Digital Cameras Go Wi-Fi

Friday Sep 2nd 2005 by Eric Griffith
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Nikon beats Kodak to the punch with new 5- and 8-megapixel cameras using 802.11 to transfer photos.

Nikon says that by the end of this month it will make available two new digital cameras with integrated Wi-Fi (802.11g/b).

The Coolpix P1 is a black, 8-megapixel digital camera with 32MB of internal memory that will sell for $550; the Coolpix P2 is a 5.1-megapixel version in silver with 16MB of internal memory for $400.

Both weigh only six ounces (without a battery or optional SD memory card) and feature built-in flash and a 3.5x optical zoom lens, plus a 4x digital zoom.

They can also shoot 30-frames-per-second (fps) video with sound in QuickTime format. They will even do time-lapse shots.

Nikon says the cameras' Wi-Fi signals will travel about 100 feet or so, depending on conditions. Features include a Shoot and Transfer Mode for sending pictures to the computer as soon as they're taken — they don't even go on the memory card — or Easy Transfer to off load images either manually or in batches by date, so that only new images get copied over the network.

You need to have a computer running Nikon's PictureProject software to get pictures — the cameras don't connect to the Internet at hotspots. Each model comes with Version 1.6 of PictureProject, and a Wireless Camera Setup Utility wizard.

An optional, $50 wireless print adapter lets the cameras print directly over the wireless connection, with no need to view the images on a computer first. To do so, however, you must use a printer that supports PictBridge.

Nikon is not the first company to announce a Wi-Fi equipped camera. Kodak announced the EasyShare-One Wi-Fi Digital Camera in January of this year, and after several delays, it looks like it might be hitting shelves in time for the holiday season — Kodak's Web site says "Available in October."

The four-megapixel camera with 3x optical zoom will sell for $600. Kodak previously announced a deal with T-Mobile Hotspots, through which you can connect via the Wi-Fi in those locations to upload photos over the Internet.

Actually, the P1 and P2 aren't the first wireless-capable cameras from Nikon, either. The D2X, announced last year, is a 12-megapixel digital SLR with an 802.11g adapter as an optional transmitter attachment.

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