Canon Developing Wireless Remote Sync Cameras, 30fps Still Shooting a Possibility

Canon 1Ds Mark IV

Not only is Canon looking to put wireless TTL radio flash sync in future cameras, it is also working on technology to sync remote cameras with your primary camera.

According to a recently published patent application, Canon may be putting wireless camera syncing inside a future 1D/1Ds series body. We saw a hint of this in an earlier patent application, but this more recent application sheds some light on the breadth of the features.

Canon Wireless TTL Flash and Multi-camera Sync Patent Diagram

Canon Wireless TTL Flash and Multi-camera Sync Patent Diagram

Chances are that this camera sync uses the same IEEE 802.15.4 standard identified in the prior radio TTL patent applications, which is more commonly known as a wireless standard applied for low-rate wireless personal area networks operating at 2.4GHz, 915MHz and 868MHz.  If that’s the case, we can probably expect at least 300′ of reliable range from the built-in camera communication, which doesn’t take into account repeaters or extenders (if available).

Canon Collaborative Shooting

Canon Collaborative Shooting Menu - Camera Pairing

The present application reveals a couple of different shooting modes for syncing the master and slave cameras – synchronous and continuous.

Canon Collaborative Shooting Mode

Canon Collaborative Shooting Mode Setting

In synchronous shooting mode, the master camera and each slave camera (there can be multiple slaves) are linked together via the camera menus.  Whenever the master camera’s shutter releases, each of the slave cameras fire at virtually the same time.  As a result, you cover the exact moment of a scene from multiple angles.

Canon Synchronous Shooting Diagram

Canon Synchronous Shooting Diagram

In continuous mode, however, the slave cameras fire in succession after the master camera.  Canon provides the example of a camera that shoots 3 fps yields an effective frame rate of 6 fps whenever they are paired in continuous shooting mode.  Adding a third camera staggers the shooting rate to an effective 9 fps among the three synced bodies.

Canon Continuous Shooting with Slave Cameras

Canon Continuous Shooting with Slave Cameras

Of course 3 fps is rather meager when you consider the 10 fps of the 1D Mark IV.  Syncing 3 of those cameras should yield an effective frame rate of 30 fps.

Of course, that’s been done before for USA Today…

With this technology, however, it shouldn’t take 5 days to set up such a system.  Canon lays out the setup process to be as simple as making a couple of menu selections and then you’re multiplying your frame rate by the number of bodies you have.

Canon Collaborative Shooting Diagram

Canon Collaborative Shooting Diagram

If Canon will hurry up and push this tech out with its radio-sync wireless flash in the next 1D/1Ds body, it could take a step or two ahead of Nikon as a the sports photography king of cameras.  (That is, of course, if Canon’s AF is up to par.)

Canon Collaborative Shooting Camera Selection

Canon Collaborative Shooting Camera Selection

I, for one, am pretty excited about this technology; however, I think it is well past time that Canon and Nikon push the envelope on features like this.

Want do take a look at all the legalese in the patent?  Download it here:

Canon Wireless Camera Sync Patent Application

What do you think about this technology?  What other situations do you see benefiting from features brought about by this technology?



  1. says

    While I can’t ever imagine a scenario where I would sync cameras, I still find this news to be extremely encouraging since it is further evidence that at least one camera company is responding to the obvious need for built in RF control of remote flashes. “Overdue” is an understatement in this case.

  2. Jeremy D. Martin says

    that would be pretty sweet for shooting stuff like explosions where timing is both critical and difficult.

  3. says

    I hope I still have sight to witness this feature in a 5DMk2. By then it might be called the 5DMkXV but it sounds like it’s worth the wait. Multiple cameras could be cool (stitched?) but that’s out of my league. Who among us could afford multiple 1D’s anyway? I just want to be able to throw away my troublesome Pocket Wizards and have everything in one place. C’mon Canon. Give it to us now!

  4. Florian says

    Hmmm, I can see issues at venues on using such cameras. As it is NFL has an FCC frequency Coordinator at each game, that you have to register your wireless frequencies with, or risk getting tossed from that venue. Other sports are looking to do the same with the advent of all these wireless items.
    I personally think it would be very cool to have.

  5. Bob Howland says

    I’ve heard of NBA games being photographed with 9 Nikon D3’s, with 5 or 6 being remotely triggered. One favorite trick is suspending one over each basket looking down, to capture dunk shots. Remote photography of hockey games is another possibility. In fact, one of the “capabilities demonstration” shots of the original D3 was from a camera with a 14-24 stuffed way in the back of the net for a shot taken at ISO 6400.

    My guess is that Low Energy Bluetooth be perfect for this?