In today’s market more and more cameras are getting wifi integrated into their bodies, and for cameras without built in wifi there are many options out there for controlling your dslr via wireless accessories. So what is all the hub bub about these wifi features and are they good features or not much more than marketing gimmicks?
The answer here is very subjective, but I wanted to share my thoughts on the issue. I recently traded up (in my opinion) from an old Canon 7D, which does not have any wireless control capabilities beyond an IR remote, to a brand new full frame Canon 6D. One of the new features on the 6D that caught my attention was the built in Wifi connectivity, its something that I noticed and thought was neat but I figured I would never use.
This is probably similar to what many of you think when you hear about wifi capabilities. I can say that after playing with it a bit at home and on a few shoots over the weekend that it is actually quite useful. In my case I was shooting a few seniors over the weekend, normally on my shoots the parent/adult ends up standing around bored (when im not having them hold a reflector for me, haha) or sometimes even just go wait in the car for the senior and I to do the shoot.
Since I wanted to try out the new wifi I pulled out my tablet (a Galaxy Tab 2 10.1) and let the parents watch on my tablet as the pictures came in. They were able to see in real time what the results of the shoot were. This probably sounds like a nightmare to some of you: what if you take a bad shot and they see it, what if this or what if that. Bottom line, they know you are not perfect and in the end they will enjoy the experience more so I say go for it.
I feel like anything that can improve the experience for the senior or the parent (who has the $$ after all) is a win. In my case for both shoots that I used the wifi/tablet combination the parents and seniors thought it was awesome that they were able to see the images on a relatively large screen (when compared to the camera lcd). I even had the senior rate a few of her favorites right there so I could get a better idea of what sort of shots she liked from the shoot.
This is obviously just one implementation of wifi integration and the abilities of each camera’s wifi integration vary, but if this is any indication as to how things are going I am pleased. It was really nice to see something that I assumed was a marketing gimmick actually turned out to work well and be a valuable feature.
I am not even touching on the ability to download images from the camera to your phone/tablet to share via social networking or email, send directly to a printer, etc. All of which are neat features as well, that for me I really haven’t needed to use yet. (I am working on a full review/overview on the wifi capabilities of the 6D, so stay tuned if you want more specifics on it)
So in my humble opinion, is the WifI connectivity on a DSLR a valuable feature or marketing gimmick? I say it is a valuable feature to have as it gives you – or your client/assistants/etc – the ability to view images, control the camera, and make your life easier during a shoot. Are you going to use this in every niche of photography, no… not at all. But in my situation, where shooting portraits is a big part of my shooting time it turned out – surprisingly – to be a great feature and a way to differentiate the experience at my shoots from other local photographers (and that, as we all know, is a big part of the battle).
I want to know what you think on this. Do you have a camera with built in wifi, or a camera with a wifi add-on? If so what are your thoughts on it, does it work well for you and do you find it useful? Share your thoughts in a comment below.