Imagine you’re at Disneyland with the family. You’ve decided to tote around your DSLR or mirrorless camera with you on the trip. You’re happily taking photos of your little ones as they experience their first time on Dumbo the Flying Elephant, It’s a Small World, Haunted House, Pirates of the Caribbean and other rides that you loved as a kid. You just captured this wonderful photo of your child and Tow Mater at Radiator Springs, and you absolutely have got to share this with your friends and family on Facebook.
- Fumble around in your camera bag for a cable and dongle to connect your camera to your smartphone?
- Turn on Wi-Fi on your camera (if available), connect to it from your smartphone, launch the camera connect app, wait for the connection to be established, select the photo, and download it to your phone?
- Tap your smartphone to your camera if they both support NFC, wait for the connection to be established, select the photo, and download it to your phone?
- Hope your wireless SD card (Eyefi, FlashAir, etc.) is working properly and your phone is connected to it to receive photos?
- Wait until you get home before downloading the image (and let that social moment pass you by)?
- Take another photo with your smartphone and share that image on Facebook instead of the one from your bigger camera?
- Say forget it, and keep the photographic proof to yourself?
There’s no reason why getting a photo from a dedicated camera to the smartphone or tablet should take so many steps and be so cumbersome, yet that’s the reality many photographers face today. Some argue this is precisely why sales of point-and-shoot, mirrorless, and DSLR digital cameras have fallen so much in recent years. Smartphones’ ability to share good enough photos trumps the boost in image quality from a dedicated camera for many people.
For the past several weeks, I have been developing a workflow that addresses this problem for me. It currently requires a certain kind of camera, namely the new Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, and some additional hardware and software. This workflow transforms my camera into a fantastic tool that marries the sharing convenience of the smartphone with the impressive image quality of a DSLR. Photos taken with this setup are automatically, securely, and conveniently transferred to the smartphone and cloud photo services of my choosing, including iCloud Photo Library, Google Photos, and Dropbox.
My solution requires some initial setup, but once implemented, it’s awesome! Perhaps it can inspire camera manufacturers and software companies to provide a better experience for dedicated digital cameras in the future.