In the digital age, convenience is often more important than quality, and for this reason alone, smartphones have undermined the sales of compact cameras over the last few years, despite several major disadvantages like inferior image quality, exaggerated shutter lag, limited manual controls, lackluster low-light performance and poor zooming optics. Whether you’re looking to keep your fan base updated from the road or to access images and portfolios from the cloud, camera manufacturers are fighting back by adding wireless technologies directly into cameras.
But WiFi is for more than just sharing to Facebook and Flickr. Remote access to settings and imagery means you can trigger your DSLR from areas that are difficult to shoot from or access. Many new cameras include the ability to use a smartphone or tablet as a much more versatile viewfinder, and for those who own cameras without this ability built in, there are also a number of accessories and workarounds to add this feature.
CAMERAS WITH WIFI
Canon and Nikon have been slow to the gate when it comes to wireless, instead choosing to offer adapters for retrieving images wirelessly from cameras. Nikon recently announced the D5300, their very first DSLR to feature internal WiFi and GPS. For older Nikon DSLRs and their latest mirrorless systems, Nikon’s WU-1b Wireless Mobile Adapter is compatible with the Nikon 1 series of mirrorless cameras, as well as the D600 and D610 DSLRs. The similar, but different WU-1a model offers the same support for a selection of Nikon compact cameras, as well as the D3200, D7100 and D5200 DSLRs and Coolpix P520 superzoom.
The full-frame Canon EOS 6D was the very first EOS model to include its own internal WiFi for control over settings, geotagging and image transfers when used with Canon’s EOS Remote app. The new EOS 70D is also WiFi-enabled, but for older models, Canon offers a selection of relatively expensive, but highly reliable WFT Wireless File Transmitters. Starting at $600, each model is compatible with a few different upper-tier Canon DSLRs.
Canon turned quite a few heads with the WiFi-accessible Canon PowerShot N camera, a diminutive pocket-sized model dedicated to the Instagram crowd with 12-megapixel image resolution and 8x optical zoom, as well as direct upload to social media through Canon’s iMAGE GATEWAY service.
Several other compact cameras from Canon have seen the addition of WiFi over the last year, including the PowerShot S110, PowerShot S120, PowerShot ELPH 130, PowerShot ELPH 320 HS, PowerShot ELPH 530 HS, PowerShot SX510 and flagship PowerShot G16. List Price: $149 (PowerShot ELPH 130); $249 (PowerShot SX510 HS); $280 (PowerShot ELPH 320 HS); $299 (PowerShot N); $329 (PowerShot ELPH 530 HS); $349 (PowerShot S110); $449 (PowerShot S120); $549 (PowerShot G16); $1,199 (EOS 70D).
Nikon also offers the Coolpix AW110, Coolpix S6500, Coolpix S5200, Coolpix S9500 and the older Android-based Coolpix S800c compact cameras with internal WiFi and image transfer through the Wireless Mobile Utility app. Through the free Wireless Mobile Utility application for Android and iOS digital devices, Nikon users have the ability to remotely take photos with the camera from a smartphone or tablet. List Price: $349 (Coolpix S800c/Coolpix AW110); $219 (Coolpix S6500); $59 (WU-1a/WU-1b Wireless Mobile Adapter); $1,399 (D5300 kit the AF-S DX Nikkor 18-140mm ƒ/3.5-5.6G ED VR lens).
Fujifilm’s latest APS-C-based X-M1 and X-A1 mirrorless cameras have a dedicated WiFi button that transfers selected photos to smartphones, tablets and PCs through a single button press. Setup is provided through the FUJIFILM Camera App, which allows you to view images remotely and add GPS information via smart devices. The PC AutoSave feature backs up photos wirelessly to a designated folder on any computer with the FUJIFILM PC AutoSave software installed. Fujifilm has released a number of compatible compacts with internal WiFi, including the rugged FinePix XP200 compact, the speedy and affordable F900EXR compact, and the S8400W with a 40x superzoom lens. Estimated Street Price: $349 (FinePix F900EXR); $229 (FinePix XP200); $299 (FinePix S8400W); $599 (Fujifilm X-A1); $699 (Fujifilm X-M1).