This is the year that cameras and camcorders started to take WiFi seriously. Now you don’t have to transfer photographs and video clips to a computer before sharing them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest and wherever else one may post photos. With these new image makers, all you need is to find a WiFi hot spot to begin sharing—and get ready for live video feeds from wherever your friends and relatives are.
That’s not to say that WiFi is the only new development in digital imaging. Zoom lenses in compact cameras are getting longer with Nikon, for example, which offers a paparazzi-loving focal range via a 42X optical zoom in its Coolpix P510 ($430). And big zooms are coming in even smaller packages, like the slim Lumix ZS20 ($350), with its 20X optical zoom, thanks to a redesigned lens systems and the use of micro-SD cards for storage.
The most studied new camera to debut this year may be the Lytro Light Field camera ($399), a pocket-sized gizmo that doesn’t look like a camera, but sports an 8X zoom and uses a touch-screen operation. What’s different about the Lytro is that it captures light and its directionality as data. This means a lensman can do things like focus on a subject after the picture is taken—a handy option when discovering the most interesting object or person in a picture wasn’t the one being paid attention to when the shutter clicked.
Still, image makers like Samsung, Canon, Sony, Polaroid and JVC have gotten the WiFi ball rolling and it isn’t likely to stop, even as each one introduces slight permutations that may make one device easier to use than another. Here’s a closer look at new cameras and camcorders equipped with WiFi.