Photography

Understanding Wi-Fi in Cameras

The traditional digital camera with its insertable memory card slot has been the standard for several years now. Without it we would have been stuck with a contraption that has only a finite internal memory. The SD/CF card had been for many years the closest thing to an infinite memory. When you exhaust one card, simply pop-in another one and keep shooting. There is no delay or time lag. With today’s cameras we have multiple card slots. Even better. Now we don’t even have to wait to change cards. When one is filled to the brim, the camera simply switches to the next one. But technology never stays put. It keeps churning new and improved ways. To make things even more complicated, neither does our insatiable appetite for better, faster and more powerful technology. Thus, Wi-Fi cameras came about.

The main benefit of Wi-Fi cameras

Wi-Fi cameras, as the name suggests, come built-in with Wi-Fi connectivity. They can connect to any wireless network in your home or studio and transfer images seamlessly to a network drive / computer. Even better, they can directly connect with social media websites via integrated apps. Meaning, when you shoot a selfie on your next trip, the image is likely to be on your Facebook page within seconds. Of course it requires a mobile network connectivity, which can be easily accessed via your smartphone or plug and play mobile network dongle.

A life without cords

Wi-Fi cameras are ideal for people who prefer a life without cords. The second decade of the 21st century is the decade of liberation. No, the reference is not for social liberation, but more of a personal nature. This is the time when you can print Digital Nomad under you name on the business card and not get frowned on. A large amount of that credit goes to the plethora of smart devices that we have access to. Smartphones, better notebooks and of course better mobile internet connectivity. Why cameras should be left behind? We are finally seeing some really good cameras on the market that come without the appendage of cords and card readers.

No more memory card check

Wi-Fi cameras give you the instant gratification of watching your images appear magically on your laptop, as you shoot, without having to use the umbilical cord, I mean the USB cable. Neither do you have to un-mount the memory card and plug it into the SD card slot on your laptop. Life is truly hassle-free. You could actually extend your bliss by showing off this feature to your friends and neighbors and take kudos for how smart your camera really is. If you set the camera to delete images after they have been uploaded – you have a truly unlimited memory.

Downsides

Technologies, especially the newer ones are not without their share of downsides. Wi-Fi cameras are thus no exceptions. The biggest downside to Wi-Fi cameras is that they are extremely power hungry devices. This always on Wi-Fi feature can drain an average battery twice as quickly as would a normal camera without Wi-Fi. What it means is that you would need at least two sets of freshly charged batteries if you are leaving home. DSLRs like the Nikon D5300 or the Canon 70D gives you lesser shots per charge if you are using Wi-Fi to transfer your images. Ideally, when you are not using Wi-Fi, it is best to switch it off, else it would keep looking for available networks and consume power in the process.

Wi-Fi setups can be tricky at times. Normally it should not be more complicated than just entering a few characters and make a few button presses. But this can be further from the truth. Some cameras do need you to connect the camera to a laptop / PC and set the credentials of the social networking sites.

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