Nikon Coolpix P2 and P1: Is the World Ready for WiFi in Digital Cameras?

Nikon has released two digital cameras with built-in WiFi capability. The Coolpix P2 is silver and has a 5.1-megapixel image sensor and a 3.5x optical zoom lens. The Coolpix P1 is black and has an 8-megapixel image sensor and a 3.5x optical zoom lens. Both cameras have nice-looking 2.5-inch LCD displays.

Wilson Rothman of Time Magazine featured the Coolpix P2 as the Time.com Gadget of the Week back in September. He felt that the camera was a little less capable than it should have been, because its WiFi reception wasn't as strong as two laptop computers that he was using in the same part of his house.

He considers this is a problem because he wants to use the WiFi capability to transfer photos to a computer while he continues shooting. I believe that the WiFi capability is actually intended to be used to wirelessly upload your photos to a PC after the photo shooting session is over. Therefore, WiFi would only be used for short periods of time, and somewhat weaker reception could be tolerated because the camera would be close proximity to a PC and a WiFi access point.

Wireless photo upload with WiFi makes a lot more sense than Bluetooth when you think about it. I transfer a lot of data with Bluetooth when I sync my Treo 650 to my Blogging Workstation. I can't imagine trying to transfer a 256-Megabyte SD card full of photos using Bluetooth. Bluetooth just doesn't have the bandwidth to make big data transfers quickly.

I think wireless photo uploading will make sense to a lot of people, and the Coolpix P1 and P2 can deliver on that expectation. I don't think the functionality is there to upload photos directly from the camera to Flickr, muchless to do moblogging or photo journalism from the local Starbucks.

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