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Thread started 20 Jun 2007 (Wednesday) 18:05
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WFT-E2A - Initial Observations

 
cdesperado
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Jun 20, 2007 18:05 |  #1

Ok, so I have the WFT-E2a up and working. Here are some initial observations.

Software Goodies
For some reason, I expected an updated driver or some other form of software with the WFT. I dont know why, but I did. What you get is a CD with several folders of PDF files. The only software you need is the EOS Utility software that comes with the 1D3.

It comes with a (cheap looking) draw-string baggie and a very cool belt-clip pouch. You also get an "inclement weather" dust cap that fits over the USB port on the WFT. (The other USB port, remote port, and video ports are all easily accessible.)

Set Up/ Connection
Set up is pretty straight forward and relatively easy (unless you accidentally hit the wrong button on your camera and get to start over, which I did twice. Just pay attention, don't be in a rush, and it's pretty easy.)

You get three options: FTP, P2P, and HTTP. I set mine up as a P2P for now. I've been playing with it for about 30 mins and Im kinda digging it. Am I $1000 digging it? Hmmmmmmm. Tough question. Read on.

What do I Like?
I like being able to store an image to the card as well as to the laptop.
I like the ease of use - using the EOS Utility is pretty straight forward.
I like the responsiveness - if you change a setting on the camera, it changes on the EOS Utility immediately. (I expected a little lag)

What do I Not Like?
Being able to shoot from the PC in combination with Live View is sweet, no doubt. However, practically speaking I think it would be easier in the field just to shoot onto a card and transfer the files later. In a studio, it would be nice - I simply don't see this as being practical in the field (a sporting event, a wedding, outdoor location, etc).

The transfer rate is pretty quick, but not as fast as I thought it would be. It definitely isnt slow! I haven't timed it formally, but will do that 10 images or so later this evening.

When shooting remotely, there is a (very) slight lag when you clicked the shutter button on the laptop to fire the camera. I havent tested this in Live View mode, yet, but that is next.

The EOS Utility crashed four times as I adjusted settings from my laptop. In particular, when you make large adjustments to the aperture (say, moving from F5.6 to F11) or the shutter speed (from 1/80 to 1/4), it can cause issues. Also, the utility itself is a little slow as you have to click a button (>;) to move forward incrementally.

At one point (after about an hour of testing), for an unknown reason, the camera lost connectivity to the LAN, which then caused the EOS Utility to crash. I tried re-opening the utility, but it gave an error and said no camera was connected. I turned the camera off, then on, and that re-established the connection.

Also, when using Live View and the WFT for a remote connection, I took a shot, which resulted in another lost connection. I tried several things to restore the connection, then decided I needed to turn the camera off. There were 2 images that were hung up in the ether (?) ... It's been several minutes and it still says
"Recording." The camera is off, so Im not quite sure what to do at the moment.

Hmmmmmm. If any of these non-Live View problems happened while shooting at a wedding, it would be DISASTER.

Real-World Uses
My intent is to use this in the studio to simplify the work-flow for product shots. I also plan to use it for interior architectural shots (another controlled environment). I could see this being used for astral-photography.

Many have talked about uses for weddings and macro photography. The latter does not seem very practical to me unless you were in very controlled conditions.

I cannot see the WFT and Live View being very useful for remote wild-life photography because there is a very noticeable lag between the camera and the laptop. In reality, you could use the monitor to verify your scene is what you wanted, but you would need a direct line of sight to the scene to ensure what you pop is what you get. (I have not tested Live View with a direct PC connection.)

Conclusion
This is going to sound like I am slamming the WFT. It's pretty cool, but based on two hours of testing, Im not sure I would trust this in the field.

In all honesty, the more I use this, the more I question whether this will speed up my studio workflow (for product and architectural shots) or not. I'm still testing it out. I found myself repeatedly going to the camera to make adjustments, then moving back to the PC to take the shot.

This could be user error (or inexperience?) on my part, but if you turn the camera off, then on, it seems like the camera gets a little quirky (confused) about images it has already transferred, asking to transfer "New Images" that have already been transferred. I never used the WFT-E1, so maybe this is normal.

Maybe I shouldn't draw any firm conclusions, but if any of you out there are "dying" to get the WFT-E2A, don't sweat it. Keep using your cards and manually transferring files. It's safer. (After 5 minutes, my 1D3 still says "Recording - Remaining Images = 2" ...... I turned the camera back On, and that went away. However, when I turned the camera Off, it came back. I think I am stuck in some weird loop. This happened when shooting Live View remotely through the WFT-E2A.)

