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|Daniel Bell puts three different Eye-Fi SDHC Memory Cards to the test.|
Back in March 2010, Eye-Fi launched their new range of wireless memory cards. On test here we have the Pro X2, Connect X2 and Geo X. The Connect X2 has an RRP of £49.99 and the Geo X2 is £69.99. The Pro X2 is an 8Gb class 6 card with an RRP of £119.99. Given that you can buy a Lexar SDHC 8GB Class 6 memory card for £20.99 from Picstop, can the features of the Pro X2 justify the extra £100?
Eye-Fi Pro X2, Connect X2 and Geo X2 SDHC Class 6 Memory Cards: Features
All three of the Eye-Fi Memory Cards on test here have the ability to upload JPEG photos and videos through your home Wi-Fi network onto your computer, or even directly into iPhoto for Macs directly from your camera. You can also wirelessly send your JPEG photos and videos to sites such as Flickr, Facebook, Picasa, MobileMe, and YouTube. You can get email, Facebook or Twitter alerts when your photos are uploading online as well as being able to set the card to automatically delete uploaded pictures giving you endless memory.
The Geo X2 also comes with an automatic Geotagging service helping you to organise and share photos. View, search and share your latest trips on maps in iPhoto ’09.
The Pro X2 combines all of the above with Ad Hoc networking, Raw uploading and HotSpot access. With Ad Hoc networking you can send photos and videos to your laptop anywhere your camera takes you. The Pro X2 lets you wirelessly upload RAW photos to any folder on your computer to streamline your workflow. Upload on-the-go through one of hundreds of thousands of Wi-Fi HotSpots, including hotels, restaurants and more.
|Features||Connect X2||Geo X2||Pro X2|
|Photo & Video Uploads|
|Wireless RAW uploads|
|Ad hoc transfers|
Eye-Fi Pro X2, Connect X2 and Geo X2 SDHC Class 6 Memory Cards: Handling
The Eye-Fi SDHC Memory cards look no different to any other SDHC memory card as the wireless transmitter is within the card itself. With each card comes a USB reader, but if you have an SD card reader you can pop it into that instead. The Eye-Fi software is held on the memory card. The software is easy to install so you will be ready in no time to use the card.
During the Eye-Fi setup you need to add your wireless networks which the Eye-Fi card will use to upload your media. You can add up to 32 networks, even if they’re not in range, but you’ll need their ID and password to add them. A network must be added in advance as there is no way to do this via your camera itself. Next you select which computer and folders are used to store media as well as set up the Eye-Fi card to upload your pictures to Facebook etc. The card is now ready to go into your camera and you can start snapping away. The software asks you to take a photo of yourself which it immeadiately uploads.
Eye-Fi Pro X2, Connect X2 and Geo X2 SDHC Class 6 Memory Cards: Performance
As expected, taking pictures with the Eye-Fi memory cards is no different to using a normal SD memory card, although when compared to the Lexar class 10 memory card that I normally use image processing time takes longer. Eye-Fi claim that a camera’s battery life will not be noticeably shorter than when using a standard SD memory card. While uploading photos, battery usage will vary depending on the number and size of your photos, as well as the speed of your network connection. The Eye-Fi Card uses advanced power management to optimize the life of your camera’s battery.
Photos and video uploading (all cards)
You can set the card to upload all your images or a selected number to your computer. To be selective as to which ones you want to upload you have to use your camera's protect function to go through your images and decide those you wish to upload. Although transfer can take a while if you have been out shooting all day this feature of the cards works really well.
Online sharing (all cards)
As a Facebook user I really enjoyed the ability to upload my pictures onto my profile without having to log in. This is easily set up through the software and you can connect to other sites such as Flickr, mobileme and Picasa. There is also an option to select privacy levels as well as image size through the software. You can also chose to upload all or a choice of images to your preferred image sharing site, similar to the method discussed in photos and video uploading. The online sharing feature strikes me as a way of keeping your friends and family up-to-date whilst you are on the go.
Endless memory (all cards)
Have you ever wanted a memory card that doesn't run out of space? These three Eye-Fi memory cards provide a solution. If you are in regular range of a wi-fi connection you can ask the card to delete images which have been uploaded meaning that you can continue shooting for as long as you want. This feature is great if you spend a large amount of time near your wi-fi or a hotspot but it is worth bearing in mind that if the place where your images crashed before you get to make a back-up you may lose data.
|A geotagged image.|
When viewing images through the Eye-Fi software you can see where in the world you were when you took your pictures. This can prove very useful if you are out shooting for a while and like me, easily forget where you were when you took a shot. The location is shown on a Google Map, giving you a red marker to show the position as well as the longitude and latitude co-ordinates.
Hotspot access (Pro X2)
If you are lucky enough to be near a wi-fi hotspot on a regular basis then this feature will be useful. You can also use hotspots in many pubs and also McDonalds. Although I found this feature tricky to set up it is useful and transfer speed is good.
Wireless raw uploads (Pro X2)
Although it is clearly a feature which any photographer who shoots in RAW would need, a fair amount of patience is needed as transfer is really slow.
Ad hoc transfers (Pro X2)
I found following the instructions to set up an ad hoc network quite easy but some will find this task a bit trickier. Once connected, the transfer of images is the same as when using your wi-fi. If you are not connected to the internet whilst using an ad hoc network the geotagging function is disabled.
Eye-Fi Pro X2, Connect X2 and Geo X2 SDHC Class 6 Memory Cards: Verdict
If you are a DSLR user who often struggles to find time to transfer your images from camera to laptop after a shoot then the Eye-Fi memory cards will be useful to you. The major downside is the price, the cards are very expensive when compared to normal SD/SDHC memory cards and I would consider the Eye-Fi memory cards to be more of a luxury item than a must have gadget. If you are compact camera user and are more interested in being able to upload direct to social networking sites like as Facebook then there are cameras which come with this ability, such as the Samsung ST5500, the Casio Exilim EX-H20G has the ability to geotag images.
The other features of the cards all work well although the Eye-Fi software can be somewhat unpredictable at times. So, if you have a large budget and want a fancy gadget for your camera then you should certainly consider any of the memory cards in the Eye-Fi X2 range.
Eye-Fi Pro X2, Connect X2 and Geo X2 SDHC Class 6 Memory Cards: Pros
Great way to share pictures on the move
Pro X2 is packed with features
Eye-Fi Pro X2, Connect X2 and Geo X2 SDHC Class 6 Memory Cards: Cons
RAW image transfer is slow
|Connect X2||Geo X2||Pro X2|
|VALUE FOR MONEY|
Eye-Fi Pro X2, Connect X2 and Geo X2 SDHC Class 6 Memory Cards: Specification
|Connect X2||Geo X2||Pro X2|
|802.11 b/g/n capability||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|All Wireless uploads|
|Photos & videos||Yes||Yes||Yes|
For more information please visit the Eye-Fi website.