I bought my camera from Amazon (a Canon SD900) years ago and when they launched the Eye-Fi based on my past buying preferences they sent me a special offer for the Eye-Fi Wireless SD Card. Otherwise I would never have found this very cool little device.
The Eye-Fi is a SD Card and Wi-Fi combo that allows you to take pictures and have them instantly uploaded to the photo sharing site of your choice or your computer. I really was skeptical when I saw product but fascinated at the same time since I often leave pictures on my camera for weeks at a time without remembering to save them or share them.
The Eye-Fi Wireless SD Card
The Eye-Fi comes in a relatively small box with directions on the back and a quick start guide that is attached to the slide apart box. The card itself is loaded in a USB fob that you plug in to your computer (either Mac or Windows). The card comes preloaded with set-up programs for either Mac or Windows. The first step is to configure your Eye-Fi card using the Eye-Fi manger. Next you connect to your wireless access point. This is a simple process as it shows the available networks and allows you to add your password for network. Mine connected with no problem. You can add more than one network if you like.
You then are walked through setting up an account on Eye-Fi’s website, called Webshare. This allows you to pair your account with your computer and/or your favorite photosharing service (over 20 different sites). It also recognized my camera and gave me a link to Canon to reset my power settings. I use Flickr and my photos uploaded with no problem. You can also set a local folder and using the Eye-Fi manager download pictures from your camera to your computer.
It took me five minutes to get everything working flawlessly.
Eye-Fi Products and Services
Since I got my Eye-Fi card it seems Eye-Fi has launched three differentiated products at O’Reilly Where 2.0.
- Eye-Fi Home ($79.99) – 2GB SD Card, Wireless Uploads to your computer
- Eye-Fi Share ($99.99) – 2 GB SD Card, Wireless Uploads to Computer or Unlimited WebShare service to bridge to your favorite photo-sharing sites.
- Eye-Fi Explore ($129.99) – 2 GBB SD Card, Unlimited Geotagging, Hotspot Access for 1 Year, Unlimited WebShare Service, Wireless Uploads to Computer
The services they offer for uploading and labeling include
- Webshare – Upload your photos to your favorite photo sharing site.
- Hotspot Access – Through a deal with Wayport the Eye-Fi can upload pictures from their
- Geotagging – Using location from your Wi-Fi access spot pictures can be automatically tagged for services that support geotagging like Flickr, Picasa, and SmugMug.
I think this was the most well designed and easy-to-use gadget I have ever seen. It’s got an Apple-like simplicity to it. I am so impressed I am planning on buying one for my Mom who constantly struggles with uploading her pictures.
If you shut down your camera you don’t get your pictures uploaded. You must know to leave your camera on and you get no feedback. You can’t set a default tag for your pictures and by default they are tagged Eye-Fi. All minor but inconvenient. Ideally I would like to set a profile for my pictures with tags of my choosing. Finally, because you are now using your camera’s power to upload pictures and leaving it on much longer you will use more battery, keep that in mind when you are traveling and not near a wireless hotspot. You might want to use a conventional SD card as you don’t need to have your camera stay on to upload pictures and you won’t waste battery searching
I think this is a very useful gadget though if you are a serious photog who likes to pick and choose your shots you may not like it. However, if you use a service like Flickr that comes with Picnik you can make your edits online.