Canon SLRs get new wireless transmitters

The $700 devices offer new options for remote usage, geotagging, and multi-camera shooting for owners of Canon's newer higher-end cameras.

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The WFT-E5A for the EOS 7D is one of three new Canon SLR accessories that brings new wireless photo transfer and remote control abilities to Canon SLRs.
The WFT-E5A for the EOS 7D is one of three new Canon SLR accessories that brings new wireless photo transfer and remote control abilities to Canon SLRs. Canon USA

Canon on Thursday announced three new wireless photo transfer accessories for its higher-end digital SLR models, adding the ability to simultaneously shoot with 10 linked cameras and other new features.

The wireless file transmitter devices, which mount to the SLR camera bodies, are the WFT-E2 II A, available this quarter for the EOS-1D Mark IV; the WFT-E4 II A, available now for the EOS 5D Mark II; and the WFT-E5A, available now for the EOS 7D. Each transmitter costs $700--more than an entire lower-end SLR and lens--but provides a variety of options to connect devices to the cameras and to link them to the outside world over a network.

One new feature is called Camera Linking, which lets up to 10 cameras take the same shot, which can be useful for capturing the same moment from different perspectives. Seen advertisements where it looks like the camera is whirling around a person frozen in a midair leap? That's the idea here.

Earlier WFT models let photographers plug in portable hard drives for more storage space or GPS devices to geotag photos with geographic location coordinates. The new transmitters also can be used with Canon's BU-30 Bluetooth unit, a small USB device, which lets Bluetooth-enabled GPS devices connect as well.

Also new with the transmitters is the ability to connect to networks with 802.11a, a Wi-Fi standard sometimes found in corporate environments. Earlier models supported only the 802.11b and 802.11g standards, but Canon thinks the 802.11a support will be useful in electronically noisy areas such as sports arenas. And the new models can use the Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) standard that's designed to ease the process of connecting to wireless networks.

One new feature available only on the WFT-E5A for the EOS 7D is support for the DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) technology that can be used to display photos on compatible TVs or photo frames, Canon said.

Like their predecessors, the wireless devices have built-in servers that permit photographers, photo editors, or others to retrieve photos wirelessly from the camera using a Web browser or the venerable FTP file-transfer service. The devices also permit people with laptops, iPod Touches, Netbooks, or various other devices to remotely take photos using the camera's live view mode.