Chris Owens Digital Artist & Photographer | EOS Utility and Wireless File Transmitter (WFT)

EOS Utility and Wireless File Transmitter (WFT)

March 07, 2013

The EOS Utility is a standard piece of software supplied by Canon for its range of DSLR cameras. EOS Utility can control the camera either via a USB connection or, using a WFT transmitter attached to the camera, via WiFi. The USB connection is by far the simplest to set up and use, but the WiFi connection using a WFT transmitter does require a a bit of head scratching!

Once you have installed the suite of applications that accompany your Canon DSLR, EOS utility should start automatically. If it does not:

  1. Connect your camera to your computer via USB and switch the camera on.
  2. Open the Image Capture utility from the Others folder (if it does not open automatically.) Your camera should be listed under devices.
  3. Look for the Preferences panel – bottom left corner.
  4. Select Other from the Connecting this camera opens drop-down box.
  5. Find and select the EOS Utility in the Application folder (it’s usually in a sub-folder called Canon Utilities), and click the Choose button.
  6. Close the Image Capture utility.

Once connected via USB you can connect to the EOS Utility using the Canon Wireless File Transmitter (WFT) without the need to be tethered via USB. In addition to the EOS Utility mode, the WFT can deposit images onto your computer via FTP Mode, and you can access the camera image and fire the shutter through a web browser in Server Mode. The WFT works with either infrastructure networking (where you have a WiFi hub) or ad hoc networking, where there is a direct WiFi connection between your computer and the camera.

The basic set up for the WFT is very well described in a set of booklets produced by  the Canon Digital Learning Centre. The guides to get (they are available as PDF files) are:

  • EOS Utility Mode
  • Server Mode
  • FTP Mode

A fourth mode is available that links two or more cameras via a network. As I only have one network-enables camera I have not tried this mode, and will not cover it here.

The guides are available for both OS X (10.5 – 10.6) and Windows (XP and Windows 7) platforms as well as for infrastructure and ad hoc networking. In addition, the Server Mode guide is available for access from iOS devices.

The guides cover most of what you need to know, so I won’t repeat the basics here. However, as the guides do not explicitly cover Lion and Mountain Lion release of OS X, there are a number of issues that required some further research before getting successful connections.

It is worth going through the guides in the order listed above so that you don’t hit all the problems in one go!

EOS Utility Mode

Follow the EOS Utility Mode guide. When you attempt to register the WFT Pairing Utility in the login options you will get a message box suggesting that you modify the firewall options.

To make the necessary changes in OS X 10.7 and 10.8:

  1. Open the Security and Privacy settings in System Preferences.
  2. Select the Firewall Tab and select Firewall Options.
  3. Ensure that WFTPairing is included in the allowed incoming connections.
  4. Deselect Enable Stealth Mode.

The WFT device allows you to save up to five settings. I usually use Set 1 for my home WiFi network and Set 2 for an ad hoc network on my MacBook Pro.

Server Mode

The OS X and iOS guides for server mode cover all you need to know. It is worth noting that once you have defined your network parameters (assuming you did the EOS Utility set up first) and saved them to one of the sets, you do not need to re-enter the details. Just select WFTServer from the communication mode settings and you are good to go. You may need to go to the Confirm Settings tab on the camera to find the IP address of the WFT to which you can connect your browser – this is on page 2 of the settings.

This interface provides very simple control of your camera, and it does provide access to iOS devices (iPad, iPod and iPhone). In a future article I will describe how you can get more control over you camera from your iOS device.

FTP Mode

In FTP mode images are transferred to you computer via FTP as as you capture them. This is also the most challenging to set up, especially on Lion and Mountain Lion. In versions of OS X prior to 10.7 (Lion) you had the option to manage the FTP server via a desktop interface. This has been removed from 10.7 onwards, although the FTP server is still included, so you cannot use the method described in the guide to set up your FTP server.. You can manage the server through a terminal interface, and there are plenty of website describing this. If you want a desktop front end to your FTP server then there are two options available: install a FTP server that has a management interface or install a front end to the built-in server. For the purposes of receiving image files from the camera you do not need a full FTP management suite.  I use a small interface called lion-ftpd-enable. This piece of software can be downloaded from http://www.troncept.com/lion-ftpd-enable/. The FTP server does not support anonymous access, so you will either have to use your normal login account or create an account especially for you camera to use. I use the same account as my normal login as it keeps things simple when I want to access the downloaded images.

 


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