UPDATE: Post updated 28/12/19 with details of the latest product offering the solution. 

I recently upgraded to a Mac Book Pro 13″ and was frustrated (that’s putting it politely) to discover that tethering Nikon D810 to Mac Book Pro was not working. This post is about how I solved the issue.

The short answer is you need to get a TetherBoostCore Controller.

Using a USB3 tether cable (like the one from TetherTools) alone does not work!

TetherBoost Core Controller

UPDATE: TetherTools Pro USB 3.0 Core Controller now available

It seems that the original TetherBoostCore Controller may no longer be available and has now been replaced with a more streamlined design by the TetherTools Pro USB 3.0 Core Controller

TetherTools Core Controller USB 3.0

Troubleshooting Steps

I have to say it’s really poor that tethering does not work out of the box when tethering Nikon D810 to Mac Book Pro 13″. Using a USB3 cable alone did not work for me.

I spent a good amount of time trying to troubleshoot the issue. It really did not make sense to me because tethering worked on my 5 year old MacBook Air and the Nikon D810 without issue. I later discovered that although the Tether Tools USB cable and Nikon D810 are USB3 compatible, my old Mac Book Air was using a USB 2 interface/port and essentially downgrading the entire circuit. Ironically, this is what made it work in that setup.

Anyway, I tried tethering to both Lightroom and Capture One without success, as well as swapping out cables to ensure it was not a connection problem. The fact that everything was working fine with my old tethering setup meant that through a process of elimination, the problem had to be on the MacBook Pro end. So, I went about updating all the drivers on both the Mac Book Pro and Nikon D810 to ensure all components in the circuit were running the latest and greatest. Still no joy.

It’s Not a USB3 firmware Issue

If you search the Internet you’ll find all sorts of posts going on about the version of the USB3 protocol that Nikon and Apple are using not being the same. That may be the case but it’s not the root cause of the issue. It’s actually a power problem! For some reason the Nikon D810 and MacBook Pro together do not have enough power between them to provide a good connection. You need to add power to the circuit and that is what the TetherBoostCore Controller will do for you.

A bit of a long and convoluted post but I wanted to outline the approach I took so that you do not have to waste time on this daft issue, tethering Nikon D810 to Mac Book Pro, like I did. Simply buy the power boosting accessory and tethering will work for you.

Bonus Tip For Tethering Nikon D810 to Mac Book Pro

The TetherBoostCore Controller worked for me out of the box however, I also purchase the external power supply for good measure. You do not want to get caught out whilst working on a client project. To ensure you have all the power you will need, I recommend also buying the TetherBoost A/C Power Adapter. You’ll also be able to add additional extension cables to your circuit too should you wish.

I hope this helps some of you! Cheers.

Additional References