Cameras these days are simply amazing! Not just with the image quality we get, but also the vast array of features which are often packed into them. Features which include WiFi that enables us to have control from our phones or other devices. What if you wanted a stronger, faster connection or even the ability to add WiFi to a camera that doesn’t already have it?
This is where the CamFI Pro Plus comes in handy. The CamFi adds a 2.4ghz and 5ghz connection to your camera when connected via USB. The 5ghz signal offers speeds of up to 10 MB/s (80Mb/s) and while this is still slower than a direct connection it can be up to 5x faster than what comes built into many cameras.
What will you find in the CamFI Pro Plus box?
A selection of USB cables to connect the CamFi to your device. A battery (keeps power for 3-4 hours) and the CamFi Pro Plus unit itself. The CamFi L bracket is an optional extra
On the side of the device, you will see a reset hole. A micro USB port to charge the device (which can be done while in use!) An on/off switch, and a regular USB port to connect it to your device.
On the bottom, you have the hot-shoe connection or a 1/4 hole to attach the Camfi to the L mount bracket or other rigging options.
On first opening the CamFi box, you will find the battery is actually inside the device but not connected so you will need to remove the battery cover, take the plastic off the battery and reinstall.
After that, you simply plug the Camfi into your camera, switch it on, then connect to the WiFi Signal that it creates or to use the CamFi app to connect in bridge mode to your already established network.
In its original mode, you use the CamFi application for your mobile device or PC/MAC. You can download this software from the website or via the APP or Play store on your device.
This lets you control supported cameras like Canon, Nikon and even Sony as you can see here with my A7ii.
The CamFi app also has all the configuration options including the ability to connect the CamFi to your existing network if you change it to bridge mode as well as doing firmware updates.
The second way to use the device in the 3rd party mode is via the CamFi Pro Plus Client for PC and MAC also available on the website above. This makes the device connect as if using a USB cable direct to the computer.
The amazing thing about this is now cameras without much in the way of 3rd party support like Sigma, can now have wireless tethering via Sigma Capture Pro. This also means you can use Lightroom, Capture One and other software. Enabling this device to work with almost any camera as long as they have tethering support.
Although not officially supported you can connect almost any USB device to the CamFi in this mode. For instance printers, a mouse, card-readers and more to connect via WiFi. I even tried the Sigma fp as a wireless live-view camera in Open Broadcaster Software Studio which seems to work well although limited to 1080p as 4k requires too much bandwidth.
The only limitation I have found in using the CamFi as a wireless USB transmitter is that it might not be able to power some devices which don’t have already have their own power supply. Also, the connection speed is always going to be less than a direct physical connection. Although it is a much safer option, in particular when you are shooting with cameras tethered to a computer, as you won’t have wires going across the floor.
When testing the speed of the CamFi device I connected a Samsung T5 (portable solid-state drive) using the 3rd party mode and transferred a file over 5ghz WiFi transmitted from the device itself into my Galaxy Book and was able to reach speeds of 10MB/s as you can see here.
I know shooting tethered isn’t for everyone but sometimes it can be a necessity. For instance, if you are holding a live demo event to show people what the images look like as you are shooting or if you’re photographing a product with the camera overhead making it impossible to see the screen. Perhaps you may simply just want to sit in your warm house and have the camera outside in the cold ready to capture birds in a preset scene while you view them on your PC/Laptop.
Here is a behind the scenes image of me shooting the Panasonic S1R with the Sigma 45mm f2.8 DG DN Contemporary lens. While using the Sigma sdQ-H with 70mm f2.8 DG Macro Art lens and CamFi wireless tethering to Sigma Photo Pro.
The Lighting used here was a set of SpiffyGear Spekular Led lights to the right. An RGB Lumee set to orange hanging down and a Bi-Color Lumee at the bottom left adding some fill light to the front of the camera.
Here is the result.
Tethering has other benefits outside of transferring images. Like being able to adjust focus and exposure settings without having to actually touch the camera. which minimizes vibrations and micro-frame adjustments which can help when creating composites.
I’m sure there are many situations where a wireless controlled camera will come in handy! For the people who do shoot tethered on a regular basis, this is a great option.
Personally I love the creative opportunity this can open up and I’ll gladly give up the extra speed of a wired connection for the safety of having no wires running between devices.
About the Author
Paul Monaghan is a portrait photographer based just outside of Glasgow, Scotland. You can see more of his work on Instagram and Facebook. This article was also published here and shared with permission.