While the Canon W-E1 Wi-Fi Adapter sounded intriguing upon its announcement, its apparent limitations left us a bit bewildered.
However, what if I told you that the Canon W-E1 Wi-Fi adapter (with a little help) is capable of a lot more? From my experience, the following features can be unlocked with the adapter:
- Adjust almost any exposure related camera setting (including white balance)
- Transfer any size file (including RAWs) to your mobile device
- Focus Stacking (with variable flash delay)
- Nearly unlimited exposure bracketing
- Overlay gridlines or aspect ratio masks
- And more…
The key phrase above is, of course, “with a little help.” The Canon Camera Connect app is, to put it mildly, basic. Sometimes basic is just fine. But unfortunately, there’s a huge omission in the Connect app’s feature list, one which led to me shouting loudly last night while testing the app.
“The Canon Camera Connect app doesn’t allow you to CHANGE THE WHITE BALANCE?!“
After spending roughly 15 minutes trying to figure out how to change the white balance within the Canon Camera Connect app without any luck, I was more than a little annoyed. This morning I called Canon’s Technical Support to see if I was missing something. The technician I spoke to confirmed that adjusting this seemingly basic setting is not a feature of the app. And with the W-E1 card installed in the Canon EOS 7D Mark II, the camera does not allow local adjustments (meaning the buttons and LCD are unusable), so the white balance cannot be set from the camera when the Wi-Fi adapter is in use.
So how do you get the most out of the Canon W-E1 Wi-Fi adapter? For Android users, it’s actually pretty easy – get the DSLR Controller app.
The reason why DSLR Controller works with the W-E1 is because the developer designed the app to work with Canon DSLRs featuring built-in Wi-Fi (once they became available). And since the W-E1 is using the same communication protocols, the app works just as it would if it were connected to a DSLR featuring built-in Wi-Fi.
I can’t say for certain that the app will work for everyone, but I can tell you I was easily able to connect to the W-E1 installed in my EOS 7D Mark II in direct connection mode (smartphone or EOS Utility mode, both worked for me). Below is a screenshot of the app in action.
Things to know:
- While you can transfer RAW files to your mobile device, the transfer speed is relatively slow from my experience. Images are downloaded at the resolution in which they were captured (there’s no RAW to JPEG conversion).
- While there is an option to “Share” images in the app’s Gallery view, none of the apps I tried to share images with (Gmail, Facebook Messenger, Dropbox, etc) actually worked. However, I was able to download JPEG images to my phone and share them normally. I also downloaded a RAW file to my phone and was able to upload it to Dropbox via a file browser app.
- If you want to share images via your mobile device soon after capture, it may be best to record lower resolution JPEGs. Viewing smaller resolution JPEGs in the app’s Gallery is much faster, transfers occur quickly, and the JPEGs can easily be shared immediately via the mobile device without straining data caps (if applicable).
- Even though the app has been in development for quite some time, the developer only recently dropped the “beta” designation. You may experience the occasional glitch while using the app. In about 2 hours of testing, I lost camera connection once but was easily able to restore it.
- Video recording (or viewing videos already on the memory card) is not supported.
There may be a similar iOS camera control app that allows for the same funcationality, but as I don’t own an iOS device I’m unaware of those options.
B&H has the Canon W-E1 Wi-Fi Adapter available for preorder. The Google Play Store has DSLR Controller ($ 7.99) available for download.