As posted earlier here on TrueToad, I had a great concern regarding the battery life of the WT-7a, as in,...will it last 3 hours,...4-5 hours, etc! So, as stated, I ordered one from B&H and it arrived on 5/5/17 (yesterday) and I immediately began setting it up. I noticed that Nikon made a few changes here and there in the interface, but nothing that slowed me down to much during the setup. I like the "password" protected addition for protecting settings, etc.
Moving on! I started setting it up at 11:30am exactly with a 100% battery, both for the WT-7a and the camera. I added several different Infrastructure Profiles to the setup and tested the performance of the WT-7a around the house and literally outside,...and down the street from my house. Early on, I will say the thing ROCKS! Yes it rocks, and it does all of this without an external antennae! The WT-2a had decent range, but lacked great speed. The WT-4a I has fallen off on it’s range as its performance is no where near the WT-7a, as you will see from the rough transfer speed numbers coming up next.
Speed! That's what it's all about! First, I'm a "jpeg" shooter by default of my business model. You know, “Shoot-Capture-Print-Go-To-The-Bank-On-Monday” kind of business!,..and I have no problem with that. The faster I can get an image on display,..the faster it sales,..the faster I move on to the next customer! After receiving and testing the WT-7A, lets just say that I will be burning all of my Eye-Fi cards and most likely selling my time-trusted D700 w/BG and WT-4a and look to invest in another WT-7a for my second D500. Why? It's simple -The SPEED!
Here goes: The WT-7a transfers a full 20.9mp image (Lrg Fine*) to my PC,...ready for viewing and printing in about 5.x seconds FLAT! It transfers a 10.(x)mb (Med Fine*) image in about 3 seconds FLAT! It transfers a 5.(x)mb (Sml Fine*) image to PC,..ready for viewing and printing in less time for the full image to appear on the camera's review monitor when Image Review is enabled. Yes! Less than a Second! The transfer speed is NEAR INSTANT @ Small Fine* resolution! The first time I saw this, I nearly fainted! Note, I did not do any Raw capture tests,…as least not at first. But, I’ve inserted some Raw file transfer information! The transfer speed for a 30.1k Raw file was about "6-seconds Flat" and that was standing in the near vicinity of the Router – a Verizon 802.11n router. As a bonus, I tested the transfer speed of a Raw Image on my Cradlepoint Router (5G connection),…the time was roughly 3.5 seconds,..and still around 6-sec with a 2.4G connection!
A little about my Router. I have a Cradlepoint AER 1600 802.11ac router. It's quite pricey, but worth every penny,...as it enables easy setup for those that use their smartphone as a 'Hotspot' and also need WWAN, that os, “WiFi-As-WAN”! I performed tests using the 2.4G and 5G spectrums and although the 2.4G was fast,...the 5G is where the speed is. Damn it's fast!! Oh! I almost forgot,...the WT-7a connected to the Network (Links) from Off to On in about 17 secs and the WT-4a takes another 4 secs or so to do the same! Also, I often us my Blackberry Passport as a 'Hotspot' and it has the capability of being setup up as a 2.4G/5G hotspot! The transfer speeds are similar to the Cradlepoint Router, except the range is no where near that of the Cradlepoint. I’ll also note that all image transfers were made via FTP Server. In addition, here are a few other WT-7a settings: Auto Send on, Delete after Send on, Power Saving set to Prioritize Network Speed and Auto Power Off set to 1m. I tried the slower setting and it’s just that – Slower, but reliable. Also, here’s a bit regarding the battery life. Well, you remember where I stated I started at 11:30 A.M. Well, I continued testing until at least (((2:32A.M.))),..the last image captured. So, someone please do the math! That’s 15 hours of Setup, Testing,...Shooting at different Resolutions,..Transferring images,…near and far from the Router,…making changes here and there,..setting up multiple profiles, and looking at this and that. At the end of the testing, the 100% battery level was down to a mere 26%! In as bad a grammar I can state this, “That’s-A-Freak’n-Mazing”! Now, I’ve a long time user of Nikon Wireless Transmitters and this takes the cake! I was expecting the OEM EN-EL15 battery to crap-out in about 4 hours minimum,…5 hours Max,…as it has 400mah more capacity over the EN-EL3e battery,…which typically gets me about 3.5 hours of performance transmitting mostly Small Fine jpegs. In defense of the WT-4a, I will say that I have the Auto Off on it set to 10m. I will also make this change for the WT-7a as well, so I expect more power consumption, etc. I only use the 1 minute setting for testing and setup. I wish Nikon would add a 3m or 5m Setting – Nikon Please Do This! It’s just a bit more coding! On a different note, the EN-EL18a battery in the D500 battery grip performed well too. I don’t recall the remaining charge level, but it was certainly above 50%. I did not have an internal battery in the D500! Didn’t need to as I now know. This also reduces the unnecessary weight to handle during a shoot!
You know, I was wondering if those that have a WT-6A and are they getting this type of performance out of the small WT-6A wireless module for the Nikon D5. I can only thing that Nikon most likely has embedded a certain amount of the "wireless transfer module" hardware into the D5 body, thus leaving only to have certain pieces (parts) external of the D5's body. This way, they at least sells us one more accessory in the scheme of things. Hey, but I digress, as that's a different can of worms altogether!
So, there you have it. My verbal add-on review of Nikon’s WT-7a.
JMD,...somewhere in Northern VA! Cheers and stay focused!
PS #1: I hope there’s no character limit for posts made here at TrueToad!
PS #2: My PC, Dell M4800, Intel i7-4700MQ 2.4Ghz, 64-Bit, RAM @ 32GB,…D-Link DWA-171 (802.11ac)(USB Wireless Adapter) connected via USB 3.0! All USB ports and USB Hubs are 3.0!
PS #3: Although this is a lengthy post, I hope someone finds this information valuable!