WiFi connected SD cards – what are they and which one is best for you?
One of the features I love the most about my Sony A7 camera is the wireless function, making it possible for me to shoot an image, transfer to my phone, edit it quickly, apply a watermark and post on social media or use it in a blog – all of this in a jiffy whilst I am out and about. The camera creates its own WiFi hot spot allowing me to transfer images to mobile devices even if I’m in the middle of nowhere!
A couple of weeks ago we were in Wales on holiday and I loved that I could easily share professional quality images without having to wait until I had access to my laptop.
I also transfer images to my iPad when I’m doing a still life shoot as it lets me view a larger image and check the focusing and composition.
Until recently I thought that this great technology was only available to people with newer cameras with WiFi connectivity. Anyone with an older camera had no choice but to stick with the traditional route of uploading to a computer. However, you can now get WiFi connected SD cards, giving you the freedom to transfer images directly to mobile devices. The cards create their own WiFi hotspot so that you can do this anywhere. They are quite a bit more expensive than normal SD cards, but that’s not surprising really.
There are two main players in the WiFi connected SD cards market – Transcend and eye-Fi.
Transcend is the cheapest option with less features but perfect for the enthusiast / hobbyist. You need to download the free app onto your mobile devices and follow the instructions to transfer images from your camera. I couldn’t determine from the Transcend information whether you could select which images to transfer or whether it does them all. I prefer to select specific images only. RAW files are supported but are slow to transfer.
A useful feature offered by Transcend is Shoot and View, an alternative to shooting tethered: view your image on your iPad and shoot again if you are not happy with the composition or focusing.
Although Transcend can be used to wirelessly transfer images to your computer reviews suggest it is slow and more complicated than just using a card reader.
Eye-Fi is a more sophisticated alternative with two different cards available and an option to have cloud-based storage for all your images, with the first year free and then it looks like it’s $4.99 per month. Eye-Fi transfers images faster, has more options in terms of selecting and transferring different file types and the ability to select specific images.
I would conclude that Transcend would suit a hobbyist who wants to transfer jpegs to a mobile device and then to social media. Enthusiasts and professionals would find that the eye-Fi Pro X2 better suits their needs, with faster transfer to mobile devices and computers and options that allow quick reviews of images on live shoots.
If you’d like to find out more about each option here’s a bit of further reading: