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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

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Reviews on digital imaging, Nikon Cameras, Canon Cameras, Macro, Micro, Telephoto and Super Telephoto lens and all things photo optics and equipment, such as the D5, D500 and D850. My ambition is to provide useful and solid photography tips and information with the best real world reviews of all the photographic gear and astronomy equipment - that I use.

Nikon Wireless Transmitter D500 WT-7
TrueToad / Thursday, June 2, 2016 / Categories: Reviews

Nikon Wireless Transmitter D500 WT-7

WiFi and Ethernet

Lets get the technical details out of the way first!

Physical Connection

The WT-7A transmitter attaches to the bottom of your D500 using the same basic method as a battery grip (thumb wheel), then connect a USB 3 cable from transmitter to camera's USB port. The WT-7 has no additional mounting points, so it is bottom of the camera or grip. You can also use the strap but would need a longer USB cable to camera - awkward arrangement.

The Tech Specs
Ethernet:IEEE802.3ab, IEEE 802.3u, IEEE802.3
Wireless:802.11a/b/g/n/ac
Data Rates:10/100/1000 Mbps with auto detect
Operating Frequencies(MHz):5180-5320 MHz (36/40/44/48/52/56/60/64 ch)
Approx. range(line of sight):656.1 feet (With large antenna at wireless LAN access point. Range varies with signal strength and presence or absence of obstacles.)
Security:
Authentication:Open system, shared key, WPA-PSK, WPA2-PSK
Encryption:128/64 bit WEP, TKIP, AES
Wireless setup:Supports WPS 2.0
Access protocols:Infrastructure, Access Point
Data transfer protocols:TCP/IP, FTP

If you  are on the geeky side: You can tell from the specs some of the neat ways to set it up and interface your D500 to the internet of things. Awesome wired or wireless connections with a built in web or FTP server 

How Big is it:  Similar sized as a battery grip, attaches to the D500 in the same way - Primary Method; To the bottom, using a thumb wheel.Secondary Method; Placed in the carry pouch over the shoulder but you would need to supply your own longer USB 3 cable. The USB 3 cable supplied is designed for the direct attachment of the WT-7, and is a about 8 inches in length. If you use a battery grip on your D500 you can attach the WT-7 onto the bottom of the grip (if your grip supports an additional standard tripod attachment point, most do. You Can Not connect a Tripod to the WT-7, because their is no attachment point at the bottom of the WT-7.  However, I think one could buy a Really Right Stuff  L bracket as a workaround, more $$

 Battery: Uses the same battery as the D500 camera, an EN-EL15 Rechargeable Li-ion Battery, which is nice for simplicity reasons. The battery compartment and other buttons look to be weather sealed using gaskets and silicon rubber seals - Some limited outdoor "fair" weather use should match the same durability as the D500 - but I would not us it in  the rain. Charging the battery employs the same charger as the D500 - nothing new to buy.  

Capabilities: Here is why it matters,, The WT-7 provides several key benefits to assist the streamling of your workflow. In a nutshell the WT-7 can un-tether you by using built in high speed wireless to facilitate accessing and downloading the images in near real time. You could have a second "person" an editor, at your working location with a PC/Mac & software and do real-time edits while you shoot. Unlike SnapBridge the WT-7 provides continuous high speed access to your (jpgs or RAW) files from the camera using either a web browser or FTP.

Two Flavors: Wireless or Wired -Ethernet. People ask which is faster - answer is it depends Downloads of images either way is rather quick maybe 2-3 seconds, and that is with the RAW file on my wireless network, I don'f find myself waiting. In Summary you have two choices. Ethernet (wired over CAT5/6 cable) or WiFi/Wireless  (AD-Hoc or Infrastructure) Wired offers the best performance up to 1gb but your tethered to the CAT. while WiFi speeds vary depending on location ad distance overall but still giving you about a couple second download time for images - many times faster than the built in low power blue tooth (SnapBridge)

FTP Mode:  FTP Mode can be setup to send your images to a FTP server as you shoot while  You basically just need the log in information for the FTP server. You have options to use SFTP. Enter the FTP server address, identify a folder on the FTP server to send the images to and - go! Using FTP to send RAW files to an FTP server on the www.internet was remarkably fast, sent 3 25mb files in a minute.

PC Transfer Mode: To use this method you will need to download and install the Nikon Wireless Transmitter Utility Software Launch the utility and choose WT-4/UT-1 (Nikon has not updated the software to reflect WT-7), then hit the next button and choose Setup Picture Folder -> this will create the folder where the images will be stored during the push from the WT-7.  Exit the Utility.  If you setup a profile for PC Transfers, just follow the prompts at some point you will disconnect from the WT-7 and plug your D500 into the computer and start the PC Utility to pair the camera to your PC - I had no issues doing any of the set up or pairing.  For Testing I sent 20 JPGS that averaged 10mb taking about 2 and a half minutes.  

