I don’t mind buying the WIFI shield, but I do happen to have a smattering of WIFI devices lying around the house already, namely multiple ESP8266 based boards and one ESP32 based board, and it would be nice to make use of stuff I already have. I’m tempted to attached one of the ESP8266 boards to an OpenMV. Not only would this add WIFI to the OpenMV (I have an M7 and an H7) but it would also add more GPIOs and additional processing (not heavy-lifting compared to the OpenMV, just secondary logic on the various pins and such). Furthermore, since the ESP8266 can also be programmed in MicroPython, both systems can easily live in a single code base.
Would you expect the WIFI shield to significantly outperform an ESP8266 based WIFI board or is the main advantage just the network library integration with the shield, which presumably vastly simplifies the coding process of adding wireless behavior?