Tam Nguyen Photography

New York Beauty and Fashion Photographer

My Thoughts on the Eye-Fi Pro X2 8 GB, Its Issues/Problems and My Solution

Posted on April 24, 2011 in Personal, Technology

My Thoughts on the Eye-Fi Pro X2 8 GB, Its Issues/Problems and My Solution

Read my updated review here.

In case you didn’t know, Eye-Fi recently released their newest technology for their memory cards, the Direct Mode. This new technology allows us to take a picture on our camera, and then have the picture automatically be uploaded onto your computer, your iDevice, or Android device. Here’s a quote from their feature page:

Uploads photos and videos directly from your camera to your iPhone, iPad or Android device in a snap! Get the only memory cards that can do the work for you: the Eye-Fi X2 cards. With Direct Mode, your Eye-Fi card can send photos and videos directly from your camera to your iPhone, iPad or Android device, anywhere you are.

Direct Mode offers the flexibility of anywhere. After a quick set up, take photos wherever you are – then when you’re ready to transfer, just turn your camera on and let Eye-Fi do the rest. The Eye-Fi X2 card will create its own Wi-Fi network and transfer to the free iPhone/iPad or Android app. No matter where you are, you’ll get your photos and videos on your device in no time.

Along with the launch of the firmware, they dropped the prices on all of their products. This was the moment I’d been waiting for since last year. I wanted to be able to tether my camera with my iPad after watching the tutorial video by the guys from FStoppers. Obviously, with the new firmware, you no longer need to get the Pro version to tether on-the-go, but being a gear-head that I am, I decided to go with the Pro version, since it has GeoTagging and RAW support. I placed the order through Amazon, and I got the card 2 days later, thanks to Prime.

I couldn’t wait to try out the new toy. All I’d need to do is sync it, plug it into my camera, shoot away, and the photos would be transferred to my iPad in no time. Or so I thought.

Initial setup was a breeze though. I went to their support website to grab the latest version of the software. Once installed, it recognized my card right away, and wanted to do a firmware update. Sure, why not. After that, it populated all the visible Wifi network it could see, which included my own. Since I wanted to take this to remote locations, I thought I’d skip the home network setup and went straight to ad-hoc setup. On my iPad, I went to the App store and grabbed their official app. When I fired up the app, it recognized my card, and asked me what types of media I want to sync: photos, videos, and RAWs. I picked RAWs; the menu disappeared.

Okay, I guess now it’s time to shoot. Click click click… wait wait wait… nothing.

At this point, I thought to myself, “There’s absolutely no communication from the iPad to the card. How does it know where to upload to, since the card isn’t joined to the home Wifi.” Alright, time to read some manual. It turns out, once you select the card and media from the app, you need to set your iPad to connect to the ad-hoc network that the card created. Fair enough. After reading the manual and spending a few hours messing and researching (Mind you, I’m not computer illiterate; my skills range from designing a working 32-bit CPU to making an Android app to managing users with Windows Active Directory!), the solution goes something like this:

  1. Plugin your card to the computer
  2. Update cards firmware (Should be automatic)
  3. Setup Direct Mode with desktop app. I put both timeouts to infinity, just to be sure…
  4. Disable all other networks from the card as it wants to use normal Wifi instead of DM when possible. This will really mess up the synchronization. Why? I don’t know.
  5. Open your iOS app and login to your Eye-Fi account. Of course with the real Wifi/3G connection, not in cards ad-hoc as you might assume
  6. Pair your card in app. (It kinda forces you to after login). This is stupid! What if Eye-Fi servers are down? Or what if I’m out in the field without any internet?
  7. Start the camera and take one pic. Wait 5-15 seconds. Card won’t setup a Direct Mode unless there is something to do.
  8. Again choose your cards network on iOS settings as you need to do everytime you have lost DM-network. (Shutting camera or whatever reason)
  9. Go to Eye-Fi iOS-app and watch the wonder

Here are my thoughts on the Eye-Fi official iOS app:

  1. The Eye-Fi iOS app seems to be showing raw files (in my case .NEF/D90) as very small TIFF thumbnails – there’s no full resolution view. WTF! I had to enable JPEGs on my camera to see big pictures.
  2. Raw files aren’t geo-tagged (AFAIK, this is applicable to all uses of an Eye-Fi card with RAWs).
  3. In both the iPad and iPhone apps the status bar is a bit touchy; sometimes it responds to being pulled up, sometimes it doesn’t.
  4. Transitions to/from landscape while transfers are taking place are glitchy – sometimes this breaks the status bar, sometimes it breaks the fullscreen view (e.g. can’t go to next or previous image).
  5. There are some UI artifacts when transitioning to/from portrait and landscape (white dots on the periphery – possibly some bad alignment in your nib(s))
  6. Choosing the full-screen preview option in app settings can cause crashes at times.

I decided to give ShutterSnitch a try, since everyone’s talking about it. After first launch, it also asked me to login to Eye-Fi account and pair your card there. Again, what if you don’t have internet or the server is down?! This is when I encountered another problem. The Eye-Fi iOS app was working fine, but when I switch to ShutterSnitch, I get a message from the app “Error – Unable to start the Eye-Fi server”. It turns out, both apps would try to use the same TCP port for receiving media from the Eye-Fi Card and the one that was started first would block the other one from starting (or working correctly). The only way is to “pull the plug” on the other app, which is fine; I don’t plan on using the Eye-Fi app ever again.

