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Forum: Photography

Cameras, digital and film, techniques, processing, accessories etc

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#1: Eye-Fi card allows remote uploads to smart phones & computers (thread)
By Harold Whaley on Sun 2 Oct 2011 07:40 (US/Pacific) Edit Delete   Reply (2)   Printable Relation | Link | Bookmark | Report
I just found a really cool way to upload photos to my smart phone from my camera. I used my phone's camera on my last tour and wasn't happy with the quality of the photos. The lenses on cell phones can't compete with even cheaper cameras regardless of the number of megapixels. My photos always came out a little washed out regardless of the setting. I decided that I would use a small digital camera on my next tour, but was unsure of how to transfer photos between the camera and phone without switching a micro SD card from the adapter to the phone. Even though the micro SD card is relatively easy to access in my phone I could see myself easily losing it as I'm switching out cards at a dirty campsite.

THE SOLUTION: The Eye-Fi card sold at Radio Shack, on-line and at other retailers for about $40 for the 4gb version (It's also sold in an 8gb version). The way this works is you set it up on your home WiFi system through your computer and then assign it a destination. Once set up (there is a little learning curve to this, but they can walk you through it) it's automatic. When you take a photo with your camera, the photo is automatically and wirelessly uploaded to your smart phone. It can be helpful to set your camera to reduce the size of the photo file unless you don't mind waiting longer for the photo to upload. Also, you will want to set the time-out on your camera long enough to keep it turned on until the upload is complete. The camera needs to be able to use a high capacity SD card and your phone needs certain common system requirements, but so far it seems to work pretty slick. I just got this card and haven't used it in real time on a tour, so if you have some experience using this device, feel free to post additional info or corrections to post.

For more info check out their website: http://www.eye.fi/

An added note: I'm in no way connected with Eye-Fi and have no interest in advertising for them other than spreading the work about a cool new gadget.

      
#2: Re: Eye-Fi card allows remote uploads to smart phones & computers (thread)
By John Meiners on Sun 2 Oct 2011 10:36 Edit Delete in reply to #1     Reply (2)   Printable Relation | Link | Bookmark | Report
I assume both devices need to be connected to the same Wi-Fi network for this to work, right? And I'm a bit concerned about what this does to the battery life on both devices. At any rate, it's pretty cool in the right situations.

      
#3: Re: Eye-Fi card allows remote uploads to smart phones & computers (thread)
By Al Cyone on Sun 2 Oct 2011 11:13 Edit Delete in reply to #2     Reply   Printable Relation | Link | Bookmark | Report
"I assume both devices need to be connected to the same Wi-Fi network for this to work, right?"

The "Direct Mode" is explained on the website (linked above):

Direct Mode offers the flexibility of anywhere. After a quick set up, take photos wherever you are - then when you're ready to transfer, just turn your camera on and let Eye-Fi do the rest. The Eye-Fi X2 card will create its own Wi-Fi network and transfer to the free iPhone/iPad or Android app. No matter where you are, you'll get your photos and videos on your device in no time.

      
#4: Re: Eye-Fi card allows remote uploads to smart phones & computers (thread)
By Harold Whaley on Sun 2 Oct 2011 17:34 Edit Delete in reply to #2     Reply (1)   Printable Relation | Link | Bookmark | Report
Actually the SD card is its own WiFi and puts out the signal to the cell phone. I'm not too sure about what it may do to the battery life, but if its only turned on while transferring photos I wouldn't think it would drain the battery too much. I'll post more after I've tested it for a while.

      
#5: Re: Eye-Fi card allows remote uploads to smart phones & computers (thread)
By Pete Staehling on Mon 3 Oct 2011 05:12 Edit Delete in reply to #4     Reply (1)   Printable Relation | Link | Bookmark | Report
Yes do keep us posted. It sounds very interesting. I too wonder about battery life for both the phone and the camera. If you take many pictures you could be moving a lot of data and hence taxing the batteries quite a bit even if it is turned only when transferring photos.

BTW the GEO tagging option sounds interesting as well.

Edit:
After looking a bit more I ordered a Eye-Fi Connect X2 4 GB card so I too will have to report back on how that goes.

My plan is to test it without the additional $15 per year wifi service. and depending on how that goes possibly trying the service.

      
#6: Re: Eye-Fi card allows remote uploads to smart phones & computers (thread)
By Jeremie Gaucher on Tue 4 Oct 2011 05:18 Edit Delete in reply to #5     Reply (1)   Printable Relation | Link | Bookmark | Report
I've used the eye-fi card (Mobile X2 8Gb) on a trip down the pacific coast last month. The eye-fi card has worked surprisingly well. I only carried my iPod touch and could transfer pictures and upload to cgoab. I did not need to have wifi available for camera-iPod transfers since my card came with direct mode compatibility. So I could transfer pics anywhere, anytime and prepare my posts via email in my tent. I would generally send my posts in batch as soon as i got wifi.

Here are a few comments:

1. Before buying, check on the eye-fi website that your camera model is supported.
http://support.eye.fi/product-info/camera-compatibility/compatibility/is-the-eye-fi-card-compatible-with-my-camera/
I learned it the hard way when my camera wouldn't initially recognize the card. An eye-fi firmware upgrade fixed the issue.

2. Setup the card correctly on a computer first. Some settings cannot be changed from the iPhone app so make sure everything works fine while you still have access to your computer. For example, I could only activate direct mode from within the software on my MacBook.

3. Be patient. The software interface is pretty clunky so it'll take a few tries to get everything running smoothly. The installation is pretty tedious and reminds me of some pre-2000's software setups. The eye-fi app has a bad rating in the AppStore and that's mostly due to the complicated setup. Once it works though, it works flawlessly.

