Testing the next generation of "Connected" Cameras

Recently I got the chance to have a play with the new Canon PowerShotG5 X advanced compact camera. The reason being that I wanted to have a play with the latest in connected cameras - using Canon's application for remote shooting, image transfer and more!

More and more cameras are coming with wireless connectivity in-built, and the reason for choosing the G5 X was the fact that it's clearly so integral to the feature list that they have included a smartphone button on the side of the camera.

The Canon PowerShot G5 X's smartphone button is a prominent addition to this camera's controls

In the past I haven’t been a huge fan of the Canon G series, just out of personal preference; and therefore I wasn't expecting the camera to be particularly easy or enjoyable to play with. 

However, immediately the design and build quality seemed to be far improved from what I have previously experienced. I decided to avoid reading the instructions, which now seems to be standard for most of us out there, and test how easy the camera was to connect up to my smart phone with no pointers.

I own an LG G4 smart phone that runs on an Android platform, and so searched the ‘Google Play Store’ with the tag ‘Canon’. The top result was ‘Canon CameraConnect’, just what I needed. The app itself is only just over 3mb, so this function doesn’t take up too much of your smart phone’s precious memory. Of course, this isn't android exclusive, there is also an iOS version available.

The G5 X has NFC (near field communication) so it is nice and easy to pair with any device that has this compatibility. If not, it’s simply a case of making sure your device is ready to pair and tapping the aforementioned smartphone button the side of the camera. This will take you to a menu where you can quickly select your phone or tablet from a menu of available devices. On your phone, you just have to pick the Wi-Fi network created by the camera.

Once the devices are connected, you just need to open the app on your phone or tablet and select the function you wish to use.  You can use the app to browse and download photos or to remotely control the camera.

The on-screen instructions alert you to connect to the Wi-Fi network created by the G5 X
Remote shooting using the app has some big benefits and there are hundreds of different uses for the feature. It enables a photographer to be even more creative in the way they shoot, and to be free of carrying around lots of accessories. 

Aperture, ISO and exposure compensation are all adjustable via the app
Photographs can be backed up straight onto your smart device (eliminating the need for card readers), any remote shooting can be done without the use of a physical remote and good quality selfies (goodbye awkward shaped selfie sticks) would be easy to capture and upload immediately.

I was really impressed with the speed that the devices connect at - there was barely any lag at all; very different to other models I have tried recently. On the other hand, all of the default settings to create the speedy connection seem to limit the amount of data being transferred.

Apps of the past have been laggy, and frustratingly can come with a bit of shutter lag which sees you trying to capture 'the moment' 2 seconds after it has happened. This was not the case with the Canon Camera Connect app and is a strong sign of things to come in the 'connected' arena.

You can also zoom in and out, and choose a focal point using the touch controls on your smartphone
For example, the image you see on the screen framing your shot looks nowhere near as sharp as when the photo is taken and downloaded. This an understandable setup, no one wants severe lag and most shots in this scenario will probably use auto focus rather than manual anyway. 

Your smart device will also automatically download any photo selected at a 3-Megapixel resolution in order to keep the transfer speed as quick as possible. For instagram that’s fine, but remote Flickr uploads will suffer here, so that is a setting individuals may want to tinker with.

There is however, one problem. Through remote shooting you cannot capture video.  I assume the reason for this is because it is just too much information to handle; even so, it’s a bit annoying for those who want to remotely capture video.

Overall using the Canon G5 X remote capabilities was a wholly enjoyable experience and a speedy one too. All in all this is definitely a step forward for Canon, pushing their well established G series cameras to become even more appealing with easy to use features for the social generation!

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