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Thread: Tethering to a laptop

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    Super Duper
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    Tethering to a laptop

    Hi,

    I need to buy a laptop for shooting tethered with my Aptus II-8. We have been having significant problems with our -8 with a PC, Leaf showed me an obscure article on the P1 knowledge base with a (tiny) list of recommended Firewire cards and I now have one on the way.

    I cannot however allow this kind of thing to happen with a laptop. I need to be able to rely on the tethering. I do have the Leaf powered firewire repeater thingy. Using Capture One.

    Should I forget PC and invest in a Macbook Pro (eventhough it lacks the USB3 that we would want for tethered shooting of our D800e that we're about to buy)? According to the Leaf representative, Leaf does not officially recommended hardware for laptop tethering. In other words I'm pretty much on my own.

    However after losing a week plus of work to the PC tethering problem and with the laptop being used for very expensive and mostly unrepeatable international location shooting, I cannot afford to spend that kind of money on a 'should work but we won't garuantee it' type of solution. I need reliability.

    Can you people steer me in the direction of a solution I can rely on in the field from your own experiences? Is there a express card that works with a PC laptop and tethering an Aptus? Should I forget PC and go Mac? Are there any problems with tethering to a mac? Will Media Pro work properly on a mac?

    Much appreciated!

    Beni
    I am not a painter, nor an artist. Therefore I can see straight, and that may be my undoing. - Alfred Stieglitz

    Website: http://www.timelessjewishart.com
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    Re: Tethering to a laptop

    Ben, I've always been a Mac user but when I set up business on my own I still ran Mac desktop machines but to save some money purchased a PC notebook. From my experience, the notebook I was using some three years ago was one of frustration.

    When tethering worked on the PC, it was no different to the Mac experience but I always found I had problems on every shoot. A major one was when first connecting the camera to C1. Unless I opened things up and switched things on in a specific order it just wouldn't connect. I could also put bets on that, during a full days shoot connection would be lost for no reason and a full shutdown and restart was needed. Not to mention if cables were ever disconnected or kicked out a full restart was needed.

    At the that time I was only using a Canon 1Ds3 tethered using USB.

    The frustration and constant restarts just drove me mad and I just went out and purchased a MacBook Pro. At my previous studio we tethered Phase One cameras to MacBooks and I now tether my Canon and Phase to a MacBook Pro and both had/have zero problems with image capture tethered.... they are rock solid.

    With respect to he D800, I could be wrong but I very much doubt USB3 would be much different than USB2 in transfer speed as its not just the speed of the cable/connection but the speed the camera reads and sends the data.

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    Re: Tethering to a laptop

    I tether my Aptus II 12 with a Macbook Pro and it works fine. You can buy a UBS 3 adapter to fit in the UBS slot on the Mac.

    Good luck,

    Tim

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    Re: Tethering to a laptop

    only the 17" version. Not sure I want to travel with that beast to be honest when the bag also hold a DF and back, 3 lenses including the big 120 macro AF, a D800e with two lenses, cables, hard drives, etc
    I am not a painter, nor an artist. Therefore I can see straight, and that may be my undoing. - Alfred Stieglitz

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    Re: Tethering to a laptop

    Ben,
    once I bought a Mac, I never wanted to go back to PC.

    Evgeny

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    Senior Member Stefan Steib's Avatar
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    Re: Tethering to a laptop

    I have run a Phase One P45+ from my MacBookPro 17 (early 2008- still running OSX 10.6.8) for 2 years flawlessly. I have had an Aptus 8 for several weeks and now an Aptus 12 for six weeks both working tethered ok with C1. Until last week, when there was the 6.4 upgrade. Now it´s broken. The Firewire connects the CF Card which is in the back and mounts it to the desktop. But it does no more connect to the Back. I already tried C1 - 6.41- still the same. I also tried going back to 6.3.5 but this is also broken now........

    do I need to say I love non working upgrades ?

    regards
    Stefan
    because photography is more than technology - and " as we have done this all the time "
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    Re: Tethering to a laptop

    Similar problem for me. tethering worked just fine on man and PC.
    Updated a couple of things... back firmware and C1..... and now then tethering stopped working. Going back to earlier C1 alone did not work. It looks like uninstalling C1 still left some crap behind. Reinstalling full format of hard drive fixed it, but not installing latest C1.

