Saving photos on the PC using Wi-Fi

Fujifilm X-Pro2 gives us the ability to use Wi-Fi for communication. There are two options available:

  1. X-Pro2 enables the Wi-Fi and works as access point. This option is suitable if we want to use smartphone or tablet to control the camera and/or to download pictures and movies to the phone or tablet. While connected, it works quite well, but please remember: the Wi-Fi implementation used in X-Pro2 gives no security at all. The hot-spot created by X-Pro2 is open access hot-spot, so if there is anybody with Wi-Fi – enabled device close to us, he / she can “hear” what we transmit.
  2. X-Pro2 connects to the existing Wi-Fi network and uses it to transmit pictures / movies to the PC. I use this option all the time as I don’t like removing cards from the body, guessing what is on which card, shuffling them in the reader. I definitely prefer using Wi-Fi for this task.

I know that some people have issues establishing the connectivity with existing network, so here are some instructions, discoveries and thoughts.

First thing: what network to connect to? This article is limited (by design) to only one option: transmitting the data from the body to the PC. For this purpose we can use either a home Wi-Fi or… we can create separate Wi-Fi network, served by the PC instead of home Wi-Fi access point and dedicated just for Fuji data transmission. When we use the existing home network, one thing is very important: due to poor Wi-Fi implementation in X-Pro2, both X-Pro2 and the PC must be connected directly to the same access point. I have checked it on my own – if X-Pro2 is connected to the access point but the PC is connected with Ethernet cable to the switch and then from switch to the access point, the communication will not work. It seems to be very similar to the Nikon UT-1 with WT-5 – in both cases I observed the same problem. I have observed this problem when PC was connected to the external switch as well as when the PC was connected with Ethernet cable to the switch built into the access point. So if we have a PC connected via Wi-Fi to the access point, it should work fine. But my PC is connected with cable to the switch, so the Wi-Fi communication between X-Pro2 and my PC didn’t work. In addition I prefer setting up a dedicated Wi-Fi network, just for Fuji, network I enable when needed and disable when not needed. So I have enabled the Wi-Fi module built into my PC’s motherboard. Please note – if you use notebook, you already have the needed Wi-Fi hardware. But if you use desktop PC, probably it does not have any Wi-Fi module, so you need to buy one and install it. Unless your PC is based on motherboard with integrated Wi-Fi, like for example ASUS X99 DELUXE I use.

Setting up things.

OK, so how to set up the communication? I use Windows 10, so it will be how to do it in case of Windows 10.

First we need to enable a hot-spot, offered by our PC and enable PC to communicate with X-Pro2. The following steps need to be done only once.

Step 1: Define the network in Windows. Note: you DON’T need to do this step if you use the home Wi-Fi network. You need this step only if you want to create separate Wi-Fi network, supplied by your PC instead of home access point.
For this step we need to define (or invent) two things: name of the network – it must be meaningful to us as we will need to find it later on in the crowd of other available networks. So for use in this article, I have defined the network name to be

WIFI_FOR_FUJI

The second thing we need to define is the network access password. We want our network to be secure – this will be a network offered by our own PC, so nobody except of us should be able to connect to it. This my network is just for demonstration and will never be used again, so my password is simple and I can show it here:

qwert12345ytrewq

Now, having defined name and password of the Wi-Fi, we have to tell Windows that it should setup such network. Go to the Windows icon in the corner of the screen and press RIGHT mouse button. You will see a menu:

20160731_081429Select the Command Prompt (Admin) option. A window will open with admin console – here you have to type:
netsh wlan set hostednetwork mode=allow ssid=WIFI_FOR_FUJI key=qwert12345ytrewq

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And press Enter. If you have typed everything without any mistake and your Wi-Fi system in your PC works properly, you will see the following:
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This is end of the step 1. You need to do it only once – the above network definition will stay in your PC until you remove or reinstall Windows or revert Windows to the restoration point in time previous to the above action.

Now, if the Step 1 ended successfully, it is reasonable to think that all the rest will go also successfully, so now we can prepare the software needed for X-Pro2 to PC communication: the Fuji PC AutoSave.

Step 2: You need to download Fuji PC AutoSave from the Fujifilm support site:

http://www.fujifilm.com/support/digital_cameras/software/pc_autosave/win/

Then install it on your PC. Please note – without this software X-Pro2 will not be able to communicate with your PC and transfer files.

Step 3: enable the network. This step must be done only if you use networks served by your PC. You don’t do this if you use home Wi-Fi network. This step can be done once or can be done every time you want to transfer files. I strongly recommend performing this step each time you want to transfer data unless you live in wilderness, with no other people around you. Why? Because when you enable your network, anybody with Wi-Fi enabled device can see it and for sure some of them will try to break through. So what I do is: when I want to transfer data i enable the network and just after the transmission is finished, I disable the network, making my PC more secure.

In order to enable the network you again need to type in the Command Prompt (Admin) window – this time the following:

netsh wlan start hostednetwork
20160731_082228and press Enter. You will see the following:
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Now the Wi-Fi network for X-Pro2 data transmission is ready. Note: the network we have just enabled, can be used to connect any Wi-Fi enabled device to the PC and can be used for any purpose – like sharing Internet connection or sharing files, for example. It is not limited to communication with X-Pro2 by any mean.

