Canon takes on Dropbox, opens Irista cloud-based photo storage service including 10GB free
posted Thursday, June 5, 2014 at 12:16 PM EDT
The market for photo cloud storage just added another big competitor -- Canon. With what launched as the oddly-named "Project1709," as a beta service a couple of years ago for its European market, Canon has launched Irista today as a way to not only store your images, but also organize and easily share them.
While the service is only limted to photos (video uploading is planned for the future, as is any form of photo editing), unlike competitors such as Dropbox, Google Drive and the soon-to-be-updated iCloud, which let you store practically any kind of file, the Irista service has some interesting features such as no file-size limitations, automatic image collections, and easy importing and sharing with your Facebook and Flickr photos (including seeing the comments from these services within Irista). The service also handles RAW files, not only from Canon's own cameras, but also those from Nikon, Olympus, Sony, Panasonic and Samsung.
Canon Irista appears open to the public (in fact I just signed up for it right now myself), but searching for "Irista" on Canon's global, European and North American sites turn up nothing. And while, as a North American user, I was able to sign up for an account, the Irista site appears to still be focused on European users, as all the pricing information is displayed in British Pounds.
Speaking of pricing, fear not, as there is a free tier available to everyone. The free level gives you 10GB of storage and all the bells and whistles. For those needing more space, there are two options: 50GB of storage for £ 4.99 (about $8.37 USD) a month or 100GB for £ 10.99 (about $18.44 USD) per month (Note: pricing may change to reflect your specific region or country). The service also includes a free desktop uploader app for Windows 7, 8 and Mac 10.7+.
Compared to other services, Dropbox offers 2GB for free and 100GB for $9.99/mo. and Google Drive is extremely affordable with 100GB costing a mere $1.99/mo. Photo-specific cloud services like Flickr gives everyone a whopping 2TB of storage for free (or $50/mo. for an ad-free experience) and SmugMug offers no free-tier with the basic plans starting at $5/month and all plans having file-size limitations.
With cross-brand RAW compatibility and a decent amount of storage space for no cost (though uploading RAW files will chew through that storage space in a hurry), and a slick-looking interface, Canon's new Irista service looks rather promising. But is it enough to sway the legions of Dropbox, Drive, and iCloud users to move over to Canon's photo story service?