Many photographers complain that though capturing and processing their images is a pleasure, dealing with the inevitable headaches of file management is a huge buzzkill. I know I’ve often found myself cleaning up my hard drive, while anxiously hoping that I remembered to back up all my files. Also, if someone wants to see one of my older pictures or videos, it’s always a pain trying to remember where that file was stored. Now Canon has released the new Connect Station CS-100 in an attempt to simplify the process of playing back and storing images and video.
So what can the CS-100 do? For starters, it has a 1-TB hard drive built in for storing JPEGS, Canon Raw files, and video. What makes the CS-100 so interesting is that it supports NFC communication for downloading. If you have an NFC-enabled Canon camera, like an EOS 80D, you can simply place the camera on top of the CS-100 and your photos and video can be downloaded to the device with no cables and without removing the memory card. After a long shoot, I can certainly see the appeal of just putting your camera on the CS-100 and knowing that all your files have been backed up.
There are a few limitations to the wireless downloading, though, aside from needing the NFC camera to be a Canon. One issue is that the camera must be powered on to transfer files. I could see it being a disappointment to drop your camera on the CS-100 at night and wake up to find your files only half transferred and your camera batteries depleted. Also, the wireless file transfer is quite slow. When pressed for time, I used the built-in card slot to transfer files faster. That method is noticeably less cool though.
This small box looks completely at place in a home theater, which is important as you will need to connect the CS-100 to a television via HDMI to operate it. Keep in mind that an HDMI cable is not included, so make sure you have one or remember to pick one up. There is also a small remote control included for operating the CS-100’s menus. The interface is slick and intuitive, and it is easy to view images and start a slideshow. However, there are very limited customization possibilities.
Along with backing up and viewing your photos, the CS-100 can also send photos wirelessly to a Canon printer. Unfortunately, I was unable to test this feature since my printer is not a Canon. This brings me to the major limitation of the CS-100: it does not play well with other brands. While you can import JPEGs from other cameras via the card slot, any non-Canon Raw files will not be imported. This device is really built for photographers working in a purely Canon ecosystem.
The Canon CS-100 is an interesting product, and if you have a Canon camera and find file management to be a pain, it may well be worth checking out. And I want to reiterate that plunking your camera on the Connect Station and watching the files be automatically transferred is always extremely satisfying. Check out the Canon Connect Station CS-100 at thecamerastore.com or canon.ca.