Photography and technology have walked hand-in-hand through many photo shoots. Advancements in digital technology have been an asset to photographers in recent years, and will continue to be so for many more. But one of the most rapid developments has been in Wi-Fi technology.
Very few people have not embraced Wi-Fi in some form. It’s on your smartphone, your MP3 player, your computer and laptop, and is increasingly showing up on your TV. Wireless transmissions help move data when hardwiring is impractical, but it also makes viewing and reviewing digital data a lot easier for people on the go.
And who is more "on-the-go" than photographers? Using Wi-Fi in an enabled camera can perform a multitude of tasks—instantaneous sharing of pictures on a tablet or smartphone, transmitting files to a network for later review and more. Wi-Fi also allows downloading of apps that enhance the photographer’s experience on the fly.
But when buying gifts for your favorite photographers this season, which cameras use their newfound Wi-Fi capabilities to their maximum effect? And which are just fun to have? The answer? All of them.
The big daddy. The top gun. SLRs are professional-strength, serious cameras. If you’re thinking of stepping up your photography game, then SLR is where you want to eventually be.
This one is not a toy. The Canon EOS 6D is Canon’s newest Full-Frame DSLR—for the professional user who needs a little Wi-Fi action to make their day complete. Besides the 20.2MP Full-Frame sensor, the Full HD 1080p recording with full manual control over exposure and sound, and the 3.0” Clear View High Resolution LCD, this SLR camera also has integrated Wi-Fi. The Wi-Fi allows you to instantly share imagery, geo-tag photos and remotely control exposure and camera setting from a distance.
Mirrorless cameras are the new kids on the block. They like to act and look like their full-frame SLR brothers, but they do it in a smaller, lighter body.
The Sony Alpha NEX-6 Mirrorless Digital Camera (and its sister, the NEX-5R—see next ) not only embrace Wi-Fi technology, but take mirrorless photography to a higher level with dedicated apps. The NEX-6 features full manual controls, enhanced phase-detection autofocus, a SmartShoe for flash and other accessories, along with a 16.1MP sensor, a 3” 921K Dot TFT LCD, 1080p video capture and an XGA OLED viewfinder. Click here for our article on new Sony apps for the NEX-6.
The Sony Alpha NEX-5R may lack the viewfinder and built-in flash of the NEX-6, but it does feature a 16.1MP HD sensor, 3.0” 180-degree tiltable touch screen LCD, fast hybrid auto focus and Wi-Fi compatibility.
The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GH3 Mirrorless Digital Camera, which replaces the popular DMC-GH2, also steps into the ring to battle for your holiday dollars. The GH3 is compatible with Micro Four Thirds lenses in a compact body while providing DSLR-type features, like a sealed metal body for toughness, optical viewfinder, advanced manual controls and an extended ISO range of 25-25600. The GH3’s built-in wireless connectivity transfers files to smartphones and tablets, and enables remote shutter release and camera setting adjustments. The auto-transfer function automatically backs up photos to a tablet to enable image monitoring while you photograph, and allows for timed interval video recordings from a smartphone. In addition, GPS data can be used to record the shooting location for each image.
The Samsung NX1000 Mirrorless Wi-Fi Digital Camera provides a wide variety of possibilities.
In addition to the 20.3MP sensor, 3.0” TFT LCD and Full HD 1920 x 1080 video capture, the lenses feature Samsung's i-Function technology—a button on the lens allows for manual adjustment of the camera, so the photographer can select manual shutter speed, aperture, exposure value, white balance and ISO. The Wi-Fi connectivity of the NX1000 allows for saving photos and video directly to a computer or cloud service while shooting. You can also email and print, or upload directly to social media sites from the camera. The NX1000 also comes in a kit from Samsung with a single 20-50mm (30.8-77mm) lens.
Another Samsung mirrorless with many of the same features (but with a cool, professional-looking metal body) is the NX210 Mirrorless Wi-Fi Digital Camera. This camera also includes Samsung’s i-Function Technology, along with a 20,3MP sensor, 3.0” VGA AMOLED Display and Full HD video capture. The Wi-Fi connectivity built into the NX210 allows you to save and send photos and videos directly to a computer or cloud service while shooting, like the NX1000. Other Wi-Fi advantages include emailing, printing and transferring photos straight to social media sites.
