These days it hardly seems possible to buy a camera that doesn’t have GPS, Wi-Fi or even a ‘Smile Detection’ mode built in… but do you really need all those extras? And what if you have a camera that is perfectly serviceable but doesn’t offer Wi-Fi or is too old to have it? Well, there is a viable option for retrofitting a Wi-Fi function to your camera; what’s more, this capability has been around for a while but has just undergone a bit of a facelift. With this in mind I decided to give the eyefi Mobi SD card another try, especially now that the company behind it has launched its very own photo storage service in the cloud.
The Mobi card is a standard Class 10 SD memory card that comes in 8, 16 and 32GB capacities but with one important addition. Shoehorned into the plastic casing of the SD card is a custom-designed ARM processor that turns the memory card into a very nifty way of wirelessly transferring your photos to a mobile device or computer so that you can then edit your images using a package like Google Snapseed, Photoshop or some other image manipulation package before sharing your images via Facebook or Twitter.
The brand new software from eyefi works with iOS devices, Android, Kindle or PC and Mac desktop platforms. In essence the Mobi card transmits a Wi-Fi signal that you can connect to using your mobile device or computer. The software then sucks your images from your camera over the wireless connection and then saves it to your device. Many cameras actually have eyefi compatibility already burned into firmware but don’t worry if your camera doesn’t have compatible firmware because Mobi cards will work in virtually any SD slot.
So what’s new with this latest Mobi card? Well, eyefi now offers a Cloud service where you can store an unlimited number of photos for an annual membership subscription of $49. The eyefi Cloud service can sync photos across multiple users and offers the opportunity to let you share your photos publicly. You can use multiple cameras and multiple cards on the same account so that an family can build up a family photo album. Likewise, a work group within a company could also share photos into one album, no matter where in the world they are. If you buy an Mobi card or are already an existing Mobi card user you can download the latest eyefi software and get a 90-day trial period of eyefi Cloud for free. The offer is only available to North American residents at the moment but the eyefi Cloud will be rolled out globally by the end of the year.
Using the Mobi card is actually fun in a studio environment too. I tried out a card in the second memory card slot of my Nikon D7000 DSLR and set up the software on my iPad. This enabled me to see my photos on the iPad screen as I was shooting. It’s actually a very good way of checking picture quality during a photoshoot. Of course I put a large SD card in the first slot of my camera where I was storing shots in RAW file format and I set the camera up so that reduced-size JPEG files were being directed to the Mobi card in my second slot.
A Mobi card is also fun to shoot with on holiday; as soon as you sit down to enjoy a beer or coffee you can turn on your iPad and then connect to the Mobi card and watch your photos being transferred as you sip your drink. Then it’s really fun to edit and post your images using a package like Snapseed so you can straighten, crop and adjust your photos before applying any special effects. It’s so much nicer to be able to polish a good shot rather than having to upload an average shot directly to the internet without editing as is often the case with cameras that have built-in Wi-Fi. A Mobi card is obviously more expensive than a budget SD card but it’s definitely worth the outlay if you like to backup and edit your photos before uploading when you’re on the move.
Mobi Card Prices
8GB card $49
32GB card $99
More details: www.eyefi.com