Trouble Connecting Nikon D800,D800e, D810 to a Mac when Tethering?

Posted by: on Oct 20, 2014 | 24 Comments

Are you having trouble connecting your Nikon D800 D800e or D810 DSLR USB 3.0 camera to your computer using a tethering software such as Lightroom, Capture One or other tethering software programs? 


Here are some quick troubleshooting tips:

Are you using a Mac or MacBook Pro and your computer is utilizing USB 3.0 ports? 

The main issue may be Apple is currently on USB3 v1.0 protocol and Nikon D800 is v1.1 which is causing connectivity and power issues when going longer distances. Earlier this year Nikon upgraded their USB3 firmware to USB3 v1.1 and until Apple upgrades their firmware, connectivity issues may persist. 

SOLUTION: Tether Tools TetherBoost Core ControllerTetherBoost™ USB 3.0 Core Controller is designed to boost and regulate power from a DSLR camera and/or Digital Back.

QUICK TIP: If you are not sure which USB protocol ports your computer has, visit ‘Does my Computer have USB 2.0 or USB 3.0 Ports‘ article. In addition, always refer to your computer manufacturer manual to find which ports are which. 

Photo courtesy of ©
Photo courtesy of ©


Are you using a Mac or MacBook Pro and your computer is utilizing USB 2.0 ports? 

The Nikon D800 Series uses USB3 which requires more power than USB2 and is especially noticeable when tethering longer distances? Some computers have underpowered USB2 ports and are not compatible with USB3. 

SOLUTION #1: If your computer’s ports are USB2 try the other USB2 ports on the computer to see if it works better.  Not all USB ports on a computer have the same output power and may differ.  If you have an iPad, check which USB2 port on the computer will actually charge the iPad. They will all sync, but typically only one port will charge the iPad; try tethering to that USB port. If you do not have an iPad trial and error is the best method. 

SOLUTION #2: If Solution #1 doesn’t fix the issue, check out Tether Tools TetherBoost Core ControllerTetherBoost™ USB 3.0 Core Controller is designed to boost and regulate power from a DSLR camera and/or Digital Back.

Other Solutions

There are also a few other important notes for USB 2.0 & USB 3.0 cable users:

  • Dropped tethered connection while shooting
  • Capture One issues while tethering

Click here for the ‘Important Note for USB 2.0 & 3.0 Cable Users’ article.

For FireWire 800/400 cable users, there are some items to note regarding:

Click here for the ‘Important Note for FireWire 800/400 Cable Users’ article.

Tether-Tools-Tethered-Photography-JerkStopper-Cable-Management-Retention-Camera-Support-USB-PhotographyIt is also important to keep a secure connection from your tethering cables to your camera. The JerkStopper Cable Management solutions can help with that.

Have another problem? Contact Tether Tools for more assistance and troubleshooting solutions.

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24 thoughts on “Trouble Connecting Nikon D800,D800e, D810 to a Mac when Tethering?”

  1. There is also a major file naming bug in C1 8 when using Nikon D810. Images appear as e.g shot01 1, Shot01 2 etc. Phase One are aware on the issue and are hopefully fixing it!

    Otherwise the tether performance seems pretty good on the D810 using TetherPro USB3 Extension and a short A – Micro B cable.

  2. Have been using a StarTech powered hub solution, for a couple of weeks. Seems to have cleared up the problem and with a bonus of faster file transfer. Full frame RAW files through a 15 ft. TetherTools USB 3.0 cable are showing up full screen within 3-4 seconds of shutter release.
    This using Nikon D800, and the latest Macbook Pro with SS drive and the factory upgraded graphics processor.

  3. can never get more than one shot tethered with d800 and captureone .. d600 is no problem

    maybe it’s the connector on the body?

  4. Which version of COP are you running? Have you tried removing the camera card? Have you tried the above recommendations in this post. It may be the fact the Apple and Nikon are talking a different USB3 language currently.

  5. I have problems with my D810, connected via USB 3.0 port on a MB Pro 15″ retina end 2013, running 10.9.5. Versions of Lightroom or Capture One have newest updates installed. The cursor freezes the moment I plug the TetherTools cable in. Unplug and the cursor can be used immediately. Tried both ports. D800 and D800E on the same setup without any problems. The D810 worked before, so seems to be connected to an update. Also using a shorter USB cable solves the problem.

    Any ideas? Next to try is get another USB cable, though this one is 3m which should be fine.

