This past weekend I tried out some new gear on the photowalk that I thought might make my life a little easier, not just during the shoot but afterwords as well. This is where my new Eye-Fi Pro SD storage card came into play. You may recall that I had been looking into the Eye-FI cards a few weeks back to use in one of my new DSLR cameras. The Eye-FI uses wireless technology that is built right into the SD card to transfer images to an online photo service or to your home computer using a wi-fi connection. At the time, Eye-FI cards would only handle JPEG images and video files but that all changed with the newly introduced Eye-FI Pro series. See, like many photographers out there, I normally shoot in RAW and the earlier versions of the Eye-FI could not handle this particular format. The Pro cards changed all that by allowing the card to wirelessly transfer JPEG and RAW files.
Before I used the card in my camera, I set up the wireless function by accessing the SD card with my computer. The card comes loaded with all the software necessary to use the wireless feature. The software comes in both PC and Mac versions so I selected the Mac folder and then just dragged the program to my Applications folder.
The software utilizes a web page interface and the first thing you need to do is activate your card by registering and setting up an Eye-FI account.
The process was pretty painless and also walks you through the process of selecting an online service such as Flickr, Snapfish, Shutterfly, and many others. This is optional but a nice feature if you want to directly upload to your favorite service.
After the setup, the software instructed me to put the card in my camera, take a photo, and leave my camera turned on. Following the instructions, I slipped the card into my Canon T1i and took a photo. Sure enough, a few seconds later a small thumbnail appeared on my screen and let me know that my image was uploading.
I set my card to load my images to a folder on computer. The options page allows you to change the default download location as well as other things like date options, alternate locations for video and RAW files, as well as disabling the local upload altogether. That is pretty much it for the setup. The whole process took me all of about 5 minutes from the time I attached the card to my computer to my first wireless upload. So with the card set up, there was nothing left to do but put it to the test and that’s just what I did this past Saturday on the photowalk. I used the card in my T1i and shot a mix of video and images in the RAW format. When I got back home, I turned the camera on and flipped open my laptop. Moments later I was pleased to see the small thumbnail status window appear on my desktop as the images started automatically uploading to my computer. A short time later, all of my files were resting in their new home on my laptop, ready for me to start working on them in Lightroom.
The setup on the card was fast and easy to follow. A wi-fi connection is required for the image uploading. The card can use any 802.11b/g service and uses standard security such as Static WEP 64/128, WPA-PSK, and WPA2-PSK. If you don’t want to upload every image from your camera, you can utilize the Selective Transfer option. This allows you to use the Lock or Protect feature on your camera to select only the images that you want transferred. Only the locked images will upload from your card.
The card performed without fail in my camera, including capturing some HD video. It also jumped right into action when I returned home and turned the camera on. This is required because the card is draws its power from the camera.
The card can also be set up to work in a peer-to-peer configuration, which means that there is no need for a wireless router. This is a big plus over older versions because it means you can now use your card when you are away from your wireless network.
Geotagging is also included in the Pro version although I have not had a chance to check out this feature. I do know that it does not use GPS for this feature so it is not quite as accurate as GPS units that attach to the camera. Instead the card uses surrounding wi-fi networks to establish its location, much like cell phones use cell towers to add geo-information for your cell.
So you may be asking if there was anything that I didn’t like about the new Eye-FI Pro card. The answer is that I love almost everything about it. Although the price can seem a little high (about $160 for a 4GB card), gaining the wireless download is a feature that is well worth the investment.
♦ – One thing that I would like to see is the Eye-FI Pro technology built into a Compact Flash format. While it’s true that many newer cameras are using the SD format, many pro-level DSLR cameras still utilize CF cards and could really benefit from the wi-fi technology.
♦ – Another little issue is the inability to tell from the camera when the images have finished uploading. This too is changing though with some newer camera models such as the Nikon D5000, which have Eye-Fi features built in that alert you about your uploads and also let you change power settings.
♦ – My last little issue is with the amount of memory available. At 4GB, the card will hold tons of JPEG images but start adding RAW files and then HD video to the mix and it won’t take long before that 4GB capacity seems pretty small.
Over all, it’s pretty difficult to find anything here that I didn’t just love. This technology might not be for everyone but for those folks that want the ease of image transfer, like to upload images to online photo services, or are currently using a tethered solution and want to break free from their USB cables, this piece of technology will be just the ticket.
The Eye-Fi Pro is available from many retailers like Amazon, B&H, Best Buy, and many other locations.