My Review of the Eye-Fi Pro Wireless SD Card

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Impressions
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.

Comments

  1. Hello Jeff
    I have a question. Have you tried to shoot in the studio (or on location) with your laptop close by? I was thinking about getting one of those cards to shoot tethered but without the need of the cable.
    Could you please try that and measure the time it take to upload a Raw and a Jpg from the T1i? Does it start uploading right away when you shoot?
    Thanks a lot!

    • Gonzalo, I have used it briefly indoors to test the first upload but I have not timed the transfer of images. I will be happy to do that and report back my findings.

  2. Hi Jeff.

    Thanks for posting this review.

    If I understand this correctly, all this card does is save you the hassle of having to take your memory card out of the camera and connect it directly to your computer to upload your images (either to your PC or one of the services mentioned above). I admit that’s kinda cool, but $160.00 for a 4GB SDHC card, is a bit steep. These cards are readily available for about $8 – $50 bucks. so that’s a pretty high price to pay for convenience. Readers might also want to check out the review and comments on Engadget, quite a few comments from folks whose cards stopped working and lost everything they shot. Sure they’ll replace the card if it’s defective, but do you really want to trust you images to card that has this high a failure rate?

    http://www.engadget.com/2009/06/10/eye-fi-pro-wireless-sd-card-hands-on/

  3. Hi Jeff,

    I re-read my comments after posting this. I hope I didn’t come across as being mean or bullish, as that was not my intent. It was not a reflection of your review of the product, but of the product itself. It is very cool, but as with any new technology, the early adopters are the ones who benefit or struggle with the product, while the rest of us wait for the technology to mature.

    • No worries Mitch, it didn’t come across that way at all. And to give a little price perspective, the Nikon WT-4A wireless transmitter costs about $750. Of course it has a much longer range and allows you to control the camera but that’s what I would expect from something that is $600 more in cost. The one thing I didn’t mention is that there are other Eye-Fi card options available for much less money, but without the capability to transfer the RAW imagery. I’m sure, like most new technology, it will start to come down in price as it gets older.

  4. If I may add a comment. A few months back on a morning show a mom spoke about how she caught the guy who stole both her point and shoot and semi pro cameras. after she was done writing up the report with the officer at the restaurant where she was victimized she went home, dejected and a day later to her surprise images that she had not yet downloaded appeared on her account. remember it is wireless and once it has a signal your images appear in whatever folder you assigned it if the camera is on and you have a connection. The guy took some shots of himself with her cameras in the mirror proud of his conquest, she recognized him as one of the restaurants staff, went to the police station where they promptly recovered her gear, boss fired him, and he was charged accordingly. Pretty cool huh.

  5. This would be a great way to shoot tethered. You can setup Lightroom to have a watched folder pointing to the folder that the card is uploading to and then your images will automatically import. The only issue might be speed. Also, like you said, most pro cameras use CF cards, and it would be nice to see wi-fi in those. This technology has a great potential for studio and on location applications.

  6. When combined with my Nikon D300 and a CF-SF adapter card (from Amazon for $18 shipped) this setup works a treat for a “wireless tethered” setup. With a Lightroom watched folder this is a great way of dealing with a event photobooth, my assistant applies a quick preset to incoming images, and then prints from a laptop to an attached printer. From shot to print is about 3 minutes, with most of that running the credit card details/making payment.

    Killer setup. Now I just hope that I don’t experience any of the problems that have been reported by some early adopters.

    • I just got the Pro 4 gig card (not the new X2 as I was advised it would not work in the D300) and the recommended CF card adapter. On my home G router network operating only about 10 feet from the router and using my Ipad and the Shutter snitch App I was getting agonizing transfer speeds (well over 3 minutes for RAW+JPG) and a paultry 10 sec woth only .JPG basic. Very dissapointing.
      When I used the card in my Canon P&S at .JPG high res I was still only getting x-fers of 5-7 seconds. Any thoughts? I have scoured the Eye-Fi forums and found no answers on getting faster x-fers except to place the camera and iPad closer to the router. Iam getting the max 54meg/s router connection so it does not seem to be an issue of a poor connection.

  7. Is anyone transferring RAW files with a CF-SD adapter?

  8. Just wondering if you have had a chance to shoot “tethered” with the Eye-Fi Pro yet.
    I am thinking about getting one of these but just want to know how well it works in
    AD-HOC mode with a Mac.

    • Brandon,
      I have used it in a studio situation but within a wi-fi network. I have yet to shoot outside of my wi-fi zone in ad-hoc mode. I would think that it would work pretty well I will try and check it out to see how well it does.

  9. Eye-Fi is indeed very useful. you do not need to physcially connect your digital camera to your pc whenver you want to transfer pictures. it is not yet available on our local stores so i might just have to wait a bit.

  10. See link below regarding the Wi-Fi 8gb Pro card this also shows and explains why these cards dont work with compact flash work arounds and a little information about using with an Ipad and Shutter Snitch.

    A great video and hope this helps membes with in the group.

    Eye-Fi 8gb Pro Video Here !

Trackbacks

  1. Jeff Revell from @PhotoWalkPro reviewed the Eye-Fi Pro wireless SD card. See what he learned about the card ……. http://bit.ly/11gzwI

  2. My Review of the Eye-Fi Pro Wireless SD Card http://bit.ly/2bgQ56 #postrank #photography

  3. “My Review of the Eye-Fi Pro Wireless SD Card” by @PhotoWalkPro http://shar.es/JU1B

  4. pocza says:

    Review of the Eye-Fi Pro Wireless SD Card – http://shar.es/lqwR

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