One of the advantages, which we experienced when digital photography appeared on film photography, is to immediately have the visualization of his shot. Since then, a lot of progress has been made to disseminate the results of his photo shoots more and more quickly, as for example with the online photo album hosting services.
The manufacturer Eye-Fi has designed wifi memory cards for digital cameras for several years now. This is the Eye-Fi Pro X2 8GB model, in SDCard format, that we will review in this file.
It is the high-end model of the manufacturer which offers two other wifi cards: laConnect X2 and laMobile X2, with respective capacities of 4GB and 8GB.
One of the advantages of such a card is that it allows you to automatically download the photos it contains to a computer or online storage using Wi-Fi. Furthermore, this card model is capable of storing geographic location information for each shot, to allow GPS location of the photo.
The manufacturer announces compatibility with a very large number of digital cameras on the market, and claims a very simple installation and use. In addition, applications for mobile devices on iOS and Android are available, to promote both the dissemination and viewing of photos taken.
It is in a plastic case with a 175x140x15 cardboard packaging, in the brand's orange and green colors, this book delivers this memory card.
The concept of WiFi, geolocation as well as the capacity and speed of the memory card (SDHC Class 6) are well put forward. You can't go wrong when choosing a store!
The opening of the packaging reveals the presence of the card itself, of an SD-Card reader plugged into a USB port, as well as a small guide for getting started with paper in 3 languages including French.
We notice then that the card which appeared in the foreground, closed packaging, was in fact only a dummy card, the real card both in the card reader, protects in the packaging. However, no protective case is provided to protect the card when it is removed.
The background image of the packaging medium prompts you to directly insert the USB card reader into a PC or Mac computer. These are the instructions given in the installation manual provided. The system requirements are a computer running Windows XP (SP3) / Vista / 7, Mac OSX (Intel) 10.5 or 10.6 (Snow Leopard). Approximately 100 MB is required on the computer hard drive for software installation.
Technical specifications of the Eye-Fi Pro X2
The card is in SD-Card format, with a total capacity of 8 GB, and of class SDHC 6, that is to say an index of minimum writing speed of 6MB / s.
The card supports Wifi networks in 802.11 b / g / n in the 2.4 GHz band exclusively. The manufacturer clearly indicates on its site that the 5Ghz Wifi band is not supported.
Supported WiFi encryption is
- static WEP in 64 and 128 bits,
- the WPA-PSK,
- and WPA2-PSK.
It is possible to register the card on several Wi-Fi networks using the software (Eye-Fi Center) provided on the latter.
The card's Wifi door is advertised for more than 90m outdoors and 45 meters indoors. In order to limit the energy consumption of the camera, the manufacturer announces that it has put in place a device optimizing the resources necessary for the card, without further details. It must be understood that it is the battery of the digital camera that will supply the energy necessary for the WiFi transmission.
In addition to transferring photos in JPG or RAW format, the card is also capable of transmitting videos, whether to a computer or to online sharing sites. Attention for the videos, it is not a question of direct transfers of the video which one realizes (that is to say in the course of writing), but rather of the video file realized (that is to say finished writing).
Geolocation is, meanwhile, carried out using wifi points already geographically shown.
The installation software is available on the memory card itself, as well as by downloading from the manufacturer's site.
We have installed the software in a Windows 7 64-bit environment and in a Windows XP 32-bit environment without any particular concern.
Once the USB card reader equipped with the Pro X2 card is inserted in the computer, the installation of the Eye-Fi Helper software version 3.2 sexcute.
The next button clicked, the license agreement accepted, then the valid installation path, the installation software runs independently without additional user intervention. It then automatically runs another software called Eye-Fi Center:
On our test computer, Adobe AIR software was not installed. A message then invites us to proceed with its installation which proceeds in the same way as the installation of Adobe Flash or Adobe Acrobat Reader.
Once the installation of Adobe Air and the Eye-Fi Center is complete, and without any additional intervention, an update of Eye-Fi Center to version 3.3.0 is detected on the Internet and we are invited to proceed with its installation.
A single click on the Download & Install Now button will download and upgrade the Eye-Fi Helper and the Eye-Fi Center.
On this occasion, and depending on how the computer is set up, you are invited to authorize the Windows firewall to make all the software functionalities functional, and communications checks are carried out to ensure that everything is properly installed.
The SD card is then detected by the software as an Eye-Fi card:
We can finally launch the Eye-Fi center, which opens with a user tip message:
The software is then functional.
Configuration of the Eye-Fi card: Wifi private networks and public networks
To be able to configure the Eye-Fi card, it must be present in any SD card reader. The one provided by the manufacturer is not compulsory since we were able to execute its configuration in the SD-Card reader of our DELL laptop having served as an opportunity for these tests. However, the provision by Eye-Fi of an SD card reader connected to a USB port is a very good initiative.
It is first of all a question of defining the wifi networks to which the card can connect. Several encryption protocols are supported and it is possible to detect all the surrounding networks or to manually enter a network that is out of door:
It is thus possible to define up to 32 private networks to which the card will be authorized to connect.
