Wireless File Transfer - The devil is in the details...

PaulStoffregen

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Sep 1, 2020
I'm considering replacing my old camera gear. Sony A6600 and A7SIII look pretty temping. Also considering Canon R6, if they fix the overheating. Waiting another year or two is also an option, since my old Nikon DSLR with Eye-Fi card and a pair of Panasonic camcorders still work.

Something that matters a lot to me, which hardly any reviews seem to cover, is wireless file transfer. Every camera has wifi, but they seem to vary greatly in how it actually works. Some of the Nikon camera seem to use the wireless only to send low-res JPEG previews to phones & tablets! The 2 videos I managed to find on YouTube showing the Sony mirrorless FTP are exactly what I don't want: having to manually select which files to send using menus, then watch a progress bar while they transfer. I'm optimistically hoping Sony has made file transfer more automatic in the newer models. But if good reviews showing wifi usage are out there, somehow I've missed them (admittedly half the info out there today seems to be about overheating).

So I'm hoping anyone here who actually uses these cameras can tell me how they really work? Here's a long wish-list of questions....


1: Can files transfer automatically, or do you have to select them using buttons/menus?

2: Which types of files does it send? Can it transfer video? Is raw photo supported?

3: If it can auto-transfer, when does it do this? For example, the old Eye-Fi cards sent each file a few seconds after it was written. Some Canon camera auto-transfer only when the camera is first turned on or wakes from sleep.

4: How usable is the camera while transferring files? Can you shoot more photos or video while files are sending?

5: How well does the file transfer handle spotty wifi & low battery? If a file transfer fails, does the camera resume or retry when conditions improve?

6: Can the camera automatically delete the oldest successfully sent files as the storage media fills up?

7: Is a cloud service required, or can it be configured to send to your own server on local wifi?

8: Is software from the camera manufacturer required on your PC or Mac? Or can it work standard network software like FTP or SMB?
 
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ChrisJ

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Answering just a few of these .. I have a sony a7mk1 and an android tablet, and windows laptop.
1. Yes, there's a sync to smartphone app that you can download to the a7. It will atempt to transfer all new shots to smartphone/ tablet when you turn the camera off.
I normally use the built in send to device function though, and select the shots that i wish to transfer. This uses menus.
There is also a mode using a remote control app where you use your tablet or laptop to control the camera in which case each shot is transferred when you take it. You can configure to get full res or low res. But still only jpgs.
2. Only jpegs, not raw. Not sure about video
3.see 1.
4.see 1. Also, you cannot use the camera while transferring.
5. Generally doesn't work with very low battery, but at that point the camera will shut down anyway.
6. don't think so
7. don't need cloud service. Generally the camera crates a WiFi hot spot which your device connects to. You can configure to use a local router but don't need to.
8. works well with supplied app. You might be able to see the camera sd card after doing a direct connection and transfer files that way, but I haven't tried.

This is all using the camera WiFi, there are modes using nfc that I haven't the kit to test.

There may well be other methods that i haven't found yet. My tutor's canon kit has a useful function where his laptop receives and displays each picture as he takes it, so he can get a good look at them. The Sony seems to only do this if you are using the laptop as remote control, so only practical for taking shots where the camera is fixed. I'd love to know if there is a way of taking the shots on the camera and immediately displaying them without pausing and transferring them.
 
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