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Oct 15 / BenSeese

Nikon S51c – Flickr sharing deconstructed

Nikon & Flickr have been commingling more & more the last year (nikonstunninggallery.com, flickr.com/nikon). Now the last couple Nikon wireless cameras make the claim that they can upload pictures to Flickr. Finally, right?! This seems great, because while several wireless cameras have had the ability to transfer wirelessly to your own computer, they haven’t really been able to get your stuff out to the real world where they belong. The wireless transfer just moved the files from camera to computer, but you still had to sit down at your computer if you wanted to y’know, do anything with them. Last year, Nikon made the S7c, which had the ability to at least email your photos from the camera. Close, but no cigar: the email only contained a link to Nikon’s ugly photo-hosting website. I’ve got 8000 photos online already at Flickr; I’m not going to move over to an inferior website just because my little camera happens to put my photos there.

These last two cameras, the S50c and the S51c, seem to finally cut the computer out of the equation. Again, though, it looks like Nikon have gotten close to a good thing, but failed. Here’s where the camera-to-Flickr system falls short:

  • Flipping through the uploading options & menus on the camera itself, you find no mention of Flickr. Turns out that there simply is no direct uploading to Flickr. Go back & look at all of Nikon’s promo material for the camera, and you find out that they never use the term “direct.” You can eventually upload your pictures to Flickr, sure, but it takes you sitting down at the computer manually uploading them. What’s new here, right?
  • The only place you can upload your photos is mypicturetown.com. The website itself is better than their previous photo-hosting attempts (Coolpix Connect, Coolpix Connect 2), but it’s still a joke. It uses a horrid frame-based layout that doesn’t fit on any size monitor. It looks like it only works on Internet Explorer. Firefox throws up a “Missing Plugin” message, without any suggestion as to what is actually missing.
  • From that page, you can highlight photos (or albums) & tap the ‘Flickr’ button, which fairly painlessly moves copies of the images over to your Flickr page. It takes forever, which is crazy. The files are shooting from one webserver to another; it should be nearly instant.
  • Especially because it doesn’t even give Flickr the full image! It uploads a terrible 1024×768 100kb version of the file to Flickr. That’s even if you’ve put the full 8 megapixel 3mb file on mypicturetown. I find this completely absurd. Flickr has unlimited storage space (for Pro members), while mypicturetown gives you 20gb total (not per month) and it’s 50% more expensive than Flickr Pro. There’s no way to order enlargements from mypicturetown, while there is from Flickr. Hmm… Where do you think the full-rez 3mb files belong?
  • The Flickr version of the file is completely stripped of its embedded EXIF data. So there’s no note saying “Taken with a Nikon S51c,” which seems like a glaring exclusion, since this is the famous Flickr-uploading camera & all. It means that the Nikon-sponsored Camera finder page on Flickr will not include your photos in their database, and nobody will know that you paid extra cash for the camera that uploads to Flickr.
  • The missing EXIF also means that “Taken on” dates are completely messed up. Photos say that they were taken at the moment they were tranferred from mycameratown to Flickr, and on top of that — they arrive out of order.

So to summarize, here’s what it takes to put your photos online with the S51c:

  • snap photos
  • plug in camera to recharge, which automatically uploads the files to mypicturetown
  • wait, or go to bed
  • sign on to mypicturetown
  • select the keepers of the bunch
  • press the ‘Flickr’ button
  • wait again

As compared to the process with normal cameras:

  • snap photos
  • plug in camera to computer, or card into card reader
  • select the keepers of the bunch
  • drag them into the Flickr Uploadr program & press Upload
  • wait, or go to bed

I honestly don’t see how the wireless fundamentally makes life any easier here. In my fantasy-land, here’s how the camera would operate:

  • snap photos
  • plug in camera to recharge, which automatically uploads the files to Flickr
  • wait, or go to bed

Or in the case of normal people who value their privacy and use their computers as the primary storage site for their photos, substitute that middle step for “automatically downloads to your computer.” But sadly, those options will have to wait till 6 months from now when Nikon replace the S51c (and assumedly start their fourth photo-hosting site).

Now you might think, “Ben, quit nitpicking & go take pictures!” Well, I did, and as it turns out, the camera’s performance & picture quality are both far below average. Very long shutter lag, slow startup time, slow-response menus, low-quality optics, grainy pictures even in good light… Should I go on?

8 Comments

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  1. one / Oct 23 2007

    Please, can you provide screenshot of behaviour on http://www.mypicturetown.com on your computer? or link to screenshot?

  2. BenSeese / Oct 23 2007

    Sure, no problem. Here is the fully-functional page in Internet Explorer. Note the TWO scroll bars on the right side. This is maximized on a 1280×1024 monitor:

    And the broken page in Firefox:

  3. one / Oct 24 2007

    Thank you for screenshots. Will be taken in account.

  4. Louv / Nov 28 2007

    oh, why, oh, why didn’t I find this [most excellent] review before I bought an s51c? It is back in the box, being shipped back from whence it came. Is there a real Flickr camera? Anyone? Hello? Bueller?

  5. BumpyBob / Jan 15 2008

    A good question – any good alternatives to this camera?

  6. imbutafool / Mar 13 2008

    Check out Nikon’s promo from CES 2008. Found this when looking for instructions on how to “e-mail my photos to my friends directly from my new S51c”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SzsQXhpRuOA

  7. BenSeese / Mar 13 2008

    Um, ok. What am I looking for? Looks like standard-issue marketing blather…

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