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Revisiting the alternative Wi-Fi solution for Nikon D4

The $30 Wi-Fi solution for Nikon D4 described in this post had one limitation - the Wi-Fi bridge did not act as an access point and needed an established Wi-Fi network in order to operate. This setup can be further improved if you use an USB solar battery charger (around $15 on eBay) and the ASUS WL-330N3G mini Wi-Fi router (around $70 on Amazon):

The battery is charged from the sun in about 10 hours or from a PC in 3 hours and can lasts for about 2 hours. The 3G router is excellent, it starts-up in seconds, can share an USB hard disk, can also share its Internet connection via a SIM card, etc. Including a WEB/FTP server in the D4 was a very clever move from Nikon - it gives endless possibilities. I can for example make a script on my Android phone to connect to the FTP server every x seconds and downloads all the new JPEG files (similar to Eye-Fi cards). If the camera is far away from Wi-Fi reach, I can connect to it through the Internet (provided I made a port forwarding for ports 80 and 21 in the 3G router).

Here are some pictures of the setup:

Check also this alternative Wi-Fi solution for Nikon D4.
Thanks to GfK from Patras, Greece for sending in this update.

This entry was posted in Nikon D4 and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.
  • http://www.MartinWongPhotography.com Martin

    Spying just got easier and cheaper.

    • http://photosynthesis.gr/photoblog GfK

      C’mon this is not a permanent internet connection.
      You stick it there when you need it. So nobody can hack into the camera.

      Ofcourse you could use it for surveillance
      But this sensor/shutter costs thousands I wouldn’t prefer leaving it in Live View for hours…

      • http://mikeandfrida.blogspot.com mike

        Yup; this isn’t a spying setup. It could prove handy for live backups during weddings, however…

  • Jhay Gamba

    Awesomeness!!!

  • Pablo

    Off topic on topic:
    Is there any options for the D800 like this?
    Cheap option of curse.
    Thanks.

  • Wayne

    Ive gone for the wt-5, but I much admire what you are doing. Who knows where it will eventually lead? All power to your elbow and the best of wishes. Looking forward to your next installment!

  • Reni Barlow

    I’ve been experimenting with a similar setup – the ASUS WL-330N3G in access-point mode, works extremely well. I’m looking at various power options, including the D4 battery itself, via 10-pin to mini-USB connector. (I’m waiting for the cable to arrive and will be interested to see how it will impact the D4 battery life.

    The solar option is a great idea, though I would probably prefer a battery with more mAh.

  • jadekub

    Nice!!!!

  • D400
    • emilien

      Simply love it! Now, this is what I call a forum! Thanks for sharing!

  • Mark J.

    While a great idea, that thing is so bulky and stick out so much that i really do think the majority of people who need this type of thing will just shell out the extra cash for the Nikon version.

    • http://photosynthesis.gr/photoblog GfK

      I am the creator of this thing.
      I say to you it is no bulky at all.
      You can throw it in your bag and forget it.
      When you need it you stick it into the ethernet port and it works in seconds.
      Truly, this is a better solution than WT-5

      If the camera is miles away from Wi-Fi reach, I can connect to it through the Internet (provided I made a port forwarding for ports 80 and 21 in the 3G router AND enable DynDNS feature in the router).
      Can you do that with WT-5 ?

      • Mark J.

        I’m not saying it’s not a good idea. I’m just saying its not something i would want to be having attached to my camera while doing a portrait shoot. It’s just way too bulky compared to the WT-5. And im not talking about ease of putting it in a bag, im talking about having it attached while shooting. That is the part i think this just doesn’t compare to the WT-5 on is that its adding too much to the overall dimensions of the camera.

        • http://photosynthesis.gr/photoblog GfK

          wt-5 only works as an Access Point. You can’t connect through internet
          You also have limited reach because of its tiny radio/antenna. In the user manual it is mentioned 180m with large antenna as a receiver.
          So I assume its range is about 50-100m in a straight Line-Of-Sight.
          Also don’t forget that you can’t change its position say if your receiver is behind your back or in the ceiling.
          Lastly I can assure you it’s no pain using this solution in real life.
          It’s no bigger than

          • http://photosynthesis.gr/photoblog GfK


            It’s no bigger than

            • http://photosynthesis.gr/photoblog GfK

              my Bowens Pulsar radio triggers

              grrr

            • Mark J.

              Yeah, but the Bowens mounts on the hotshoe putting it out of the way of everything. This however, is right on the side, and sticks out from what that photo shows a good 2+ inches out the side, and then sticks out front to back another 1+inch out the front and rear.

              Not that this isn’t a good idea, im not saying that. Im just saying that its’ too bulky and its location on the dslr would be really irritating when shooting.

        • http://bit.ly/9NIXQ Sir David Hasselblaff

          The entire D4 is too bulky

          • http://photosynthesis.gr/photoblog GfK

            agree,
            but it is some grams lighter and less bulkier than my previous D700+MBD10 !!
            Also it is very well balanced, you don’t feel it’s weight, you have to try it!!

            • B!