But when outside, it is also possible to connect to open public networks. For this, an option is available to indicate if the card is authorized to transfer photos via this type of network.
Eye-Fi card configuration: Wifi Direct-Mode
Finally a third Wifi transfer mode is available: this is Direct Mode. In this mode, the Eye-Fi card creates an Ad-hoc network protected by WPA2, the 802.11n Wifi standard on which an iOS or Android device (such as Smartphone, iPod, tablets, etc.) can connect.
The photos will then be directly transferred there.
Eye-Fi offers the appropriate applications on each site for each of these environments, in particular allowing them to be viewed on their mobile device.
If it is a device accessing the Internet with sufficient speed (for example 3G in HSDPA), it becomes possible, even in the wilderness, to send to sharing sites, its shots, or simply to start looking at the photos taken on a notch larger than that of the camera used to take the photograph. It then becomes possible, in landscape photography for example, to envisage a little more in-depth field work by deciding, if necessary, to produce a new series of views.
Selection and management of transferred formats
Cameras, depending on the model, take photos in JPEG format and also in RAW for SLR cameras. It is possible to define for each of these formats the options for transfers and remote storage, and this independently of each other.
Thus, the two PhotosetRAW tabs each offer two similar setting screens where we will be able to define the storage location on the computer which will receive the photos and how they will be sorted: a sub-folder by date, the date format so customizable, or put everything in one single folder.
Publishing on the Internet can be done through popular platforms such as Facebook, Flickr, MobileMe or Picasa
but also on other more or less known:
You can also define the sharing of photos to your own FTP server site. Thus, the latter, coupled with a NAS (of the Synology type such as those already present in our previous files on the DS211jet le DS1511 +), it becomes easy to share family or SME photos, using the PhotoStation software package included, without using an accommodation solution. by a third party.
LongletVidos takes exactly the same settings as for the other two, but in the Publish section, we also find in sharing sites, the inevitable publication support on YouTube.
Eye-Fi card configuration: transfer mode
The Eye-Fi card supports different policies for transferring photos that have been taken, applying all or part of the photos.
Thus, the automatic management mode allows the complete transfer of all the photos taken to the designated computer and the online sharing site where appropriate. This mode is activated by default.
But it is also possible to transfer to the sharing site only the photos selected on the camera using the option of Protecting the photo taken from the camera, while transferring all the photos taken to his computer. Finally, it is also possible to transfer the selected photos to the computer and the sharing site chosen where appropriate.
In the presence of a WiFi point or an Ad-hoc connection, it is possible to activate a specific mode, called Unlimited Memory.
The purpose of this mode is to start erasing files from the card that have already been transferred. This mode can be useful in the event of large photo shoots or following a report where there has been little opportunity to empty the memory card.
For the photos to be sent to the chosen computer, it does not need to be turned on at the time of transfer, that is to say in the idea, at the time of shooting. Indeed, Eye-Fi offers a space for temporary storage (7 days) on its site, named Eye-Fi view. It is this space which is used by the option whose object is called Relay Transfer which is automatically activated when the Access Points or Eye-Fi view options are activated and which is used when the recipient computer is switched on.
When the computer receiving the photos receives them, a notification, in the form of a thumbnail displayed at the bottom right of the screen, shows a preview of the photos downloaded, as well as their number.
Eye-Fi card settings: Eye-Fi View and Notifications
Eye-fi view is a temporary space provided by Eye-Fy. It allows viewing and transit of the photos taken and then transferred, for example, the opportunity of the presence of a known private Wi-Fi point or an open Wi-Fi point, when shooting.
This space can be reached by viewing with a simple web browser and the identifiers provided for the installation of the Eye-Fi Center software. It then becomes possible to show your photos to anyone
but also, using the Sharede menu, select photos that can be sent directly by email or shared on the online sharing platform (Picasa, Facebook, etc.) defined when configuring the Eye-Fi card, or to download directly the photo with the optionDownload. In the latter case, we recover a .ZIP file containing all of the selected photos.
By taking out a monthly or annual subscription, it is possible to make this storage space valid for a period longer than 7 days: we then have an Eye-Fi Premium account. The cost at the time of this test is 49.99 for a year and 4.99 for a month.
In the Notifications configuration tab, you can have a Tweet sent to you, a message on your Facebook wall or an email when the download of online content is complete.
Photos can be geolocalized when shooting under certain conditions. Indeed, once the option is active in the configuration of the card, the latter memorizes the surrounding WiFi points when the photo is transferred.
The photos once transferred to Eye-Fi, this information is decrypted from the base of the Wifi Positioning System (WPS) and the geolocation is then carried out on a Google Maps.
If the transfer takes place in the vicinity of the shot, this poses no problem but if, on the other hand, the transfer occurs far from the shot, the geolocation is inaccurate.
