April 13, 2011

Eye-Fi enables direct-to-tablet transfer

As I noted last year, photographers have been incredibly clear in wanting wireless tethering between their cameras & tablets. Forget about using tablets for storage: the big win is using a tablet’s big screen for “chimping” (reviewing & flagging one’s shots).

Thus I’m happy to see that a new 8GB Eye-Fi card enables a direct connection between cameras & tablets.  I’d love to put my iPad in my backpack & transfer to it while hiking around.  Two snags, though:

  • The card is SD format, and my SLR uses Compact Flash. Something tells me a solution isn’t imminent.
  • Wireless transfer requires one’s tablet to be switched on. Long battery life or no, I’m not going to leave the iPad on constantly while hiking, driving, etc. Solving this problem very likely requires support from Apple, Google, and hardware makers.

Still, the development is very encouraging.

Posted by John Nack at 5:02 PM on April 13, 2011

Comments

  • J. Peterson — 5:57 PM on April 13, 2011

    The card is SD format, and my SLR uses Compact Flash. Something tells me a solution isn’t imminent.

    An adapter is about $22 on Amazon.

    [They specifically tell you not to use one. –J.]

  • Dave W — 9:07 PM on April 13, 2011

    I have looked for a solution to these very issues for quite a while and in 2005 bought a Motion 1400 tablet and a card reader.
    It has served me well for 6 years for all “road” tasks ei email and storage as well as “Chimping”.

    The new Motion CL900 seems to be the “current” answer for my Still images and possibly Video output in AVCHD

    Now if I could just get my mitts on it sooner.

    Dave

  • Victor — 10:22 PM on April 13, 2011

    No one is forcing you to leave the iPad on constantly because the Eye-Fi card will queue any file transfers until it detects a recipient. Just turn it on when you want to have the photos uploaded or are desperate for a bit of chimping. If the camera is on, the card will detect the available connection and then make the outstanding transfers.

    [Wanting immediate gratification, though, I’d like the images to be transferred periodically in the background, a la email (especially given that, according to the video, each image can take ~30s to transfer). That way I could whip out the tablet at any point & have most, if not all, the images ready to review. –J.]

    • Ziv — 2:49 PM on April 15, 2011

      @Victor — the app can relay media to any destination of your choice, over 3G, 4G, or Wi-Fi.

      So first the card will upload to the device, and then when it’s done, the device will re-connect to 3G/4G/Wi-Fi and if you want it to, the app can automatically relay the media to your destination (PC, sharing site, FTP, etc…)

      You can also use your favorite photo app, on the device, and use IT to upload. Totally up to you.

  • Randhir (Eye-Fi) — 9:30 AM on April 14, 2011

    Victor, you are right. The Eye-Fi Card will store photos & videos and transfer them whenever the camera and a receiving device are on. Transfer speeds are about 10-15 megabits per second or about 3 seconds for a 5MB file.

  • Victor — 11:04 AM on April 14, 2011

    Immediate gratification when driving and hiking? Each to his own :-)

    In my Nikon D300s I save RAW to CF and “Normal” quality JPEGs to the Eye-Fi card. That’s sufficient for a quick review on the iPad screen and at that size they are transferred and displayed within 5-10s. I wouldn’t like to try it with RAW though …

  • K Brown — 1:41 PM on April 14, 2011

    Their 4 Gig cards work as well.

  • Jan Kabili — 2:23 PM on April 14, 2011

    It looks like you need to buy the 8GB Pro X2 if you shoot Raw-which is pretty much a given these days.

  • Rodo Lana — 2:29 PM on April 14, 2011

    The card is SD format, and my SLR uses Compact Flash. Something tells me a solution isn’t imminent.

    There is an imminent solution John, buy a Nikon 300s. Problem solved.

    RL

  • Ziv — 2:46 PM on April 15, 2011

    In terms of keeping the device on:

    On Android — this just happens automatically. Here is the way it works:

    * Your Android device scans for known Wi-Fi SSID’s every 45 seconds, or so. This can depand on the phone, but for the most part, as long as you’ve left your Wi-Fi on idle, and haven’t turned off the Wi-Fi radio, the Android OS will scan every 45, 60, 90 or 120 seconds.

    * When the card is on, it spawns a Wi-Fi network that’s secured by WPA/WPA2. If the card is in range of a known Wi-Fi hotspot, like your home, or an open hotspt – it will connect to it. If it’s NOT in a known Wi-Fi hotspot, IT will spawn the Wi-FI hotspot so that your Android device could connect to it.

    * once the Android device is connected, the magic starts to happen :-) our free app will receive images and videos, and then relay them over 3G/4G or Wi-Fi to any destination — your PC, sharing site, etc…

    * on iOS — there is no way to trigger the device to rescan (it’s a limitation of iOS for now) So you need to tell our app to connect. Once you do — the media will start to transfer.

    Helps?

    On CF vs SD — SD is higher than 90% market-share and is growing. CF is around 5%. So we’re going after the mass market.

    Thx —

    Ziv.
    Eye-Fi co-founder

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