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Wifi card options for M43 cameras (mostly olympus)

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by robbie36, Oct 19, 2012.

  1. robbie36

    robbie36 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2010
    rob collins
    By some accident have ended up with 3 different wifi SD cards the...

    * 8 GB eye-fi pro x2
    * 8GB Toshiba FlashAir
    * 8 GB Ez share card

    So here is a brief review of how they work with Olympus cameras (OMD and EPL5).

    First of all a couple of words of warning. None of these cards is inherently fast - class 6 I believe. Eye-fi have just announced a class 10 16 GB card but even that does not match the fastest write times of certain SD cards. This is a deal breaker for some people. It obviously doesnt bother me much - I have never run into any buffer problems even taking multiple photos for HDR.

    Secondly I wouldnt recommend these cards for transfering RAW photos to a PC or tablet because transfer by wifi is simply too slow. Wifi transfers about 20 jpeg photos a minute. I shoot RAW + jpeg and transfer my jpegs to my ipad via wifi (for review, sorting and tagging).

    The wifi card that everyone has heard of is the eye-fi card. It works differently to the other two cards. It is designed to 'push' or 'transmit' photos from the camera to a pc, the internet or a smartphone or tablet.

    It has a reputation for being troublesome and flakey. Principle problems are...
    (1) It is reasonably tricky to configure properly at set up with the eye-fi software.
    (2) Users often have connection problems at home because their home network overrides the cards network on their tablet which needs to be manually selected.
    (3) The connection is dropped if the camera goes into sleep mode which can happen quite often during transfer.

    The card itself is toggled off and on by a menu in Olympus cameras (and the card is compatible with all the current range of cameras). The card has to be set up on the PC to either transmit 'all' or 'selected' photos - photos are then selected in camera using the protect key. There is no ability to preview photos in camera on a smartphone (prior to download) or select from your smartphone/tablet.

    At first glance these restrictions might make the 'eye-fi' seem an unattractive option. However, it does have a number of advantages over other cards. The card can be configured to just download jpeg from a RAW + jpeg shoot. (The wifi on the GH3 for instance will only let you download 'all' photos.) The card can be configured to work with Shuttersnitch and Photosmith Apps which are two popular mobile workflow progs. (In particular the Photosmith App enables you to circumvent the irritating problem that the Apple IOS renames your files when it saves them to your camera roll - this is a problem if you are syncing metadata changes to your jpegs back to your RAW files on your computer.)

    The eye-fi card works well once you have got it set up properly and you are used to using it. I will be sticking with it for my OMD.

    The Toshiba FlashAir works in conjunction with the new EPL5 and EPM2 as well as the Olympus App. Rather like the eye-fi card it has to be switched on in the camera. Considering no other Olympus cameras are compatible with it (and I doubt any Panas are) it simply wont work in those cameras (I tried putting it in the OMD but nothing happened.)

    The FlashAir card works in a different manner to the 'eye-fi'. The 'wi-fi' allows users to access the SD card from the smartphone/tablet and then 'pull' photos into the smart device to be stored. You can access the photos through your web browser but it is best done via the Olympus app.

    Setup takes 30 seconds. The connection is very robust and never drops even if the camera goes into sleep. You can preview (on a full ipad screen) your shots on the EPL5. The App only reads jpeg files (so you dont get two files if you shoot RAW + jpeg and you dont get anything if you shoot RAW.) Files can only be downloaded by selecting and downloading one at a time but at least you get a small preview of each file to help you choose. With the Olympus app once you have downloaded the file you can apply one of 12 Oly art filters to the photo. Another great advantage of the FlashAir is that it can be accessed from any number of smart devices (all you need to know is the password to the network connection).

    The FlashAir works great at what it does. It is a breeze to use. If you want to view the photos you took on a large screen or download a couple of pics and email them to someone it works virtually seamlessly with your smart device and anybody elses.

    Finally the EZ Share SD card. This is actually very similar to the FlashAir - it works by accessing the card via wifi from the smart device and then 'pulling' the photos into it. To switch this little card on and off there is a little switch on the side of the card itself. This means that it should work with any camera. It doesnt have any dedicated software (yet?) and sadly the Oly App doesnt recognize it. It sets up as easily as the FlashAir (less than 30 seconds) and all you do is go to your browser, once connected (to the card not the internet) and type in ez.com and your files on the SD show up with small previews.