Now let’s allow X-Pro2 to connect the PC.

Step 4: run the PC AutoSave program. This step is obligatory in any case. Without it X-Pro2 will not be able to communicate with the PC regardless of if you use home Wi-Fi network or network just defined above in your PC.
You should see the icon on the taskbar – the green-ish one, top right – when you hover with mouse over it, the tool tip “PC AutoSave” will appear:
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Now right-click this icon – a menu will show up:
20160731_083743Now select the PC AUTO SAVE SETTINGS(B) option – a window will appear:
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Press MANUAL SETTING button – you will see a window with destination profile name – in this case “M6400-Jakub”. Remember this destination name – you will use it later on, while setting up the X-Pro2.
20160731_084243Now we will leave the PC for a moment in this state and move to X-Pro2.

Step 5: configure the connection on the X-Pro2.
Now, with PC running and Wi-Fi on the PC working and with WIFI_FOR_FUJI network enabled, and PC Auto Save running and waiting in the state we have left it at the end of step 4, switch on the X-Pro2 and go:

Menu -> Set Up -> Connection Setting -> PC Autosave Setting -> Manual Setup

Why manual? Because Windows PC does not have the WPS button πŸ™‚ In the Manual Setup menu, select the Select From Network List option. We don’t need to type SSID (the network name) as it is broadcasted by the PC and visible to any Wi-Fi enabled device, including X-Pro2.
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Highlight your network (WIFI_FOR_FUJI in my case) and press OK button. You will see the followig:
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This message means that X-Pro2 is trying now to connect to the specified Wi-Fi network. The communication process of X-Pro2 is split into two visible steps: establishing connection with the network and after successful completion of this step – establishing connection with the PC AutoSave software, running on the PC. So when X-Pro2 has finally connected to the network, what in case of good signal and no contending other clients takes between fraction of a second and a few seconds, you will see next message:
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This step takes visibly more time – a few seconds is a minimum.

Now let’s have a look at the PC – here will show up a new window:
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This windows is a proof that communication between X-Pro2 and PC Auto Save has been established – you cen see here name of your camera and below it you can change the default folder where all the files transmitted from X-Pro2 will be placed. If you OK with the default location, just press OK button. If not, press the “Change the destination folder” button and set the target folder accordingly. And then press “OK”.

Now let’s come back to X-Pro2: a new message appears:20160731_104023

Press OK to register this destination in the X-Pro2. This will simply write on both sides (X-Pro2 and PC) all the information needed for connection, so next time the connecting process will be much easier.

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And finally we are set:20160731_104111

This ends the connection setup process. If you have files to be transferred, you can now initiate the process of transmission. If not, simply switch off the X-Pro2, close the PC AutoSave window and – what I strongly recommend, but is optional step – disable the Wi-Fi network you have just created for Fuji communication. To disable the network, go once again to the Command Prompt (Admin) and type: netsh wlan stop hostednetwork – this will make your PC much more secure than leaving this network active.

Transmitting the pictures / movies from the X-Pro2 to the PC.

Now it is quite easy if everything above went right. PC AutoSave runs on your PC – you should see the icon on the taskbar. So the only two things you need to do is to enable the network (you remember – we disabled it at the end of setup for security reasons) if you use dedicated network, served by your PC and ask X-Pro 2 to send files to your PC.

So first, we will enable the network on PC:

Right click on the Windows icon on the taskbar and select Command Prompt (Admin). In the window type:

netsh wlan start hostednetwork

Now go to X-Pro2: enter the play back mode, pressing the button with triangle:
20160731_102513-DxONow press Menu button – you will enter the Play Back Menu:
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You must scroll down until you find PC Auto Save option:
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Select PC Auto Save and you will be asked to select the destination. I have two destinations: one working and the second onesecond – just set for this article – “M6400-Jakub”:20160731_141143

Now X-Pro2 does the two-step connection process – first connecting to the Wi-Fi network:20160731_141656

and then searching for the destination PC equipped with Fuji PC AutoSave software running:20160731_141700

When found, you will be asked if you really want to start the software on the PC – if you say “yes”, it will be done automatically:20160731_141710

Now X-Pro2 has to check if there is anything to be transmitted:20160731_141714

64 files found, starting the process.20160731_141725

During the transmission you will notice many messages popping up on the PC screen – this is annoying, but normal. When the transfer finishes, X-Pro2 will switch off. What you have to do, is to move power switch of the X-Pro2 to the “Off” position and (if you use Wi-Fi network served by your PC, defined above) disable the network, so again Command Prompt (Admin) and type: netsh wlan stop hostednetwork. That’s all.

Hmm… no, not all. There are some notes.

The Wi-Fi module used in X-Pro2 is a weak one – the transmission speed depends very much on the distance between the camera and the PC, serving the Wi-Fi network used. Also any metal element, added to the X-Pro2, has negative impact on ability to connect and on transmission speed. I use RRS L-plate and see significant degradation of the connectivity due to signal attenuation caused by metal L-plate. Even without any obstacles, in perfect conditions, the transfer isn’t competitive to USB card reader by any mean – I use it because it is more comfortable than dealing with cards, reader etc and in parallel I prefer so called slow photography, low number of shots and while transferring data, I’m not in a hurry. For someone who wants to transfer lots of shots in as short time as possible, this solution will not work – no doubts.