Eyefi’s Wi-Fi SD cards have been around for a while, turning “dumb” cameras “smart” by letting them hook up to smartphones and tablets.
With the introduction of Eyefi Cloud last year, the company went beyond being just Wi-Fi-connected SD cards and ventured into cloud storage, taking on the likes of Dropbox, Flickr, Google Drive and every other storage service, at least when it comes to photos.
As more camera makers build Wi-Fi natively into their own cameras, Eyefi knew it had to step up its game. Eyefi’s Mobi orange-colored Wi-Fi SD cards are great for augmenting cameras with wireless, but they’re also pricey: $50 for 8GB and $80 for 16GB. Both include a free 90-day subscription to Eyefi Cloud.
The new $99 Mobi Pro SD card is Eyefi’s best deal yet: 32GB with a free year subscription to Eyefi Cloud. With the Mobi Pro, you’re not only getting more storage, you’re also getting advanced features like RAW file transfers, selective image transfers and direct network uploads. The Eyefi Mobi app’s also received a healthy update with nifty features.
Getting started with the Mobi Pro is exactly the same as it is with a regular Eyefi Mobi SD card. Download the free Eyefi Mobi app (not the original Eyefi app) and then punch in the code on the back of the activation card included in the box. (Be sure to write down the code. If you lose it, you’re screwed if you want to pair it to a new camera or reset it.) The app will then ask to create a wireless connection between your mobile device and the Mobi Pro card.
Then, go out and take pictures with your Mobi Pro-equipped camera. Pictures and video will automatically transfer from the Mobi Pro to your connected mobile device.
If you allow it, the Wi-Fi SD card can then upload the pics (but not video) over a cellular connection to the Eyefi Cloud. I’ve got a capped data plan, so I turned it off and opted to wait until I was back home on my own Wi-Fi network for uploading to the cloud. But if you somehow have an unlimited, non-throttled data plan, the cellular uploading feature is a great way to sync your pictures into the cloud for access on any computer or mobile device.
The “Pro” distinction makes it very clear who the Mobi Pro is aimed at. With the Mobi SD cards, they automatically transferred every JPEG photo that you took with your paired camera. On the Mobi Pro you can still have every photo automatically transferred, but you can also select only the ones you want by toggling the write-protection (usually a little key icon) on the camera. Selective transfers are a little cumbersome, but obviously they’ll get done faster and not gobble up as much storage.
As a Wi-Fi card targeted at professionals, the Mobi Pro also does RAW file transfers. For pros, RAW files are an absolute must; they contain way more information than a compressed JPEG, which means there’s more flexibility when it comes to editing in post-production.
The Mobi Pro is capable of sending RAW files directly to a PC’s desktop, but it can’t send them to the Mobi app since iOS and Android can’t read them. For those devices, instead of the RAW files, the Mobi Pro card creates a device-optimized preview JPEG. The mobile JPEG previews aren’t the full-resolution images, but they’ve got enough detail to share to social networks like Instagram and Facebook.
The other Mobi Pro exclusive feature that the regular Mobi cards don’t have is “infrastructure and direct mode network support.” Basically, the Mobi Pro can connect to your home (or studio) Wi-Fi network to transfer images directly. This feature is really useful if you’re a studio photographer and shoot, say, models and want to transfer your RAW files instantly over to your computer.
Transfers speeds are quite fast. JPEGs moved quickly to my phone and RAW files to my home computer. The RAW file transfers, in particular, aren’t as speedy as offloading them with a USB cable, but you have to take a small speed hit for the sake of going wireless.
Of course, the Mobi Pro memory card is only one part of the Eyefi equation. The other half — and an important one at that — is the Mobi app paired with the Eyefi Cloud.
I had some issues pairing my iPhone 6 to the Mobi Pro card on several occasions — the memory card takes forever to show up as a Wi-Fi network, even when it’s literally right next to my phone — but quitting the app or restarting my phone seemed to resolve them almost all the time.
Don’t be fooled by the Mobi app’s simple design — it’s actually pretty powerful after you get over the initial pairing probs.
The app neatly organizes photos according to the date they were taken and you can tag them for easy searching. You can create albums and sort photos based on what camera you used. I take a lot of photos on many different cameras and seeing all my pictures laid out in a clean thumbnail overview was quite nice.
Any pictures you take and save with your mobile device can also be imported into the Mobi app. The goal, as Eyefi CEO Matt DiMaria told me, is to organize all of your photos in one place, whether they’re from your camera or your phone, and then sync them into the cloud so they can be accessed from anywhere.
Furthermore, you can view and compare EXIF data — aperture, shutter speed ISO, exposure, etc. — for two photos side-by-side within the tablet version. It’s another handy feature if you’re the type who pores over camera settings.
One feature that the updated Eyefi Cloud is supposed to be able to do is automatic image tagging. DiMaria says the online service can scan images and automatically group them into subjects such as food, indoor, outdoor and other common tags. I, however, wasn’t able to try this feature out. Not having to tag everything manually would save everybody a lot of time.
Easiest Wi-Fi photo transfers yet
We’re all victims to taking way too many pictures with our cameras and neglecting to look at them all or failing to share them because the process of manually transferring them to a computer is a pain. Cameras with built-in Wi-Fi and companion mobile apps are on the rise, but few have easy and intuitive interfaces. Samsung, Sony, Olympus, Nikon, Canon — I’ve tried almost all of them and you need a different app for every model. It’s really annoying.
The Eyefi Mobi app and Eyefi Cloud, however, is a dead simple way to get photos from your camera to your phone/tablet and then backed up into the cloud. (So long as you can get the memory card and mobile device to pair and keep them paired.) It’s one app that works with any camera (just make sure it supports Class 10 SDHC cards).
The addition of RAW and selective transfers and home network transfers is sure to entice professional photographers. The $99 price isn’t too steep, either, at least compared to buying a lower capacity Mobi card and the Eyefi Cloud separately.
Eyefi Mobi Pro
Super easy to use • Mulitplatform • RAW file transfers • Selective transfers • Direct transfers over local network
Occasional Wi-Fi connection issues • Selective transfer is clunky
The Bottom Line
The Eyefi Mobi Pro Wi-Fi SD card is a mostly hassle-free way to wirelessly transfer photos off your camera to your mobile device and into the cloud.
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