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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Eye-Fi Explore Video 4GB: Final Thoughts and Now the Pro

As I left off in my previous posting on my Eye-Fi Explore Video 4GB card, I would report back once I took a couple of additional trips. Now that I have completed trips to both San Francisco and Las Vegas -- I have a feel for how I will use the Eye-Fi Expore Video card.

This to me, is extremely important -- there has been a ton of great press on the Eye-Fi series of cards. (Home, Share, Share Video, Explore Video, and Pro) Most of that press has been based on a "basic" use or review of the card and not from what I would consider real-world use. That's critical for knowing how the card and device that will perform when you really need it.

First, I should start out by saying I absolutely love the WiFi uploading capabilities of the Eye-Fi Explore Video card. Now that I have paired my Sprint Wireless card with my Broadband Wireless Router, the Linksys Wireless-G WRT54G3G-ST router -- I can reliably upload these pictures anywhere. And while at times it can be slow uploading pictures from a 12.1 mega pixel DSLR camera, it works extremely well delivering my photos to a number of different locations -- both in the "cloud" as well as delivery to my home PC. Uploading from home with my 25M down 15M up connection from Verizon FiOS is fast and flawless.

I still have not knowingly connected to a WiFi hotspot, but that's ok for now...

Now for the real subject of this post, can I count on the geotagging aspect of the Eye-Fi Video Explore to deliver for me on a consistent basis. Is it consistent enough that I can depend on it to deliver in most situations...knowing it's dependent on an available WiFi connection.

Let's take a look at the 61 pictures I took on our recent weekend trip to San Francisco, taken from a variety of different locations -- shooting with my Canon EOS Rebel XSi DSLR camera. In each case, I followed my standard methodology which is to turn on the camera 30 seconds before snapping a photo -- to enable the Eye-Fi card to find a WiFi signal.

Here were the results...

- Of the 61 photos, 45 were successfully geotagged with a location with pretty strong accuracy. Roughly a geotag success rate of roughly 74%.
- 5 photos taken on Market Street in the heart of the action were not geotagged.
- 8 photos taken at the Embarcadero and Farmers Market were not geotagged.
- A couple of random photos at Fisherman's Wharf and Union Square were not geotagged.
- Generally, great geotagging support at Union Square, Pier 39, Fisherman's Wharf, and especially Chinatown.
- Interestingly, 2 of the photos taken at Pier 39 was tagged as being in Sausalito -- oddly enough. The others were tagged accurately.

Eye-Fi Explore Video 4GB and Eye-Fi Pro Review Image

From my perspective, this is good -- but not great. Overall, after a couple spurious tags (such as Sausalito) the overall accuracy is closer to 70%. Frankly, is not close enough for me to be able "to count on it" without worrying about whether or not my photos will be tagged when I upload them. While it is more of a commentary on the state of available WiFi in various locales rather than on the quality of the Eye-Fi card itself -- it's a key piece of the value proposition of the Eye-Fi Explore and the Eye-Fi Pro wireless cards that's not delivering as well as I had hoped for. Instead, I've determined I will need to turn to an external device to capture the accurate locations of the tags if I want to capture accurate GPS coordinates -- every time.

Even with that outcome from my experience on the geotagging, I am still overall positive about my experience with the Eye-Fi card and it's wireless and uploading capabilities. For now, I will choose to turn off the geotagging functionality -- and really leverage the WiFi aspects of the card as I travel.

Looking at the range of cards the Eye-Fi has -- really the Eye-Fi Share Video 4GB would have been the right card for me. While I don't need the video upload capabilities, the 4GB sized card is necessary for my needs. If I really had my way, an 8GB version of the Eye-Fi Share would be the ultimate product in terms of matching my needs and wants.

Since I have purchased my Eye-Fi Explore Video 4GB, Eye-Fi has introduced the Eye-Fi Pro which introduces support for both RAW photos and Ad-Hoc transfers (which I had mentioned my interest in) in addition to selective sharing and uploading. The catch? It's $149 and there does not appear to be an upgrade capability -- or whether the upgrade is hardware or limited to firmware / software.

I'd be willing to upgrade for a small fee, but not likely to fork out the full $149 for the additional features. Still, I will keep my eyes open for larger capacity versions of the Eye-Fi Share and Eye-Fi Share Video.


Randhir said...

Ken, thanks for posting your review. The Selective Transfer feature is available to all Eye-Fi Cards at no additional charge, so you can begin enjoying that feature now! More details at: