Guest Post: Using the Eye-Fi Geo X2 and Pro X2 cards

This is a first “guest post” on my blog. It comes from Jeff – my Nikon and iMac mentor – who purchased the Eye-Fi SD WiFi card combo after I had suggested it to him following a post here.

So here goes.

The setup is supposed to be pretty straightforward, but, with my home network, it was anything but. The first time I hooked the Eye-Fi Geo X2 card in the card reader that Eye-Fi bundles, I was unable to connect to my network. I think that it has to do with my setup. I have two Airport stations in my home, one Express upstairs and one Extreme in the basement. They both have the same SSID to enable me to move around with my laptop without having to switch network, it does it automatically connecting to the strongest signal.

After a little digging and experimenting, this is what I found:

– First, I had to turn off the Express, so that the card would see only one network.

– Then, I had to move my MacBook closer to my router for the Eye-Fi to connect to the network and finish the setup. With the first card (the Geo X2) the card kept being ejected for no reason. After contacting the support folks at Eye-Fi, they told me it was a defective card reader and that they are sending me another one (which I’m still waiting for).

– After the initial setup, I could plug my Airport Express again and move around with my MacBook and the Eye-Fi into my D7000 (you have a cool Eye-Fi option in that camera – nice touch by Nikon).

– If the camera could “see” the router, meaning, if I had a direct line of sight with it, the Eye-Fi worked great, but as soon as I lost sight of the router, like behind a door, it just didn’t work, even if the MacBook was right there just besides the camera.

This means that for the Geo X2 card, you need to be in a pretty closed environment for it to work, like a studio or something similar.

I also purchased a Pro x2 card, and that one has two major advantages. It can transfer RAW files, which the Geo X2 cannot, and it can work in “ad hoc mode”. For those of you who don’t know what that means, here is a simplified version:

Most new computers can create a network to which you can connect other computers. Like a private network, without a router like the Airport Express or Extreme. This is what the Eye-Fi Pro X2 supports. This means that you don’t need that pesky little router in the middle. So, you’re free to go pretty much were ever you want with the laptop or iPad providing an “on the go” network connection directly with the camera (equipped with Eye-Fi Pro). Sweet stuff.

One thing that I noticed is that the transfer speed is somewhat sluggish – ok, I shoot RAW so it is understandable. I changed my settings so that I shoot RAW + JPEG small fine. This way I can see on my MacBook if my shot is decent or not, and keep the time it takes to transfer images to a somewhat more acceptable level.

From there, I point my Adobe Bridge CS5 to the same folder my pictures are transferred to from my Eye-Fi, and I can see them when they come in. You can also use the software that comes with the Eye-Fi to do this by the way. I could send them directly to Adobe Lightroom 3 if I wanted, but since it is just the JPEG that I am transferring, there is no point. (Max’s comment:  I know I know, he uses LR and not Aperture like I do – Jeff can’t be perfect after all LOL).

I think since I do some keywording, file renaming and such, I think I’ll keep the Eye-Fi just to look at the shot in general, the lighting, composition, focus, etc, with the JPEG on my MacBook screen, which is much bigger than the 3” on my D7000’s LCD.

I could see myself using the Eye-Fi card in a studio setup where you have the client waiting to see each shot for approval and you want to make a quick edit right away. That would beat the slow workflow of “take the shot, take the card out, go to the computer, copy it to the drive, eject the card, put it back in camera, don’t mess-up the tripod”. Even if on the slow side for RAW transfer, it is still faster than that workflow I described.

For those reasons, I think The Eye-Fi Pro X2, with ad hoc transfer support, was much easier to work with, and the fact that the card reader that came with my Pro card was actually working helped a lot too.

All in all, the Eye-Fi cards are fun to work with, however they both still remain “gadgets” fun to have, they will definitely help you score points with potential clients and impress friend and family.

– Jeff

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7 Responses to Guest Post: Using the Eye-Fi Geo X2 and Pro X2 cards

  1. tigger1206 says:

    It is a nice gadget to use at home or in studio/control environment (I just add it on my list “of nice to get” on B&Hphotovideo), but I don’t see myself to rely on it if I was on a photo assignment in Africa, Europe, Antarctica, Central America, New-York, London or anywhere else.

    In one of the photo session I had with a professional photographer who shoots for the National Geographic and other magazines, one of the many things we have learned, is that if you bring your laptop on an assignment, you absolutly need a backup similar to a Sanho Hyperdrive, if you brought a 1 Tb portable hard-drive you need a second one, and if you carry 8 memory cards get 4 other ones.

    In other words, paranoia is mandatory, and you don’t trust any of these gizmos because they will let you down at what point or another, but you don’t know when.

    Oh! I almost forgot! Of course make sure you bring a second camera body with you!

    – Vincent

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