6D Observations - wifi

Started Dec 11, 2012 | Discussions thread
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6D Observations - wifi
Dec 11, 2012

I'd like to share my, so far very brief, observations with a new 6D (my first new camera since acquiring a 5D1 more than 5 years ago).  I'm not a reviewer or tester, nor do I have any testing equipment to rate, measure, graph, or otherwise analyze the capabilities of a camera - these are just my observations and experiences with the new camera.  If there is interest, I'd be happy to post more (time permitting of course).

For this post I'm going describe my wifi experience. From reading various 6D posts the past few months this feature has received a mixed welcome - some people excited, some "meh, I won't use it". Wifi is not brand new but to my knowledge this is the first of the Canon full frames to include it on board. While I don't figure to use it a lot, it is a nice addition that doesn't require any extra equipment so I was ready to give it a go.

Initial Setup

There is really not much to report here. I have an Android based phone so a quick stop at the market to download the EOS Remote App (from Canon) - no problems during download/installation. Initial configuration of the Camera went nicely as well - just followed the instructions in the manual and quickly I had a named wifi instance ready to go on the camera.

Getting Connected
Next up was getting the two to talk to each other - this part got a little tricky. First you have to turn on the wifi on the camera (Menu / Wifi / Enable) - this should start up the wifi. Next choose to connect to a phone from the Wifi features in the camera. Then start the EOS app on the phone. Problems started here when the app reported "not connected to camera" - a check of the phone wifi settings showed the phone was connected to my home wireless router instead of the phone. So I went to the phone settings to redirect it to the camera. But the camera didn't appear in the list of wifi networks. I found out that while I was playing around with phone, the camera went to sleep and stopped its wifi signal. Wake the camera up and its wifi comes back. Go to phone network settings and it has the camera in the wifi list, but it's "not in range"?!?!? After about 15 seconds (give or take) the phone picks up the signal from the camera (yea!) and then I can change the phone wifi to use the camera. Quickly back to the EOS remote before either falls asleep again. Now they're connected and I can start the Remote Shooting.

The first time was the worst as I was clicking back and forth all over and finally got it going, but each time got a little easier (especially since the phone remembered the phone wifi after their first hook up).

Lessons learned:

  • There is definitely a delay between when the camera wifi starts and when the phone recognizes it. 
  • If either the camera or the phone goes to sleep the connection is lost - and it's made more confusing because the phone can then give up on the camera and hook up with the next preferred wifi. Not that that is a bad thing - you just need to be aware that's what happened.
  • Set the phone sleep time to longer (my default was 30 seconds which leaves too little time).
  • Periodically do something to keep both devices awake.

The EOS Remote App
My focus was on the Remote Shooting feature so I can only comment on my experiences there. It uses the Live View functionality and transmits what you see on the camera's screen to the phone app. There is a slight delay to the camera screen and another slight delay to get the "video" to the phone. Nothing dramatic but it's not instantaneous (although that's to be expected, so I'm fine with the performance). The App is fairly sparse - you can set the F-stop, ISO, and Shutter speed from the phone but not much else. It does provide feedback about settings such as which mode, the white balance, metering, drive, file size. But you can't change them from the camera - at least I haven't been able to find a way.

The first few shots I took were horribly slow - about 3 seconds after hitting the shutter on the phone! After playing around a bit I found this to be a result of the lens being in autofocus - the camera was trying to autofocus while in Live view. Very slow. In the App there is a setting to "Show AF Button". With this checked there is both a shutter release and focus button. This setting assumes you'll focus first (by holding down the focus button) so then the shutter release is fairly quick.

The focus part is still 2 to 3 seconds slow - so don't even dream of live focusing on moving subjects. If you can pre-focus (or stop down low enough) I imagine you could use this where there is a lot of movement. But you will need to plan ahead.

In Use

So how did I use it? Well, one of my big issues is trying to get crowd shots while standing in/near a crowd. You can hold the camera above your head (low percentage of good shot), find something to climb (iffy at best), or bring a ladder (not going to happen).

WARNING - I don't recommend or advocate doing what I did. It's potentially very dangerous to your camera (it could fall), your well being (the camera could fall on your head), your finances (someone could sue you when your camera falls on their head), and many other calamities such as pushing your camera into low hanging power lines (game over). If you choose to do this it is at your own risk - I take no responsibility for your actions.

What I did was to mount the camera on a tripod, angle it down a little, extend the tripod, then lift it above my head holding the base of the tripod. With a friend's help (he operated the phone) we could get crowd shots a good 5-6 feet above the crowd. Unfortunately it's a two person job but it worked well as a proof of concept. I've included two sample "low-flying-birds-eye-view" shots of a Christmas crafts fair (and one at ground level to show the difference). Please don't judge the actual quality too much - these were (obviously) taken at night while I was pushing the capabilities of the camera as well as experimenting with wifi. Just jpgs, no post except a bit of downsizing.

From the high tripod extended position.

Same position/direction at ground level

Canon EOS 5D Canon EOS 6D
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