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Product review – Eye-Fi card for digital cameras
June 27, 2012
I have this excellent digital camera. Sure, it's not your top-of-the-range professional Nikon or Canon DSLR with all the lens options, but it does what I want it for. The only failing it had for me was getting the photographs out to somewhere where I could use them. I had the choice of plugging it into my computer with a USB cable (which was one specific to the camera and not like any of the other standard cables lying around) or taking the SD card out, finding and plugging in the SD card reader for my computer. I then had to manually copy the pictures to wherever I wanted them and remember to delete them from the SD card so that it didn't get full. I carried a spare SD card just in case.
I thought there had to be a better way to manage all this, and I found it. The product is an Eye-Fi SD card which incorporates an 802.11n WiFi network adapter. Now all I have to do is move the camera within range of my home or office network and any pictures I have taken since the last time I did this are automatically copied from the camera onto the computer. The four gigabyte capacity of the card might look a little low (I was using 16Gb cards before) but the system automatically deletes the oldest pictures when it needs more room. (Only pictures that have been transferred to the computer are deleted.) I've got mine set to start clearing when it is 50% full, but that still leaves me room for many hundreds of photos before I have to go back to the office. (Yes, I still carry a spare SD card just in case.) Some versions of the card can hold 8Gb.
The Eye-Fi software can automatically upload your pictures to image sharing services like Flickr, Picasa or Facebook and many others. Installation requires Windows (XP SP3 onwards) or Mac OSX 10.5 or 10.6. The cards can also connect to iOS and Android phones and tablets.
Price is very reasonable. The one I bought is the cheapest in the range and cost about the same as two sets of lithium batteries for the camera. The full range and prices can be found at the Eye-Fi web site, but you might be able to get even better pricing at eBay or Amazon. (Check with the Eye-Fi site before you buy, as you might not get the bargain elsewhere that you think you're getting. As I am writing this the Connect X2 card is $39.99 from Eye-Fi but there is one selling on eBay for $50.)
Verdict: For the price of eight camera batteries or a decent restaurant meal I save an enormous amount of time and frustration. The card works transparently and I forget it's in the camera until I see the thumbnails appear in the bottom right hand corner of my monitor as the pictures get transferred to the computer. Five stars.
The camera I was using at the time was a Fuji. It was replaced with a Canon which did sterling service until it broke my fall when I tripped over some blackberry vines while doing media work for a car rally. By this time I had upgraded to a 16GB Eye-Fi card. In 2018 I replaced the damaged Canon with a Nikon D5600 but I had some trouble getting it to transfer photos. The problem appeared to be in the PC software so I went looking for an upgrade to that, only to find that Ricoh (who now owned Eye-Fi) had decided that they didn't want to do that sort of thing any more and had stopped all support for Eye-Fi cards. As the Eye-Fi web site now goes to somewhere selling contact lenses I assume that nobody picked up the product. A great pity, but it was good while it lasted. Back to a USB cable and manual copying.
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