Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Eye-Fi Mobi SD Card

It always starts with necessity. 

The thing that makes the iPhone such a compelling camera is the ability to share what you photograph instantly. Even in the early days of the first generations of iPhones, when the cameras weren't as good as they are now, this cameraphone dominated major photo sites, like flikr, simply because people are using it. Just point, shoot, and share.

And of course there were, and are, apps that make editing photos to suit your taste. You don't need to be seated at your desk, in front of a computer to edit the photos you just took.

The best camera is the one that is with you and since the iPhone, or any camera phone, is always in your pocket, you can just bring it out, take the shot, tinker a little (or a lot), share, then put your phone back in your pocket. It's that simple.

So, I was ready to ditch my Canon G15 camera because it was essentially unhelpful when it comes to instantly sharing photos. The moment has gone by the time I got home, downloaded the photos to my computer and edited the RAW files. My camera lacked the necessary capabilities when it comes to instantly sharing photographs. And of course, it does not have the millions of photo editing apps that are within grasp with the iPhone.

However, there are a couple of glaring things that the iPhone still couldn't compete with against the G15: the sensor size and the optical zoom.

So, I started looking for alternatives, cameras that can connect to my iPhone and transfer photos directly to it. And when the photos are already in my phone, I can use the photo apps that I have in stock before I share these photos to friends, family or to the public at large. But, and this is an important point, it should be a camera that is a significant upgrade, sensor-wise, to the iPhone. And also, one that can shoot RAW files so that I can save the original files to my harddrive when I get home.

There are now a lot of alternatives that meet all those criteria that I set. Sony, Fujifilm and even from Canon itself have now a lot to offer, though I feel that Canon is a little lagging when it comes to mirrorless cameras...

However, instead of changing cameras, I decided to change my SD card! One that can connect to my iPhone.

I couldn't believe the level of miniaturization that has already happened. A long time ago, I was so proud of having owned a thumbdrive that has a capacity of 128MB. 128MB!!! But now, I have a 16GB SD card and which has a wifi chip that I can use as a router. A router!!!

Ok, I got a little excited there...

So, this is how you set up your Eye-Fi SD card...

First you download the free app from the Apple itunes store (there is also a desktop app for the Mac). When you open the box of the SD card (it's more like a sleeve), you will find inside a card where the activation code is printed. You enter the activation code to the app and you will go through a self-explanatory process. Anyway, set up is very easy...

When it is set up, all you have to do is use the SD card as your wifi source. This is how you transfer photos from your camera to your iOS device. At first, I thought my phone cannot see the SD card but it turned out that my phone is connected to our home wifi. When I changed the wifi source to the Eye-Fi card, the photos immediately transferred to the phone. Note though, that the photos are still just in the Eye-Fi app and *not* in the phone's camera roll. This works well with me since my phone's display is bigger than the one on the G15 and I can sift through the photos right away; I can see whether I like the shot, if it's properly focused, etc. If I like the photo, then I save the photo to my camera roll. From there, I can edit the photos to my heart's content.

After editing, I share my photos on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or wherever I feel like sharing it.

Here are some photos that I took using the Eyefi SD card and the Canon Powershot G15:

The wife was interviewed on TV.

The wife giving a talk on Data Science and Big Data

Macro shot of my iPhone 6+

Note on how photos are saved though: you should remember to delete the photos in the app or else you will have two of each photo and that will quickly eat up your storage. Actually, I also delete the original photos on the the camera roll after I edit them and just keep the edited photos for sharing. In that way, I don't easily use up storage. I am confident that Apple's iCloud has got my back. And also, the original photos are stored in the SD card anyway.

Another point also: the kind of card that I have only transfers jpeg files, so if you only shoot RAW, then you will have to get the Eyefi Mobi Pro. I shoot in both JPEG and RAW formats: the JPEGs will go to my iPhone, the RAW files will go to my Mac.

If there's one thing that's a negative, it's that the iOS app itself seems a little buggy, so I hope the Eyefi will update this soon...

Note that the photos are not showing up...

But all in all, the EyeFi Mobi SD card has given my four year old camera a new lease in life.

It is still Highly Recommended! 

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