Wi-Pics; Wireless Image File Transfer

Wireless transfer of photographic image files is nothing new--at least not in Internet years. Canon and Nikon have their own versions of such devices and while they are not inexpensive (about $1000) they are not that expensive if you really need to transfer image files wirelessly. The downside to Canon's WFT-E1A and Nikon's WT-2 is that both are designed to work with specific classes of digital SLRs and won't work with other digital SLRs. Now, Wi-Pics (www.wi-pics.com) gives you an alternative.

If your camera doesn't support any of the solutions from Canon and Nikon, Wi-Pics is the only game in town. It's an ideal product for professional photographers who require rapid transfer of their images for viewing, storing, or printing, such as wedding and event shooters, sports and school photographers, and photojournalists. The basic Wi-Pics system includes a replacement CompactFlash card that is inserted into the camera's media slot. It allows any digital camera (with a CompactFlash card slot) to transmit images via wireless networks without modifying the camera's firmware or affecting camera performance or battery life. A thin ribbon cable from this smart card connects to the Wi-Pics module that allows transmission of image files to editing stations, servers, or FTP sites via network access points. The unit has an Ethernet interface for studio use and can also be configured with up to 40GB of built-in storage or supplemental (two) CompactFlash storage cards.

Wi-Pics lets "any" digital camera with a CompactFlash card slot transmit images via wireless networks without modifying the camera's firmware, impacting camera performance, or affecting battery life.
Photos courtesy of Wi-Pics.

After the Wi-Pics unit has been powered up, it acts just like you have a normal memory card installed. The Wi-Pics module is about the size of a personal CD player (big but weighing just over 1 lb), can be worn on your belt, freeing you to shoot events uninterrupted by having to move image files by "sneaker-net" or limited by the number of cards you own.

When software in the Wi-Pics unit detects the recording of an image by the camera, the image can be transmitted to a remote workstation or server via the unit's wireless or wired network interfaces. Data is secure and is sent only to pre-configured locations.

The upside is that when changing cards photographers can, and do, miss important shots. And there's no need for extra flash cards that could get lost. You won't need a runner to carry cards back and forth during a hectic event to download the images into a computer. (Newspaper photo editors take note.) Wi-Pics units transmit images securely only to the desired location without photographer intervention. Meanwhile, images can still be retrieved, published, displayed, or printed rapidly following capture.

A thin ribbon cable from a "smart" CompactFlash card connects to the Wi-Pics main unit, which is worn on the user's belt. (Wear a big belt.)