Eye-Fi Pro X2 16GB + WiFi Review

Hands-on Report by RonHendriks1966

By PF Staff in Hands-On Tests on Jun 17, 2013
Eye-Fi Pro X2 16GB + WiFi Review

So I won the November 2012 photo contest, where the topic was sports. My entry was the image below of the Spanish team at the European Synchronized Swimming Championship 2012 in Eindhoven in The Netherlands.

The price for this contest was a $100 gift card from B&H and I decided that I wanted something within that budget and something that I would never buy myself. So I took the option to purchase the Eye-Fi Pro | X2 16GB+WiFi card and have it sent to my home address. It took a while, and not being in a hurry I was happy when it came to my address.

This card is the newest generation of Eye-Fi cards, but there are now more brands offering a card with similar functionality.

I had the opportunity to put this card to use for product-photography in the studio. Not the biggest deal, but not having to worry about the files would make things easier, since I’m not the one to handle the images and place them on the web site after I take them.

Installing the Eye-Fi card on your computer is very easy. You put the included card reader in your PC (or MAC) and download the software off of the Eye-Fi card. For that you need the card in the cardreader. Then you open the Eye-Fi centre and make all the settings to your likings such as where the images should be placed on your PC or laptop, which Wi-Fi network to use and how to log into it. You can also specify to upload your images to your personal and free account in the cloud provided by Eye-Fi. Storage in the cloud is limited to 7 days with the free account). And finally you specify which files to upload or not upload.

The power saving timer on your Pentax has to be set to OFF to avoid that file transfer gets interrupted by the camera shutting off to save power and thus ceasing to power the card. This is the only thing you have to do to your camera.

I tested the K-5, K-5 II, K-01 and 645D with the Eye-Fi card and all cameras worked fine. The bigger the files are the longer it takes to upload. Upload isn’t really fast with a speed of around 0,67 MB/s so RAW-files from the 645D may take a while. Depending on the purpose of your image stream you may want to shoot jpg’s when using the Eye-Fi card (two cards in the 645D and writing small jpg's to the Eye-Fi does work nicely).

So where do I use the card? One of the jobs I have is making promotional images for a small chain of jeans stores that have a website where they sell tops and jeans, but they also have brick-and-mortar stores. We do these shoots like 10-15 times a year, but over the coming year this will probably be more often when new customers are coming due to this photo-bussiness. 

Our work flow is nicely set-up, but also very basic in the working. We have my studio set in the back of the store which has turned into a real photo studio over time. Depending on the amount of items to take pictures of we have 2 to 4 models to wear the clothes for the camera. In addition to me as the photographer there is one person helping with dressing the models, one person to handle the computer ensuring that the images go into the system and one person for everything else.

For these shoots I mainly use my K-01 and either DA* 55mm or FA 31mm lenses. I only make JPG large size and 3 star quality so that we have a nice material to work with. We have optimized most of the setting; we just need some changes for the light and background in the near future, so it is not much work to get these images online.

Before I had the Eye-Fi card I put my card into the MAC after the shoot and loaded the files so they could be numbered to match the sales-items. This would be done the day following the shoot. On a busy evening we have a mix for tops and jeans totalling over 100 items and we make 3 images for each item to showcase them properly.

The Eye-Fi card does work nicely in our workflow and saves us time. We have set it up so that all files go directly into iPhoto and that does work perfectly. Now at the end of the evening we have all images with new numbers connecting them to the right items of clothing instead of having to do that tedious work the next day.

There are some things to consider, though. It takes some time to get the file transfer started and it can be interrupted. It did that night one time and it was solved by restarting the K-01 and all file transfers then went okay. The card does connect to the folder in the PC and checks if all files have been transferred so you do not loose any files even if the transfer gets interrupted.

 

Other things to consider:

  • I have no idea how fast the Eye-Fi card burns through your battery, but the battery does deplete faster. This could also be because the camera is set to on all the time and not allowed to power off. Having a spare battery is a good idea
  • The cloud space can come in handy, since all files will be ready and available to handle when you get home. They files remain available for 7 days on a free account
  • If you want unlimited cloud space there is an option for upgrading for $49,99 a year
  • There is an option to have unlimited card space by automatically deleting old (transferred) files once you reach a certain level of card space used. I would not use that option myself, since then you then don’t control your card anymore. I do see that this could come in handy for some people
  • You must give some attention to the transfer. When it stops (for some reason) you can turn off your camera and turn it back on and transfer will resume. It does transfer all images and you don’t loose any off them.
  • The Eye-Fi card reader is essential! You can’t use the Eye-Fi cards in a normal card reader (I couldn’t) so you need the card reader from Eye-Fi to transfer the images to a PC when you don’t use the Wi-Fi connection.
  • The transfer speed with Wi-Fi is slow. Using an Eye-Fi card isn’t the fastest working method when you want to look at your files on a computer for quality-checking during the shoot. Also, with only one card in the camera you don’t want to make RAW+JPG images and transfer them with WiFi at the slow rate of less the 1 MB/s.
  • The card itself is relatively slow. With the Eye-Fi card reader in a USB 3.0 port it only had the speed of 18 MB/s like old card readers in USB 2.0 ports have.
  • For this speed the cards (for conventional use) are really expensive. If you don’t use the Wi-Fi, but mainly use the card reader then for his speed you can have a similar card without Wi-FI for less then a third of the price.

With the caveats mentioned above I can recommend this card!  Here is a link to the card that I bought at B&H.

Have fun and thanks for voting for my picture.

- Ron

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