DILCs Jump on the Connected Bandwagon

Ed Lee
Apr 19, 2012
Since 2007, InfoTrends has been promoting the need for a Connected Experience in the photography market. While Wi-Fi enabled cameras have seen some fits and starts, the concept has not become an everyday reality. Camera vendors have been slow to respond to the threat of smartphones and have allowed them to set the stage for a connected experience. InfoTrends has been encouraging camera vendors to add connectivity to their cameras in order to remain relevant in the Connected Era of photography. Since 2012 began, Canon, Fujifilm, Kodak, Samsung, and Sony have announced a total of nine Wi-Fi enabled point & shoot cameras. However, consumer digital interchangeable lens cameras (DILC) have remained outside the mix. That is until today.

Announcements by Samsung and Nikon give us hope that 2012 will become “The Year of the Connected Camera.” Samsung announced three new 20.3 megapixel NX-series compact interchangeable lens cameras, the NX20, NX210, and NX1000, all of which feature built-in Wi-Fi support. Photos and videos can be uploaded to social network sites or emailed (file size limitations apply), or automatically backed up to Windows only computers directly from the cameras. In addition, when the cameras are connected to a compatible Samsung smartphone or tablet the devices can be used as a remote viewfinder and shutter release. Images can also be displayed on compatible tablets or Internet-enabled TVs through Samsung’s MobileLink function. The NX20 and NX210 are priced at $1,099 and $899, respectively, and ship in May. Price and availability of the NX1000 will be announced at a later date.

On the heels of the Samsung announcement, Nikon announced the D3200, a 24.3 megapixel, full 1080p HD DSLR camera priced at $699. The option that excites us about the camera is the WU-1a Wireless Mobile Adapter, which allows the transfer of photos to a smartphone or tablet and remote release of the camera shutter. While this accessory solution is not as elegant as Samsung’s integrated approach, it is a step forward for Nikon. It would have been better if the Wi-Fi antenna was built-in rather than sticking out from the side of the camera when installed. And because this is an accessory, Nikon will have to spend marketing and sales resources to convince consumers to spend an additional $60 for the added functionality. At its launch in May, the supporting app will only be available for Android OS smartphones and tablets. Apple device users should hold off buying the adapter, as an iOS app is not expected to be released until this fall.

Nikon Wireless Mobile Adapter

InfoTrends Opinion

Wi-Fi enabled digital interchangeable lens cameras are the next step forward in the creation of a Connected Experience. With the razor thin margins generated by point & shoot, camera vendors are having difficulty justifying the added but necessary expense required to make them Wi-Fi enabled. The higher prices and greater margins from digital interchangeable lens cameras will allow camera vendors to take on the additional expense of a Wi-Fi antenna, if they choose. The big challenge ahead for camera vendors is not getting the hardware into the cameras, but instead providing consumers with a smooth workflow for the transfer and sharing of photos and videos and an intuitive and easy-to-use user interface. When we get our hands on these products we will let you know if Samsung and Nikon succeeded at these goals.

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