Eye-Fi Pro X2

Posted on April 17th, 2011 by Luke Sheldrick.
Categories: IT / Tech, Photography.
Tags: , , , .

17 04 2011

Last year I bought an Eye-Fi Pro X2, as a neat addition to my photography kit. It boasts a 8GB Class6 SD card, with integrated geolocation and a wifi uploading. Quite neat I thought.

I went for the Pro model as it supported RAW uploading, but was quickly disappointed by the limits of the card.

  • Geolocation – I’m not sure why I was expecting more, but this is only using so-called ‘wifi-location’. This is fine in the city, but quite often the reason I want to geotag my photos is because I am in the middle of no where, this wont work there.
  • Geolocation – To get your photos geotagged they have to be first uploaded to their servers. I can kind of understand this, as card it’s self doesn’t have enough grunt to process the current wifi macs it can see, and properly geotag them. However these seen macs are stored in the image, so when it is uploaded to the eye-fi servers, they can do the lookup to the database, and assign the correct geotags. Why their app cannot do this, is beyond me. It seems completely stupid to upload 8GB of images, to have them tagged, to download them again, to process. 16GB of transfer, for what would probably be <1Mb if they did this the logical way.
  • RAW – Whilst the RAWs will be uploaded, they wont be geotagged. When I contacted eye-fi, they state that there is no standard for the EXIF location tags for RAW. This certainly wasn’t mentioned on the box/site/anywhere.
  • Upload to open and public networks – The X2 range come with this service for free for a year. This seemed perfectly fine to me, a lifetime of free uploads would be good, but probably not sustainable. However, it didn’t actually include the access to public networks, i.e. BTOpenzone, The Cloud..etc this only enabled the card to join these networks once you had setup your card with one of the premium accounts that you’d need to pay for separately. Again, this certainly wasn’t mentioned beforehand.

This was all a bit annoying, but not the end of the world. I still used the card, paired it to my MiFi from three. As I have 15GB allowance, uploading wasn’t an issue. I had setup selective sync, so it would only upload photos I ‘protected’. This worked quite well, often when I was at expos, I could be uploading the photos to eye-fi, then using their mobile optimised website, select where I wanted to share the photos too. Giving an almost instant upload to the web, throughout the day. When I got home, the eye-fi agent had downloaded all the files, so I could process them further if I wanted. All quite neat.

I then had a card corrupt totally, not readable in a number of machines (running Windows, Linux or OSX), and none of my cameras. Their RMA process was awful to be honest. Weeks to get a response via email, then a huge delay when thye had received my card back. It seemed they only stated to respond timely when I mentioned them on twitter.

Since then, on my D3o0s, I have set it up to put the jpgs to the eye-fi card, and raws to the CF card. As I don’t use raw on the eye-fi, this works well for me. I in effect have a raid-1 setup, so if a card corrupts, I have the images on the other card.

The other day I saw that eye-fi had launched a new product, the Mobile X2, which allowed direct uploading directly to an iOS or Android device. This is something the hacker community have had for a while, but finally supported by eye-fi is cool. They said they would be upgrading the firmware on the current X2 range to implement this feature.

Today I opened the eye-fi manager on my mac, and it indeed said it had an update. It then listed direct mode as a feature for my card, but that required a firmware upgrade too, great. Or not, it listed the firmware it needed as being the current firmware, so failed every time. Looking on their forums a few people here and here. It seems their PR department had been working overtime, and all marketing shouldn’t have gone out yet. Oh dear.

Anyways, reading further into it, I could upgrade my card manually upgrade the firmware by unregistering it and registering it again, losing my settings. Not something I’m overly fussed about. So once I had done that, I downloaded the iOS application, to find out, the new one isn’t on the store yet. I guess this might be what they’re waiting for.

The android app had been, so I grabbed my ZTE Blade, and installed. The card now shows it’s self a wireless access point, so the app connects the phone to that AP, and that’s then how the card uploads to the phone. Took a few snaps and indeed, they were uploaded to the phone.

ZTE Blade receiving photo from Eye-Fi X2 Pro

However, now the phone is connected to the eye-fi, it itself now cannot get to the outside world. On Android, if you have a wireless connection, it drops it’s connection over the cellular. Naturally the eye-fi card doesn’t have an internet connection, so now both devices are isolated. Also an interesting thing, you can edit the setting on the card, from the phone, but only if you have an internet connection, which naturally now is broken.

Can't connect to internet

As far as I can see, I cannot change this behaviour in android, so looks totally broken.

It’s such a shame when companies hype a product so much, but when it comes to the crunch, it really doesn’t live up to the promises.


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