Update
Ok, this is weird. Following the lock-up, I turned the camera back on with WFT still attached. There is still no connection, but the LAN light isnt red, isnt green, and isnt blinking green - it's off completely.

I waited a few minutes, then took a shot, but now the "Image Loading" light on the camera won't go off. It's just red.... as if it were still writing the image data to the card. If ANY kind of freeze happened during a wedding, it would definitely not be good.

I was expecting to have a lot of good news here, but I dont have a lot of confidence in this at the moment.




  
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cdesperado
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Jun 20, 2007 18:23 |  #2

Second Update

I removed the WFT from the 1D3 - that enabled the camera to finish writing the image data. My guess is, it was trying to push the data through the WFT to the laptop, but since the WFT had no connection, the camera couldnt move the data, which resulted in the hung light.

The file was written to the card successfully.

My recommendation based on only a few hours of testing - if you use the WFT-E2a, you better be writing the data to a CF card as well, as a backup.

All of my problems happened while using a tripod mount and a direct line of sight from 1D3 to my laptop. I cannot help but wonder what would happen in a room full of other radio signals and physical objects in between the WFT and the laptop.




  
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cdesperado
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Jun 20, 2007 18:37 |  #3

If anyone is interested, here is a quick timing study. It took 2 minutes and 10 seconds to transfer four images.

This was a total filesize = 54.2 meg.
Average file size per image = 13.5 meg.




  
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joegolf68
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Jun 20, 2007 19:06 |  #4

Thanks for the review. I have thought from the beginning that the EOS Utility program is awful. It takes a long time to load once you double click it, and it appears to be a small homemade type program instead of some slick professional one.

You said you set this up with p2p, and I'd be curious to see if the same issues arise if you set it up under the http lan. Not that I know anything about this stuff, but I thought the http thing made it more like just another website type connection. I think my wireless printer is set up under http and it works fine (fast and efficient.)

As I said in a pm to you, there are too many places listing prices under $800 right now for me to go out and buy the in stock item for $200 more. Yeah, I'll have to wait until they are in stock at the other places, but even though I was in a hurry for this thing, I am realizing it is not all that I thought it would be.

I hope you continue to play with it and keep us updated. If this thing is only practical for downloading images wirelessly, well, that is just too much $$ for that. The lag time makes it almost impractical for any live shooting except for stills, which a wired remote would be just fine. I was hoping this would be practical for something like setting it up for hummingbirds and sitting in the house looking at the laptop, and the TV and taking some images the lazy way. Not good if there is any lag time that is noticeable.

Sounds like EOS Utility software needs some more work. There will be lots of annoyed folks if this is the case because $1K is not something to sneeze at for poor performance!


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joegolf68
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Jun 20, 2007 19:13 |  #5

cdesperado wrote in post #3412333 (external link)
If anyone is interested, here is a quick timing study. It took 2 minutes and 10 seconds to transfer four images.

This was a total filesize = 54.2 meg.
Average file size per image = 13.5 meg.

Unacceptable. :(


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cosworth
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Jun 20, 2007 19:45 |  #6

Do a test while NOT in P2P mode and tell us the difference.


people will always try to stop you doing the right thing if it is unconventional
Full frame and some primes.

  
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Steve ­ Beck
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Jun 20, 2007 19:47 |  #7

That seems about right. Try moving 55mb over a standard 802.11 b wireless connection from a laptop to another. Then you have probably lower power in the camera than a minipci card in a laptop. Still a great feature IMO.


Gear List? My gear is bigger than yours? Just shoot have fun...

  
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cdesperado
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Jun 20, 2007 20:04 |  #8

I'll set up an HTTP connection next and jack with it and report back in an hour or so. I thought the P2P would (theoretically) be faster, but I could be mistaken.

Aside from business uses, my main interest in this was for wildlife photography in the field - but I would be lying if I said I hadn't thought about you're living room/hummingbird scenario (or a cabin/bird or cabin/deer, etc). In my case, I planned to set the camera up near a popular salt lick and watering hole, then back away from the camera about 30 yards or so. It's not practical to do this tethered to a remote. I thought using Live View would have beeen cool bc then I would need to maintain line of sight with the camera, but not necessarily the focal plane.

