My normal workflow, established over a number of intensive shoots revolves around my venerable Nikon D100, my iPad and various other Apple computers.
The process works something like this.
- essentials – are the camera batteries and iPad charged
- Is the iPad charged and is there enough space on the iPad
- Is my 8GB Eye-Fi pro X2 card erased and ready (its in a SynchroTech CF adaptor)
Get to the shoot
- Pre-check the WiFi iPad connection
- Remember to set up a new collection (album) in ShutterSnitch
Shoot the event
- Flip the iPad back to the Home (or Office) WiFi
- Check ShutterSnitch Backup is running on the Office/Home Mac Mini
- Get some sleep
- Aperture 3
- Gigabit Ethernet directly attached to my work horse (a recent MacBook Pro)
- Great Big hulking Drobo
I’ve got this down to more or less an art, even allowing a night’s sleep before I work up the photos, and they’re all nicely where I want them so that all I have to do is ingest them into Aperture and start working on them, which usually happens over breakfast the day after a shoot.
Just like a new child, this camera was a revelation and completely turned my processing upside down. So much more capability than my poor old D100. The 51 sensors, autofocus tracking and the various metering capabilities were all fun to play with. Being able to shoot 12.1MP NEF (raw) frames at 6 fps with no stuttering and get crisp nicely focussed shots was great fun.
However the D700 would not accommodate my Eye-Fi card in it’s SynchroTech CFMulti adaptor which meant that I had to use “proper”, slimmer CF cards for the shoots.
Where’s the problem?
The iPad, Eye-Fi combination originally started out as a way for me to be certain I was getting great shots. As far as I know ShutterSnitch is the only tool that allows live preview of shots; there’s no product I could find that would do the same with a camera attached via USB. Having shots on the iPad allowed me to preselect the obvious duds and bin them before they ever hit post production. When the ShutterSnitch guys added ShutterSnitch Backup I had an automated way of getting the shots onto the system and no longer even needed to remove the memory card from my camera.
The D700 catapulted me back in time. Fussing with CF cards, (carrying spares), having to either connect the camera to my computer with one of those damn usb to micro usb cables and then waiting an eon for the photos to be transferred, or removing the card and dragging the contents off of it to my Mac Mini for similar processing to my normal routine.
I was desperate for a WiFi solution
I did some internet research. I Found an item (Nikon WU-1a) improperly described on Amazon as compatible with the D700. Almost bought it. Did some more checks (didn’t believe the price) and after a chat with Nikon found out that it was definitely not compatible. Found out that the right Nikon item (Nikon WT-4A) retails for around £900 and that (because they are so dear) they are rarely used, not available for hire and none too cheap/available from sources like Amazon or eBay. I did find a third party product (HyperDrive iUSBportCAMERA a mere £250) which sits on the camera hot shoe but didn’t go that route due to cost and time limits. So I found myself trying to shoot with the camera tethered to my iPad by USB, not very convenient especially in a lighting tower.
Was it worth it?
The photos talk for themselves, but I’ll be looking for some way to get the quality and WiFi connectivity for the next project.