Advanced compact cameras are always popular, because their small, compact size is enhanced with a rich set of features. For more information on what constitutes an advanced compact, click here.
Canon brings some interesting Wi-Fi options to the table this holiday season, as evidenced by the Canon PowerShot S110 Digital Camera. This camera features a 12.1MP 1/1.7" CMOS sensor, 5x optical zoom with a 2.0-5.9 lens, RAW capability and full manual control via two control dials. It also features a 3.0" PureColor touch screen LCD, high-speed autofocus and built-in Wi-Fi connectivity for sharing and printing images wirelessly. The camera can send pictures to compatible digital devices, including Android and iOS devices, wherever there’s a Wi-Fi hotspot. The S110 can also post to social networks and share images between other PowerShot cameras. The free CameraWindow app can also record GPS data to a compatible smartphone and then wirelessly add the location data to the images in the S110.
The Samsung EX2, another advanced compact, features a 12.4MP 1/1.7 BSI (back-side illuminated) sensor, 4x digital zoom and 24-80mm (35mm equivalent) Schneider-KREUZNACH lens. It also features full manual control, a 3.0” swivel AMOLED display and a mode dial. It can record 1080p Full HD video, and includes dual optical and digital stabilization. Wi-Fi? Of course, with the ability to send images directly to social networks. Available in black or white.
Sometimes you want simplicityand portability over extras. Simple point-and-shoot cameras may seem like cameras for beginners, but they can also produce great results.
Another point-and-shoot option from Canon with wireless connectivity is the PowerShot ELPH 530 HS Digital Camera. It features a 10.1MP sensor, 12X optical zoom and a 3.2” high-res PureColor touchscreen LCD. The ELPH 530 also has built-in Wi-Fi that allows sharing of still images and 1080p video. With the help of the Canon iMAGE GATEWAY, you can also post on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube or directly to a computer or smart device using the free Canon CameraWindow app. The ELPH 320 HS Digital Camera features a 16.1MP CMOS sensor, 5x optical and 4x digital zoom, and Wi-Fi readiness. Like the S110, images can be shared between other Wi-Fi-enabled PowerShot cameras. The ELPH 530 HS is available in black or white, the 320 is available in black, silver, red or blue,
The S800c is not only a great looking compact with integrated Wi-Fi, but a camera that’s made for engaging in social media photo sharing. Besides the 16MP CMOS sensor, 4x digital zoom, and 3.5” rear OLED touch screen, the S800c is also powered by Google Android v2.3 (Gingerbread), which allows for in-camera photo editing using Google Play apps. When the user is finished editing, the camera transfers completed images to the digital device of choice. Other Google Play apps can be used on the camera as well, including games, messaging or email apps. Additionally, the S800c has built-in GPS for geo-tagging, easy file and more. The S800c is available in black or white.
Sony’s Cyber-shot DSC-HX30V Digital Camera features an 18.2MP CMOS sensor, 20x optical zoom and 1080/60p video capture. The DSC-HX30V also features the ease and convenience of Wi-Fi sharing. The HX30V transfers photos and video directly to social media sites or to a computer, and also allows for viewing on an HDTV, Wi-Fi-enabled smartphones and tablets.
Samsung is definitely helping this Wi-Fi trend by integrating Wi-Fi into a large number of their cameras. Even more, many of these featured cameras include cloud services, such as Samsung’s AllShare Play and Microsoft’s Skydrive. Files uploaded to the cloud can be viewed at any time on a compatible smartphone or tablet or transferred to the user’s computer.
If you’re looking for a great point-and-shoot with a little something extra, the 16MP 1/2.3 CCD Sensor Samsung DV300F Dual View Digital Camera, with a 4.5-22.5mm (35mm equivalent: 25-125mm) lens and
5X optical zoom sets itself apart with dual LCD screens: a 3.0” LCD on the back and a 1.5” LCD on the front for quick sharing and storage of images via the Internet. It also lets the user share with friends, while shooting and direct emailing of images to social media sites such as Facebook and more, along with direct storage to a computer via the Auto PC Backup function. A log-on browser enables the use of public Wi-Fi hotspots as well. In addition, the Remote Viewfinder enables remote operation of the DV300F from a compatible smartphone while Smartphone Link stores and allows access to camera photos on a phone or tablet. The DV300F comes in black, silver and red, and silver and blue.