After testing the WFT this afternoon, I no longer think my original plan would work with any degree of certainty for the following reasons:
1.) I'm not really happy with the transfer rate
2.) Frequently, when the EOS Utility locked up, I physically needed to jack with the camera. There is no way this would work in the field bc if I had to approach the camera, I'd scare off any wildlife. I'd be better off sitting in a blind the way I would before.
3.) Losing connectivity between the camera and the laptop requires physical intervention with the camera (turn it Off, turn it On).

Based on the results so far, there is no way I would rely solely on the WFT-E2a at a wedding or a shoot such as a business event. The camera lost connectivity too many times and the EOS Utility locked up too many times.

Here's the kicker, just for grins and giggles - I'm going to try attaching an Ethernet cable to the WFT and see what happens. That might improve the transfer rate. However, if I am going to shoot tethered anyway, I may as well use the USB2port on the 1D3. The transfer rate over the Ethernet cable should be a LOT faster, but that isn't worth $1000 to me.

(It's too bad the 1D3 didn't come with the 4-pin Firewire port, but oh well.)




  
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cdesperado
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Jun 20, 2007 20:08 |  #9

I dont think I mentioned this earlier, but for all practical purposes, the only thing I can think a combo of WFT and Live View would be useful for is Architecture shots or Product shots - a still scene, basically. In my opinion, Live View simply wouldnt work for stuff that is moving (like a flower in a breeze or a paparazzi or sports shooter using Live View while holding their camera over his head.

Now, using Live View without remote (ie, holding it in your hand) wouldn't work either bc of the Manual Focus requirement. (I think the 1D3 manual specifically states you need to use a tripod, but I cant remember.)




  
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cdesperado
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Jun 20, 2007 20:12 |  #10

I just talked to an IT Networker friend of mine - he suggested trying the FTP format.

So... Im gonna try that first, then HTTP.




  
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tfiorda
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Jun 20, 2007 20:13 |  #11

Unless I am having a senior moment, 55MB file size needs to be multiplied by 8 to get the size in bits not bytes. So then divide that result by 11Mb/s or 54Mb/s less a bit for packet overhead and assuming that you are connected at the highest bit rate, and you get 40 seconds to transfer that amount of data at 11Mb/s.

Since we all know we NEVER get the full rated speed on any WLAN or LAN connection, I think this xfer rate is fairly good. What was the receiving end s802.1 standard b or g? And what connection speed did you have? My guess is you were not connected at the highest data rate possible.

Tony...




  
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MDJAK
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Jun 20, 2007 20:17 |  #12

Come on, cdesperado, what do you expect for a grand, something that works well ;) (j/k)

Appreciate you taking the time to be the beta tester for the forum. Hope you get it worked out and reliable.

mark




  
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cdesperado
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Jun 20, 2007 20:39 |  #13

cosworth wrote in post #3412578 (external link)
Do a test while NOT in P2P mode and tell us the difference.

My next test is FTP.

For those who are interested, first you need to set up IIS on your laptop. (This is an optional install on WinXP Pro.

To install IIS,
1. Go to Start > Control Panel > Add/Remove Programs
2. Add/ Remove Windows Programs
3. Select the IIS checkbox.
4. Let the wizard install.

I'm having issues with the camera's FTP settings, but will report back once I resolve the issue and can start testing again.




  
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joegolf68
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Jun 20, 2007 20:41 |  #14

cosworth wrote in post #3412578 (external link)
Do a test while NOT in P2P mode and tell us the difference.

Gee, maybe I will add a "please" to that as I'd like to hear also, please.


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joegolf68
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Jun 20, 2007 20:47 |  #15

tfiorda wrote in post #3412674 (external link)
Unless I am having a senior moment, 55MB file size needs to be multiplied by 8 to get the size in bits not bytes. So then divide that result by 11Mb/s or 54Mb/s less a bit for packet overhead and assuming that you are connected at the highest bit rate, and you get 40 seconds to transfer that amount of data at 11Mb/s.

Since we all know we NEVER get the full rated speed on any WLAN or LAN connection, I think this xfer rate is fairly good. What was the receiving end s802.1 standard b or g? And what connection speed did you have? My guess is you were not connected at the highest data rate possible.

Tony...

Wow, you know more in a senior moment than I would in full bore youth! Sounds like you are knowledgeable as heck. So, which is faster, if any, FTP or Http? I just suggested http as I have it on a printer, I don't know squat about the others. Lol.


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