SnapBridge at the Little Lehigh River

I wandered down to the Little Lehigh River Parkway yesterday afternoon looking for Frank and his friends.

Frank is my name for the heron that sits just below the Fish Hatchery and gorges himself on their fish releases. His friends are families of ducks that inhabit the same territory. 

With me on this trip were a handful of cameras and lenses I’m reviewing at the moment, in particular the Nikon D3400 and the new 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3 AF-P DX zoom lens. 

Sure enough, Frank was at one of the pools washing himself, so I sat on the bank photographing him for more than an hour as I tested out gear. 

Now the interesting part of this story is that I had forgotten that I had turned SnapBridge on. The device the D3400 is paired with wasn’t with me out on my shoreline walk. No biggie. The D3400 just did it’s usual thing despite not being connected (500+ times as it turned out). 

I went back to my office and set the gear aside before I went home and spent the night catching up on TV shows I’d missed back in August. 

This morning I came into the office to find that my office iPhone 6 some messages for me on the new iOS 10 Lock Screen: 

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Oh! SnapBridge!

During the evening the D3400 diligently sat in the office trying to churn 2mp copies of my 500+ images to the business iPhone via Bluetooth, despite being turned off. Didn’t make it, though, as the phone ran out of storage first. Plus, looking at the D3400: low battery. 

In some ways this is what we want our cameras to do: upload our images without intervention. But the iOS message is a good example of how that doesn’t work perfectly: my work iPhone doesn’t have enough space on it to hold even 500 2mp JPEGs. (I’m unclear yet as to why the time of “termination" of the download message is prior to message time where the phone tells me it downloaded 378 photos.)

This is one reason why I’ve been shouting loudly about wanting Nikon to embrace something more than the lowest common denominator mobile device link that they think will solve their communicating problems. Had SnapBridge found my office wireless network, uploaded all those images to a folder that Lightroom watches, my grunt work would be done this morning and I could move on to a more intelligent use of my time.

Yes, I know there are still issues: the D3400 might not have enough battery power to run the Wi-Fi for transferring 500+ NEF+JPEG images. That just shows that there are other problems that have to be solved. Imagine had I put the D3400 down on a wireless charging mat…

Still, the fact that things almost worked as they should have is the frustrating point for me. I like companies that totally solve my user problems, not ones that only get part of the way. SnapBridge is one of those partial solutions. The parts SnapBridge does have do work, though.

Here’s one of the first photos of Frank that was sitting on my phone this morning (and yes, I shared it from my iPhone to my desktop instead of copying it ;~):

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You’ll be seeing more of Frank soon in upcoming reviews (I promise he’ll actually be doing something other than standing there ;~). 

text and images © 2017 Thom Hogan
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