PC Transfer Options:  You can send RAW+Jpgs, or JPG only. You can also select a sub-set of the files to send so you don have to send all images.  Also is the option to automatically send as you shoot or manually send. You may also enable marking of the files as "sent" and delete from you camera if you so choose. overall I had no issues setting up any of the features for the WT-7.

HTTP Server Mode: HTTP Server allows someone/you to access your WT-7 web interface using your browser.  In the studio environment HTTP will be the favorite, the web interface has three main areas:  Camera, allows live view, image capture (take a picture) change basic settings such as WB, ISO, Exposure, f stops, and modes to name a few - this is all done using the web interface.

The Network Menu Options: Network options becomes available when you attach the WT-7 to the D500 and power them up, I did not shown all possible options. You can set your WT-7 as Wireless or Ethernet Once you configure the settings you may save the profile to your memory card. This feature provides flexibility for multiple setups depending on what you need to do; such as FTP upload or HTTP server.  Example as a sports shooter you could configure the WT-7 to upload images to an FTP site while shooting; so you would simply "Create a Profile" do the FTP configuration and save it to your memory card, and when you need it you load the profile - neat!  Not Shown are the Menu to check the WT-7 battery level.. You can establish up to 9 profiles.

Ease of Network Set up: Easy! depends on the network your connecting to, If you administer your network (studio/home) you already know all this stuff, Depends on MAC filtering, DHCP or static IP etc, All WT-7 network settings are accessed through the D500 camera Network Menu as shown above.  I choose to do a manual Wireless setup and add the WT-7 to my network - if you set up your own home wireless this should present no issues, all basic stuff nowadays.  The camera also features a "wizard" to help those who may be technically challenged- just answer a few questions, and enter your network key. 

The HTTP Server Web Interface: Once configured you can access the WT-7 by browsing to the IP address you assigned (I choose static IP - making it easy to find) and when you browse to the IP you are prompted with a log-on dialog, The username and password is established during configuration, in the HTTP config, or could use the pre-configured account and password that comes with the WT-7.

Initial Web Page following log on The Camera Menu Features
The Viewer Menu Features The Text Editor Menu Features

Security:  In the wireless settings you set the appropriate Security settings based on the network you are connecting to - I use WPA2-PSK AES 256 this ensures the transport between camera and network is secured at least. However, I have not found a way (yet) to enable HTTPS in the camera, it is HTTP.   Profiles can be set to use passwords to protect the content within the profile configurations you create, at least ensuring if someone gets their hands on your memory card or camera they need to break your password to get your network configuration setup. The risk we run in all things internet - 

Battery Life: Not fully known yet - here is the inside scoop.  The WT-7 has a small rubber grommet at the battery end, and when pulled open shows a way for Nikon to add some external "powered" coupling interface  - We can probably expect to see this in the upcoming months.

Other Mentionables: Nikon includes a carry pouch and shoulder strap for those who use a Battery Grip and Tri-pod base. If you use the pouch method you will need a longer USB 3 making the arrangement more cumbersome which is also the pit fall of using Ethernet. But, sometimes your faced with only one option.

In testing, I set up a FTP folder on my hosted server and sent jpgs direct from camera  to the FTP server folder, this is a nice feature for those who may have an automated photo batch process for posting from the folder - or for others to access for review.

Firmware Upgradeable: Yes! Upgrade the firmware by attaching to camera and follow the normal Nikon firmware upgrade methods.

Glitches & OdditiesProfiles: I did at one point encounter a situation where I could not edit my profile nor create a new one for my wireless hardware. Following deletion and re-creating of the profile all seems to be ok now, You have the ability to create more or edit the current profiles.  FTP sending; once I selected a folder from the camera to send from it will begin sending when you enable it - great but, if you change your mind and stop sending you must use the "deselect all" option, then turn off sending.

I Wish: I Wish the WT-7 would allow selecting which files to FTP rather than all, I am still testing marking as sent feature as to prevent re-sending if you stop and restart an ftp session.  Also I wish Nikon would release a battery grip that had the WT-F features built into it, to my knowledge the only thing in a battery grip is a battery - so should be enough room for the added electronics.

Recommendations:  This is a great tool for studio shooters, and those who shoot events, optimized by having a "support" staff to process your images as they roll in. Also, displaying images on the big screen for clients as you shoot is sometimes a positive way of getting immediate feedback. There are a number of other useful ways the WT-7 can benefit photographers; such as remote coaching.

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Photographer's Notes

March 2017 Update: Nikon released firmeware updates to add support to other cameras such as D7200, D810, D810A - Thanks to Andreas for the update.

