In the early to mid-2000’s, buying a digital camera, especially a point-and-shoot model, was accompanied with the pain of also purchasing the correct corresponding memory card (e.g., SD, Memory Stick, xD, etc.). Then, after photographing, one had to locate the USB cable (sometimes standard, yet commonly proprietary) so as to offload one’s photos to a computer. Often, the aforementioned activity was so annoying (much like developing film) that photos were left adrift on memory cards for months or possibly years -- sight unseen.
Both the ease of sharing photos online as well as the pervasive nature of always carrying a cell phone with a built-in camera has decreased the demand for many standalone cameras. Yet, those built-in cameras lack the optical zoom, fine-tuning, and larger sensor (particularly important in low light conditions) present in a dedicated camera.
The best of both worlds comes from a company, Eye-Fi, who has spearheaded the idea of wirelessly uploading photos from a digital camera since 2005. Eye-Fi’s current generation of products include the Mobi (8GB, $49.99 and 16GB, $79.99) and Pro X2 (16GB, $99.99). The Eye-Fi card replaces a digital camera’s SDHC memory card, and therefore, works with many cameras. A list of compatible camera models is available on Eye-Fi’s website.
Both the Mobi and Pro X2 work with image files (.jpeg) as well as movies (.mpg, .mov, .flv, .wmv, .avi, .mp4, .mts, .m4v, .3gp) under 2GB. Most importantly, a wireless network is not required, as the Eye-Fi cards directly connect to one’s smart device via an app (available in the iTunes App Store and Google Play Store) to upload files.
Additionally, the Pro X2 includes the bonus features of uploading RAW files to any folder on one’s computer via a WiFi network. Thus, the previously discussed features require a Mac or Windows computer (i.e., with the most up-to-date software), 100MB of free hard drive space, and an internet connection.
This author tested the Eye-Fi’s 16GB Pro X2 using an Apple computer running OX 10.8.5. Initial setup included connecting the Pro X2 to the included USB adapter and plugging those combined items into the computer. Since this device is a memory card, enjoyably and unexpectedly, the software to install was immediately available, as it too was stored on the device, and the author did not have to connect an external optical drive (i.e., many Apple’s computers, such as the Mac Mini and Macbook Air, lack a built-in CD/DVD drive) to load a software disc.
Once the software is installed, one creates an Eye-Fi login, consisting of a username/email and password. Next, a set of simple questions follow:
• Should files be sent to a computer or a smart device?
• Would you also like photos to be uploaded to your account on Eye-Fi’s website?
• Should your photos be automatically delivered to Facebook, Flickr, Picasa, or FTP
Of course, all these settings can also be changed at a later date too. Furthermore, the login created during the setup is also used to access pictures or videos on Eye-Fi’s website taken in the last 7 days. If one wanted to store files on Eye-Fi’s website for a longer duration, then an Eye-Fi Premium ($4.99 per month or $49.99 per year) account increases both the amount of storage and time. Regardless, the photos stored on one’s computer will stay indefinitely on his/her hard drive.
Following setup, the Pro X2 is inserted into the digital camera’s memory card slot and all of the photos and movies were “magically” delivered within seconds (i.e., as long as my camera was left powered “on”) to a folder on this author’s computer. Moreover, to aid with organization, the files are automatically divided into subfolders based on their date taken and there is also an option to geotag photos/movies with their latitude and longitude!
While at first this author was skeptical with the claims of this product, the Eye-Fi Pro X2 worked amazingly well -- truly restoring functionality and usefulness to a drawer full of no longer used digital cameras that are now given a second chance at life.
Rating: 5 out of 5
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