    This is pretty sad if you consider that fire wire is a very mature data bus. Ihave quite a few other fire wire devices, all still worked when C1 tethering did not.

    Maybe they should get their act together and get USB working on the new backs.

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    Senior Member Stefan Steib's Avatar
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    Re: Tethering to a laptop

    Ok- Yair has contacted me and in // I had also tried today to get it solved.
    First I cleaned my Machine from old stuff giving more discspace.
    then I ran system diagnosis, I didn´t find any serious things just some minor file glitches, these were fixed. I then deleted the current capture one on the disk and restarted and then I did a fresh install of 6.4.1.
    Still no connection. Then I did a restart with the firewire cable plugged in. And this did the trick. After this the next time I started the C1 6.4.1 the camera data were uploaded and the Back connected........... phuuuuu.

    So I am operational again.
    Thanks Yair for your help and hints !

    Regards
    Stefan
    because photography is more than technology - and " as we have done this all the time "
    facebook:hcam.de - www.hcam.de - www.hartblei.de

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    Re: Tethering to a laptop

    after much futzing about with several generations of desktop PC's running XP, and many cards, some off the very list you speak of, and MUCH dealer support, I gave up

    Got a Dell Vostro running WinDoz 7 ( about $400), then got a I/O rest firewire card from MicroCenter, plugged it in, and all worked the first time.

    Simple ....

    PM for more details.

    Dave

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    Re: Tethering to a laptop

    Never had any major tethering issues with the later phase backs P and IQ that is with C1 and a Mac. I had only a couple crashes but that was with like a p25 and p30 but from the P40 on nothing bad. The IQ has been the best. Back can go asleep and wake up with no issues.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Tethering to a laptop

    Someone above noted the express card 34 slot on the Macbook Pro 17 inch.

    If you look you will find a USB3 adapter for that slot, as well as many other adapters. Its a very robust way to tether.

    Also note the MBP will take 16GB of DDR3 memory.
    Ciao,
    Giorgio Niro
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    Re: Tethering to a laptop

    Here's the basic thing with Mac and PC tethering:
    With Mac there are several dozen combinations of CPU, FireWire Bus, Firewire Driver, Operating System, and Software.
    With PC there are literally millions of such combinations.

    So when Phase (and Hassy, Leaf, Sinar, Leica, Canon, Nikon etc) test their equipment they can test most relevant Mac combinations. On PC they can only test a small %.

    So there are many many PC configurations which will be every bit as stable/reliable/easy to use for tethering as any given Mac. But there are also many PC configurations that will have issues ranging from mild quirks to catastrophic failures.

    If you want to buy a PC for tethering of any camera you really need to test that specific PC with your camera/back. If you want to buy a Mac you can pretty much buy any Mac from the last several years and bet the farm it will work*. Again, not because Mac is inherently "better" but simply because nearly all of them will have been tested during the R+D of the hardware/software.

    *And importantly that if it doesn't work (e.g. a brand new OS was just released and broke something) that it will be a high priority for them to fix. As opposed to if you find some specific PC Firewire card (of the many, many out there) that doesn't work well which will be a very low priority for them to work around.
    Last edited by dougpeterson; 12th May 2012 at 10:23.
    Doug Peterson , Digital Transitions | Email
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    Re: Tethering to a laptop

    Quote Originally Posted by FredBGG View Post
    Similar problem for me. tethering worked just fine on man and PC.
    Updated a couple of things... back firmware and C1..... and now then tethering stopped working. Going back to earlier C1 alone did not work. It looks like uninstalling C1 still left some crap behind. Reinstalling full format of hard drive fixed it, but not installing latest C1.

    This is pretty sad if you consider that fire wire is a very mature data bus. Ihave quite a few other fire wire devices, all still worked when C1 tethering did not.

    Maybe they should get their act together and get USB working on the new backs.
    Not really Firewire vs. USB here...

    I can think of a half dozen times in the last few years when USB tethering for Canon or Nikon was broken by some new version of the OS, camera firmware, or software release (C1, LR, or Aperture). Likewise the firewire based 1Ds II was, in my (fairly broad) experience a far more reliable system for tethering than the USB based 5DII*.

    If you tether you should keep your system clean, and only update if/when you know there is a benefit to doing so, and only when you'll have time to fully test everything after the update. That applies to any camera from any manufacturer and to both USB and FW.