The Samsung MV900 Multiview Digital Camera is another great point-and-shoot with Wi-Fi connectivity. The camera features a 16MP BSI CMOS 1/2.3" sensor, 4.5-22.5mm (35mm equivalent 25-125mm), 3.3” WVGA AMOLED touch screen, 5x optical and digital zoom and hands-free gesture shooting. Samsung’s Smart Link button gets online in a flash (no pun intended) using the photographer’s wireless network, while Social Sharing provides quick access to posting photos on social media sites. A designated hot key also allows for fast upload and emailing of photos directly from the camera, for backup in various cloud storage services, and Mobile Link sends files to compatible smartphones or tablets.
Another long zoom Wi-Fi camera, the Samsung ST200F SMART Long Zoom Digital Camera, features a 16MP CCD sensor, 4.85-48.5mm lens (35mm equivalent 27-270mm), 10x optical zoom, 3.0”hVGA LCD screen and dual image stabilization. It also records HD video. The Auto Backup feature saves images directly to a computer when within range, even if the computer is turned off (using the Wake-On LAN functionality of your PC). It can also share images on social media sites, send to smart devices, add tags and comments, and email right from the camera. Additional Wi-Fi functions include the remote viewfinder, which allows the photographer to use a compatible smartphone to control the camera from up to 32’ away. The ST200F is available in black, silver or plum.
The Samsung WB850F SMART Long Zoom Digital Camera sends stills and 1080p HD videos wirelessly to smartphones using Samsung’s Smartphone Link, and enables remote operation of the camera using Remote Viewfinder. It also features a 16MP BSI CMOS sensor, Schneider-KREUZNACH 4.1-86.1mm (35mm equivalent: 23-483mm) lens, 3.0” AMOLED screen and 21x optical zoom. It can also record full HD video and includes manual control.
The WB150F SMART Long Zoom Digital Camera has a 14MP CCD sensor, 4.0-72 mm (35mm equivalent: 24-432mm) Schneider-KREUZNACH lens, 3.0” LCD screen and 18x optical zoom. The camera’s Wi-Fi Direct wirelessly transmits files even when the camera is not in a hotspot. That means the WB150F can send images or videos to a smartphone or tablet or one of Samsung’s Smart TVs or to other Wi-Fi-enabled cameras that have the feature, when they’re within range of each other. The WB150F is available in black or white.
Not all cameras are Wi-Fi enabled, and to that end third-party manufacturers have developed both consumer level and pro-level Wi-Fi adapters. These adapters plug into your camera and give them the access, flexibility and options that Wi-Fi affords to photographers.
Photojournalists have utilized wireless technology to send photos from sporting events, war zones and disaster areas for years. Pro-grade Wi-Fi adapters do a little more, and perform a little faster. Some models, like the Nikon WT-5A Wireless Transmitter, can operate ten Nikon D4 cameras from one camera, have a range of 590’ and does not require batteries. Others, like the Canon WFT-E5A Wireless File Transmitter (WFT) which is designed exclusively for EOS 7D Digital SLR cameras, also features remote functions, geo-tagging and 802.11 a/b/g Wi Fi connectivity. For the EOS-1DX we have the Canon WFT-E6A Wireless Transmitter, which gives the camera wireless LAN capabilities and sports wireless sync timing.
This year Nikon introduced adapters specifically designed for the consumer. The WU-1a Wireless Mobile Adapter plugs into your Nikon D3200 digital camera and allows you to send images to your smartphone or tablet. The WU-1b Wireless Mobile Adapter performs the same functions for the Nikon D600 and others.
Another advancement in digital Wi-Fi enabled photography are mobile wireless cards. The function on these cards is simple—they use embedded wireless N WI-Fi to transmit data from the card to your home or office network. All you need is an SDHC compatible camera, a broadband Internet connection and router, and a Windows or Mac PC. The Class 6 speed on the card and the 4GB and 8GB capacities make this a great tool for immediately transferring images from your camera.
Whether you’re out snapping pictures and you don’t want to have to worry about size limitations of your storage media, or you just want your subject to see the proofs without crowding around your viewfinder, you should consider adding Wi-Fi to your camera line up. It’s a functional, fun and easy way to get your digital data moving along.