Tam Nguyen Photography

New York Beauty and Fashion Photographer

Kudos to Eye-Fi and the people who are behind it

Posted on October 4, 2011 in Personal, Photography, Technology

Kudos to Eye-Fi and the people who are behind it

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.

  1. Plugin your card to the computer
  2. Update cards firmware
  3. Setup Direct Mode with desktop app. I put both timeouts to infinity, just to be sure…
  4. 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.
  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. 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?
  7. Start the camera and take one pic. Wait 5-15 seconds. Card won’t initialize Direct Mode unless there is something to do.
  8. 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)
  9. Go to Eye-Fi iOS-app and watch the wonder

Here are some of my new thoughts on the card/app:

  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. The status bar on the bottom is nice; it lets you know what it’s doing without intruding the screen too much.
  4. App is now very responsive and stable; no more random crash.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.


  1. Hi Tam,

    OK, again, very insightful feedback / comments / questions / wishes πŸ™‚ I’ll try to address them below:

    The set-up that you’re outlining above is correct, but it’s been improved, a lot, with ur latest Titanium app. If you just care about Mobile, or Direct mode, you can almost entirely skip the PC in the set-up πŸ™‚ Just check out the latest beta of the app here:


    and while you’re at it, check out the latest web center as well:


    Now, if you want to see the new workflow and set-up / Registration, you’ll need to Unregister your card, from your account, and next time that you insert it int the reader, you’ll go through Registration. But:

    YOU WILL LOSE YOUR ENTIRE HISTORY IN EYE-FI VIEW for that card. Thumbnails and high-res / RAW / movies. They’ll all be in your iPad, and your Mac/PC/sharing site, but by unregistering the card from our system, you’re telling us that it’s OK for us to wipe your card’s history. So that’s a huge caveat. But if you want to see the new Registration flow, you’ll need to un-register. Or, you could get another card πŸ™‚

    Your # (8) is slightly off. Direct mode is no ad-hoc based. It’s Infrastructure based. Our Pro X2 cards DO support ad-hoc, but that’s entirely different than Direct mode. In Direct mode, the card is creating a normal Infrastructure based network, and other devices and PC’s see it as a typical Wi-Fi secured hotspot.

    Geolocation will improve with iOS 5. We’re just limited by what iOS 4 can do.

    In terms of deleting photos, or creating albums — I don’t think that iOS 4 allows for that. Honestly, I’m not very savvy in iOS (I’m an Android guy), but I’m pretty sure that at least iOS 4, is very restrictive in what it allows apps to do, with the photo roll. iOS 5 may be friendlier to developers, but the fact that we can’t do a lot of photo mgmt in iOS, is limited by iOS. Compare our app on iOS, to our Android app…

    Thanks —


    • Tam Nguyen October 5, 2011

      Hi Ziv,

      Again, thanks so much for your reply, along with the useful insights. I very much appreciate you do this.

      I will un-register my card from my account, re-register it to check out the new process. I’m fine with losing the history, as I only use the card to quickly show my clients the photos when we’re on-location. Once I’m done with the photoshoot, I remove all the photos anyway. No need to keep low-res JPEGs.

      As far as creating photos and/or albums is concerned, I believe it’s possible to have the app store all the photos in its local storage. The caveat of this route is iOS Photos app wouldn’t see those photos unless you export them from the app’s local storage. Apple wouldn’t like us to have the cake and eat it too haha!

      When you guys have the feature of having 2 or more cards uploading to the same device simultaneously, I’ll be in for a few more πŸ™‚


      • Ya, that’s exactly right. We chose to not have our own app storage, so that everything will go into the native photo gallery in iOS. So due to that fact — we’re limited by what we can do. But it was the right decision, for the mass market.

        The reason that you can’t have more than 1 card talking to the iPad, in Direct mode, is that the iPad can only connect to 1 Wi-Fi connection, at a time.

        But, you can have a router, and have as many cards as you’d like, upload to the iPad, at once. All the cards & the iPad will be on the same router-based network, and will all upload to the iPad.

        Going to sleep πŸ™‚


  2. Ryan Mark April 1, 2013

    I’ve had nothing, but frustration marked with the occasional moment of functionality with this card. If only it worked more than 5% of the time this would be a game changer.

    My original reader was defective and they sent me a new one, which for whatever reason, constantly ejects itself from all of my three computers I’ve tried it on. The software they force you to use is rudimentary and for whatever reason refuses to play with any of my computers. I’m honestly surprised I haven’t tossed the damn thing in the trash. All I want is the direct mode. Direct to phone and direct to computer. All of the other features are so unnecessary. Just work. That’s all I ask.

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