READ THIS FIRST: From Capture One 21 (version 14.2) Firewire is no longer supported for tethering.

Thunderbolt 1 and 2 adapters can be used for tethering. But do not update the firmware while an adapter is used. Also make sure to turn of battery charging.


NOTE:**This article is for Thunderbolt 1 and Thunderbolt 2 connections.  For information on Thunderbolt 3 (which uses the USB-C style connection) see:
Connecting Phase One Digital backs to USB-C and Thunderbolt 3


The Thunderbolt 1 and 2 interface allows for a great amount of flexibility as a number of adaptors can be used in conjunction with several different hardware's. As many Apple Laptops (Macbook Pro and Macbook Air) do not have Firewire communication ports, the Thunderbolt to FireWire 800 adapter made by Apple can be used to tether your Phase One or Leaf Credo Digital Back.

Thunderbolt to FireWire Adaptor


The adaptor has been tested and found to work adequetly for tethered capture with certain Phase One and Leaf digital backs. However, there are some workflow concerns to consider when using the Adaptor;

  • Due to the additional "translation" of the Firewire communication through the Thunderbolt Terminal, capture speed will suffer some performance.

  • Due to the loss of capture speed performance, it is possible to fill the buffer of the IQ, Credo and P+ backs much faster than with a standard Firewire Connection. Discretion when shooting quickly is suggested.

  • Due to Power Consumption with this setup it is recommended to have additional batteries as well as have the Apple system connected to a power source.

  • Firmware updates are not supported when using the Thunderbolt adapter. The update itself will fail, but the back can be recovered by updating the firmware on another computer with a direct firewire connection. For IQ backs we recommend updating via USB or CF card.

P+ Backs/P backs exc. P20 and P25

The Thunderbolt Terminal does not have the same Power Output as a standard Firewire Port (400 or 800) so it is recommended that the back used be set to "Battery" as the main power source to avoid communication failure.

IQ and Credo

With IQ and Credo backs, there is an option to charge the internal battery whilst shooting tethered. It is recommended that this option be turned OFF due to the limitations listed above.

For Leaf Aptus II-backs, Phase One H series backs, P20, and P25 -backs a powered repeater (plus Apple thunderbolt adapter) or well powered thunderbolt dock is required.  A repeater or dock is also an effective way to allow battery charging and longer FireWire cables with IQ backs.

What Firewire Repeaters are recommended?

With all repeaters is is critical that you use a capable power supply. Recommend DC 12V, 1.25 - 3A


What Thunderbolt docks are recommended?

A Thunderbolt Dock can be a better solution than the combination of Apple adapter and powered repeater.  Because the dock is externally powered, the FW800 port on the hub will deliver similar power to a repeater.  This results in a much more convenient solution since an additional adapter is not needed and other devices can be connected.