    It is possible to look at large full screen previews of your files but it is a pain unlike the Olympus App. Downloading is better as it allows you to select several files at once (or in fact, all files) although if you shoot RAW + jpeg both RAW and jpeg files are shown. Like the FlashAir the Ez Share can be accessed from any device and, of course, you dont even have to download an App to use it. If you want to use wifi to simply download a few jpegs that you have just shot to immediately email out to someone or simply add to your device, you could find this handy.

    So that's about it really. Over the longer term one suspects that all these cards will be rendered redundant by in-camera wifi systems.
    • Like Like x 8
  2. Zariell

    Zariell Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 28, 2012
    Bountiful, UT
    I hated my eye-fi with a passion, I had multiple failures to the point where I spent over an hour with their technical support team, finally I just deleted the software from the machine and keep the card as a third backup. I do like the idea of wifi options, and I do the the potential for the eye-fi to work if they get their software to its full potential, honestly though I would like to see an in camera option.
  3. robbie36

    robbie36 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2010
    rob collins
    ....others have said the same...

    Yes I have heard similar stories before.

    I dont actually use the Eye-fi software and I believe that 3rd party developers have built much better, more robust software. Shuttersnitch is probably the most loved software for eye-fi and users dont seem to run into too many problems.

    Eye-fi is best configured to either upload photos to your PC OR your smart device not BOTH.

    Incidentally the 'eye-fi' handles one particular problem with regards to the ipad. I really dont want to put RAW files on my ipad as I am not going to do any serious editing on it. So all I want is to transfer jpegs. No M43 cameras have 2 SD card slots to shoot RAW and jpeg separately. The ipad camera connection kit only allows you to ingest both 'RAW + jpeg'. So, as far as I know the 'eye-fi' card is the only practical way around this problem. (Incidentally it is pretty poor thinking from Panny to have implemented wifi on the GH3 without the option of shooting RAW + Jpeg and then sending only the jpegs via wifi.)
  4. longimanus

    longimanus Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 29, 2011
    Madrid (Spain)
    Thanks Robbie really interesting.

    How about battery use for each one?
    Which will you recomend for OMD?
    And about price-quality relation?
  5. Gwendal

    Gwendal Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 6, 2010
    Excellent text - two things I'd add regarding the Eye-Fi:
    - it has an interesting WPS option : geotagging images according to WiFi spots detected in the area. Only works in urban areas of course, and far from perfect, but a good addition nonetheless ;
    - I have stopped using mine because I get on about 10% of my photos a "card error" message. I then have to turn off and back on the camera, and by then the shot is lost...
  6. robbie36

    robbie36 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2010
    rob collins

    I dont think battery usage is a particularly big issue.

    For instance you might use the FlashAir to take photos and then stop for lunch when you switch on the wifi so that you can go through your photos on your ipad's large screen. The camera will go into sleep but the wifi will still broadcast. It will obviously use battery but I suspect a lot less battery than if you were looking through photos on the LCD screen on the back of the camera.

    With the eye-fi card I mostly just switch it on to download all my jpegs and then switch it off.

    For the OMD you only have a choice between the EZ share and the eye-fi card. Which card you choose should really depend on what you want to use the wifi for.

    If you want to duplicate the functionality of FlashAir then the EZ Share card is best. Simple set up, very robust connection, preview small jpegs of photos and download 'selected' photos.

    If you are interested in 'serious wifi connectivity options' (insert pompous icon) that say 'Shuttersnitch' or 'Photosmith' has to offer then 'eye-fi' is the way to go. 'Shuttersnitch' offers an ipad 'tethered' solution (it is interesting but I dont actually use it). Photosmith I use the whole time - it allows me to sort -flag, reject, color, star and tag my jpegs - and then sync this 'metadata' to my RAWs in Lightroom. That way all my RAW files are already sorted (and most deleted) before I start editing at my computer.
  7. robbie36

    robbie36 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2010
    rob collins
    First of all good point about geotagging. My ipad has GPS receiver which can work in the background to record data say every 2 minutes - it should be able to work in the background while the ipad itself is asleep and the screen black using very little battery.

    Now as I am importing jpegs to my ipad from camera it should be able to match that information and geotag my photos. These geotags can then be synced to my RAW files in LR on my PC when I sync later.

