Wireless Digital Camera Guide










by Photo-John

What's a Wireless Digital Camera?

What does WiFi have to do with digital cameras, you ask? Wireless digital cameras allow you to connect to a wireless network without using any cables. This makes it possible to download photos, save photos directly to a computer while you shoot, or print wirelessly. You can even connect to a cellular network and share photos, just as you would with a camera phone.










How Does a WiFi Camera Work?

WiFi cameras use wireless computer networking technology (802.11b and g) to connect to a wireless network. If you have a wireless network at home or work, you can connect to it with a wireless-enabled digital camera and download your photos to a computer without any cables. This means easier image downloads, printing, and photo sharing. Imagine not needing a card reader or USB cable to download or print photos anymore!






The Cameras

Kodak was the first to announce a wireless-enabled digital camera - the EasyShare-One, at the 2005 CES tradeshow. Canon, Kodak, and Nikon all started shipping WiFi digital cameras last year (2005). Currently, (April 2006), there are three wireless compact cameras available and Nikon will be delivering two new models, shortly. The cameras range from the 4-megapixel Kodak EasyShare-One to the 8.1-megapixel Nikon Coolpix P3 (available in May). All of the wireless cameras are fairly standard point-and-shoots as far as camera features go.












Nikon's two P-Series wireless digital cameras offer the most exposure control with an aperture priority mode as well as standard programmed auto and scene modes. The pocket-sized Nikon Coolpix S6 sets itself apart from the other WiFi cameras with Nikon's VR Vibration Reduction, which helps reduce blurry photos caused by camera shake.



The Kodak EasyShare-One is the most unique camera of the bunch. It's more like a PDA than a camera. With its wireless card and articulated 3-inch touch screen LCD and stylus, it's very different than any other camera currently available. Like all Kodak EasyShare cameras, it was designed with photo sharing and the Kodak EasyShare Gallery in mind. With the wireless card, the "share" button allows you to e-mail photos or wirelessly access the Kodak EasyShare Gallery to view and upload photos.




Nikon Coolpix P3 wireless digital camera

As seen at PMA 2006 - The Nikon Coolpix P3 - an 8-megapixel wireless digital camera, equipped with Nikon's VR optical Vibration Reduction.




With point-and-shoot simplicity and a compact design, the Canon PowerShot SD430 follows in the proven Canon Digital ELPH tradition. It distinguishes itself from the other cameras with one very cool wireless feature. You can set up the SD430 remotely, and take pictures wirelessly, using your computer to control the camera. Canon's PowerShot SD430 Web Page shows the camera being used for wildlife photos and baby monitoring - two logical applications.



Conclusion

Wireless technology is another way to transfer images from your digital camera to a computer, printer, or even the Internet. It's an extension of what thousands of people are already doing with their camera phones. The difference being, with a wireless camera, the emphasis is on photo quality and camera features - not the phone. So you get some of the cool wireless functionality of a camera phone, but in a "real" camera the offers more control and better photo quality.



Wireless connectivity is the future. In a couple of years, most cables will probably be unnecessary. Currently, wireless devices and wireless networks are notoriously finicky and the technology is confusing to the average person (it confuses me). So it's probably a bit early for some people to run out and buy a wireless digital camera. That said, when it works, wireless connectivity is very cool and super convenient. Just remember, if you do buy a wireless camera, you can consider yourself an "early adopter" with all the glory and hassle that entails.



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