              I couldnt agree more. The ironic thing is that all these people who complain about D4s bulk go and buy a grip for their “tiny” camera which in turn make it even bulkier and by far more akward then a pro camera. One has to handle pro-body to apreciate it’s ergonomics.

            • http://amusingfool.blogspot.com/ AMusingFool

              I agree, also. I upgraded from a D90, and never had the grip for that. So it was a big change for me. I notice the weight, occasionally, but never the bulk. It fits the hand well (and I have average-sized hands).

        • B!

          This setup can be mounted on a belt with a little welcro strap. Then you’d just have a cat5 cable tethering it to the camera; everything out of the way. Add to that the fact that you can buy really soft cat5/6 cables and you have a really unobtrusive setup.

          • http://photosynthesis.gr/photoblog GfK

            Exactly!
            Now imagine you want to pull away WT-5. You can’t!

            Of course this is a prototype.
            There are many elegant solutions out there,
            WiFi routers are so common that everybody has one!
            The real challenge is to find the tiniest one with embedded battery, with the least consumption and with lots of features.
            (I’d like one with GPS inside it :-(

  • proeman

    Hello,

    I highly recommend a mission critial Cradlepoint (http://www.cradlepoint.com) brand router to connect any number of cameras, or Wi-Fi devices, to the web while on the go. I constantly use a CTR-500 which has both Ethernet, USB and PCIex ports for 3G/4G, supporting load balancing or connection failover. It can support 256 Ethernet connections or 32 via Wi-Fi. Most important these mobile routers are super secure and are standard across multiple businesses, good example been the banking industry (majority of small ATM’s have these routers inside).

    How to connect your camera? If it has SD reader, use a Eye-Fi card. If it has compact flash, get a SD to CF converter and use the Eye-Fi. Set it up to connect to the router. If you use any of the suggested Wi-Fi devices, do the same: Connect them to the web via a Cradlepoint. Again, it can handle 32 simultaneous Wi-Fi connections. More than enough for you and friends or a small office or on the go event.

    There are other more limited and less secure hotspots like the popular MiFi2200, but that only allows for 5 Wi-Fi simultaneous connections. For more info check:

    http://emechanicshop.blogspot.com/2011/10/wireless-photographer-always.html

    Hope this helps and enjoy!

    • http://photosynthesis.gr/photoblog GfK

      Please please
      find me a tiny WiFi router with Lithium batteries…

      • http://www.dwijadas.com Dwijadas Senapati

        Actually you can try any of the 4G/3G mini MIFI or wireless broadband device. they are itself a router.

        huawei mifi – google it. you can see them. they are lovely last for 2-3hrs.

      • http://www.dwijadas.com Dwijadas Senapati

        forgot to mention .. it works even thought its not connected to any boardband device .. the local wireless network b/w devices works pretty well. really really cheap .. way cheaper than your Asus Router.

      • http://www.dwijadas.com Dwijadas Senapati

        I totally forgot it must have a RJ45 .. in my case I am using with Eye-Fi to extend the rage of Eye-Fi. since Eye-Fi really cries even more than 2m. I keep one of them in my poket to boost the Eye-Fi strength

        Never thought with D4 you must have a RJ45.

        You need this http://forum.lowyat.net/topic/2286240

        • http://Photosynthesis.gr/photoblog GfK

          Really very interesting.
          Way more beautiful than wt-5
          And you can put it whereever you like

      • http://amusingfool.blogspot.com/ AMusingFool

        Not sure if they’re lithium or not, but take a look at the ZyXel MWR222 (or 211, if you can find it). I got one to use with my D4, but haven’t hooked it all up to confirm how well it works. Will try that tonight.

        Btw, just because, here are some shots I took yesterday of the Space Shuttle (using D4 and 300/2.8 lens):
        http://amusingfool.dyndns.org/~dclemmer/photography/shuttle-arrival/

  • huntgather

    me press button.

    me take picture.

    me professional.

    me work other job during week.

    me also want d800 that better than medium format.

    drag wife by hair!

  • Spy Black

    The $64,000 question is: When you’re paying SIX THOUSAND DOLLARS for a camera body, why are you being nickled and dimed for a damned wireless COM? Not to mention that you don’t have GPS tagging. My $100 cellphone has GPS tagging. SIX THOUSAND DOLLARS!

    • chk

      I agree with every single word.. plus, considering the cost of a wifi chip, even a d3100 should have it included out of the box.. this bulky solutions make me laugh in order not to cry…

    • http://photosynthesis.gr/photoblog GfK

      +2
      Who on earth would leave his $6k camera in a far distance in order to remotely control it? I wouldn’t !

    • http://haroldellis4444@gmail.com Harold Ellis

      because you can?

      some are photographers, prefer spending moneys on useful gear, not overpriced wifi junk.

    • Ken D

      When I asked in a German photo forum why for heaven’s sake the new Canon pro cameras do not have built-in GPS they answered me that US military would prohibit cameras with built-in GPS capability so no one can (could…. as there are external attachements and even external loggers) see in the metadata of the image where it has been shot. Another answer was given that wildlife photogs taking pictures of seldom animals would not reveal the exact position of these animals in the metadata and therefore giv the poachers an easy living… This is just what I heard, so please do not kill me for this (rather weird) explanation.