Another problem I ran into was I tried to preemptively set up Wifi authentications to the networks where I’ll be, in hopes of boosting up the transfer speed. Failed. I’m not sure why, but when I arrived to the location, the card wouldn’t transfer anything to the iPad, and there was no way I could reset that without its own adapter.

There you have it. These are my thoughts on the Eye-Fi Pro X2 8 GB. Besides the hurdles I had to deal with when I was using their official apps, everything worked out great. I plan on using this setup to tether my camera to my iPad ever time I have a shoot now.

Happy shooting.

16 Comments

  1. THOMAS RIVERA April 25, 2011

    I RECENTLY INSTALLED THIS PRODUCT TO MY LAPTOP ,BEST THING I EVER DID ,VERY GOOD PRODUCT,EASY TO INSTALL QUIK AND CLEAR DOWN LOAD I WOULD DEFINETLY RECOMEND THIS PRODUCT ,I HAVE YOU FACEBOOK PAGE ,I HAVE DISTRIBUTE TO MY FACEBOOK FRIENDS ABOUT YOU’RE PRODUCT ,LEFT COMMENT ON HOW GOOD THE PRODUCT IS ,GOT A LOT OF RESPONCES AND QUESTION WHERE TO BUY IT ,THANK FOR MAKLING SUCH A GREAT PRODUCT…SINCERLY CONNETTICUT RESIDENT.

  2. Bill May 4, 2011

    You need to explain things like how do you “Pair your card in app” – how do you expect us to know what that means???

  3. Kilian Frey June 10, 2011

    Gotta say, every single problem you had, I had as well. This thing is a nightmare to get going. Did you ever find a solution using the eye-fi app, or are you still using Shuttersnitch?

    • Tam Nguyen June 10, 2011

      I still use ShutterSnitch. There have been a few updates for the native Eye-Fi app, but none of them made the app even remotely powerful as ShutterSnitch.

      The only small problem I have is when I’m out in the field, the Wifi tends to drop at times, but it’s much easier to deal with than the Eye-Fi app.

  4. Bill June 10, 2011

    After dealing with CS for a while and after sending me a new card reader which I didn’t need and knew wasn’t the problem, they are finally sending me a new card a it seems to work intermittently – sometimes it’s perfect and other times it just loses the connection between the card and ipad. I use only Shuttersnitch as the eye-fi app has never worked at all.

    • Tam Nguyen June 10, 2011

      Exactly the problem I have. Although, like I said, losing connection every half an hour is a lot better than working with the native ipad app, which doesn’t even work at all.

      We all bought this product knowing it’s still in its infancy. Things were not best tested, and they’re still working out all the bugs. That’s the problem with us early adopters.

  5. Bill June 10, 2011

    Partly true. but they released it WAY too early as I’ve never bought a product this bad ever, especially in the world of photography.

    • Tam Nguyen June 11, 2011

      Well, I’m sure to most moms and pops, this is one great product. You take photos, turn on your computer, click a few buttons, and ZOOM! your pictures are uploaded onto Flickr, Facebook, etc without even the need to know where the SD card goes; can’t ask for more.

      For us professional photogs, it’s a different story. We actually utilize every single aspect and feature of the product to the max, so we early adopters are pretty much their free and real world “beta testers”.

  6. Bill June 11, 2011

    I long for the old days…1950’s and 60’s when they made things like tanks with great pride and everything worked forever…

    • Tam Nguyen October 1, 2011

      Awesome. Another bug I found is even though RAW is disabled in transferring options, the RAW thumbnails are still transferred AFTER the JPG has been transferred.

      • Sounds strange. Can you please give me as much info as possible? Where are you disabling RAW? In Eye-Fi Center, where you’re telling it to only upload JPG’s and/or movies?

        What camera are you using? If the RAW thumbnail is a JPG — it’ll transfer.

        Looking forward to your reply —

        Ziv.

      • Tam Nguyen October 3, 2011

        Hi Ziv,

        I think you guys resolved this bug with your latest card firmware v4.5157 (02 Aug 2011). The iPad no longer downloads both the JPGs and the thumbnails of the RAWs. It only downloads JPGs now.

        FYI, I disabled RAW using the iPad app >> Settings >> Eye-Fi Card Settings >> Eye-Fi Card >> Receive Media >> Photos only. I have the iPad 1 with iOS 4.3.1. My camera is Nikon D90 shooting with RAW+JPG basic.

        Great job! Thank you for looking into this. I’ll soon post another blog entry to keep everyone updated.

        -Tam

  7. Tim March 5, 2012

    I have two comments only.

    1. Get a refund – I did.
    2. This product is not fit for use or purpose.

    Great pity, great idea……

    • Dep March 29, 2012

      It works fine for me. 100% rock solid.

      It does require basic knowledge of computers and WiFi networks but that is it.

      Perhaps that was your problem?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *