Wire by wire, electronic products are losing their tethers. Sony cut another cord Thursday with its announcement of its first wireless digital camera.
The DSC-G1, a 6-megapixel digital camera in the Cyber-shot line, can send photos without wires to any other camera or PC that is enabled with the Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) standard, which works with Wi-Fi 802.11b/g networking.
The G1, announced at the Photo Marketing Association show in Las Vegas, can send photos in real time to up to four other DLNA-capable cameras simultaneously, which means that at your next office party, that scene at the water cooler might very well be traveling around your office more quickly than e-mail.
With 2 GB of internal memory and the ability to store up to 7,500 VGA-quality or 600 6-megapixel photos, the G1 -- even without an extra media card -- might be the source of many incriminating images.
Camera Phones, Wireless Cameras
Putting wireless into a digital camera makes sense, said Avi Greengart, an analyst at Current Analysis. "There's a lot of things you can do," he said. "Post to a weblog, share at a family event, easily transfer to a PC for storage and editing."
He did say that the DLNA standard, while gaining ground, has not yet reached critical mass, but noted that adding some form of connectivity to cameras makes sense. "Device vendors need a new reason for you to upgrade," he said. "Just adding megapixels in a camera doesn't do it anymore."
In fact, he noted, the wireless camera and the camera phone might be on track to merge. "There's already a 3-megapixel phone in Europe," he said, "which is selling extraordinarily well. In fact, it's also a Cyber-shot, released by Sony Ericsson."
Search by Face
The 3.5-inch LCD of the G1 provides a resolution up to 921,000 pixels. Sony said this is about four times the average compact digital camera, and greater than any previous Cyber-shot.
"Sony popularized the use of large LCD screens on compact cameras," said Phil Lubell, director of marketing for digital cameras at Sony Electronics, "with the understanding that simply passing the camera around is a means of sharing."
A built-in management system allows you to organize photos by events, retrieve them by keywords, and even search for other photos with the same face or composition. In other words, you could have the entire photographic history of your boss at your fingertips, right in the camera.
In addition, the Super Steady Shot optical image stabilization is designed to minimize image blur, and the image sensor (up to ISO 1000) supports shooting at higher shutter speeds or lower light conditions. The lens is a Carl Zeiss with 3X optical zoom. And for those who need more memory, Memory Stick Duo or Memory Stick Pro Duo cards can be used.
Similar wireless cameras have been released by Kodak, Nikon, and Canon. Retailing at about $600, Sony's DSC-G1 is scheduled to ship in April.