About six months ago, Eye-Fi released their firmware which included a very nice feature called ‘Direct Mode’. What this mode does is it allows the card to create its own ad-hoc network so that other devices can easily connect to, thus transferring photos and videos anywhere from your camera to your iDevices. As an early adopter, I went and bought the Eye-Fi Pro X2 8 GB Class 6 SDHC right after they announced the feature. Little did I know, their iPad app was very buggy at the time. I ran into quite a few problems that made me very disappointed, and I had to opt for a third-party app called ShutterSnitch. I posted an entry explaining all the pain I had to go through a few days after the purchase.
If you read that entry’s comments on the bottom, you’ll notice that Eye-Fi’s Cofounder, Ziv Gillat, had taken his time to reply to my post and was willing to work with me to figure out the bugs. Fortunately, with their latest firmware and latest version of the app, everything seems to be working fine now. I’m not saying the initial setup is any easier than it was, but the biggest bug I was having is now gone. Before, the app would transfer both the JPEGs and the thumbnails of the RAWs from my camera, with the thumbnail being very… well, thumbnail-like. Now, the setting actually works, and I can disable RAW transferring.
The setup process is still somewhat like what I wrote back then.
- Plugin your card to the computer
- Update cards firmware
- Setup Direct Mode with desktop app. I put both timeouts to infinity, just to be sure…
- Unless you’re going to be in your home studio most of the time, disable all other networks from the card as it wants to use normal Wifi instead of DM when possible.
- 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
- Pair your card in app. I don’t know the purpose of this, but they really need to work on this angle. What if Eye-Fi servers are down? Or what if I’m out in the field without any internet?
- Start the camera and take one pic. Wait 5-15 seconds. Card won’t initialize Direct Mode unless there is something to do.
- Connect to the card’s ad-hoc network. You can obtain the passphrase either in-app or in your desktop Eye-Fi Center. Connect to the card’s Wifi in iOS settings. You’ll need to do everytime you have lost DM-network. (Shutting camera off, being too far from the card, or whatever reason)
- Go to Eye-Fi iOS-app and watch the wonder
Here are some of my new thoughts on the card/app:
- Eye-Fi iOS app no longer downloads both RAW thumbnails and JPEGs. This is a massive plus. Also, transferring speed is a bit faster than ShutterSnitch. Wheee!
- RAW files aren’t geo-tagged if your iPad doesn’t know where it is. The GPS data is based on your iPad and not the card. Meh, not that big of a deal.
- The status bar on the bottom is nice; it lets you know what it’s doing without intruding the screen too much.
- App is now very responsive and stable; no more random crash.
- Images look a tad blurry on the iOS app compared to when you view the images on Photos app; however, this is only meant for versatility and quick gratification. If you want nice quality, look at the pictures on your computer.
- There’s no quick way to select multiple photos, nor to delete them. You’ll have to go to your iOS Photos app, select them one by one, and then delete them.
- Wishlist: the ability to create an album in-app; the ability to delete albums/photos; no more need to access Eye-Fi account during initial setup.
Overall, I think Eye-Fi has done a great job on improving both the iOS app and the firmware. I think I will be using their native app from now on, since it feels snappier. I know they are hiring too, so we can hope that there will be a lot of improvements in the near future.
Here’s the video explaining “How To Tether Your Camera To An Ipad Without Jailbreaking” by Lee from FStoppers.