What's the best way to get photos and video off your camera? Whether it's SD cards or wireless transfer, most methods end up using your computer as a hub for storing and sorting through it all. Today at CES, Canon unveiled a new hub that could change that. It's called the Connect Station CS100, available in April for $299, and it's designed as an all-purpose destination for all the files on your camera, allowing you to clear in-camera storage as quickly and easily as possible. Think of it as Canon's physical version of iCloud, connecting to computers, smartphones and tablets over the web, all while storing everything locally.
Clear in-camera storage as quickly and easily as possible
In short, it's a very smart, well-connected hard drive. There's a full terabyte of onboard storage, and you can connect auxiliary hard drives if you need more space than that. You can add photos using the standard SD or CF card slots, or use a plain old USB cable, but the real draw of the Connect Station is the ability to connect wirelessly over Wi-Fi or through Canon's NFC system, both of which have taken center stage in Canon's latest PowerShot cameras. That might take a while if you're shooting in a storage-intensive format, but it opens the door for a number of interesting uses. With the right settings, the Connect Station could pull pictures from your camera as soon as you take them, provided there's a power outlet handy.
Once the photos are onboard, the Connect Station also has ways to help you display them. It connects to displays through an HDMI port, so it's easy to set up a slideshow on a nearby TV. (The system comes with a remote control to help you navigate.) And if you want a physical copy of one of your shots, the Connect Station can connect to photo printers using the PictBridge wireless LAN system. It can't do everything -- there isn't enough processing power to display RAW files, for instance, or convert to different file formats -- but for the important stuff, the Connect Station should be able to easily take the place of your computer.