Thus, we carried out a series of photos during a garage sale event, at the edge of a lake in a fort, in other words far from any Wifi point! On our return, without any problem, but with a certain delay because of the number of photos, these were transferred with the location of our transfer location!
Unfortunately, it seems that no possibility is given by the Eye-Fi Center (the software or on the Eye-Fi website) so that the user can correct the case concerning the geolocation data. It is then necessary to go through third-party software to achieve this.
There is therefore no question of the Eye-Fi Pro X2 card replacing a GPS head dedicated to the camera, but it can nevertheless be useful in situations of metropolitan photography where there is a good density of wifi networks .
Once the settings have been made, insert the card into a camera and take your photo shoots. We were thus able to take photos in different cameras that we used during our tests with SLR cameras: Nikon D80 and D90, but also with an old compact: the Canon PowerShot A710is. We had absolutely no problem of compatibility for the shooting: the card was supported without particular manipulation, despite an insertion and especially an extraction of the card a little tricky in the 2 Nikon cameras used: the card hangs a little in the housing housing.
Eye-Fi offers a list of compatible cameras on its site unfortunately! Indeed, while the wifi transfer knew no problem with the compact from Canon and the Nikon D90 (rflex camera), we had to search the knowledge base Eye-Fi to understand why the Nikon D80 (rflex camera) does not transfer photos.
Setting up the Nikon D80
It should be understood that the WiFi power supply of the card is supplied by the battery of the camera in which it is inserted. Obviously, the internal power circuit of the D80 requires that the setting of the exposure measurement and the display in the viewfinder is not set to 6 seconds as it is by default, but to 30 minutes for transfers to proceed without problems. This is not the case on the Nikon D90 from the same manufacturer.
It will therefore be necessary, in case of problems with its photos case, to refer to the support of Eye-Fi or the community of Eye-Fi card users.
The speed of the card (SDHC class 6) allowed us to support transfers when we do not use the wifi mode, but also to take pictures in bursts with the same fast pace as our SanDisk Extreme III 4Gb card of class 6 also.
Obviously, the question of the autonomy of the camera arises when we think of the usual excessive consumption of Wifi (in any case superior in general to Bluetooth for example).
It must be recognized that on the Nikon D80 and D90 cases, the overconsumption was not really felt compared to a non-WiFi card, but their respective batteries are very enduring.
Regarding the compact Canon A710is used, which works on 1.5V R6 batteries, (on top of that we were using rechargeable NiMh from the market), we seemed to take a little less photos than usual with these same batteries.
As for the autonomy in terms of shooting without unloading the card, the 8 GB leaves the possibility of taking more than 1000 photos with a Nikon D80 or D90 in JPEG with maximum resolution and even more with a compact such as the Canon used. JPEG Fine on a D80 or D90 we reach almost 500 possible views in the maximum resolution of the camera
Suffice to say that in conventional use, even without WiFi, the card offers a comfortable space. If we add to it the presence of a WiFi point allowing the use of the unlimited Memory mode above, we can consider having an effectively almost unlimited space in event photography such as a wedding, an anniversary, a live show, etc.
Our opinion on the Eye-Fi Pro X2 card
After these numerous photographic sessions and manipulation of the Eye-Fi center software, our impressions are rather good. Admittedly, it took us a little time to get used to the software and its functions, especially since the help seems practically only available on the Internet (essential connection), but accessible by simple click in the software. This help is often in French but sometimes the pages appear in English.
Instant transfer of photos during shooting already exists with many manufacturers of reflex cameras, but prices generally more expensive or / and not always in the form of WiFi transfer but rather using cables.
So, effectively, this card allows a great freedom of transfer of photos, without using the traditional USB cables or the extraction of the memory card to put it in a computer reader. It is an undeniable advantage. But the direct reading of the card (by cable or by card reader) remains the fastest solution for those who prefer speed above all, to the detriment of the convenience of handling. This type of transfer is naturally possible with this card, so it is a feature that it brings. Thus, it becomes easily possible, during an event or an evening with friends, to project, for example, almost instantly the photos as they are taken. , but also to empty your memory card during a trip where you only have your camera, but where you are brought to meet open WiFi points
As we can see, this card can provide a response to very specific situations, while providing the same services as a standard card, even a little more when you are in areas covered by WiFi points localized by WPS. It is a more economical solution than the integration of a GPS chip, but it does not replace it if there is an absolute need for localization in all circumstances.
In view of all of these remarks, and with a price close to 100 euros at the time of this test, it is a product with a quality / price / service rendered ratio very interesting, which deserves to be discovered.
- the possibility of localization
- WiFi transfer with or without WiFi terminal (Ad-hoc mode)
- photo-sharing capabilities and the Eye-Fi view system
- the large capacity of the card
- the speed of the card
- the originality of the product, which always arouses curiosity and exploration of possibilities even after a few weeks of testing
- documentation a bit messy in places
- some approximate translations or not finalized or not yet completed
- the impossibility of modifying the geolocation directly in the software when it is wrong
7.3 3.6666666666667 5
Score out of 10