This is all a bit “techie” but I’m posting this info here as I’ve not seen it anywhere else, and in the hope that it might be useful to someone.
The background is that I use WiFi to transfer pictures to a computer at events. The computer is then able to print photos there and then for clients.
At the moment, I’m using a Canon 6D, because it has WiFi built in. I use Canon EOS utility software running on a Mac to receive the image files and put them in a “hot folder” where the printing/viewing software can process them.
Previously, I used an Eye-Fi card in another camera to provide a similar function.
Up to now, I have been using a fairly old Netgear router as the base station. This worked reasonably well, although I have found recently that it sometimes has difficulty establishing a connection because there are so many WiFi devices at venues – the typical hotel will have networks to provide guests with internet connections, tills and credit card readers connecting with their controllers and so on. Even when there are spare channels, the signal strength can be so strong that my little router has difficulty getting through. Also, the router didn’t provide wireless n, so the connection was not as quick as it could be.
Anyway, I decided to upgrade my network by installing an Apple Airport Extreme base station. This has a stronger signal than most, and has a number of other benefits that I won’t go into right now.
I’ve been doing some quick tests, and the results so far seem to show that the effort has been worth while.
For reference, I have so far achieved these approximate transfer times:
Raw file – 25Mb – 10 sec
Large fine jpg – 6Mb – 4 sec
Medium Coarse jpg – 2 mb – less than 2 sec
Note that this is from pressing the button to file transferred to computer, so it includes handshaking etc. to start the transfer, which takes about a second before anything visible happens.
Unfortunately, I am not sad enough to have done a proper “before and after” test, but my impression is that this is at least twice as fast as I was getting before. So I’m pretty pleased!
Footnote: On my machine it takes about another 7-8 seconds for Lightroom to copy the raw file from the hot folder into the working folder and then display it. If you’re working on a studio, Lightroom will import and display the latest photo – generally what you want in a studio situation. For events, you may be showing or printing another photo, so you just want it to import the photos for display when selected to do this you need the “Folder Watch” plug-in from Jeffrey Friedl.
I have also been controlling the camera from my Mac in the studio, for product shots. The camera is on a tripod, and I “fire” it from the computer using the Canon EOS Utility software, adjusting the exposure as required. Because I’m using manual exposure and flash, the picture using Live View is too dark to be of any use. But, if I was using continuous lighting I could check the focus and composition on a 27inch screen instead of the back of the camera – all pretty clever stuff, and quite impressive that it all works!
Footnote: I haven’t done any real testing to see how far away the transmission works reliably. So far, the furthest from the base station I’ve used it is about 50-60 feet from one end of a room to another, with dancers in between, and in an adjacent room – although this will depend on the nature and thickness of the walls.