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Eye-Fi Pro X2 review

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Eye-Fi Pro X2

Summary

Our Score

9/10

Pros

  • Easy wireless photo transfer
  • Feature packed
  • Much cheaper than dedicated wireless solution

Cons

  • Expensive compared to standard SD card
  • A bit of a fiddle to setup

Review Price £99.00

Key Features: Wirelessly upload photos to computer; RAW and jpg file support; Geotagging; Ad Hoc and HotSpot WiFi support

Manufacturer: 2D Boy

Eye-Fi cards have been around for some time now. The SD card-sized devices not only store your camera's photos on local memory but include a Wi-Fi chip, allowing you to upload your photos to an online store without having to remove the card from your camera. They're immensely useful if working on location as you can also have the files appear on your laptop as soon as they're uploaded.

Now the company has been established a while it has branched out its operation to offer a number of variations on the Eye-Fi theme with Connect X2, Geo X2, Explore X2 and Pro X2. The devices themselves are all physically identical, looking as they do like standard SD cards, but differ in the services associated with them.

Connect X2 is the entry level model offering a 4GB capacity, wireless uploads to your computer and online photo store; Geo X2 adds geotagging (using a Wi-Fi based tagging service); Explore X2 adds hotspot access (just add your 3rd party hotspot log in details and away you go) and bumps the capacity to 8GB; and Pro X2 finishes the range off with the addition of Ad Hoc networking (no need for a third party network) and RAW uploading. All cards can be upgraded to add these features further down the line. So that's the current range, and today we're looking at the top-end Pro X2 so let's see how it fares.

The card itself is utterly indistinguishable from a standard SD card except for its branding and eye-catching orange livery. It comes in a card and plastic box that keeps the device well protected and thankfully isn't a finger-cutting blister pack. Included alongside the basic but sufficiently informative instruction manual is a rather chunky USB-to-SD card reader. We'd have liked to see an integrated USB connector like on the ingenious OCZ Trifecta but we can appreciate that with having to fit a Wi-FI adapter into the card as well, there simply may not have been space.

Setting up the Eye-Fi Pro X2 takes a bit of time, making you install (and no doubt update) the software that comes on the card, register an account with Eye-Fi and set up your initial wireless network, but given ten minutes or so and you should be ready to go. Pop the card in your camera and you can start snapping away, seeing the results appear on your computer as you go. Log into your Eye-Fi account on its website and you'll also find the results ready and waiting for you.

We tested this most basic functionality of the Pro X2 using a Canon EOS 550D DSLR, which like a number of modern cameras natively supports Eye-Fi cards, allowing you to enable or disable Eye-Fi uploads, check what Wi-Fi you're connected to, and see that photos are being uploaded via a flashing Wi-Fi symbol. If your camera doesn't support Eye-Fi cards, fret not, as the card will simply work of its own accord, automatically doing its thing in the background while appearing to the camera like a standard SD card.

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Hamish Campbell

April 6, 2011, 11:56 am

A bit cheeky that ad-hoc is only enabled on the most expensive one, it's not like the other wireless chips couldn't do it, they've just turned it off.

Greg17b

April 6, 2011, 12:32 pm

"..will work in any camera"

Except those of course that just use CF cards, meaning that for my 5D2 it is useless, and judging by a search around, using adaptors won't work either.

I can't really see the market for this besides the 'this is cool' market. Transfer rates are too slow for pros (would you really use 5 mb pictures when blogging? Come on!) and casual users won't use features like this because the biggest market for this will be to upload to Facebook and guess what, people use phones for that.

Still, a neat technology - I suppose you could backup your holiday snaps as you go.

Sean Groarke

April 6, 2011, 12:46 pm

About 12 or so months ago, I tried, and failed, to buy one of these! I'm in France, and their web-site was full of either dead links, or links to suppliers who held the wrong models, or who were charging over the odds, or... Anyway, I ended up contacting the Eye-Fi folks to tell them this: I've got cash on the hip and want to give it to you. Help me do it. They did get back to me, and sounded suitably concerned, but at the end of it all I was never able to buy one of the damn things! Maybe I should try again. But it's a sad state of affairs when a company has a cool product but has no idea how to distribute and sell it.

