Techie: No strings attached
Digital cameras gone WiFi wild
John ďjaQĒ Andrews
Digital photography is such a pain. Oh, sure, you can take a vivid,
detailed picture and share it with pretty much the entire world either
unaltered or touched up, or even completely manipulated to make it look
like your drunk best friend shot JFK on the moon in a cowgirl costume.
But itís so hard.
After all, you gotta get that photograph onto a computer.
many people, that meant installing software on your PC and lugging
around a cable to connect it up to your camera. Those willing to spend
an extra couple bucks invested in a memory card reader to copy photos
right to their hard drives. Drag and drop, but still, a drag. If
everything else in this world is wireless, why not cameras?
Well, now they are. Nikon and Kodak are the first to release WiFi-enabled
digital cameras for the consumer market. Theyíre a little pricier than
similar cameras without the wireless feature, but címon, itís sexy and
new, what do you expect?
only 4.0 megapixels and 3X optical zoom, the EasyShare-One is a bit
behind the curve on picture quality, but it makes up for that in snazzy
Take the 3.0-inch LCD screen. The camera has no optical viewfinder, so
youíll be using this thing a lot. Its flipping, pivoting design lets it
assume more positions than criminals on COPS and the Kama Sutra
combined. Face it forward to perfectly frame a self-portrait; fold it
back to set your sights on that landscape; flip it around to protect the
screen while youíre storing your new toy.
if that werenít cool enough, itís a freakiní touchscreen, and it comes
with a stylus.
EasyShare-One also has a ton of memory. A 256MB ton, to be exact. You
can use all of that to store newly-taken photos or dedicate 185MB to
toting around your personal photo library. That amounts to 1,500
pictures, claims Kodak, optimized for the small screen. You can add more
memory with Secure Digital cards. You can also shoot video and choose
from automatic modes or selectable ISOs.
course, we canít forget the WiFi. The main benefit is simple transfer of
photos to your WiFi computer. You can also upload them to a personal
gallery on Kodakís Web site or e-mail them directly from the camera ó
assuming you have an Internet connection through your WiFi hotspot. You
can also browse your Web gallery (though not the Web in general, sadly)
and print to a wireless printer.
Nikon CoolPix P1 & P2
CoolPix P1 is black and 8.0 megapixels with 32MB built-in memory; the P2
is brushed silver and 5.1 megapixels with 16MB built-in memory.
Otherwise, these two models are pretty much identical.
Thereís very little remarkable about them other than the WiFi feature at
all, really, other than a slightly-better-than-average 3.5X optical zoom
and respectable 2.5-inch screen. Again, no optical viewfinder, and again
you can add more memory with Secure Digital cards.
Even the WiFi functionality is fairly basic: after you install software
on your computer and hook up your camera once via USB, you can save
photos wirelessly. You can even do this on the fly, bypassing your
cameraís memory entirely and saving straight to hard disk if youíre
within range. Thereíve been professional devices for just this purpose
on SLR models for years, but itís new to the point-and-shoot world.
short, the Nikon cameras offer a convenient gimmick; the Kodak model
does more with the WiFi technology, but you pay for it.