4. Transfer-wise, it takes about 3-5 seconds to transfer a 5Mb pic from the camera.

5. Distance-wise, i've had it work for up to about 10m, but the closer the faster your transfer.

6. Autonomy-wise, it didn't penalize the camera's battery life to the point where I felt it was unacceptable. I could go for about 10 days on two camera batteries, which sounds reasonable to me. I take a lot of pictures. I think the real consumer was my ipod (with wifi activated) which i usually tried to have plugged-in somewhere during transfers.

7. It is safe to turn-off the camera or receiving device during transfer. It will resume where you left off without corrupting files.

8. Final comment, for ipod/ipad/iphone users. Life is so much easier if you jailbreak your device! All features of the cgoab website work on my jailbroken ipod, including the upload button and maps. You have complete access to the device's filesystem. I still use the email feature because i find it convenient. If you do, on a jailbroken device, you will be able to upload as many pics as you want by email (no 5-pic limitation). You will soon find out that the 5-pic limitation is due to bad memory management of the Mail app. It actually loads all attached pictures in memory while you compose a message. So, say on a 128Mb device, you will probably not be able to upload more than about 7-8 pics without your system locking up. Ipad users wouldn't have that problem.

It was a pretty positive experience so far...and a very light setup.

1 camera + eyefi + ipod touch and its charger was all i needed to keep my journal up2date (both pics and text this time!).

jeremie

      
#7: Re: Eye-Fi card allows remote uploads to smart phones & computers (thread)
By Pete Staehling on Tue 4 Oct 2011 05:46 Edit Delete in reply to #6     Reply   Printable Relation | Link | Bookmark | Report
Thanks for the comments.

BTW, I wish they supported the Blackberry in addition to the iPhone and android phones.

      
#8: Re: Eye-Fi card allows remote uploads to smart phones & computers (thread)
By Pete Staehling on Mon 5 Dec 2011 04:53 Edit Delete in reply to #1     Reply (1)   Printable Relation | Link | Bookmark | Report
Does anyone have further experience with this to report? I am particularly interested in it's HotSpot Access since Direct Mode apparently will not work with my Blackberry.

I am planning to use an EyeFi card on my upcoming Southern Tier. That and my work Blackberry will be my means of uploading pictures and making journal entries.

I bought the Connect X2 model for my wife and it works great. She just has to turn the camera on when at home and the photos get uploaded to her computer via the wireless network.

The Mobile X2, that I am probably getting before my ST, comes with a year of HotSpot Access that is provided by AT&T Wi-Fi, Easy Wi-Fi and Harborlink. They claim "tens of thousands of locations, including Starbucks, Barnes & Nobles, restaurants, major hotels, airports, and more". That said I wonder how frequently I will get a connection on the Southern Tier? Anyone have first hand experience with that?

The card can also be configured for other Hotspots, but since I am not taking a computer I will be stuck with their network and any others that I pre-configure before I leave. Does anyone have a list or some suggestions of any standard hotspot configurations that I should pre-configure? I am thinking along the lines of fast food chains and motel chains if they have a standard setup and password.

      
#9: Re: Eye-Fi card allows remote uploads to smart phones & computers (thread)
By Dave Butansky on Mon 5 Dec 2011 08:42 Edit Delete in reply to #8     Reply (1)   Printable Relation | Link | Bookmark | Report
Quite a few newer smart phones support USB host, you can just plug in the phone or pop out the card and use a USB reader. With blackberry it appears like it is possible in most recent models you just have to find if there is an app/driver made available.
I sometimes use this to get photos off of friends cameras using my N900. I keep a 10cm long USB host cable in my handlebar bag along with my AC charger.
In the future if you are getting a new phone look for either USB host or USB-OTG (USB on the go); or when you get a new camera find one with a higher generation Bluetooth chip, a technology that which makes more sense for the task.
Not that I dislike the gadget, I have been interested in EyeFi since it was a prototype back in what '04 or '05? It just must be remembered that WiFi is power hungry so think about your batteries when you use a wireless protocol made for laptops streaming internet across a whole home not so much for object exchange for cameras or even really phones.

      
#10: Re: Eye-Fi card allows remote uploads to smart phones & computers (thread)
By Pete Staehling on Mon 5 Dec 2011 09:18 Edit Delete in reply to #9     Reply (1)   Printable Relation | Link | Bookmark | Report
"It just must be remembered that WiFi is power hungry so think about your batteries when you use a wireless protocol made for laptops streaming internet across a whole home not so much for object exchange for cameras or even really phones."

It is pretty easy to get around that. The EyeFi card does not need to be in the camera, it only needs to be powered. So connecting it to a USB charger with a tiny lightweight SD card reader, both of which I carry anyway, should work fine and not drain the battery at all. Also I carry an extra camera battery any way.

All that assumes that the extra battery drain is minimal when no WiFi is present. I hope that is the case. I figure that when using the WiFi there is usually a place to plug in and when taking pictures on tour there is usually no WiFi.

      
#11: Re: Eye-Fi card allows remote uploads to smart phones & computers (thread)
By Dave Butansky on Mon 5 Dec 2011 10:11 Edit Delete in reply to #10     Reply   Printable Relation | Link | Bookmark | Report
Nice hack with the external reader power!
Too bad they don't make it for bluetooth with pretty much universal obex without any AP required. https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/OBject_EXchange
Bluetooth FTP is how I do many of my transfers when I don't feel like finding and turning the WiFi on on my phone.
I did more research and it looks like while the hardware supports it RIM is not going to do USB OTG for the Blackberry. Nokia didn't include it in the N900 but since it is a geek phone the community just compiled the drivers into their own power user kernel and wrote up an app. So much better than the fart noise or website API apps I see on other 'smart' phones, of course they had to kill it.


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