Who can benefit from the WT-7?  Folks who do Studio Work, Pro Event Capture (news /sports),  Anyone who wants instant FTP for webservers / website postings

Final Thoughts: A big workflow plus for studio work when you require near instant access to you images and beneficial for event shooters having proper staff support your images could be quickly made available for release / posting.  Also push the image to a large LCD screen to show your client during the photo shoot for instant feedback.

Out in the field you are limited by available networks; you could set-up a hot spot using your smart phone, but I doubt anyone will be doing this due to "data" plans being what they are- in a pinch I could see this working.

Lens
  • Sigma 8mm F3.5 EX DG Circular Fisheye
  • Nikkor 16mm f/2.8D
  • Nikkor 14-24mm F2.8G ED
  • Nikkor 16-35mm f/4G ED VR
  • Nikkor 24mm f/3.5D ED PC-E
  • Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM Art
  • Nikkor 45mm f/2.8D ED PC-E
Camera Body
  • Nikon D500
  • Nikon D810
  • Nikon D7200
Flash Used
  • SB-5000
Accessories Used
  • WR-A10 Wireless Adapter
  • WT-7 Wireless Transmitter

TrueToadTrueToad

I live at the edge of the forest in semi-moist locations, I enjoy larva, and other delights. Although I am toothless and mostly warty, I am a sight to see.

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17 comments on article "Nikon Wireless Transmitter D500 WT-7"

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Mike

You sort of glaze over the fact that the D500 is deceivingly marketed as though it has REAL WiFi built in, like the "lesser" D5300 does. When in reality it's locked down and only accessible via the poor excuse for "remote access" software Snapbridge, that may, or may not, run on the android phone/tablet you have. They should put an asterisk next to WiFi on D500 ads that says (Propriety access only unless you buy a $700 add on unit)


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TrueToad

Thanks for your comments.I appreciate your input without my edits. While I agree the native WiFi interface is not a full interface for remote access. I don't have a big issue using my smart phone and snapbridge software other than it is a bit slow when pulling full sized images - the camera supports native NEF and smaller JPGS which I use which makes the experience much better for web posting. The wireless add on you mention is a bit pricey but for studio real time work of full res images you might find it worth the cost. Sorry it took as long to respond. Yeah, the undertone is I agree Nikon can do better with the built in D500 WiFi. Once you begin slicing the pie a certain way you need to continue until people are tired of eating pie - if you know what I mean. I predict a revolution in photography in the next five years that will level set consumer priced cameras. Companies like Nikon, Sony, Canon will need to address the shrinking technology gap between a 6k camera and a 1k camera.. The D500 marks the realization of why spend 6k when 2k is the 85% solution.


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Don C.

First, #1 I ask that you please do not sell or distribute my email adrs. Second, nice review on the WT-7a. Now to my question. Have you had a chance to determine how one the battery will last on the WT-7a after a full charge, and what time of files were transferred? As an experience Nikon wireless device user, WT-2a and WT-4a, I'm a bit hesitant to spend $700 on a proprietary devices that only works on one Nikon dslr body. TIA!


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TrueToad

No, I do not sell email addresses. To your question: A full charge for me under heavy use is about 4 hours. Transfer times over my network per 13mb jpg file is about 4 seconds. of course you can set up several several size / quality options in the D500 - times vary. NEF files of course take the longest at about 5 seconds per. I am hoping Nikon will release newer cameras in the future that take advantage of the WT7A.


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Chris Lowndes

Hi,

Thanks for this review. I've been using the WT-7 this past week and had a couple of questions.

• Any reason they'd keep you from selecting where the photo is saved in HTTP mode? Would be nice to pick your hard-drive like in PC Transfer mode ( I guess they want you to buy the Camera Control 2 software)

• If I wanted to bounce between using the WT-7 and SnapBridge software, is there a setting to do that? Or if I wanted to set up SnapBridge for the first time on a phone and connect to the camera? Seems like the WT-7 wiped out the connecting to a smart device option.

Thanks,

Chris


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Andreas V.

First, of course a good review. I've been using the WT-7 for about 6 months and actually it does what it is designed for. Integration with the camera is fine, but my copy does not connect in adhoc mode to my end 2013 MacBook that runs the latest MacOS.

Battery consumption is very OK, about 25% of the actual camera consumption and that leads me to the Point that Nikon should integrate the technology from this bulky box stealing the tripod mount (a design flaw that simply should not happen) directly to the camera body.

Another point is the hefty price tag, it's approx. 1.000,-- Euros here in Europe for a device that provides features that are available by 100 - 150 USD routers as well. And at least 2 3rd-party products are offered at this price for Nikon cameras. I think, a price tag of 300 USD would be more realistic.

