[Gear] WIFI Enabled Cameras. How Will This Affect The Industry?

With all the announcements coming out of CES 2012 in Las Vegas this week, there is one particular announcement that perhaps flew under the radar. Maybe not so much for the actual camera, as for one specific trait said camera can perform, and furthermore what it means for future cameras in general.

What is interesting about the new Samsung WB850F camera is its built in WIFI chip. Much like most modern smartphones, this allows the camera to jump online and instantly send photos out as emails. Obviously this being 2012, the camera also includes the ability to publish photos directly to the usual suspects of social networks. This certainly isn't the first camera to include the ability to send photos over WIFI or to social networks. What makes this camera different is how tightly integrated into the system this sharing functionality is. It's clearly not an afterthought tacked on to the list of specs. More importantly, what does this growing trend mean for future generations of DSLR's?

Do you see this functionality making its way into consumer DSLR's? If there was such functionality in a DSLR would you even use it? Will there be a professional DSLR with built in WIFI that allows wireless tethering? (Without having to purchase a separate big $$$ grip). We all know the technology is there now. I feel like the question isn't if this will happen, but more so when will this happen? Sound off in the comments with your thoughts!

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Patrick Hall's picture

I dunno if this would actually work, but while I was assisting on the BCS Championship game I wondered why sports photographers still need runners taking their memory cards from the field and running them all the way back to the media room.  It seems like there should be a way to export images directly off the camera through WIFI or some sort. 

Ken Kotch's picture

We were talking about this last night at the Pats game. The technology to transmit small jpegs from the field has been here for a while. Building an infrastructure to support it is still a few years out.
It does seem pretty easy bring the wifi from the media room to the field.
Here's hoping.  

Noam Galai's picture

This could make any news photographer very happy :) not having to run with a laptop and start downloading, sending it on crappy wifi and all that. just shoot and know that your editor will get it

Justinflynn's picture

3g cameras will change things, not wifi

Ken Kotch's picture

true, but I don't want to pay the use fees for going over a few gigs.

here is a much better concept by a Chicago Wedding Photographer
link to youTube vid.

I think it's ridiculous that Eye-Fi only makes their WiFi enabled cards in the SD format. They're missing a huge population of pro photographers who would love to bypass the Nikon and Canon offerings that are super expensive and rarely work properly. Why isn't this available in CF format???


Patrick Hall's picture

Yeah it drive me crazy too. Eye-fi has been adamant that they will not make CF versions because they have said SD is the future. However with the new XQD showing up in the D4 it looks like they are going to miss another market much like they did with CF. At some point wifi or 3/4G will be built into the consumer market cameras and all that will be left is the pro market with their CF or XQD chips. Hopefully we will see some big announcements from Eye-fi soon!

It's getting closer - the new Nikon D4 has a small module with quite impressive features. Keeping it in a separate module, for now at least, does mean that the manufacturers can charge extra for it, but I imagine it won't be too long before we start seeing WiFi included by default. And most high-end features usually work their way down the line.

As mentioned above, news reporters and editors will like it if it means they can send images off immediately. And it will be handy for event photographers.

I'm just wondering though how well it will work when you have a bank of photographers all with WiFi sharing the same small amount of airspace. Even a couple neighbours with WiFi in their houses can have issues with interference, so I hate to think what would happen if you have 20+ photographers packed in tightly all trying to use WiFi.

Wouldn't this require camera-specific drivers in the OS, like tethering does?

Coby's picture

The problem I see with Pro-DSLR's & wi-fi is the battery consumption of sending RAW files that big.