Article by Jim Rundel

To be tethered or not to be is the question?

We wanted to be completely wireless. It appeared to be the most logical solution because mobility was a key factor for our product. So, let’s start off with an introduction of the wireless Eye-fi SD cards.

The concept of these cards were great! After some initial preference settings, you would just simply slide these suckers into your camera and the digital feed would get automatically transferred to your mobile device. My camera had two slots for SD cards so I wanted to exploit this by having two simultaneous feeds going to two different devices. This was great! Plus, you didn’t have to worry about creating a local wireless network or even worry about the additional expense of a laptop. It was literally plug-n-play. Well, at least for the moment.

The indoor testing was working like a charm. I had two different mobile devices displaying hi-res photos from my camera wirelessly. The transfer rates, although not instant, were satisfactory for a full-res image and bringing the resolution down a notch made the transfer rates even faster. And it was working great – until we had an official test outdoors.

And we had our first mini test event in September – outdoors. And the Eye-fi cards did not like it. We essentially couldn’t be more than two feet away from the camera for the images to consistently transfer to the iPad. We even had to disable one of the cards to see if it was interfering, but it was clearly the outdoor setting. There was just too much interference. It was ghastly! Sorry, Eye-fi cards, but it looks like you’re going to be serving another purpose elsewhere and maybe on eBay perhaps?

To be tethered!

After the September event, it seemed inevitable that were going to have be tethered. At least, partially tethered. So, we did plenty of research online and found the most suitable solution, which involved creating a local network and purchasing a laptop. The exact expenses we were trying to avoid, but were needed if we wanted a stable working environment. But, in the end we were happy with the results.

However, we did find our wireless counterpart – a camera remote solution on the iPad/iPhone and it was fantastic! It even gave us more control than we anticipated. The iPad and iPhone app allowed us to change the aperture, shutter, white balance, focus and even go into LiveView video mode!

And the solution was proven to work like a champ at our next event. The night was considered a success. It was an Awesoos moment.