In terms of camera technology, in body wifi is still relatively new. So new in fact that the Olympus OM-D E-M5, a camera that was only introduced about a year and a half ago, doesn’t have it. Luckily Eye fi cards exist to mitigate this problem and work by establishing a wifi connection from your camera to your phone or tablet, allowing you to transfer photos for easy sharing.
I honestly never thought I would care about having wifi in my camera. I always figured, what’s the rush? Why would I need to push a photo from my camera to my phone while I was out in the field? I’ll just offload my pictures when I get home, edit them in Lightroom and then share them on Facebook or Google+. Also, I have an iPhone. If I wanted to share a picture I could just take it with that.
But, it seems like something changed when I began using a small camera. The desire to share high quality photos more quickly became greater, so I picked up an 8 GB Eye fi mobi card from Amazon to see if this was something worth exploring.
3 Reasons I Love Using My Eye fi Cards
Fast sharing of high quality photographs
Recently I was at friend’s wedding. I had the Olympus 45mm on my OM-D. A perfect short telephoto for getting some great shots of the bride and groom. Everyone else was sharing snapshots from their seats with an iPhone. I was able to take some beautiful, high quality shots, transfer them to my phone and immediately share to Instagram (just as fast as everyone else was).
Traveling extremely light
Imagine going on a quick weekend getaway and bringing only your small camera, one lens and your phone. You can travel extremely light, still take beautiful photos with nice shallow depth of field, and share them on the go.
Sharing with family
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been at family get togethers and we use my “nice” camera to take some group photos. Now I can text those photos to family members right away, instead of taking the time at home to offload them and share them later.
This sounds awesome! How do I do it?
1. Download the Eye fi app and register your card
Go to the app store on your iPhone and search for “eye fi”. Download the Eye fi app (I would not download the new Mobi app, during this writing I had problems with it). Upon opening the app it will ask you for the activation code to set up your Mobi card. Follow the prompts and enter the code found on the back of the case your card came in. You’ll be prompted to install a profile on your phone. Don’t worry, this is normal.
NOTE: Save your activation code somewhere safe. You’re bound to lose the case. I save mine in a secure note in 1Password.
2. Set up your OM-D for the Eye fi card
Luckily, this one is super easy. The Olympus OM-D E-M5 actually has built in menus for setting up Eye fi cards. Hit the menu button on the back of your camera, and then go into the Gear menu. Arrow all the way down to “K”, the utility menu. In there you’ll find the menu item to “enable Eye fi card connection”.
3. Take a photo and convert it to a JPEG
It’s important to note that the Eye fi card will not transfer RAW files from your camera to your phone. So, if you shoot RAW like I do, then some extra care has to be taken to transfer your photo over to your phone. Let’s say I shoot 25 photos and I only want to actually share one. In the playback mode of the camera, I find the photo I want to share and hit the “OK” button. This brings up a menu. Here you select “RAW data edit”, and then “Yes”. This will convert your RAW photo into a JPEG, suitable for transfer via the Eye fi card to your phone. You can see in the last frame that the RAW photo has been converted to a JPEG.
NOTE: Since I shoot in RAW, the JPEG profile on the camera doesn’t matter, that is, until you convert a photo to a JPEG in camera. I keep my default JPEG profile in the “Natural” setting.
4. Transfer the picture to your phone
Now that the picture is a JPEG, it’s ready to come over to the phone. Go to the Settings -> Wi-fi on your phone and select the Eye fi card as the network. Flip over to the Eye fi app and your JPEG that you just created in camera will most likely already be transferring over to your phone. The app will automatically save the photo to your camera roll. At this point, you can do what you like with the photo. I usually use the editing tools in Snapseed or Instagram to do a little post processing, straightening, cropping etc. before I share.
That’s it! You’re done! As much as I love my Eye fi cards, I will admit that they can be a bit finicky sometimes. I’m sure I’ll have a camera with built in wifi someday, but for now, the Eye fi Mobi fills my needs.
Do you use Eye fi cards? Do you shoot RAW or JPEG? Have you had problems with them or do they always work perfectly for you? Leave a comment and let me know!
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