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Wireless Transmitter WT-2

The Wireless Transmitter WT-2 makes it possible to transmit at high speed image data taken by a digital SLR camera through wireless LAN. The man in charge of marketing it has a unique perspective of the product as a new kind of accessory to expand the possibilities of digital photography.

KAWAJI, Kohei
Marketing Department, Imaging Company
PROFILE:
Joined Nikon Corporation in 1993. Developed film-based SLR cameras including the F5, F100, F80 and F6. Transferred to the product planning department. Now in charge of marketing high-end SLR cameras and Speedlights. A longtime lover of photography, he has had a camera constantly at hand since junior high school. "A user's perspective and experience is essential for planning a camera," he says. Swims regularly to compensate for typical state of inactivity.

The Wireless Transmitter dramatically improves digital photo shooting convenience.
Nikon developed it for users who need superior solutions.

Today, we would like to learn details about the Wireless Transmitter WT-2. First, can you explain what a wireless transmitter does, in brief?

KAWAJI, Kohei:

The wireless transmitter WT-2 is a product to transfer image data to a PC through a wireless LAN. It can be attached to the D2X and D2Hs. Conventional data transfer from camera to PC requires delivery using the card reader, or USB cable connection from the camera body to the PC. But with the wireless transmitter attached to the camera body, each data unit is transferred to the PC virtually at the moment it is taken. Since this is wireless, the scope of the shooting activities is never limited by the length of connection cable. You can make a setting to delete data from the memory card automatically once that data has been transferred. Furthermore, a memory card is not required for shooting and transferring when using the PTP/IP transfer mode. So there is no need to worry about how much memory card capacity remains.

The WT-2 transmitter, attachable to a camera body's bottom, makes it possible to transfer image data wirelessly.

I see. It seems so convenient.

Actually, the WT-1, which preceded the WT-2, was launched in 2003, when there were no other products of this kind. We made the original product from scratch, then applied all the experience we accumulated developing the WT-1 to upgrade functions and performance radically in creating the WT-2.

Nikon created the product category upon which the new product is based. What triggered the development of such a solution?

For example, digital photography gives a photographer the capability to report more promptly. But this major advantage is wasted if the photographer has to go back to the press center to deliver image data of big events. Even when using a cable transfer system, a photographer has to go to where a connection terminal is available. Otherwise, building up a cable LAN requires a great deal of labor. We heard a lot of ideas from the press about setting up a wireless LAN antenna near a press center to allow photographers to send image data instantly from the field. This could save quite a lot of time and labor, or might be convenient if wireless transmission is available when shooting on tops of mountain or from helicopters, where it is impossible for a photographer to come back to a press center. We realized those ideas in the WT-1, the world's first wireless transmitter, developed as an accessory for the D2H and launched at the same time as the D2H was, in 2003. So although the original idea arose from press requests, we came up with the solution by racking our brains, unleashing our imaginations and figuring out all the practical matters of form and function.

What was the market reaction to such a totally new product?

The structure of a WT-2, united with a camera in one body, is highly acclaimed in the field of photojournalism, in which mobility is crucial.

For major sports events, such as the Olympics and Wimbledon tennis championship, press regulations have been getting increasingly strict. For example, to safeguard against a terrorist incident, members of the press are requested not to move from positions specified for the press after a match has started, not to carry computers, and so on. A photographer who used WT-1 under such circumstances told us that the product provided the unparalleled convenience of real-time transfer from the designated area for the press to the press center.
Commercial photographers who shoot mainly in studios were very interested in the WT-1, as well, since they desperately wanted setups requiring fewer cables.
Also, we received many requests from photographers. Among the requests was one for wireless remote control function over the camera. The function of the WT-1 was limited in transferring image data. There were other requests for easier connection settings and higher-speed transfer.
To develop the original product, which was then the only one of its kind in the world, we had to search for solutions, one by one. But to develop the WT-2, we were able to take advantage of market requests and reactions, which was really a great help.

Quick. Easy. Convenient.
The launch of the WT-2 gives digital photography an invaluable new dimension.

You said that in terms of performance, the new WT-2 marked a radical improvement over the WT-1. What has changed, specifically?

There are three major changes. First, the package uses PTP/IP (Picture Transfer Protocol over Internet Protocol) developed by FotoNation Inc., and includes "Wireless Connecting Utility" software to support connection settings using PTP/IP, making wireless LAN connection very easy. With the WT-1, FTP (File Transfer Protocol) was only available for image transfer. But for the WT-2, Nikon independently adjusted the PTP/IP for easier image transfer between a camera and PC.
Second, the WT-2 makes image transfer speed dramatically faster by making it compatible with the IEEE802.11g standard. In theory, connection to a wireless network with IEEE802.11g makes transfer speed five times as fast as communication with IEEE802.11b, the standard compatible with the WT-1.
Third, the Remote Camera Control function of "Nikon Capture 4 (version 4.2)" image-editing software lets a user control a camera via wireless remote.

The WT-2 seems to mark an evolution of the Wireless Transmitter. How do you feel about the changes it embodies?

To me, the most impressive change is the easier connection. To tell the truth, the WT-1 had a reputation for being difficult to connect to wireless LAN, especially for those less knowledgeable about networking. So in developing the WT-2, it was important for us to improve in this regard. This time, in addition to using PTP/IP and including "Wireless Connecting Utility," we explain details about how to connect to wireless LAN on websites and instruction manual, using easier-to-understand terms and instructions than we used for the WT-1. So I think that even those with little knowledge of networking technology can use this product, without reservations.

It's also nice to be able to control the Remote Camera Control function of Nikon Capture 4 (version 4.2).

I agree. The Remote Camera Control function offers PC control over various settings and operations, including focus and exposure adjustment, through USB cable connection of a PC installed with "Nikon Capture 4 (version 4.2)" and camera. The WT-2, however, lets you use this function without the USB cable connection, making it useful for shooting birds in their natural habitats, for instance. Just position the camera close to a bird's nest, and control shooting from a distance without worrying about disturbing the birds. Many such applications are possible, according to shooting situation. As with the WT-1, the camera-attachable structure should enhance convenience.

The WT-2 can be used with "Nikon Capture 4 (version 4.2)" for camera remote control that dramatically expands the capabilities of digital photography.

This gives you better control of shooting operations as well as image data transmission, doesn't it?

Exactly. At the Athens Olympics, a photographer covered a camera and WT-1 with a waterproof case, then submerged the package in the swimming pool. The antenna remained above the surface of the water, as the photographers used the cable to take underwater pictures of swimmers. In this case, since the WT-1 was used, the shutter was released by using a separate cable. But a combination of WT-2 and D2X or D2HS makes it possible to perform wireless shutter release, as well as focus and exposure setting.