Sunday, 14 February 2010

Eye-Fi card – review

We’ve all taken digital photos on our digital cameras and then got to our laptops to upload them and thought there must be a better way than faffing around getting the card out of the camera and sticking it in the card reader slot or even worse connecting a cable to download the pictures. Wouldn’t it be great if you could just put your camera near your laptop and the photos would automatically copy across. Well, that’s exactly what an Eye-Fi card does.

Installation is very straightforward. You open the box and the Eye-Fi card is already in the USB reader. You simply plug this into a USB slot on the laptop and wait while your computer recognizes the card reader. After a little while a dialogue box appears asking what you want to do with the contents of the new drive. There’s one that looks like a coloured pebble with radar waves coming out of it. That unflattering description is the Eye-Fi icon – and it says “Free Your Memories” on the menu next to the icon. It’s usually pre-selected, so all you need do is press the “OK” button. The software then installs.

At the end of the installation, the Eye-Fi Manager set-up wizard launches. You simply press the “Next” button. The instructions that appear onscreen are perfectly straightforward and these need to be followed to complete the Eye-Fi registration process.

After that stage completes, you are asked to remove the Eye-Fi card from the card reader and put it into a camera. And that’s really all there is to set up. Perhaps obviously you need to have wifi set up for it to work, and you’ll need to enter your WPA key during set up.

As long as the camera is powered on, bring in near the computer allows photos and videos to upload to your laptop without any effort. Once they’ve all arrived, turn off your camera – to conserve battery power.

You can associate the card with a different computer, and you can associate the card with multiple access points (although you need to run the Eye-Fi Manager software again and put the card back in the card reader).

One of the great features – if you want to use it – is, in Eye-Fi Manager, to choose the to have your photos automatically uploaded to online sharing sites like Picasa, Flickr, Facebook and many others. I chose not to do this – so there’s no link to my online pictures, you’ll be pleased to know!

The upload was incredibly easy, we just had the camera in the same room as the computer the Eye-Fi Manager software was installed on. In future, we might see what the maximum distance away we could be and still get it to work. It uploaded AVIs, MOVs, and JPGs.

We tried that card in three different cameras that we had around and it worked perfectly in all of them. However, some people have reported problems with some cameras.

The pictures are also geotagged – which means that they’re tagged to show where they were taken. If they’re uploaded to Flickr or iPhoto, they become searchable in Places, or on a map by city or country. There’s even an iPhone app now!

We were using Eye-Fi Pro, which also allows RAW camera files to be uploaded to the computer.

And our verdict? It’s brilliant. Get an Eye-Fi card, you’ll love it.

You can find more details at

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