Earlier this year, my wife and I modernized our digital cameras. I got myself a wonderful Sony RX-100, the subject of a previous article. Her more basic model included a feature that has since been added to the deluxe model of the RX-100: Wi-Fi. At first, I didn’t much care about the extra feature, but now I think it’s a pretty good idea. How to add it to a camera that has no Wi-Fi?
Aha! A new product called Eye-Fi. It’s a Wi-Fi base station built into an “ultra-fast” Class 10 SD card with 16GB of memory. In theory, it provides “instant access on iOS and Android,” and “eliminates the need for cables.”
Great idea! So far, I have moved 3 images from my camera to my computer without attaching a cable. Mission accomplished. Sort of…
The software is not intuitive. It’s not easy to understand. It doesn’t set itself up without causing the user to lose some confidence, and it doesn’t easily do everything it’s supposed to do. I tried three times to set it up on an iMac, carefully repeating each step. The first two times, it didn’t work. The third time, it worked. I went through the same process on the iPad, found myself caught in an endless loop of unclear screens, and gave up. Directions? Nothing in the box, and nothing easily accessible on the web. Click on “Help” in the App’s menu—not an option because “Help is not available for Eye-Fi Center.” Why not?
I think this is a clever product, and if you’re tired of dealing with cable connections between a camera you love that lacks the Wi-Fi feature, you ought to invest $99 in Eye-Fi. When a product doesn’t install easily, and/or the interface is not absolutely spectacular, my confidence in the product’s reliability wanes. Perhaps with experience, my confidence will grow.
Of course, we’ll be seeing more and more wi-fi connectivity associated with photography. I’m intrigued by wireless remote operation of cameras that can be placed, for example, up in a tree. For about $300, Camranger turns your iOS or Android mobile device into a camera control center for many Canon and Nikon DSLR cameras. You can control most features remotely, and you can see the photo or video on your mobile screen.