      Cheers

      • http://amusingfool.blogspot.com/ AMusingFool

        Explanation _might_ make sense if external units that do the same thing weren’t available.

  • JSanJosé

    I like your setup, and I think this http://www.belkin.com/IWCatProductPage.process?Product_Id=591000 for the power, this belkin battery gives 4000 mAh, I think with this battery you buy a lot of time, don’t you ?

    • http://photosynthesis.gr/photoblog GfK

      You can find in ebay cheap 10,000mAh external batteries for iPad, they are suitable
      But they are bigger and heavier.
      The smallest I have found is that one pictured.
      Of course the best solution would be a battery-powered 3G-WiFi Router

      • http://www.dwijadas.com Dwijadas Senapati
        • Nick

          Did you get one? that’s what I was looking into, im about to buy one.

          I wrote the article that was up last week with the AP2403 and the battery. This ebay find appears to have more promise with a built in battery

      • domitor

        Im curious to know how you got your android phone to work. I have a similar contraption on my d4, it works like a charm running from my laptop, but when i try to connect my android phone, it tries to connect to the wifi unit, but since it doesnt actually have Internet, it disables the connection. its so annoying i cant just force it on. I turned off my network data do its not trying to use the cell connection but to no avail.

        • http://photosynthesis.gr/photoblog GfK

          I assume you have an AP setup (infrastructure setup, not Ad-Hoc) so many clients can connect to the same AP.
          The new AP doesn’t provide internet to your phone but that’s irrelevant, it should connect if it’s free and if there is a DHCP server in the router

  • jorg

    funny, that big camera has something sticking out of its mouth…
    looks like a dirtyfive-MF or somethin…

    cool rig btw

    • http://haroldellis4444@gmail.com Harold Ellis

      35/1.4 ai is an awesome lens, especially for video!

      • http://photosynthesis.gr/photoblog GfK

        2nd that
        and please tell me if there is a way to use AF lenses in video.
        Has anybody tried Full-time-AF in video? It’s almost useless…

  • Guest

    The speed of the connection is the key criteria in order for you to understand whether you can use it or not.

    3G is very slow comparing to WIFI: it is about 10 mbps in the best case scenario while WIFI is 54 mbps in the worst case scenario. The point here is WIFI is 5 times faster than 3G.

    If you need to transfer files in real time, e.g. to watch them on an external monitor, WIFI is the only way to go. 3G will take about 40 seconds to transfer an uncompressed D4 NEF file (34 MB for 14-bit) while WIFI will take only 8 seconds. The numbers would be lower for lossy compressed JPEG files (see the D4 file sizes at http://imaging.nikon.com/lineup/dslr/d4/spec.htm) but still 3G is very slow.

    • http://www.dwijadas.com Dwijadas Senapati

      No one wants 3G ..they just want a Wi-Fi .. i think you not getting the picture.

    • http://photosynthesis.gr/photoblog GfK

      When the camera is miles away
      say in a zeppelin above a stadium(!)
      you can connect to it via 3G.
      You don’t care for speed all you want is control the camera.
      Ofcourse if you want to see pictures you can set the camera to shoot RAW in one card JPEG-worst in the other

  • JLK

    All of these hacks demonstrate why the Nikon solution is so expensive , it is because… err wait, no they don’t.

  • Matt

    I think it’s time for someone to upgrade their AI-S 35mm f/1.4 to the AF-S version.

    • http://photosynthesis.gr/photoblog GfK

      believe it, I just bought this lens for half a thousand…
      Well video will make us think otherwise.
      We need bright lenses with smooth focus.
      Have you tried Full-time AF in D4/D800 ?
      I can’t use it, it so strange and awkward to me.

      • Matt

        Point taken

  • theotherNIck

    will this type of setup work on a nikon D7000 ? i was gonig to purchase the wt-4 a b c d but it is so expensive!!!

    • http://photosynthesis.gr/photoblog GfK

      Ofcourse not.
      This setup needs an active FTP/web server.
      D4 (and hopefully many future cameras like D3200) has one embedded.
      For D7000 you need an external server. WT-4 has a server inside it, so it should work for you!

  • MB

    Resourceful.
    I would wait until communist workers from China figure out this Nikon propitiatory USB connector used for WT-5 and make a 50$ clone.

    • http://photosynthesis.gr/photoblog GfK

      Exactly!
      I would not like a clone but a better version!
      a 3G-WiFi router with Li-Pol battery and GPS inside it would be best!

  • http://www.cwmphotography.co.uk Chris Martin

    When my D4 eventually arrives (not holding my breath), I wouldn’t mind trying this, thanks for sharing!

  • D4 owner real soon

    Just got a call from my local camera store today and they received two D4s and I pick mine up tomorrow! No word on any D800s though
    Got to sell my D3 real fast before the visa bill comes!

  • http://www.bankstonimages.com David B

    Just setup the ASUS router. Wow! this really rocks. I am using a TekCharge MP1550 (http://www.tekkeon.com/products-tekcharge1550.html) to provide power to the router. Plenty of power. Even downloads large movie files. Works great with regular or rechargeable AA batteries.

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