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Technical

May 2014

The modern advanced DSLR (such as the EOS 6D, above) comes with WiFi built-in and optional wireless transmitters such as Canon's WFT range allow professional DSLRs to communicate without cables, too. Setting your camera to work with a WiFi workflow offers the photographer many creative as well as logistic advantages. In the second part of this guide, we look at the basics of camera configuration...

The WFT-E7 wireless transmitter (seen here on an EOS 5D Mark III) is one of Canon’s wireless transfer accessories.

The idea of sending files directly from a camera to a computer without the need for cables or wires is compelling. It gives you the freedom to find new viewpoints and keep your eye on the action while at the same time registering your work with an editor or client perhaps thousands of miles away. The possibilities are colossal, but like anything, there is some groundwork to cover before your images magically appear on the other side of the world.

Wireless File Transfer (WFT) modes have been created to tailor your camera and the means of communication to the kind of photography you take. In fact there are three modes of operation each with a particular bias towards a genre of photography.

On location

File Transfer Protocol (FTP) mode is a stable way of connecting cameras to a computer which has been set up as a remote FTP server. Indeed, depending on the configurations, one or more WFT-equipped cameras can automatically transfer images to a single computer making it ideal for location work.

Moreover, because FTP is only active when sending files (it is a “push” technology – a one-way communication with no information provided by the server on progress), it has the least drain on the battery making it perfect for event photographers who want to transmit images to an onsite laptop computer where they can be edited, sorted and processed. Some operating systems include a limited FTP server functionality. However, more advanced third-party FTP software is also available. Check which of these is more suited for your needs.

Studio and location options

Using a tablet device or a smartphone it is possible to remotely connect to a WiFi-enabled camera to allow for increased flexibility while shooting. Here Canon Ambassador Richard Walch operates an EOS 6D DSLR on location in Iceland.

Use WFT Mode when out and about to configure wireless control for your camera through a web browser on a computer, tablet or smartphone. When the camera is switched to Live View Mode, the browser will display what the camera sees with settings and various functions changeable through an interface. You can view images on the memory card from your computer. Also available for the EOS 6D and EOS 70D is the Canon CameraWindow app, which provides enhanced flexibility for reviewing images.

The flexibility of taking shots from angles that only Spiderman would consider means WFT Mode is often deployed in studio situations where operating a camera on a ladder, boom or scaffolding would be difficult. The possibilities even extend to on location wildlife shoots where getting up close without disturbing the subject is critical to getting the shot. Operating the camera remotely gives you the element of surprise with the added bonus of doing it at a distance.


In the studio

In EOS Utility Mode, the camera is operated through Canon’s EOS Utility software or CameraWindow app, as if it were connected directly to the computer via a USB cable. This enables two-way communication between camera and computer meaning images can be downloaded and the camera operated remotely.

As well as being faster than WFT, EOS Utility mode provides the greatest flexibility in terms of adjusting camera settings and using Live View functionality. It is also the most bandwidth-intensive and can drain the power so is best suited for controlled studio environments and relatively low frame rates.


Multiple angles

Linked Mode allows up to 10 slave cameras to be linked together, triggered by a 'Master' camera.

Linked Mode provides an entirely different set of possibilities through the power of connecting a series of cameras which can be operated by releasing the shutter on just one. Assuming each is connected to wireless file transmitter, up to 10 slave cameras can be linked this way.


Complete guide to WiFi