The benefit of life without cords is appealing enough for many; however, WiFi cameras come with some downsides in addition to their benefits. As the technology moves forward, many of the kinks may be ironed out and new functions introduced, but for now we'll look at the benefits of cameras currently on the market.
Wirelessly uploading files at the touch of a button might be the main benefit of a WiFi camera, but other pluses include:
- Quick access to storage
- Ability to share albums and photos with one step instead of several
- If you set it to delete photos as they upload, you'll never have to worry about a full SD card
All these features come at a cost. For example, WiFi cameras are still unreliable when it comes to maintaining battery power while connected to the Internet. As with other portable electronics, it's still a lithium drain -- and one that can make or break vacation documentation if a power source isn't handy.
Another major downfall is the fact that a WiFi camera needs a place to connect to upload pictures. While coffee shops, restaurants and hotels often have free access to these, many locations do not. Additionally, WiFi connections aren't always reliable, so there may be the risk that your photos won't upload properly.
There is also the issue of encryption and privacy. Some photo sharing services are open and publically available, so while it's unlikely anyone is going to accidentally stumble on your vacation photos, it's still possible. This also comes into play when you're dealing with a public connection like one you'd find at a coffee shop, where privacy isn't guaranteed while your camera is on a public network. Many WiFi-enabled cameras offer encryption options for WiFi uploads during the initial setup process.
There is also the problem of interfacing between the user and the camera itself. As touch screen technology grows in popularity, this may become less of an issue, but for now it's rather cumbersome to navigate through passwords and usernames without a keyboard. Several cameras already feature an on-screen keyboard, while others have let users hit various camera buttons to point-and-click their ways through.
Although WiFi-enabled cameras haven't completely caught on yet, many technology experts believe it's inevitable they will in the near future [source: Moynihan]. For now, the offerings are slim, but as cost of production goes down, you may someday see WiFi become as common a feature as red-eye reduction.
If you'd like to learn more about WiFi cameras and digital photography, you'll find lots more information on the next page.