Last year I got my hands on an Eye-Fi Mobi card. I'd heard massively mixed reviews on Eye-Fi cards, so to be honest I wasn't particularly hopeful on the performance, but even so I wanted to give it a go. I've been using the card for a fair while now, so I'm at the stage where I feel I can write a fair review!
One of the most exciting things about the Eye-Fi Mobi for me was being able to put WiFi transfer into the Fuji X100. The X100 is an awesome little travel camera, so being able to pull files from the Eye-Fi, straight into my phone and then up to Instagram (via VSCO cam) is a real plus.
The above was shot on the X100 and pulled into this post from Instagram.
The free app
Setting the app and card up is pretty straightforward. You download the free app, plug in the activation code that comes with the card, install a profile, connect to the card in the WiFi settings screen on the phone and then you're ready to go. The only thing that I have found frustrating here is that occasionally it can be tricky to see the Eye-Fi card if there is a lot of other WiFi networks around. It seems that sometimes you can get around this by firing up the Eye-Fi app first, then going back to the WiFi settings as this often pushes the Eye-Fi card to the top of the WiFi list.
The Eye-Fi Mobi app is pretty simple to use; once things are set up the app pulls the photos in from the card and from the app you can do a few basic things such as tagging, deleting or saving the file out to the camera roll for editing/posting.
A rough start
I got off to a slightly rough start with the first card which was a little concerning. After taking a shot my Fuji X100 would freeze up then a few seconds later I would get a "Read error" warning on the screen. I powered through until it got to the point where practically every other shot I took on the camera failed to write to the card. A quick tweet to Eye-Fi and a day or two later, a new Eye-Fi Mobi card landed on my desk. It seems the first card was slightly faulty, but the second card has performed flawlessly.
Using the Eye-Fi Mobi
I think one of the key things with they Eye-Fi Mobi card is to understand why you might want to use it. If you're hoping to use if for wireless tethering in the studio, it's probably not the best tool for you (although more on that shortly), if you're hoping to be able to pull shots from your WiFi-less camera, straight to your phone then it's perfect.
The Mobi card only transfers JPEGS, so that does mean that if you want to shoot RAW for editing the files later on you'll need to shoot RAW+JPEG which can eat space pretty quickly. I've found that I can get away with saving small JPEGs which nine times out of ten are perfect for posting to social media.
I don't shoot any press work, however I can imagine that the Eye-Fi Mobi would be the perfect tool for a press photographer. When the picture editor want's the photographs as fast as possible, you could download the photos to your phone on the walk back to the car, then email a few over before setting off for your next job.
I recently got my hands on a D810 and one of the exciting things for me was being able to save RAW files to the CF slot and small JPEGs to the SD slot, containing the Eye-Fi card of course. This is great if im out and about with the D810, but it also makes for a pretty neat way of viewing files quickly, on an iPad in a studio set up.
With the iPad mounted on a tripod (courtesy of the Faith Luvipod), you have yourself a great way of previewing the JPEG files. I can see this being great for shoots with multiple people on set where I want to share the shots with the team on the fly, but it's also great to preview things on a bigger display.
What would make it betteR?
There's a couple of improvements or options I'd love to have to make the Eye-Fi card perfect.
- It would be awesome if the app would instantly move to the latest photo imported when viewing the images full screen.
- Selective Transfer - it's on the Mobi Pro, but it would be neat to have on the Mobi.
- I'd love to use it in my D700, so a CF version (or an adapter) would be neat!
I can see the Eye-Fi Mobi remaining in a camera until I get my hands on a camera with WiFi, that said, the Eye-Fi app is still easier to use for image transfer than some of the camera manufacturers own apps.
- If you're looking for a fast and easy way to get photos from your DSLR/CSC to your phone, buy an Eye-Fi Mobi card.
- If you're looking for a way to preview your photos in the studio, pair it up with an iPad and you're ready to go
- If you're hoping to use it to dump RAW files to a computer, tether to Lightroom wirelessly or anything else more demanding, then Eye-Fi Mobi probably isn't for you. (That said, Eye-Fi have just released the Mobi Pro which allows RAW transfer).