By Don Chick, M.Photog.Cr., CPP
Wireless downloading from your digital camera to computer for under $150 sounds unimaginable, right? Then you haven’t seen the Eye-Fi Pro X2 (SDHC) card. This card, which has the transmitter device built in will enable you to connect to your wireless network and do just that—download from your digital camera directly to your computer! There are limitations, however, as the card will not work using a CF adaptor in a camera that has only CompactFlash (CF) slots.
I recently had the opportunity to check out the Eye-Fi Pro X2 card in a Canon G11 and was quite impressed with the speed and ease of use. After following a few simple directions for installing the software on my laptop, I was ready to connect to my wireless network. When prompted during the installation, I provided the network information and password and it connected. I then inserted the card into the G11 and began taking pictures. As long as the camera was on and within range of the laptop it would automatically download the images to a user-specified directory. I did have to lengthen the standby time setting on the camera so that the camera wouldn’t go to “sleep” before completing a download. It was simply amazing that the transfer occurred whenever there were images on the camera that hadn’t been downloaded and the camera was on!
Eye-Fi has several models of media cards that are compatible with many makes and models of compact cameras. The best thing to do is check their website for compatibility. If you don't capture raw files, or you can use the card in a second media slot to which you save only jpg files, then you may be able to use a model other than the Pro X2 version and save some money. If, however, you want to transfer raw files, then you’ll need the Pro X2 as it is the only card that will transfer raw files.You may also want to keep a spare charged battery on hand because extended use may affect the battery life. While I didn’t test the range limit of the card, the company publishes that indoors the card should have range of approximately 45 feet, with a 90 foot range outside.
Editor's note: Eye-Fi announced their new Direct Mode on Jan. 4, which enables users to send their digital images directly to a smart phone or tablet using the card and a free Eye-Fi app. Look for a review of this new technology in an upcoming post here in Web Exclusives.