2 days before my 40th birthday Sony released the highly anticipated version 1.2 firmware version for its F5 and F55 cameras. Some of the new features inclued Wi-Fi support, SR Codec 422 and 444 (RGB variant), x1.3 anamorphic support, and other improvements and enhancements.
This blog entry will discuss how to setup and install the wi-fi option and what exactly it will give you access to and what it won’t give you
After you download the v1.2 firmware software from Sony you might want to backup any scene files you have to an SD card. I won’t go through the firmware upgrade in detail but it takes long so make sure you have a proper power supply attached to your camera. Sony indicates you must perform a “RESET” of the camera after the firmware upgrade to avoid instability. When you purchased your F5/F55 camera it should have came with the USB wireless LAN module IFU-WLM3. Don’t read the Operating Instructions that accompanies it since clearly the USB module was designed for use operating Projectors wirelessly.
Insert the USB module in the top USB port hidden in a compartment next to the VF cable. I tried putting it in the USB port near the headphone jack but the camera did not recognize it.
Once the USB wireless LAN module is installed you will be able to ENABLE the WIFI under the SYSTEM menu. The WIFI option is near the end of the SYSTEM menu list.
Once the WIFI is enabled you will need to join the network that the F5/F55 camera has created with your mobile or other device. On my F55 the network was called “DIRECT-7sF0:PMW-F55_0100418″ but yours will be different.
To join the camera’s network via WIFI you will also need to know the SSID password. To find the password that was setup for your camera’s WIFI network scroll down to SSID & Password.
Select ENTER to view the SSID & Password details. This is the password you will need to enter into your mobile device or other device in order to join the camera’s WIFI network.
Now that your camera is broadcasting itself to the world you can use your mobile device (iphone, ipad, Blackberry, Andriod, tablet, etc…) browser to access the camera. In your browser enter http://10.0.0.1 and hit enter. You will be asked for username and password to access it. This should be:
PASSWORD: pmw-f5 or pmw-f55
I successfully tested a macbook Pro, iPhone 4, Blackberry Z10, Blackberry Playbook… and all worked perfectly.
WHAT YOU CAN ACCESS:
Once you successfully connect to your camera at the top of the screen you will see the camera status displayed which shows the following: Stby (in green) or REC (in red), TCG, 4 audio level meters, clip name, system frequency, picture size (resolution), recording format, time left on media cards, and battery voltage level. These are display only (not interactive) and update automatically when the camera goes into record mode, or if any of the settings are changed.
Next you have access to enable/disable four of your custom assignable camera buttons which conveniently also display the name of the assigned function beside each button. An LED indicator will also let you know if you have a button enabled or disabled.
The last section of the remote control capability fall under: MAIN, PLAYBACK, and CURSOR.
This section allows you to adjust the following settings: S&Q FPS, Shutter Speed, Color Temperature, Sensitivity (ISO), and Gamma. You can also start/stop recording of the camera, turn on/off color bars, and perform an auto black or white blance. There is also a camera ”LOCK” button but it does not actually lock the camera itself, it only locks out changes from being made accidentally on your browser.
Once you select the Playback menu you can remotely control the playback deck built into the camera. This is a great feature, as personally I have found it difficult to get use to the playback buttons on the camera itself.
The Cursor menu allows you to remotely control the camera system menu as well as turn on or off the status display of the camera. This is a great way to navigate the FULL camera system menu without having to go through the camera itself and use the selector dial knob. It does however require that you have an external monitor hooked up as the actual camera system menu does not get displayed back onto the remote device. Not so great if you only use a Viewfinder as your display device.
WHAT YOU CAN’T ACCESS:
So far this is a great start to some “remote control” features on the F5 & F55 and I expect that over time it will evolve into even more accessibility and features that can be accessed remotely. It is pretty obvious that to make full use of the WIFI option on the F5/F55 you will need to use an external monitor with the camera. What I would really like to have seen was the actual camera menu displayed back on the remote device itself. As mentioned earlier, in the case where you might only be using a Viewfinder with your camera the WIFI remote control feature becomes slightly less attractive when it comes to the PLAYBACK and CURSOR options.
CAVEATS & OTHER TIPS: