Digital Life: From camera to Facebook, no wires required
Packing more gizmos per square inch than a NASA mission to Mars, the Samsung ST1000 camera seems like a miracle of miniaturisation.
Into its slender, light body, Samsung has squeezed GPS, WiFi and Bluetooth, along with the usual camera gubbins.
It's not the only snapper to incorporate GPS (for tagging the position of photographs on a map) or WiFi (for sending images over the net) or Bluetooth (for beaming them to a phone).
But it's definitely a world-first to include all three.
Of course, when you realise similar-sized mobile phones have had these abilities for years, you wonder why it took so long. No doubt all cameras will follow suit eventually.
The WiFi function enables you to upload photos directly to Facebook or YouTube, etc, or email them to anyone -- no computer necessary. Obviously, you must be within range of a wireless network.
Vexingly, all photos get reduced in size for wireless transmission whether you like it or not. More troubling is that Samsung's own software offers no simple and automatic solution to copy the photos to your computer wirelessly -- keep that stupid USB cable handy.
Bluetooth is likewise a bit hampered and will transmit only to mobile phones, not computers.
But the primary function of a camera is to take pictures, right? Alas, the ST1000 shares the foibles of its stablemate, the ST550. Its touchscreen controls are unwieldy, the 5x zoom control unnecessarily tiny, battery life unimpressive and picture quality only middling.
Yet if you care more about sharing your snaps than fussing over photography, then the ST1000 proves a capable if expensive choice.
A much simpler and cheaper solution to wireless sharing can be found with the Eye-Fi range of memory cards. They look like and function as standard SD cards with 4GB capacity.
But a tiny chip enables the Eye-Fi to communicate via WiFi with either your computer or photosharing sites such as Flickr, Facebook and Picasa.
Come home after a day's shooting, flick on the camera and the Eye-Fi automatically uploads your precious images to your computer or the internet (or both). Take that, Samsung.
The Eye-Fi represents only a small drain on your camera's battery life and the more expensive models even perform a limited type of GPS tagging in urban areas.
- Samsung ST1000, €400
- Eye-Fi 4GB, €60 to €130