Eye-Fi Setup Round Two
I also bought an Eye-Fi card for my husband. When it came time to set up Eye-Fi for him, I thought it would be easy since I had already worked through the kinks for myself. Not so. With some struggle, I got his card added to my account and set it up to transfer to his iPad. Next, I wanted to set it up to send transfers from his iPad to the server–exactly like mine was set up. After fighting with it for hours, we were only able to get photos to transfer to the server or the iPad–never both. My husband was ready to send the Eye-Fi back. But after taking a break from it and restarting everything–including Eye-Fi Center on the server–I was finally able to get it to work. I’m still not certain, but I think the missing step was simply restarting Eye-Fi Center on the server. Regardless, it should not be this crazy complicated!
Eye-Fi Direct Mode
One thing I have not discussed yet is the Eye-Fi Direct Mode. What this does is allow you to transfer photos to your devices even when you are not in range of a wireless network. This works with iOS, Android and computers. So if you’re out in a remote location, you can still have your photos transferred and backed up to your phone, tablet, or laptop.
So far, I’ve only had one chance to use direct mode, but it was very fast and worked well, transferring nearly 100 JPEG and raw images to my iPad. Direct Mode was actually much faster than transferring over a known network. Once I got back within range of my home network, all I had to do was launch the Eye-Fi app on my iPad, and all the photos were sent to my home server.
Eye-Fi App on iPad
The Eye-Fi app for iPad is a bit testy at times. It worked great for me in Direct Mode, even with a large transfer, but on my local wireless network it transfers much slower and sometimes stalls in the middle of a transfer. The closer you are to your wireless access point or router, the faster it will go, but I have had it stall even when I was in the same room as the router.
When this happens, I have to turn my iPad’s Wifi off and back on, force close and restart the Eye-Fi app, then snap a few more shots to kick off the transfer again. It’s annoying, but for now I still prefer the convenience of using Eye-Fi over the Camera Connection Kit. Once the files are on my iPad I’ve never had a problem with them going from the iPad to the computer (or server, in my case).
The app is also frustrating in that it can’t seem to stay rotated to the proper orientation. It will randomly change rotation from landscape to portrait even when you haven’t moved your device. According to App Store reviews, this bug has been around a while and that fact does not instill confidence in the Eye-Fi app programming.
One little bonus of the Eye-Fi iOS app is that it can be set to also transfer photos taken with the device’s built-in camera to your computer, so you can be sure you’ll always have your photos from your mobile devices, and they are nicely organized into dated folders if you set it up that way.
Geotagging and Endless Storage
Geotagging and endless storage are two features of the card that I did not explore in-depth.
Geotagging means that location data is stored in your photos when it is available. You may opt out of geotagging if you don’t want it. Eye-Fi’s geotagging uses nearby wireless networks instead of satellites to determine location, so it is not always available and can be inaccurate at times. Personally, I don’t mind geotagging. It’s nice when it is available, but it’s not a must-have feature for me, so its limitations don’t bother me. Also, Eye-Fi is not able to add geotagging data to the images it sends to the iOS app. So images from your Eye-Fi card on iOS will not be geotagged, but when they are delivered from iOS to a computer, Eye-Fi will attempt to geotag them.
Endless storage means that you can set the Eye-Fi card to automatically delete older items when your card’s free space gets to the level you specify. I did not try this feature, but the documentation states that Eye-Fi will only delete files that have been safely transferred.
Camera Display Feedback
I suppose this varies by camera model, but the Eye-Fi card provides feedback on the camera display so you will know when it is actively transferring, and which files have been successfully transferred.
Conclusion: I’m Torn
Although the Eye-Fi card failed to meet all my expectations, I’m still pleased with the purchase and would recommend it, if you are a patient person. Much of my frustration was due to my own misunderstanding of how it worked, and if you’ve read this far, you should be well-informed on the limitations so you can decide if they are important factors for you or not. However, the setup is extremely convoluted and poorly documented. You need to be willing to experiment and try out different scenarios, which may take a lot of time up front.
If you only shoot JPEG and video files and not raw, you probably wouldn’t even be affected by the restrictions I encountered, and in fact, you can purchase the less expensive Mobile X2 or Connect X2 card instead of the Pro X2 which supports raw. I do feel the price is a bit high. I paid $50 for my refurbished 8GB X2 Pro, and I feel this is the sweet spot on the price. I have had no issues with my refurbished unit, but, of course I will update this review if that changes.
Geek in the Forest Verdict
I really wanted to like the Eye-Fi Card. If I didn’t, I never would have invested the time into figuring out its quirks and limitations, which are many. So far, I still do like it, but it’s not quite ready for the masses given the state of the software.
Feel free to leave a comment if you have questions or feedback on this review of the Eye-Fi!