    Actually I can achieve this all now but it is all a little 'klunky' and actually easier to do on my PC. Photosmith say they are working on it. It is a fairly simple 'metadata' addition that I suspect can fairly easily be added.

    The 'card error' message I havent heard of before - maybe a format?
  8. longimanus

    longimanus Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 29, 2011
    Madrid (Spain)
    Thx again Robbie.

    I was looking for some way to transfer some shots to iPhone for fast email; nothing serious just kids shots, etc for family, friends.
    I think eye-fi are interesting but to expensive for the use I plan.
    I will take a look to EZ I suppose will be cheaper.
  9. robbie36

    robbie36 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2010
    rob collins
    If that is what you want wifi for, the Ez Share is the better option.

    All you have to do with Ez share is....
    1) Take photos with EZ share - no configuration necessary
    2) Logon on to wifi network with phone in wifi settings (will happen automatically if no other configurable wifi available.)
    3) Go to your browser (safari) - open ez.com - select photos from small previews and download.
    4) This can be done from any smart device or computer.

    This is far better than eye-fi which (1) first needs to be set up and configured at your pc (this can prove tricky - see post above) (2) your iphone needs to download 'eye-fi' app and configure (3) photos for download have to be selected on your camera (using the protect key) (4) photos can only be downloaded once to one device.

    Unfortunately the EZ share is just as expensive as the eye-fi card.
  10. arentol

    arentol Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 29, 2012
    I use an Eye-Fi 8GB PRO with my Sony RX100 (EDC), and an Eye-Fi 16GB PRO with my E-M5 (serious shooting). I shoot JPEG or RAW+JPEG on the RX100, depending on other settings, and RAW+JPEG on the E-M5. Both of them were incredibly easy to set up and they both sync (JPEG's only) to my Motorola Xoom quickly and reliably. I could not be more pleased with how effective they are, and my friends and family love to see the photos I take almost as soon as they are taken. It is also great at work functions, impresses the heck out of people. :smile:

    I wouldn't say that is far better. As a matter of fact based on your description I find it to be much worse.

    Quick rebuttals:
    1.) This takes 10 minutes max and you only need to do it again when you get an additional Eye-Fi card, and then it takes only about 2 minutes.
    2.) This is trivial, takes only a couple minutes to set up from start to finish.
    3.) Not if you just tell it to move them all.
    4.) This is a very minor issue at worst since most people will be using the immediate upload feature only as a temporary quick-access feature, not as their only way of moving photos from camera to multiple devices.

    The Eye-fi is way better for someone mostly looking to upload photos quickly and easily. You don't need to do ANYTHING to get the photos on your phone once the system is set up ( which takes less than 15 minutes). Just take the picture, leave the camera on for a bit longer than normal, wait a minute for the photos to appear in the Eye-fi app, pick the best one from the full-size photos that are already available to you on your phone, and email/upload them directly from the app itself to your friends, facebook, picasa, smugmug, etc.... or indirectly via your normal process.

    Sorry, but the description of EZ Share above sounds WAY more complicated to me.
  11. Zariell

    Zariell Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 28, 2012
    Bountiful, UT
    I am of the opinion that I had a bad card, what would happen is it would transfer a couple of images, then it would hang midway through an image, and nothing done would make the card transfer anything else. I tried using different PC's, different routers, and the result was always the same. And Eye-fi would never admit it was a bad card, they just kept me jumping through hoops and would never authorize an exchange for a new card, so I gave up.

    It's annoying the one feature I loved about my old Canon was the ability to shoot tethered, I do a lot of toy, still life, with complex lighting, and since Olympus doesn't have tethered shooting, I have to either trust the camera's rear screen, or I have to take a few shots then yank the card so I can evaluate on my monitor.
  12. robbie36

    robbie36 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2010
    rob collins
    The good news is that I managed to get the Flashair card (which I previously had working on the EPL5) to work on the OMD. It needs to be reformatted if you change cameras.

    It also works with the Olympus share app (IOS and Android) which lets you browse your card (rather slowly) in full screen, download photos individually, email and apply Oly filters (as well as to other photos on your camera roll).

