point let me add a few personal comments on the 80D.

While the improved low ISO dynamic range is a welcome addition, this camera is a step back in a few regards. First, it’s not fast enough to support multi-point live view (formerly known as split view). It’s an unfortunate trend with Canon’s newest mid-range cameras: both the 70D and 700D were multi-point live view capable, and none of their replacements/successors are.

Second, the removal of the shutter count feature (it does not affect Kuuvik Capture per se, but indeed affects my ShutterCount app).

Third, Wi-Fi is still on the verge of being unusable. I’ve already mentioned sub-par 70D/6D Wi-Fi transfer speeds in the version 2.2 release announcement post. With the 80D, I was enthusiastic about the Easy Connection option, that is designed to create the camera’s own access point, and to allow using EOS Utility mode with no existing network needed. The idea is something you would expect in 2016, but the implementation is crap. And I’m not talking about the inability to specify a password for this network, but the extremely slow transfer speed. I measured speeds south of 30mps – which is half of the already slow speeds of the mid-range bodies.

Thus, I recommend to stick with using an existing Wi-Fi network and to avoid the Easy Connection option completely. Fortunately using an existing network is not slower than the 70D was (but it’s not faster either).

I took over Kuuvik Capture last year, and decided that I will not release a Windows version. This allowed me to remove former platform independent code and to do Apple-specific optimizations and speed up the app considerably. The code base is large, so this optimization process is still in progress – and this release also includes a few. They are not user visible, but you might notice them here and there. (For the technically inclined – I had eliminated a bunch of memory copy operations between the Digital Camera Library and the user interface.)

On the user-visible changes front, Split View had been renamed to Multi-Point Live View. I think it’s more clear what the feature does this way, plus Apple introduced a completely different Split View into OS X – and wanted to avoid any confusion.

The update is free for existing Kuuvik Capture 2 customers. New users can download Kuuvik Capture 2 from the Mac App Store.

For more information about the app, please visit it’s microsite, or check out my posts.

Kuuvik Capture 2.2 Released with Wi-Fi Support

The latest update to my Kuuvik Capture camera remote control app went online earlier today. Although it looks like a small update on the surface, there’s a huge change under the hood. This version contains the 3rd generation of my digital camera library – with full Wi-Fi and Ethernet connection support.

You may remember that we had dropped the network camera option during the beta, because Apple’s PTP-IP (the protocol used to talk to the camera over Wi-Fi and Ethernet) implementation turned out to be unreliable under heavy load. Not to mention the side effect that Image Capture started every time we connected a camera.

So I took the challenge and developed a completely new PTP-IP transport component, debuting in Kuuvik Capture 2.2. If you think that it’ll appear in other apps in the future, then you’re on the right track… But let’s concentrate on Kuuvik Capture now.

Connecting your camera via Wi-Fi (or Ethernet)

First of all, you’ll need either a Wi-Fi equipped camera (6D, 70D), a built-in Ethernet socket (1D X, 1D C) or a separate Wireless File Transmitter (5D Mark III, 5DS, 5DS R, 7D Mark II, 1D X, 1D C) for this to work. Only Canon’s transmitters are supported, third party Wi-Fi remote control boxes will not work. Please check the tech specs for the full list of compatible equipment.

Canon cameras provide connectivity in several ways. The most complete is the EOS Utility connection mode. For this mode a camera needs to be paired to a given app on a given computer. Using two apps on the same computer? You need to pair the camera to them separately, and only one can be active at a time.

The computer side of this pairing process is dramatically simplified in Kuuvik Capture 2 compared to both version 1 and Canon’s EOS Utility.

Kuuvik Capture now needs to be “pairing mode” to accept a pairing request coming from the camera. This mode is accessible through a new menu item (or by pressing F2).

networkPairing

Pairing can be initiated from the menu.

Kuuvik Capture displays the pairing window (shown below) while in pairing mode. This window also shows your computer’s name, which will appear on the camera’s LCD during the last pairing step, so you can double-check that you are pairing to the computer you were intended to.

networkPairingWindow

The pairing window. Kuuvik Capture is ready to accept pairing request only when this window is displayed.

And that’s all you need to do on the Mac.

Once in discoverable state, you can start the configuration process on your camera. The process consists of three large steps:

  1. Choose a connection mode.
  2. Configure your network.
  3. Do the actual pairing.

They are documented in your camera’s or wireless transmitter’s user manual, but there are a few important points to consider.

First, please don’t start any Canon app that may be mentioned in the manual. You are now pairing to Kuuvik Capture, and not to Canon’s apps.

For step 1, you must use the Connection Wizard on cameras where it’s available (e.g. 5-series, 7-series with the external brick), otherwise you won’t be able to complete step 3. On the 6D and 70D choose the Remote Control (EOS Utility) mode. On other cameras choose EOS Utility mode in the Connection Wizard.

In step 2, the camera will ask for network specific parameters (whether it’s wired or wireless, plus various options and a password specific to your network). This is the most complicated part of the entire process, but Wi-Fi setup is such a thing… I’d recommend to study the camera/transmitter manual beforehand.

Out in the field with no network to connect to? My previous post shows you how to create a fast and secure Wi-Fi network on your Mac!

The last step is the actual pairing. As the LCD indicates, this is your last chance to put Kuuvik Capture into pairing mode. It may take up to 1.5 minutes for the camera and your Mac to find each other.

camerapairing1

This is how the camera’s LCD will look like as soon as they found each other:

camerapairing2

Pairing should be done once (unless in the meantime you paired your camera to another app, another computer, or used another network). To deal with these different scenarios, the very last screen in the process (after clicking that OK button) lets you save up to 5 (3 for 6D/70D) setups into your camera’s memory. But if nothing has changed, Kuuvik Capture will find your camera automatically the next time you turn it on and connect to the network, so the pairing is not necessary every time you want to use a Wi-Fi or Ethernet connection.

When pairing has successfully completed, the camera’s LCD will turn black, the pairing window will disappear, and the camera’s name will show up in Kuuvik Capture’s camera selector.

Notes on Wi-Fi speed

It seems that Canon implements one of the lowest speed classes for each of their Wi-Fi implementations. This is 150mbps for the external 802.11n bricks (using only one spatial stream), and a shockingly low 60mbps for the 6D and 70D (despite they advertise it as 150). So don’t expect miracles and be prepared for 12-15 second downloads on these slower cameras. On the other hand, the external bricks are fast enough to be perfectly usable when the network signal is good.

Well, speaking of bad, flaky networks. While I absolutely hate to add new configuration options (one more thing for you to deal with), this time it was a must.

Wi-Fi networks can become unbeliveably slow (think longer distances and/or interference), causing the camera to disappear from Kuuvik Capture. A longer network timeout (a longer time allowance for intermittent network errors to clear) may solve this, but at the expense of delaying the detection of actual issues (such as when the battery dies). So the Preferences window now has an option to control this.

ntoPreference

The default is 10 seconds, which we found to be suitable for most Wi-Fi networks. You can go as low as 5 seconds or as high as 30 seconds. My personal preference is to go with the lowest number, and raise it in the presence of connectivity issues.

Other new features

There are two of them. Customers have asked for more, longer time options for mirror lock-up auto-release. So we’ve added 8s, 10s and 15s to the palette. Also the new white priority white balance mode introduced with the 5DS/R is now available on the white balance control.

Availability

The update is free for existing Kuuvik Capture 2 customers. New users can download Kuuvik Capture 2 from the Mac App Store.

For more information about the app, please visit it’s microsite, or check out my posts.