The Eye-Fi Wi-Fi cards are amazing achievement of digital technology. By incorporating a complete Wi-Fi chip inside the tiny SDHC card together with storage capacity, the Eye-Fi cards enable digital photographers to wirelessly transmit photos, and now videos as well, to their computers and Internet photo/video sharing sites. Some even offer geotagging capability by using location information of known wireless access points.
Now, the company is shipping the 4GB Eye-Fi Explore Video and Eye-Fi Share Video models for $99 and $79 respectively. The differences between these two are that the former offers unlimited Geotagging and one year of Hotspot Access. If you decided to go with the latter, you can still add Geotagging and Hotspoint Access services for $14.99/year per feature.
Eye-Fi cards are not for everyone
Here are some reasons that you may not want it.
- Cost. Unless you really need the wireless transfer features, you could get a 4GB SDHC card now for about $10. There is a significant price premium. Paying for Wi-Fi access while you may be using occasionally isn’t very economical.
- Upload everything you take. You cannot select which photo to send wirelessly to photo sharing sites. Very often we do take a ton of photos with many of them end up in the trash bin. If you have to take your time to go through all of them then transferring the photos via card reader or cable doesn’t sound too time consuming.
- JPEG only. It currently only supports JPEG. RAW shooters are out of luck.
- No Ad-Hoc wireless networking support. It could be very helpful if it is possible to wirelessly transfer to a laptop or netbook computer without a Wi-Fi access point.
- Battery drain. The card gets power from your camera’s battery to do the Wi-Fi transfer. It can drain the battery rather quickly if you transfer large high resolution photos or videos. Camera also needs to stay on for the transfer to occur and it may take quite a while.
- Geotagging limitation. It is not GPS-based so the accuracy is poor. It doesn’t work in the area where there is no Wi-Fi access points known to the system.
Eye-Fi cards are for someone
If you have correct expectations, the Eye-Fi cards can be a great digital photography gadget.
- Convenient. You don’t have to pull the memory card out of camera and insert it into a card reader. Some cameras have poor access for the memory card. You don’t need to connect a cable between the camera and computer. Your wife can take some photos in the backyard of your kids playing, and the photos magically show up on the computer you are working on. A computer is not even needed since it can transfer the photos directly to photo sharing sites.
- Easy. The card can simplify digital photography for less tech savvy people who just want to take pictures and not have to mess with getting them on to the computer. They can be toddlers, elderly, etc. It only needs a few minutes to setup for the first time and it keeps working even if you format the card.
- Geotagging. The geotagging is not as accurate as GPS-based systems but it should work ok in urban environment to put the location within a few hundred feet of the actual location.
Keywords: Eye-Fi, Geotagging, SDHC, Storage, Wi-Fi, WiFi