New Nikon cameras to use Bluetooth for ‘always on’ pairing, photo transfer

new nikon cameras to use bluetooth for always on pairing photo transfer d500

Nikon is introducing an upgrade to its SnapBridge wireless connectivity protocol that will make it easy to pair a camera with a mobile device. Introduced in the new D500 DSLR, the new SnapBridge uses Bluetooth low energy (BLE) to establish an “always on” connection and for transferring images from the camera to the connected device. Nikon says the new SnapBridge will be available in nearly all Nikon cameras from 2016 onward.

SnapBridge started off as a marketing label attached to Nikon’s Wi-Fi-capable cameras, but the technology was no different in implementation than other camera makers’. But with the addition of BLE, new Nikon cameras can stay connected to a paired phone or tablet. This means the user can quickly establish the connection when he or she needs to transfer a photo from the camera – without interrupting the Wi-Fi or cellular. The setup needs to be configured just once, and a SnapBridge camera can support up to five mobile devices.

It’s similar to GoPro’s Wi-Fi’s implementation, which uses BLE to quickly establish pairing, however GoPro then switches to Wi-Fi for the rest of the connection. With SnapBridge, the camera switches from BLE to Bluetooth for data transfer, and switches back when it’s done – to the “always on” standby mode.

“This is achieved automatically without the need to activate image transfer from the camera, while also keeping power consumption low for both devices,” Nikon says. “Users can also continue to enjoy mobile Internet connectivity during image transfer, allowing them to check their email or access social media while syncing their photographs.”

With BLE-based SnapBridge, the camera can automatically transfer images while you’re shooting. The connection is maintained even if the camera is turned off. To keep the transfer process quick, the image transferred is a 2-megapixel JPEG version of the original; the original can be transferred as well, although Wi-Fi should be used since it’s faster. The process requires using the SnapBridge app for iOS or Android, which you can also use to embed any information, such as location and copyright info.

Related Product: Nikon D500 DSLR

But Bluetooth is only used for images. With videos and remote operation, it will still require a Wi-Fi connection.