I'm actually using the WT-7 as Snapbridge wasn't available for iOS for while and once it was available, performance, reliability and power consumption were more than just disappointing. I'm stressing the point of software development as Nikon prevented the usage of 3rd-party batteries in the WT-7 and the usage of any 3rd-party USB cable by 'clever' programming.


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TrueToad

I have heard reports about adhoc mode and not sure if the problem is related to the device or host OS.

Bulky: Yeah - I would like to see this integrated with a battery grip.

Price Tag: Agree, this is more than the sum of the parts, Nikon equipment overall is rather expensive. Like a 20mm lens hood is $62.00 (expensive plastic). One thing I can say about Nikon is they have super support - I sent in my old wireless adapter and they upgraded it for free, RF for the D500 and SB5000. I also had a $1600.00 lens repaired (dropped) and I believe Nikon sent me a new one, repair cost - $600.00.


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TrueToad

Thanks, I believe upcoming firmware updates will address a lot of the annoyances.

I recommend to any Nikon user - always visit the Support section of Nikon's site and see if firmware updates for your equipment are available.

I was having a focus issue with my D810 and a new Nikkor Lens - I updated the latest firmware which included support for the new lens, problem gone.

As far as bouncing between SnapBridge and the WT-7, requires turning off the WT-7 in the camera. I recommend you set up a custom function menu and associate it with one of your camera buttons (depending on your camera). That would give you quick access to enable / disable, or at least I think so. - probably a bit klunky.


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Andreas Vesper

I have no problems using Snapbridge with the D500 when switching to Wired LAN. Of course, then the WT-7 should not be connected. A single battery load can transfer up to 4.000 full size JPGs, which is enough for me. Most of the time I'm using adhoc ftp mode to transfer images to an iPad using Shuttersnitch. Transfer time per image is about 3 s per image, which is again good enough for me.Shuttersnitch tends to crash, if it has to maintain more than 2000 images, one the other hand I'm constantly using iOS 10 public betas.

I don't understand, why Nikon limited the number of images that could be transferred to 1000, but that's a different chapter.

All in all, the WT-7 is a good device, which does it's job, but way too expensive. And the missing tripod mount is a design flaw that could be avoided easily.


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Don C

Sir, your response has been most appreciative! I too hope Nikon's future cameras will be compatible with the WT-7a. As a previous owner of WT-2a and current owner of WT-4a, it would be nice to be able to use their wireless transmitters with more than just one model. The WT-4a was the most versatile,...as it could be used with D300(s), D700, D3,...D3s and D7000! The issue is the mounting of the device to the camera - no could do! One would think they could mfr a wireless transmitter that mounts to the camera,...as well as the ability to mount the unit to a tripod too! One,...day! Hey! Wait just one minute,..how selfish of me to ask for too much from an $800 wireless transmitter!


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TrueToad

I did a bit of research and if you wish to spend even more money - you can get a Really Right Stuff L bracket and be able to use both on a tripod - If your tripod supports 90 degree rotation. Not the most optimal set up, I agree.


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Andreas Vesper

I'd appreciate if Nikon simply integrates the matured WT-7 technology, which differs not too much from previous models directly to the more advanced camera models. And actually, the WT-7 is heavily overpriced.


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TrueToad

Andreas, Agreed. The WT-7 is overpriced and secondly, I would like an integration. Maybe as electronics become even more energy efficient and compact, the day of integration will come.

Thanks for your comments.


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Andreas Vesper

As of today and with the firmware upgrade 1.1:

http://downloadcenter.nikonimglib.com/en/download/fw/216.html the WT-7 can be used with these cameras, additionally: D7200, D750, D810, D810A. These cameras do also require firmware updates before the WT-7 can be used.


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TrueToad

Yes! This is great news + the firmware for both camera and WT-7 address some minor updates. Thanks for sharing.


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Don C

First, I want to thank TrueToad for their detailed review of the Nikon WT-7A. That said,...I decided to breakdown and purchase the WT-7a,..being that 1) I own a D500, and 2) I love to shoot untethered. Note, my forte' in the photography world is "Event Photography. That is, capture and print "onsite". It's 90% of my business model and every since the days of the mighty D2X and WT-2a, I've always admired the ability of "capturing and image and it instantly popping up on a display monitor" for customers to see, and of course, buy prints! Well, time has changed since those 'good old days' to newer 'good old days' of the D500 and WT-7a!

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!


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TrueToad

Thanks Don for your input. I enjoy the contributions to reviews, which provides a way for others to weigh in and give their thoughts. I too was impressed with the speed of transfers, Recently and as with most electronics a firmware was released to make a few improvements and add compatibility with the D810. Thanks Again.

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