It’s 2016: Why Don’t Flagship DSLRs have WiFi Built in Yet?

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This is the Nikon D5 flagship DSLR: it was announced yesterday at CES 2016. It’s got lots going for it and will surely be purchased by every major buyer for the wire services, photojournalists, wedding photographers, etc. But did no one notice the really weird thing about it? Yes, it’s going to have great image quality and 14 fps–and still there is no WiFi, Bluetooth or NFC connectivity. Instead, you have to use the external adapter.

It’s 2016 and not a single flagship DSLR camera is WiFi capable right out of the box yet the feature would greatly benefit many photographers.

Before we go on, let’s identify who those photographers are. Since we’re talking about cameras like the Canon 1D X and the Nikon D5, we have to figure out who buys those:

  • Photojournalists: shooting and sending straight to a wire or social media service is absolutely invaluable in 2016.
  • Wedding photographers: shooting, sharing and adding images to the wedding’s hashtag can add value to what people see. It’s also a great way to possibly get another sale since people are seeing a preview of what’s to come right then and there.
  • Commercial shooters: though you obviously want to show off only the best images, it doesn’t hurt to share something from the shoot onto Instagram for your social following and to therefore add value to what your audience sees.
  • Sports photographers: Pretty much the same reason as the photojournalists but more centered around sports. If you’ve got your camera in the ceiling during a sports game then you can immediately share a shot that no one else has because you’ve got a perspective that no one else has.
  • Adventure and Landscape photographers: Putting those images up sooner on your social followings make brands look at you in a different way that makes them want to work with you.

The reasons can go on and on; but why, in 2016, does a multi-thousand dollar DSLR not have WiFi built in? Why do I need to use an EyeFi card or your attachment? And if I use the EyeFi card, I need to put it in sideways and therefore hurt the connection and upload to my mobile device.

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More importantly, why would you not give more value to the photojournalists who can shoot and upload right there and then instead of letting them trail behind the person with their iPhone capturing a developing story as it’s happening? That advantage has just been taken away from the photojournalist!

This isn’t at all a major vouch for Sony, Fujifilm, Olympus, or Panasonic; but it’s clear that the advantages are there as their entire lineup has WiFi built in. With DSLRs, it’s only possible with certain models.

Again though, it’s not clear as to why–especially if you’re paying thousands and thousands of dollars. It seems like a feature that could be much more useful vs shooting at an ISO over 1,000,000. That just tends to throw the laws of exposure right out the window.