Shooting Wirelessly with The Nikon D4 and WT-5

You can find all kinds of reviews and sample images on both the Nikon D4 and D800 out there. My goal here is not so much to review this great new camera, but to put it to the test when it comes to shooting wirelessly with the New WT-5 WiFi module. The WT-5 currently only works with the D4 as it plugs into a special new port that only the D4 has. This was one of actually one of the deciding factors that pushed me to the D4 instead of the D800 (although the D800 should work with Eye-Fi cards).

Wireless Freedom

When I’m in studio I’m shooting tethered to my MacBook Pro and Adobe Lightroom 99.9% of the time. This means long USB cables and enviably tripping over them. The D4 has a USB port on it as well as an Ethernet Port! While the potential for fast Ethernet transfers intrigues me, it would still mean having a cable attached and potentially tripping over it regularly. While I had no doubts that the WT-5 would work, the question was would it be fast enough to allow me to cut the cable?

Last night I did my first shoot with the Nikon D4 and I did the entire shoot wirelessly with the WT-5! I configured the WT-5 to connect to my studio’s WiFi network and to send the images directly to my MacBook Pro on the same network. Keep in mind that I shoot in RAW and the images (16.2 MP NEFs) are also being written to the card when you use the WT-5. I stuck in one of my new Transcend 32GB 400x CF cards, configured a Lightroom 4 to Auto Import from the Nikon folder and began shooting.

The 1st image takes a while

From the time you press the shutter till the time you see the 1st image appear in Lightroom it can take an agonizing 30-60 seconds (wow we’re impatient). Much of this time is for the WT-5 to wake up, connect to your WiFi network and find your computer. However, if you keep shooting the subsequent images come in much much faster, usually 5-8 seconds for RAW. That’s much more acceptable and usable. While it wasn’t fun waiting for the 1st image to come in during my live shoot, it wasn’t the end of the world. Once I saw that the lighting was right I could just keep right on shooting knowing that the rest of the images would be transferring as I shot.

Here’s a video on how long it takes…

 

The Bottom Line

While shooting tethered via a wire is faster and cheaper, I’ll take the speed hit to shoot wirelessly any day! This solution also works great with the recently updated Shuttersnitch App on iPad. The WT-5 is way way way overpriced IMHO, but it works as advertised and the ability to add multiple profiles, setup an adhoc network, shoot directly to a PC/Mac via the Nikon software or to any FTP server makes it a killer solution for those that want/need wireless shooting. Next I’ll play with the remote control capabilities of the WT-5 and controlling it from any web browser including Safari on iOS.

You can get the Nikon D4 here

You can get the Nikon WT-5 here

  • http://www.Lavonnehall.com Lavonne Hall

    Off topic but I’m sorry I missed you at PSW DC. We kept missing each other. Either someone was talking to me or you. I had a few questions for you all relating to different things, apps, InDesign, etc. Where’s the best place to post?

    Thanks and hope to see you at the next event,
    Lavonne

  • http://mcpheephotography.com Don

    Terry,
    Great review. I do although have a question for you. I tried tethering with Lightroom 4 and Phase1′s Capture1 and could not get the D4 to tether at all. Am I doing something wrong or are we waiting for support for the D4 from Adobe for Lightroom?
    Thanks again for your great reviews..and Dude…I love your studio!!

    • http://terrywhite.com Terry White

      Thanks Don!
      Yes I think we are waiting for a LR4.x update for direct Nikon D4 tethering support.

  • Luka

    Hey, nice short review there Terry.

    Have you tried how fast is transfer if you are connected directly to wt-5(wt-5 as you said can create adhoc connection)?

    • http://terrywhite.com Terry White

      It’s a trade-off of being slightly faster with less range, but yes I’ve done both.

  • http://NaturaLight.us dbltapp

    I looked into the Eye-Fi option. Lots of negative stuff being said about that product.

  • phat

    if you shoot wireless, then you don’t use the memory card right? sorry for the dumb question

    • http://terrywhite.com Terry White

      No, the image is written to the card first.

  • Jim Felt

    That all seems too darn slow. We’re just not that leisurely with clients and models standing around. The Ethernet on the 1 DX should be way faster.
    And the eye fi is pathetically slow.

    Oh well. Maybe someday…

    • http://www.darrenf.com/ Darren Francis

      Yes, it’s slower than wired. I’m pretty satisfied with the results though. I did notice that the transfer was faster with a better router. Got excellent results with ASUS 68U.

  • colin robinson

    Still waiting for my D4 here in Scotland. Did I hear you were transferring the raw files? 16.2 meg? Is it feasible, and probably a lot faster, to write the raw file to one card and only transmit a jpeg immediately for review?
    Thanks Terry

    • http://terrywhite.com Terry White

      Yes and I did state that JPGs would transfer faster.

  • http://jtography.com James O’Connor

    Hi terry, I have a d4 on order. What we’d like to do is have the D4 + our WiMAX router on location, broadcasting the shoot to a small team using 3 iPads. Do you know of this is possible? And does it also broadcast the cameras live view for video? Files don’t need to be transferred but it would be great to share the live view with the client, DP etc.

    And does that all work the same on ad hoc if WiMAX is not available? Any more comprehensive reviews out there?

    Many thanks!

    James

  • Fred Floresca

    Hi Terry!
    Thanks for this great review of the WT-5. I may have missed your reasoning but I was wondering why you chose to use watched folders as opposed to Lightroom’s tethering feature.

    Best Regards,

    Fred

    • http://terrywhite.com Terry White

      LR Tethering only works via a direct USB connection.

  • Jack

    Nice review. I just picked one up and I love it. Do you know if you can setup the wt5 in FTP server mode and have the wt 5 transmit the photos to multiple computers/iOS devices?

  • Du

    Hi Terry. I have the D4 and wt5. Can you please tell me what to do to get my images transfer wirelessly to my LR4…I finally figured out how to control my camera from iphone/computer. Now i need to learn how to do the auto tethering. I dont know much about ftp and adhoc stuff. I read the wt5 guide but still couldn’t understand/figure it out. I want to be able to do what you did in your video! I have an MacBookAir. Please help.
    Best Regards!

    • http://terrywhite.com Terry White

      You have to set up the WT5 to transfer the images to a folder on your hard drive and then setup LR to autoimport from that folder. LR can NOT tether directly to anything but a USB connection.

  • http://www.facebook.com/len.spoden Len Spoden