Monday, November 19, 2012

Emerging feature in digital cameras

There is an increasingly common feature in digital cameras: connectivity. As more and more people take to photography, albeit using their smartphones, many non-techies are expecting to be able to post their photos to the social media effortlessly. That means, directly from the camera.

Here are some of the ways and means: 

1. Samsung and Nikon introduced their Android cameras (i.e the Galaxy Camera and the S800c, respectively  just less than 6 months ago. It was a great idea at that time, but now it is looking dated.

2. Samsung, Panasonic, Sony, and perhaps a few others have also included a built-in wifi in some of their cameras even before the Android cameras came out. The idea was good, but the implementation was too cumbersome to catch on seriously.

3. Eye-fi introduced a new technology several years ago where wifi is built into the SD card. This works only on a select number of cameras. While it is able to transfer images automatically to the smartphone or the PC, I find it to be too cumbersome to use regularly. Transferring images is an all-or-nothing affair. You either set it to transfer all images or none. You can also set it to transfer from camera to smartphone for immediate viewing after a shot, either in full resolution or none.

Fortunately, technology keeps evolving. Last week Transcend announced their SD Wifi memory card that promises to do a better job. Working like the Eye-fi, the smartphone app is much more straightforward  It is a lot easier to set up for connecting to the camera. You can choose to "shoot and view", or "browse" after a shooting spree. How well it actually performs remains to be seen because at this moment there has been no reviews yet.

Wifi built into the camera is not dead. Canon's latest DSLR announcement, the Canon 6D (full frame camera) has a built-in wifi feature that does an impressive job. You can view-focus-shoot straight from a smartphone app, or browse the shots residing in your camera directly from the smartphone or PC. Then you can select which ones to download and send to social media. When downloading to a smartphone, it reduces the RAW or JPEG image to 1920x1080 resolution, which increases the transfer speed and also makes it more suitable for social media. This is the most impressive camera wifi implementation I have seen.

I believe this trend in camera connectivity has taken a serious turn and will be a standard feature in the next Photokina exhibition.

No comments: