WiFi Cameras at CES: Expensive & Not

Canon’s 5D Mark II, 7D, and the new 1D Mark IV high end SLRs are getting a wireless upgrade. Canon’s new Wireless File Transmitter units cost around $700 and enable the wireless beaming of pictures from camera to computer.

The latest generation adds 802.11a, along with the b/g modes on earlier models. Once connected, the camera can act as an FTP site, and can beam a realtime preview image to a connected computer.

The WiFi adapters can also connect to a Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) compatible televisions, photo frames and servers. A DLNA compliant TV, for example, will interoperate with a DLNA compliant PC or camera to play music, photos or videos. DLNA is supported by more than 5,500 different devices.

Canon’s wireless accessory can also synch itself with up to 10 “slave” cameras that all fire at the same time. The 5D’s WFT-E4 II A and 7D’s WFT-E5A cost $699 (no price yet for the 1D Mark IV’s WFT-E2 II A). Unfortunately, none of these SLR WiFi adapters are compatible with each other.

Image Resource has a CES 2010 Roundup and DP Review has a CES 2010 compact camera round-up. HD video has become de rigueur this season – 29 cameras offer at least 720p resolution, with a couple of Sony’s latest models stretching all the way to 1080i, says DP Review. More efficient compression algorithms, such as H.264 and AVCHD, are also starting to creep in alongside the card-space-consuming Motion JPEG format.

Sony’s 10-megapixel Cyber-shot DSC-G3 still camera has WiFi and DLNA built-in for uploading to You Tube. WiFi devices can become DLNA certified with the right software. It provides DRM with home video networking between devices.

Samsung’s CL80 (ST5500) connects to both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.0 and uses DLNA for photoframes and tvs. The ST5500 allows users to send a digital image to any email address using the camera’s touch screen QWERTY keypad or by selecting those stored the camera’s address book. The ST5500’s Wi-Fi connection also allows users to upload their images directly to popular websites such as Facebook, Picasa and YouTube, as well as SamsungImaging.com.

Meanwhile, Eye-Fi has unveiled its 8GB Eye-Fi Pro X2 memory card ($149). It has Class 6 performance for faster read/write speeds and wirelessly uploads JPEG and RAW images and videos from the camera to computer and one of 25 online photo and video sharing sites, such as Flickr, Picasa or Facebook.

The new Endless Memory mode enables the Eye-Fi card to automatically make space available after photos and videos are uploaded.

It’s hard to beat Kodak’s Zi8 Pocket Video Camera ($179) with external mic jack; HD resolution; good low light performance; SD card slot; removable, rechargeable battery; bundled composite and HDMI cables; electronic image stabilization and 5-megapixel still capture. Pop in a Eye-Fi card and go.

A battery powered Mobile Router might let your wireless camera go live anywhere.

Sprint’s Personal Hot Spot PHS300S is $139.99, runs on batteries and uses Clear’s 4G USB dongle for the backbone. Sprint’s new Overdrive 3G/4G Mobile Hotspot by Sierra Wireless will automatically fallback to a 3G backbone.

The AC powered CradlePoint CBA750 ($249.99) features 3G/4G wireless backhaul and Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) while Netgear has two new access points using 3G, 4G and WiMax cellular networks and D-Link’s new products include the DIR-412 a small WiFi router that hooks to 4G USB adapters.

For live video on-the-go, PortaBella makes a wireless broadband bonding appliance. You can attach up to four USB broadband backhaul dongles, combining both 3G and 4G network services for faster uploading. TWIT Live is using it for live webcasting around CES 2010.

Speedstream.tv sells a backpack which uses WiMax to send broadcast-quality signals from remote locations. The package is being marketed to professional broadcasters for about $25,000, although a scaled-back version is expected to be available for advanced consumers for less than $10,000.

But simply connecting a camera’s video output to a laptop 100 feet away might cheaper and easier.

Samsung’s new HMX-S15 and HMX-S16 HD digital camcorder is said to be the world’s first to include built-in Wi-Fi and DLNA connectivity and has an external microphone jack.

The WHDI 5 GHz standard, with chips from Aminon might also deliver the last 100 feet in high resolution.

Might be handy for newspapers and television stations who could go live anywhere. Television stations are stuck with a schedule. Newspapers are not.

Put real journalists in the community. The newspaper as art gallery. News pub.

Posted by Sam Churchill on .

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