Eye-Fi is a company that we’ve long loved here at The Phoblographer. They have evolved greatly as they originally let users upload images straight to their computer, then later to their favorite sharing services, and finally then to their mobile device. But the process was always something that was a bit complicated for many. Eye-Fi recently announced their Mobi card–which promised a two step process in order to share your images to your mobile device.
And to be quite honest, we have no problems at all when we say that this is the absolute best card that they’ve put out yet. And the simple brilliance behind it makes using it an even greater joy.
Pros and Cons
– Super simple set up
– Very fast transfer
– Only transfers JPEG images, which is awesome for sharing to Instagram.
– Set up with an iPad can be a bit annoying at first
For this review, we tested the Eye-Fi Mobi Card with the Canon SL1, HTC One S, and the Apple iPad Mini. The Canon SL1 is Eye-Fi supported, and for an extra test we also plugged it into the Canon 5D Mk II via an SD to CF adapter as well as a test with the Fujifilm X Pro 1. We even tested it with the Panasonic GH3.
Specifications taken from the Adorama listing.
- Requires: Mobile devices running iOS 5.1 or Android 2.3 or later
- Supports all Files types, including RAW. Wifi transfer supports .JPEG Photos, .AVI, FLV, MOV, MP4, MPG, MTS, M4V, WMV, 3GP Videos (each under 2GB per file). RAW can’t be transferred.
- Works with your existing camera Just like regular SDHC cards
- Class 10 speeds – Shoot HD video and fast action shots
- Built in Wi-Fi – Transfer photos & videos directly from camera to tablet or smartphone (iOS & Android) anywhere, anytime.
- No Wi-Fi network necessary – Mobi creates its own secured Wi-Fi hotspot to connect directly to your mobile device, anywhere
- Share your best digital camera shots – All your photos & videos land in your device’s photo roll, ready to use with your favorite apps …Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!
- Latest security standards – the wireless network that the Mobi card creates is encrypted with WPA2 security and a unique (to each SD card) password (improved WPA2-PSK plus static WEP 64/128 and WPA-PSK)
- Long range WiFi (90ft outdoors/45ft indoors)
- Cameras with the Eye-Fi Connected logo signify an improved user experience and, in some cases, advanced features
Ease of Use
Veteran Eye-Fi card users will know that setting up the card before wasn’t always a walk in the park for some. It required you to use the special USB dongle to update the firmware, install the software, and configure where the images were sent. Using the software, you could also set it to only send the images you want (essentially by locking the image.)
The idea behind Eye-Fi Mobi is that the computer doesn’t need to be involved at all. Just plug it into your camera, download the app, insert the activation code on your device (found on the SD card case), shoot, and you’ll be all ready to rock and roll.
The Eye-Fi Mobi card connects to your device via Wifi, and connects to it directly using its own built in router. Yes, just like the previous Eye-Fi Pro cards, there is a router built into this card. Unlike the pro, it only transfers JPEG images. If GPS is turned on on your phone, it will also embed the GPS location info from your phone into the EXIF data of the image–therefore giving it real GPS due to the immediate and interpersonal connection.
With that in mind, let’s say you’re on one of those Instagram walks and you want to shoot RAW so that you can edit the images later. The RAW file won’t transfer over via Mobi, but if you convert it to a JPEG in the camera, that JPEG will transfer over to your device and then you can edit it all you’d like to create a better image.
Cool, huh? It worked flawlessly with the Canon Rebel SL1 because it is Eye-Fi supported. So does that mean that the card won’t work with cameras that aren’t Eye-Fi supported at all? To cross all of our Ts and dot all of our Is, we plugged it into the Fujifilm X Pro 1 and our jaws dropped when it sent the images over to my phone with ease. Indeed, it’s wonderful to know that I can port over X Trans Sensor quality to my phone with no problems.
Then the big one came: the Canon 5D Mk II. Amazingly, it worked as well but was a bit slower because the card is inserted sideways instead of vertically–and that makes a big difference. However, it’s nice to know that it still worked.
On the other hand, the Panasonic GH3 has WiFi built in, and the card still worked with no issues.
We had some trouble setting it up with an iPad as we needed to go into the settings and manually change the WiFi access port when it recognized the card. But with an Android device, it was all seamless.
The Mobi has the really cool feature of just working with your tablet or phone. But how practical is that? Extremely practical! You can set your camera to shoot RAW and JPEG and while your client looks at the JPEG images on an iPad, you’ll still have your RAWs as well.
If you’re going to edit your RAWs, realize that sending RAW images over the airways will still take quite a long time. In that case, you’re much better off just connecting it via the SD card port on your computer–which is what I’d do anyway.
But what if you don’t have clients? You can still do the same thing to share your images to the web immediately with your friends. And that is extremely fun.
We have barely anything to complain about with the Eye-Fi Mobi. It is reliable, simple to set up, transfers only the JPEGs and movies (if you shoot those) and you can still work professionally without any major interference to your current workflow. They come in both 8GB and 16GB sizes, and when you consider how simple it is to work with them and the fact that your camera can always be connected if you want, you’ve got yourself a major winner in the way that the world of photography is currently evolving.
The Eye-Fi Mobi is perfect for the person purchasing a DSLR that wants to share their images immediately (and if you have an older camera without WiFi, it’s an even bigger plus) or for people really looking to become bigger on Instagram. Though we admit hat Instagram is all about the creative vision and not the gear, there are certain things that a camera phone just can’t translate–such as the soft lighting from an umbrella and a nice, powerful strobe.
In the end, we have no reason not to award the Eye-Fi Mobi an Editor’s Choice award.
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