Unbeatable.co.uk Reviews The Canon Digital IXUS Wireless: Canon Develop Interesting Innovations with Their Point-Shoot-and-Print Wi-Fi Digital Camera

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Canon has launched their first Wi-Fi enabled compact digital camera The Digital IXUS Wireless. This new addition is a hybrid of the IXUS 50 with Wi-Fi built in to the device. The wireless features bring new and exciting functions to the digital photographer with wireless uploading, and printing directly from the camera as well as instant picture preview and camera remote control operation on a PC. These applications are ground breaking, however some users may come up against hardware or software compatibility issues that limits the use of all the features.

Canon have developed and launched a compact digital camera that has wireless capability, the Canon Digital IXUS Wireless.

The obvious benefit is the ability to upload or print digital images directly from the camera using Wi-Fi technology. This is nothing new to the digital camera market; Kodak launched the Easyshare-One mid 2005 and Nikon released the Coolpix P1 and Coolpix P2 later that year, all wireless enabled, but of course the Canon IXUS has a little something extra to offer when it comes to Wi-Fi features.

Canon have basically taken the Canon Digital IXUS 50 and loaded it with wireless hardware, we’ll come to that in a moment. This model is a 5 Mega-pixel digital camera that has 3x optical zoom, with a 35-105mm focal length lens (35mm equivalent) that provides F2.8-F4.9 maximum aperture; menu navigation, optical view finding and picture preview can be viewed on the 2-inch LCD display.

The wireless IXUS is noticeably bulkier than the IXUS 50, this is to accommodate the wireless transmitter and although the benefits of this feature are compelling, there are some minor limitations that may be encountered. The Digital Wireless IXUS has the ability to transfer images over a wireless network, which is an extremely convenient way to upload images to a computer, for example, from any location in your home. The wireless communication range is approximately 30m, this may vary due to the environment; in terms of transfer rate the Wireless IXUS transmits using IEEE 802.11b Wi-Fi standard, which is slow compared to 802.11g, but that said the speed of operation and transfer is quick; for example the IXUS can transmit a 5.0 megapixel image to a printer in approximately 5 seconds.

Some of the wireless features include Auto Transfer mode; once a picture is taken the image is automatically transmitted and displayed on a Wi-FI compatible PC monitor, otherwise the transfer of your images can be sent to a PC by simply pressing of a button. Printing directly for the camera is an innovative function, making the IXUS the first point-shot-and print camera. Canon have bundled the camera with a Wi-Fi adapter that slots into the printer’s PictBridge port to allow direct printing, the setup is straight forward, and once connected the user simply presses the Print/Share button to get a printout. The function however is restricted to Canon printers only at the moment, which is unfortunate.

To expand the usability of the Wireless IXUS Canon have developed a utility called RemoteCapture, which allows remote operation of the camera through a wireless computer, so why would this be useful: Set your camera up in the garden during a party, a barbecue or while your family relaxes and displayed on the screen is a “live” wireless video feed of the event; by simply pressing a button on the keyboard the image is captured, it can also be used to get great wildlife shots. Again there is some restriction to this utility as it currently only runs on Windows XP SP2 and Mac users will have to wait a while before it is supported on OSX.

It is early days for Wi-Fi photography and I am sure there will be wireless cameras coming to market that provide more features and greater compatibility with a wider range of systems and hardware. If you have a Canon printer that is compatible with PictBridge, a PC that operates on Windows XP SP2 and you have or are getting a wireless network installed, the full range of features can be utilised and enjoyed, otherwise consider waiting a short while for an upgrade or another camera that suits your set up.

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Hugh Mckinney
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