    The wifi broadcast is on by default which obviously uses battery life and cannot be switched on and off in camera like the EPL5. You can, however, witch it off manually through the 'write protect' switch on the card itself. I think the Oly app only reads jpegs.

    Unlike the eye-fi card the Flashair can be accessed via multiple devices.
    • Like Like x 1
  13. uci2ci

    uci2ci Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 22, 2012
    Los Angeles, CA
    Do you know if the Flashair can be used with ExpressCard SD readers? I returned my Eye-Fi because it was incompatible with expresscard reader in my laptop, meaning I had to use that god awful orange dongle that came with the card all the time.

    Where did you get the Flashair card from, BTW?
  14. robbie36

    robbie36 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2010
    rob collins
    Actually my points about the cards were slightly different.

    I agree with you that if you want 'automatic' download of 'all' your images then 'eye-fi' is the best and only way to go. This is exactly what I want and why I use it. In fact I think it is the only way to easily transfer 'all' your jpegs.

    If however you only want 'selective' transfer - namely to transfer a few individual images (or simply the image that you had just taken), then using the 'selective' transfer process with eye-fi is pretty klunky (and setting 'selective transfer' precludes download of all images without reconfiguring the card) and downloading all images and then selecting a couple is overkill. EZ share or better still Flashair (now that I can get it to work on the OMD) is a better option.

    As far as set up goes. You might have found it easy and I havent really had any difficulties but many people have - there appear to be quite a few eye-fi cards sitting in draws unused. (The connections also used to be a lot more flakey than they are now - connections also often drop if the camera sleeps.)

    And simply put, the Flashair requires no configuration at all unless you want to change the SSID and password from the default settings to your own personal setting for security purposes.
  15. robbie36

    robbie36 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2010
    rob collins
    No idea, I'm afraid on the compatibility. Surprised the eye-fi didnt work.

    I got my Flashair from the local camera shop that I bought an EPL5. But I live in Thailand, so that's not much good. I would guess that ebay has them.
    • Like Like x 1
  16. Innadir

    Innadir New to Mu-43

    Jan 6, 2013
    Excuse me I just bought EZ Share Card 16GB Class 10 and use on E-M5 and the camera show "Card Error" So I try to format via the Camera but can't then I try with my Desktop Computer it 's OK

    so I use card on E-M5 again then "Card Error" :( 

    and I try to use on my E-P3 it together working with EZ Share

    What happen with this problem ?
  17. robbie36

    robbie36 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2010
    rob collins
    Well here is another wifi SD card. This time from Transcend. I actually think this might be the best wifi card solution for many users. I think it is also the cheapest at around US$60 for a 16GB Class 10 SD and US$90 for a 32 GB Class 10.

    Here is a video showing how it works with its App.

    Transcend Wi-Fi SD Card Walkthrough | Mirrorless Central
  18. Richella

    Richella The Wandering Scotsman

    Aug 21, 2011
    Kuala Lumpur
    Have you had opportunity to try this card. The video makes it look fairly simple?
  19. robbie36

    robbie36 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2010
    rob collins
    Well sort of. I was out with a friend today and he bought an omd and the 2 Panasonic zooms and the only wifi sd card available in the mall was the Transcend card. So he bought that.

    I had my ipad with me, so I downloaded the Transcend App and we tried it out while having lunch in the mall. It is impossibly easy to setup (unlike the eye-fi card which is my go to card) and what impressed me is how fast it seemed. If you watch the video it does seem to work that fast. And that fast is fast compared to the other cards I have used.

    If you notice from the video it also has a 'tethered' function where you shoot and the shot appears on your screen which no other wifi card has although it can be achieved with an eye-fi card and the 'shuttersnitch' app. Didnt try this function.

    One particular drawback I can think of (which I am unsure about) is that I dont think it allows 'batch' downloading of photos.
  20. Nam-in-Sonoma

    Nam-in-Sonoma Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Aug 23, 2012
    Penngrove, CA
    I just got the Transcend 32GB Wifi SD card. It works great on my E-P3. It is quite fast when transferring between camera and my iPhone or iPad.

    It is not compatible with the Olympus Image Share.

    The "Shoot and View" option is very convenient to be able to see the pix on a bigger screen after you capture it.

    Robbie, you can batch download by clicking on "Select" (top right on the drop down menu) first then just click on all the pictures you want.
    • Like Like x 2
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