I already knew that there was a memory card that could transfer files wirelessly over the network. However, I did not try it because it was expensive compared to any other regular memory cards, and I was not sure if it really worked. Finally, I had a chance to try the top model of the Eye-fi product line and could firmly say that this is the best product I have ever had for digital cameras or camcorders.
Here is the catch. If you take pictures, this Eye-fi SDHC memory card (inserted in your camera) transfers all the pictures (or the pictures that you chose to upload) if there is an available Wi-Fi network. The Eye-fi not only sends the pictures to your computer, but also uploads the pictures to popular web photo services like Picasa, Flickr, Shutterfly, Snapfish or even Facebook. The wireless network can either be your home network through the wireless router or a public Wi-Fi hotspot. The Eye-fi Pro X2 includes a 1 year subscription of AT&T Wi-Fi hotspot, so you can upload the pictures to your web storage at Barnes & Noble, Starbucks, McDonald's or some airports where the AT&T hotspot is present. This means that even if you do not carry your computer, the pictures will be backed up if there is a wireless network.
Eye-Fi, How it works
Among all the features provided, what I like the most is 'endless memory.' It means that the pictures in the Eye-fi card are automatically deleted after the successful transfer so that there is no 'out-of-memory' happening in your memory card. You can set the amount of free space in the card. Say, if you set it as 50%, once the card reaches 50% full, it starts to delete the pictures that were transferred by the reverse chronological order. This is so convenient.
And I love the geotagging feature. The Eye-fi records the location of the picture taken inside of each picture. The Eye-fi does not have a GPS in it. It uses SkyHook database to locate the place by using the Wi-Fi signal it gets from the place where the picture is taken. The Wi-Fi signal does not need to be a fully open public network. I guess the Eye-fi records the information about the network nearby, compares this information with a SkyHook database and tags the pictures when it does the uploading process over the Wi-Fi network. So, if there is no Wi-Fi signal present, geotagging will not work. According to the information from the maker of the Eye-fi card, this WPS (Wi-Fi Positioning Service) covers 70% of United States and Canada, major european cities, and some asian countries including Japan, Taiwan and Korea. When I used it, more than half of my pictures were tagged correctly and I was OK with it. For the sake of curiosity, I took pictures on the I-57 highway and none of my pictures were geotagged. But when I took pictures in an urban area, I found that most of my pictures were geotagged.
The good thing about the Eye-fi is that it also supports video. I took some videos using my digital camera (Fuji Finepix F70EXR) and all the videos were uploaded to YouTube without any problem. By the way, the F70EXR is not on their Eye-fi compatible camera list, however, it works just fine. I also tested it on another SD memory based camera (Casio Exilim Z80) and a Full HD camcorder (Samsung HMX-20c) and it all worked fine for the pictures. The one thing that I found is that if the video files were recorded not under the DCIM folder, the Eye-fi could not recognize the videos. My Samsung Full HD camcorder records all videos in the VIDEO folder under the root directory and none of the videos (MP4 format. Eye-fi supports MP4 video files) were tranferred. However, the pictures under the DCIM folder uploaded without any problem. I hope this problem will be fixed in the next firmware upgrade.
The Eye-fi Pro X2 which is the most expensive Eye-fi card has 2 features that other Eye-fi cards don't have. It supports RAW files and the adhoc network. The adhoc network means that the Pro X2 and the computer can be connected directly to each other without using any real Wi-Fi network. This is great for situations when there is no available Wi-Fi network and you want to tranfer pictures wirelessly. And if you take most of your pictures in RAW format, the Pro X2 is the only option to go.
The major drawback that I have found so far is that the Eye-fi card drains the battery quickly since the Eye-fi draws its power from your digital camera. Although I did not measure how much battery the Eye-fi consumes, I can easily feel that the battery life of my camera did not last long as it used to be.
Now, I have use the Eye-fi card for a month and have not had any problem so far. The pictures were uploaded to my Macbook Pro and Picasa web album successfully every time and I am not a lazy photographer any more. And thanks to endless memory mode, I have never run out of space in my camera. I am totally satisfied with the Eye-fi Pro X2 and might buy several more for my cameras and camcorders. I can say with confidence that the Eye-fi Pro X2 8gb SDHC card rocks.