Samsung’s new top-end compact system camera is the first to offer an online connection for photographers in the field as well as at home, but does this built-in Wi-Fi have any real benefits?
Kodak introduced the Autographic system to rollfilm cameras in 1914 – a system that allowed the photographer to write a note on the exposed frame about the scene just photographed. That footnote made the picture an instant postcard that could be printed over and over and sent to friends by post. It was a great idea, but never gained the popularity it deserved, principally because the system lacked convenience.
Samsung has introduced a modern version in its NX20 that is both more convenient and a good deal quicker to use. With a built-in wireless transmitter, the camera can connect to a wireless internet hotspot and send images directly from the memory card to social networking sites, such as Flickr and Facebook, or via email to specific recipients – the instant postcard! While in the past you might have had to return home to connect with your domestic system, the Wi-Fi Direct in this camera allows it to connect with a smartphone so that it can use the mobile internet to send the image with its caption , even when you are miles from a traditional hotspot.
The ability to connect to other devices allows the camera to stream its content to an internet-connected TV so the files can be scrolled using the TV remote control. The camera can wirelessly download its content to a computer, waking it up if necessary, and the right smartphone can be used as a live-view-playing remote-control device – and the camera can connect to Cloud storage to save lower-resolution versions of images online.
Connecting the camera to a TV was simple and I very much enjoyed seeing pictures big across the screen, making sharing a true family experience. I also got the camera to connect to a Samsung Galaxy Note in the field to upload progress reports on the test to Facebook friends. I sent picture emails, too. I’ve used the Remote Viewfinder app before with the Samsung SH100 and WB850, but despite my being assured the correct version of the app is available it did not show the entire graphic menu system as it was supposed to. I suspect the app is not final yet or the camera’s firmware needs a little upgrade. I had great success with Mobile Link after I updated my phone to Ice Cream Sandwich and reloaded the Mobile Link app.
If you are into social networking, the NX20 Wi-Fi feature provides an excellent way to update on the move. Emailing a photo from holiday is probably much easier than learning the word for ‘stamp’ – and hopefully the picture will be much better, too!