Technology's always getting smaller, right? As such, it shouldn't be a surprise that Eye-Fi can now cram 16GB of storage and a WiFi radio into one of its SD cards, but somehow, it still is. This is the latest, the Eye-Fi Pro X2 16GB, the company's first Class 10 unit. It'll be landing on the doorsteps of tech-savvy photographers in the next week, so we thought we'd take a quick look at how things have improved with this year's vintage and if it can justify that $100 price-tag.
Setting everything up is simple, but time-consuming. Once you've downloaded Eye-Fi Center, connected your card to your computer via the SD card slot or the bundled adapter, the wizard will hand-hold your way through the settings. When you're nearly finished, you'll be asked to grab a separate app for your iOS or Android device to receive the pictures or join the card to your WiFi network to push the images directly to your computer.
We set ourselves taking some studio shots, with the card sending the pictures straight back to the computer. Initially, the images meandered over the WiFi network -- taking 15 minutes to transfer a single 15MB file. It wasn't until we'd disabled automatic photo uploading to Eye-Fi View, the company's cloud service, that speeds began to pick up. Once tweaked, however, and transfers from camera to desktop took just over a minute per picture. Of course, while it's hardly going to save you hours of time
We then decided to trek outside to take some shots of the harsh landscape in the Cotswolds that would land straight on our phone. Except, of course, you can't make that change on the fly -- so we had to trek back home to change the setting. While that's hardly a chore, we can envisage some moments when we'd like some way of flicking that switch while we're on the road. For example, if our laptop were to fail at a trade show, being able to access the camera menu and switch to our phones or tablets would make a great backup. Once set up, however, and it works like an absolute dream -- just pair your device to its ad-hoc WiFi network (which kicks in once you've taken your first picture) and images are pushed over in a staggeringly short amount of time. During our sojourn through the wintry hills, we found the snaps moved between devices in roughly 22 seconds.
From afar, the idea of an Eye-Fi card is a pretty niche proposition. After all, unless you're a professional photographer who can justify the purchase, it's hard to say that the time spent moving your SD card between your camera and computer is worth $100. However, like most other gadgets, it's only when you get them into your hands that you realize their worth. It's only when you've marveled at being able to use smartphone and DSLR in the same workflow, or seeing your images ready and waiting for you on the desktop, that it suddenly becomes clear in your mind. It's at that moment that you're going to start looking for reasons to smuggle the cash out of your account without alerting your bank manager / accountant or significant other.