There’s one thing that every digital camera has in the box: the USB cable. For almost ten years USB has been the most reliable way to connect your camera to your computer to offload your pictures and share them with friends and family. Even if you’re yanking the card out and plugging it in to a card reader, you’re probably doing that through USB.
But USB’s time is rapidly expiring; wires are so early 2000s. Bluetooth isn’t really efficient for moving files easily (pairing alone is enough to put people off) but there’s a wireless technology that almost everyone seems to understand now: Wi-Fi. It’s fast, it’s easy to use, and it’s being built into more cameras.
So what can you do with Wi-Fi? Well, it depends on the camera model and who’s making it, but here’s a general overview.
Connect to your home network and upload to your computer
By adding your digital camera to your home network you can forget about the cable and upload things more easily. When your camera is turned on, you can use the software that came with it to browse your network to find photos, or in some cases it will “push” to your computer automatically. This is handy for a few reasons: you don’t need to dig for parts, you don’t need to sit down in front of your computer to upload, and you can upload immediately instead of forgetting about your photos and accidentally deleting them when you format the card (oop! We’ve all been there...)
Connect to your home network and upload to social media or the cloud
There aren’t many cameras that can do this right now, but some upcoming models for the fall will connect you directly to social media. Tag the image for upload right on your camera and it’ll be ready to go when you get back to you home base at... well, home.
Cloud uploads are almost standard now, with many brands providing up to five gigabytes of storage online for you to upload your pictures to. That’s not a whole lot of space considering how big pictures are now, but it’s great for being able to instantly share with friends and family, and to download to the computer of your choice after the face.
Connect to your mobile phone
This is cool feature that’s developing more and more with each new camera that supports it. Connecting to your smartphone generally needs an App (most of the time provided for free on your smartphone’s app store) that lets you connect to your phone for a few things:
1. to use your smartphone as a remote viewer. Canon’s latest PowerShot cameras support this, and it’s a great way to get shots that would otherwise be almost impossible to get. It’s also handy for getting yourself in the shot without having to sprint into frame thanks to the 10 second timer.
2. it lets you harvest the GPS information in your phone. This depends on your camera model, but it can grab the GPS location for you, geotagging your shots without having to have the battery-sucking GPS chip on your camera itself. It’s a super-smart way to do things.
Wi-Fi is an awesome new feature that’s only getting better with every iteration. If you like to be connected, it’s definitely something you should look for in your next shooter!
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