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Nikon WU-1a Wireless Mobile Adapter Review

Daniel Bell reviews the Nikon WU-1a Wireless Mobile Adapter.

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Wireless Mobile Adapter

The Nikon WU-1a Wireless Mobile Adapter is a dongle that establishes a wireless connection between the Nikon D3200 or D5200 and a smart mobile device (currently only Android is supported). You can transfer photos and movies or control your SLR camera remotely, no matter where you are. It creates its own Wi-Fi network and is powered by the camera itself. It is available for £49.00.

Nikon Wu 1a Wireless Mobile Adapter On D3200 1

Nikon WU-1a Wireless Mobile Adapter Features

  • Built-in Wi-Fi connectivity enabling a direct connection between a Nikon D3200 or D5200 DSLR camera and a smartphone (currently supports Android OS 2.3 or later) or tablet (currently supports Android OS 3.0 or later)
  • Powered by the camera therefore no need for batteries
  • High-quality photos and movies can be sent directly from your camera to a smart device, making it easy to share them via social media, upload to photo sharing and storage sites, or send through email
  • Use the WU-1a to control your camera via your smart device
  • Preview or compose images on your smart device
  • Free space on your camera’s memory card by storing photos and movies on your smart device
  • Wireless Mobile Adapter Utility is available for free download to your smart device from the Android Market
  • Firmware can be easily updated via your smart device
  • Comes with a case which can be attached to the strap and a loop to connect adapter to the camera
Nikon Wu 1a Wireless Mobile Adapter With Case

Nikon WU-1a Wireless Mobile Adapter Handling

The Wireless Mobile Adapter is extremely tiny and by itself would be easy to lose when not connected to your camera. Fortunately Nikon have realised this and provided two ways to ensure this doesn't happen. There is a loop provided, similar to those that are used to attach lens caps to cameras, which means you can attach it to the strap loop on one side of the camera. There is also a case to keep the adapter in, this can also be attached to your Nikon camera strap.

Nikon Wireless Mobile Adapter Screenshot 2

To be able to use the adapter with your smart device you need to download the Wireless Transmitter Utility app from the Android market. Then you can insert the adapter into your A/V out slot and switch your camera on. Next you need to connect the adapter to your smart device via Wi-Fi, the easiest way is to access your wireless settings on your smart device and opt for WPS button connection. You then just need to press and hold the WPS button on the adapter for five seconds until the LED flashes red and green. A connection between the two will be automatically started and you can open the app on your smart device to start using the features.

Nikon Wu 1a Wireless Mobile Adapter Case On Strap

Nikon WU-1a Wireless Mobile Adapter Performance

As we had the Android powered Nikon Coolpix S800c in the office we decided to test it using that, an unlikely duo! But this meant we could shoot with both the DSLR and compact, as well as use the compact to shoot remotely on the DSLR and upload our pictures to the web.

When you open the app it will ensure you're connected to the camera and if not will guide you through the process. Once there you are have four options: use the camera to take pictures, take pictures remotely, share pictures and download pictures from the camera.

Nikon Wireless Mobile Adapter Screenshot 1

Use the camera to take pictures & take pictures remotely - these modes are effectively the same and you can switch between them easily. Basically, you can use the DSLR to take your pictures and they will be automatically transferred your camera. Taking pictures remotely gives you a shutter release and preview on your screen, again the images are automatically transferred. On the S800c we found that a red x was displayed so we changed the image size to VGA, which then showed us our pictures. We managed to further test on a Samsung Galaxy phone running Android 4 and this was capable of transferring the RAW files extremely quickly.

If you haven't got a memory card in your camera a warning message will show and you need to put one in before you can continue. When using the camera you need to adjust all your settings on the camera before you enter one of the shooting modes. It's not possible to change settings via the app. As well as an image preview, the app also displays your shutter speed, aperture, colour temperature and battery life. Pressing the shutter focuses and takes a picture which is transferred to your smart device.

Share pictures - Share pictures allows you to view all the ones you've taken with the app using either of the previous modes. Again, it only displayed the ones we'd transferred at VGA size (others are a red cross). To share, press and hold an image to select. You can add more to share at the same time to Gmail, Google+ and Picasa.

Download pictures - If you've already taken some shots using the D3200 or D5200, this allows you to download the images to your Android device.

Nikon Wu 1a Wireless Mobile Adapter On D3200 3

Nikon WU-1a Wireless Mobile Adapter Verdict

The Wireless Mobile Adapter is a great idea from Nikon, although we found it a little strange it is only available to use on the D3200 (usuable on the new D5200 as well), Nikon's latest entry-level DSLR, but there is another version available for D600 users. It's really small, so doesn't get in the way, although the rubber cover for the slot just hangs loose.

Users of the D3200 and D5200 are more likely to enjoy being able to transfer their images to smartphone or tablet for sharing via social networks, it will also be very handy if you want to show pictures to clients on a larger display immediately after shooting.

In the future, it would make it even more useful if you are able to change camera settings via the app, and an iOS app is likely to make it even more popular.

Nikon WU-1a Wireless Mobile Adapter Pros

Extremely small
Comes with a case and loop to make sure you don't lose it
Easy to set up
Great for transferring images to a tablet device to show clients
Makes sharing images easier

Nikon WU-1a Wireless Mobile Adapter Cons

Only supports Android
Can't change camera settings via the app
Only works on Nikon D3200 and D5200

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