    At least in the medium format market you have the option to purchase from a value added reseller who keeps track of new updates and when they cause problems. Clients call us nearly every day checking in before doing some major updates that the versions they are updating to will all jive together. Notably the latest version of OSX 10.7.4 broke Capture One because Apple changed some graphics drivers between the last developer preview and the final release (there is a work around, but if you were on your own this could make for a very stressful day).

    *I'm speaking of software and connection robustness (e.g. how well did it handle being disconnected and reconnected, and turning off and back on, and how many times the software broke because of an update to the OS or C1/EOS-Utility, etc). Hardware wise the poorly soldered port on the 1Ds II, which was notorious for breaking from wear and tear, was even worse than the dinky mini USB port on the 5DII.
    Doug Peterson , Digital Transitions | Email
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    Re: Tethering to a laptop

    Seems like Macbook Pro is the way forward though still not sure whether to bother with the 17", it's a big increase in size, weight and cost. It could be that my desktop problem is C1 and not the firewire card. The card arrives at the beginning of this week so we will find out. In any case, if the back still isn't working with the card that they recommend, the ball is in Leafs court. My contact at the dealers has been in Germany looking at the new Leica which means that I haven't had decent support while this problem is happening and not he's not back till the 14th worse luck. His replacement at the dealers is obnoxious. I should have had a 2nd body/back combo to check with so we could see if it was indeed the computer that was at fault.
    Last edited by Ben Rubinstein; 12th May 2012 at 10:43.
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    Re: Tethering to a laptop

    Come to think of it the problems although they were there were very occasional until C1 6.4 when the back and camera would freeze every 5-20 shots or so and require reboot, I went back to 6.3.5 and still had the problems so didn't think about it but it could be the upgrade broke the tethering. I did uninstall the 6.4 first but it could have left stuff on the machine. I don't know that it is the problem but it's the only thing that changed in the last week and a half!

    Any ideas how to wipe 6.4 completely from the system on windows 7?
    Last edited by Ben Rubinstein; 12th May 2012 at 11:02.
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    Re: Tethering to a laptop

    Beni did you see they already have an upgrade to the 6.4 available on the phase website - 6.4.1. This fixed it for me, though after some fiddling around- read above.

    regards
    Stefan
    because photography is more than technology - and " as we have done this all the time "
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    Re: Tethering to a laptop

    I'll download it when I get to the studio tomorrow. First I'll uninstall and do a full clean on my system, if my system will allow I'll do a full system restore to before I installed 6.4 then I'll do a clean install of 6.4.1 and see what happens.

    If it indeed is a C1 problem then it makes me a lot more relaxed about the purchase of a laptop.
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    Re: Tethering to a laptop

    Appreciate that you may not have the luxury of waiting Ben, but now is not a good time to be buying a MacBook Pro.

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    Re: Tethering to a laptop

    Yeah I realise that. Anyone know what the timescales are? I've been hearing about a new version for 5 months already...
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    Re: Tethering to a laptop

    I think the general consensus is we're looking at weeks, not months, with June highly probable.

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    Re: Tethering to a laptop

    Thanks for that Gerald, that will make a difference with the boss. He's the kind of person who needs everything NOW, he doesn't mind paying for it but sometimes it just better to wait a bit. Like the D800e he just told me to buy. I really would like to wait till I could get one over to the studio to trial first...
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    Re: Tethering to a laptop

    Quote Originally Posted by gerald.d View Post
    I think the general consensus is we're looking at weeks, not months, with June highly probable.
    +1

    It's Apple so you can never be 100% sure, but June seems very likely.
    Doug Peterson , Digital Transitions | Email
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    Re: Tethering to a laptop

    Tried today to do a system restore back two weeks, uninstall C1 and install 6.4.1, no joy unfortunately.
    I am not a painter, nor an artist. Therefore I can see straight, and that may be my undoing. - Alfred Stieglitz

    Website: http://www.timelessjewishart.com

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    Re: Tethering to a laptop

    Why not try calling the business team at your local Apple store or Apple reseller and explain you would like to visit the store to install some software to see if your camera is compatible.

    This will then allow you to test drive the Mac and if this still doesn't work you'll then pinpoint the camera being the issue.

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    Re: Tethering to a laptop

    There is only one apple store in the entire country here with a less than enviable reputation. I'm going to see what the dealer does when he comes back.
    I am not a painter, nor an artist. Therefore I can see straight, and that may be my undoing. - Alfred Stieglitz

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