I recently came into possession of an Eye Fi SD card
I’d heard about this product when they first came out, but for some reason, never bought one. It has always seemed like a really smart product idea, I just wasn’t sure it would be useful. What it is is an SD memory card for your camera that has a built in Wifi chip that loads your photos wirelessly to the web and your computer.
The hassle it solves is the step where you remove the memory card from the camera and stick it into the card reader attached or built in to your computer, open Finder or Explorer, create a new folder, drag and drop, open a web browser, go to flickr, click upload, select the photos, wait…
That may not sound like a huge deal, but think about not having to do that at all. Think about being able to share images from Thanksgiving and/or Christmas with the rest of the family in real time. The Eye Fi card removes the gap between taking the picture and sharing the picture.
I have my Eye-Fi card set to upload images and video to my Flickr profile set to private so that i can go back in later and add captions and titles before making them public. This is nice in one regard because for only $25 per year you can use Flickr as an unlimited image archive in the cloud. On the other hand, if a 5 year old get a hold of your camera at the company pinic, you’ll end up with about a million images on your flickr account to delete. But deleting images from flickr isn’t any harder than deleting them from the camera, so no biggie.
You use the Eye Fi software to set the Wi Fi permissions for the card. If your home network is protected you can enter the password. If the WiFi network is open, it’ll just connect automatically. Not sure how it works with the free connections, like at the airport where you have to accept terms. I’m guessing it won’t work there. But, just make sure you turn the camera on when you get home, and it’ll upload all the new images.
Video + Eye-Fi
I’ve found that it’s a much bigger task for most people to get their videos online. I think that’s one of the big reasons mobile phones with video are so popular because they make it so easy to share the content. The Eye Fi card will upload your video as well, though it will take a long time with larger video files. This is about the most painless way to share video from your point and shoot camera.
Uploading With Eye-Fi
The Eye-Fi Card connects to your computer and the internet directly. If it can connect to your computer, it will do that first, transferring images to the computer and then the Eye Fi software will upload the images from there. If your computer is not available, it’ll upload to the web, and then download them to your computer when it comes back online. So your archive is always available AND backed up. Previews of your images are stored online in your Eye-Fi Center as they are relayed through their servers. If you buy a paid subscription, you can use their image hosting and archiving service for full size images as well.
Eye Fi Product Features
The new line of Eye Fi cards have some pretty sweet features, here’s a few of the coolest ones.
- Endless Memory: The card will free up space once files are uploaded
- Ad Hoc: wireless transfer from camera to computer without a wireless network
- Raw Power: RAW image compatibility
- iPhoto integration
- Direct Mode: Instantly from your camera to your phone anywhere you are.
I use this in a SonyDSC-TX10 that takes 16 megapixel images and “hd” video. It works perfectly. Eye Fi cards work in the vast majority of major camera brands and models. Check their list of Eye-i ready cameras, but you shouldn’t have a problem.
One hitch is that you have to have the camera powered on for the entire upload time, which can be a big drain on the batteries. Usually it’s not a problem to plug your camera in for a while, but definitely have an extra battery handy.
Just about anyone who takes photos with a digital camera and shares them via just about any web service needs this. This would have been rad to have on our Morocco trip as free wifi hotspots were fairly easy to come by. The Eye Fi system is dead simple to use and set up, so even your mother-in-law can handle it.
DISCLOSURE: Eye Fi sent me my card for free, but I really do like it.