  6. Many people have been having this issue with the D800/e/810. Apple and Nikon our on different USB3 firmware versions and it is causing power issues when going longer distances.

    We have a solution that will fix the issue and will be available in about 2 weeks. The product is called TetherBoost. It is a core controller that will regulate the power from DSLR/Digital Backs to computer.

    Under USB3 specifications you should be able to go 15’ without any issues. However Apple, as well a many other computer manufacturers, are not building USB3 ports to specifications in order to conserve power. Computer makers are not currently considering the unique needs of photographers and this is causing connectivity issues w/ 800 Series, Canon’s new 7D as well as many digital backs.

    TetherBoost can be used with or without external power and produce a reliable connections when going longer distances. When using external power, either via an AC outlet or battery bank it will allow you to go longer distances as well as not draw battery power from the camera, increasing the camera’s battery life.

    TetherBoost will be launched in about 2 weeks. Do you want me to add your email to the new product release and you can see if this solves the issue?

  7. I just started having major issues connecting the D810 to a Mac. I was shooting tethered in Lightroom 5.7 when the connection started dropping out. At first I could fix it with resets. But now nothing at all, can’t even import images into iPhoto. The USB port in the D810 is dead. Have tried a D600, which works fine. Any advice would be much appreciated.

  8. Hi Christopher – How long is the USB cord you are using? Is it working with a short (1m) cable? If it works with the 1m cable most likely it is a power issue caused by the high power requirements of USB3. TetherBoost solves this issue. I hope this helps and please let me know if I can further assist.

  9. Hi, we bought the TetherBoost to use with our iMac and Nikon D800 & D810. We use your cables latest version of OS X and CapureOne. But still the same connectivity issues. Any advice?

  10. As with many other people, I’ve had connectivity issues with the D810. A couple of weeks ago, it dropped out completely during a tethered shoot. Had to send the camera to Nikon Service. They’re refusing to cover it under guarantee. They say the cable was ‘forced’. Which means that either I was dreaming, or the USB housing is p*ss-weak. €350 repair bill. Thank you Nikon.

  11. We’ve just purchased a tetherboost controller but the USB port on the Powerbook continues to disable
    Any ideas?
    Does the box require additional power?

  12. Mark,
    It doesn’t require any additional power unless you are going over 15 feet. What length are your cables? Are the indicator lights coming on? Are you on the latest firmware for the camera? What version OS X are using? There is a known issue tethering Nikons with Lightroom on the latest El Capitan release

  13. Hi Josh, cable from the Nikon to the tetherboost is 150cm. I power up the MacBook, plug the Tetherboost in, red lights appear, then power up Nikon, plug the cable into the Camera and the Mac reports ‘USB device disabled – unplug device using too much power’ Nikon firmware is A – 1.10, B-1.10, C-1.006. OSX is Yosemite 10.10.5

  14. Josh, I just tried to tether my D800 with the new Lightroom 2015 on a iMac with El Capitan (newest updates), but it did not work and after some google search I came across here. Will the “TetherBoost™ Core Controller” solve this issue, or is there no solution for tethering on El Capitan yet?
    (Nikon firmware: A 1.10 B1.10 L1.009)

    Thanks in advance!

  15. Hi:
    I have a brand new Mac BOOK Pro with El Capitan. I am trying to tether my Nikon D600 with a 2 m cable and it does not work. Will the “TetherBoost™ Core Controller” solve this issue, or is there no solution for tethering on El Capitan yet? Thanks

  16. I have a Macbook Pro 15 mid 2012 retina,I was using tether cord bought from Amazon and it was working fine for quite some time then it stopped working, then I bought Jerk stopper, it worked for a while, now I Am using Original Tether Tools tether cord, still not working, I even updated my D800 firmware still not working, what am I doing wrong??
    Any solution?

  17. Similar story here, D800, used to work, has become more and more intermittent, now can’t get it to tether at all. Absolutely at a loss. This is with just a 1m cable between PC and camera, too.

  18. I have a D810 and was shooting lay downs tethered and LR would not detect my camera. I used a USB 2 cable extender with a repeater and it did the trick.

  19. Its now February 2016 and neither Lightroom or Capture One seems to work properly with Nikon D800 and Mac OS Sierra. The 14 shot buffer fills up and if it reaches zero then there is no way out other than to reboot. But if you use Nikon Camera Control Pro, and you have to pay for it, then set up a watched folder on Autoimport then the problem doesn’t exist, the buffer doesn’t even fill up.

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