Panasonic Lumix WiFi Dissapoints

I’ve been a long time fan of Panasonic Lumix digital cameras, and I tend to update them every couple of years. My current cameras are the DMC-ZS20 for travel, and the DMZ-ZS7 for pocket use.

 

My workflow typically entails taking lots of pictures, and then using a Transcend USB3 card reader and ImageIngester Pro to copy and rename them to my PC, and finally import them into Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. This is a tedious process, but with the release of the Lumix WiFi capable handheld cameras, an opportunity to make my life simpler by uploading directly using WiFi.

 

I bought the WiFi enabled DMC-ZS30 to replace my DMC-Z20, and a DMC-TS5 to replace my DMC-ZS7. The TS5 is not really an upgrade to the ZS7, but it is waterproof, shockproof, and kids-proof.

 

The cameras were typical great Lumix quality, but my interest was the WiFi capability.

 

The camera offers several modes of connecting, I setup the PC WiFi connected option. During the setup process you have to select the access point SSID, in my case I have a couple roaming enabled access points around me, and the camera showed multiple access points with the same SSID. I’ve seen this behavior in some devices that bind to a specific access point, and these devices would refuse to roam, requiring a new setup for every single access point.

It did not really matter as the camera would not connect, it would ask for my password, but fail to connect. My camera was running firmware 1.0, and there was a v1.2 available, I upgraded, and the WiFi connection succeeded. The firmware notes say nothing about WiFi connectivity, but for whatever reason it helped.

 

First big frustration; every time anything in the connection setup flow fails, you have to re-enter the WiFi password, the login username, and the password, very painful when using a navigation only keyboard, and long complicated passwords. It would have been much more convenient to configure WiFi in one place, save the WiFi connection, and then configure transfer profiles, or at least always remember the previously entered values.

 

PC connectivity requires a SMB network share and a named host, i.e. no support for any protocol other than SMB, and no support for entering servers by IP address.

I could not get the camera to connect to my server, looking at the security logs, I could see that the connection was using “WORKGROUP” as the domain, and using the DOMAIN portion of  [DOMAIN\UserName] specification as part of the literal username. The camera has no provisioning for changing the workgroup or domain, and I had to resort to creating a machine local account in order to connect. Once I had my local account created, and again re-entered all information, I could finally connect.

 

I took some pictures, pressed the WiFi button, navigated to the profiles, and uploaded the pictures, it took forever, around 90s per 5MB average picture, or around 400Kbps. Using my USB3 card reader the same pictures all transferred in a few seconds. Yes, USB3 is much faster than WiFi 802.11n, but 400 kilo bits per second is super slow, not near the capability of the WiFi network.

 

I also tried the Panasonic Lumix Club Cloud Sync service, what a joke. You setup the account from the camera, it reports your a username in the form of aaaa-bbbb-cccc-dddd, then you enter your own password, but when you try to login at the website, that you need to find using google, you need to use aaaabbbbccccdddd. I only discovered this through trial and error.

On logging in, you need to supply an email address, and then validate the email address, by clicking a link emailed to you. On clicking the link, it takes you to the service page, and it displays an error message, any action more errors. If you manually login again, you are in.

From there nothing works. From what I can tell from FAQ’s, you are supposed to be able to create a drop that allows you to pull the data from the cloud to your PC. But when you go to configure the devices and services, none of the links work.

 

What Panasonic should have done is build a very simple get connected flow, many small complicated devices today use a USB connection and an app, PC or mobile, to get the device provisioned, there are many other novel ways of simplifying this process, e.g. QR codes, BT, P2P, SD card data file, etc. Not supporting FTP, or IP addresses, or domain credentials, or workgroup configurations would be forgiven if connecting was easy, and transfer speed was at WiFi capacity, sadly, it is not. 

 

From my perspective the WiFi capability on these cameras are a waste of good silicon and battery power.

6 thoughts on “Panasonic Lumix WiFi Dissapoints”

  1. Absolutleey right.
    I got so far to link my picasa album with lumix club. but instead of a simple “upload all images” one has to select the images to upload. Every. Single. Image.

    What a disaster….

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  2. Hi Peter,
    it took me some time to understand and apply the WiFi settings of my new Lumix DMC-TZ71 and before I did I fully agreed with your critics.
    But in the meantime I have found the settings to get an automatic transfer of all recorded pictures:
    – first set up a new WiFi connection
    – save as favorite connection
    – create a shared folder on your PC which will receive the picture
    – if your workgroup is not called workgroup, then you can change the name in the WiFi setup menu ‘PC connection’
    – set Destination (PC and folder, enter username and password once)
    – set Smart Transfer to ON
    – from now on all your pictures are automatically transferred to your PC as soon as you are charging your camera (before or after – see ‘charge priority’

    You can do the same for the Lumix Club.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When you say – set Destination (PC and folder, enter username and password once), is this the PC name and password that you log into? Would you be good enough to give me an example.
      Thx
      Andy

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  3. It would seem this “PC connection” doesn’t work for a Mac! i agree with all the WiFi comments, but would just add that as a camera, it’s terrific (TZ-60 in my case). But the WiFi protocols let it down, for sure. Including not being able to get my Mac connected.

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  4. I’m a new LUMIX user. Found the camera to be great so far but a lot of features to learn and memorise the buttons. I have a tz70/zs50. I’m travelling and found the easiest way to transfer photos is to use the Panasonic app on my iPad and the wifi connection on the camera to upload the photos to Photos on me iPad. Then iCloud will sync them to my Mac if I have iCloud sync turned on. Then they appear at home on my iMac on Apple Photos.

    Just wondering does anyone know if there is any advantage to signing up to LUMIX club. I see they have 100gb free cloud storage for 2 years via google drive. I tend to try and keep away from signing up for Google things.

    Like

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