Ed

April 6, 2011, 1:08 pm

@haim: Yeah, especially as it's by far the most useful for general photography. It's still cheaper than most wireless modules though.

@Greg: The market's huge, for enthusiastic amateur photographers and journalists. I'm surprised it doesn't work with adapters but admittedly haven't had the chance to check. I regularly only use our office 550D on 7MP mode so the file sizes are more sensible for working on a laptop. I could probably get away with much lower as well - the average picture in one of our articles is less than 100KB or 0.17megapixels.

Stelph

April 6, 2011, 2:14 pm

How funny this popped up now just as I am looking at this! This seems quite a clever little card however I can see a lot more potential for using this than just transferring photos, can it also stream videos?

Streaming videos would be a brilliant addition with an ad-hoc network, for example you could use this and a lightweight camera on a Remote Control plane to turn it into a FPV (first person view) remote control plane (as long as you dont fly outside the ad-hoc network :-) ). Also combined with shuttersnitch its one of the few ways you can get photos quickly onto your ipad while you are out and about:

http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab...

lifethroughalens

April 6, 2011, 4:55 pm

I used one of these for corporate event photography and static location based photography - I use it in a 1DMK3 to send small JPEGS back to the laptop whilst writing RAW files to the CF card. I found it useful when I have clients on the shoot who want to be involved in giving live feedback, the smallest JPEGS pop up in a few seconds over ad hoc, as log as your pretty close by. I do wish they would release a CF version though - I would like to use it in my 5D2, in fact I can't believe they have had this product for so long and have simply over looked the more professionally used CF format.

Greg17b

April 7, 2011, 3:19 am

@ed can you please determine the size of the market in terms of size and need? 'Huge' doesn't quite cover it.

Mark83

July 20, 2013, 3:37 pm

I've used... Sorry, I have OWNED an Eye Fi Pro 8GB card for about two years now and it is undoubtedly the most frustrating piece of camera equipment I have ever purchased. I have lost count of how many times the card has corrupted. Ok I get most of the files back with recovery, but that takes up a lot of time. In 3 of my DSLRs I regularly get card errors. Not only that but it also regularly freezes any computer I insert it into. This is a pain in the backside and I have now given up, I won't use it again.

Much of my photography consists of long exposures, time lapse and star trails. I thought the Eye Fi card would be a great way to view what was happening while the camera is busy, so, if for example condensation builds up on the lens, or something else happens which would ruin the work, I would know and be able to adjust. Also when performing long exposures I thought it would be a great way to review the previous image whilst exposing the next. Instead I end up keeping myself busy just trying to get a connection. These applications need EVERY IMAGE; a star trail will have gaps if I can't recover ALL the corrupted images, a time lapse video will be jumpy with frames missing, and all of these techniques use one vital ingredient- time. Something I will not give this useless product.

Quite simply, the system has only worked for me a couple of times over the past two years. If I ever dare to mention I (am trying to) use Eye Fi, people often get interested and want to see it at work. It's embarrassing really because it has never worked in a demonstration, I should really add that in my last day job I was an imaging product demonstrator and often ran photography seminars which would have been a great platform to promote Eye Fi, had I even had the confidence to take the card with me. Of course, I have kept the firmware, and associated software updated which has not helped.

I wouldn't even sell the thing on Ebay, I'd feel for the person who bought it. I expect some of the issues will have been ironed out in the latest generations of the device but this one's a joke and after two years of frustration I thought I'd add my money's worth to the reviews just in case anyone else with a view of using the product for specialised applications thought it would be useful. It wasn't to me.

Alain01

August 10, 2013, 3:00 pm

I have owned an Eye Fi 8GB for almost 18 months and use it with a Sony A65. I don't have the same download speed requirements as some of the other users, so cannot comment on the speeds - I download at the end of a session to an ipad with plenty of speed (sometimes 10 minutes for 100+ photos, but who cares). My frustration was making the ad hoc connection with the ipad (or several) which seemed to be random. In June 2013 a software update appeared on the ipad solving that problem quite nicely. The other 'complaint' I would have when downloading to the ipad is that photos are duplicated in eye-fi and photos which eat up the memory. I don't use the hotspot wifi downloads as these require a paying subscription and i really don't need it. No issues with corrupt photos for me, but haven't worked the card as Mark83 does either.

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