Eye-Fi – I liked you until you invaded my privacy!

A chat with Kodak about their upcoming EasyShare Max Z990 sent me in search of a Class 6 SDHC card. I was pleased to see that the ONLY Class6 in my local Walmart was a 4GB Eye-Fi for about $45. I have wanted one of these for a few months, but I couldn’t bring myself to purposely spend over $30 on an SD card. With no other choices in the store, it was easy to give in and select the Eye-Fi!

Contrary to complaints I have seen online
• The setup process was easy. (see my detailed notes below)
• It was easy on my system’s resources.
• I was able to read the card with my normal SD card reader
• I was still able to use the wireless function after removing the USB card reader from my laptop
• And I was not forced to save my pictures in oddly formatted sub-folders.

There were a few questionable and negative qualities about this card
• You need Adobe Air on your computer. … Free to download and use, nothing really wrong with it, but also not commonly used by any of the “big boys” I have used stuff from.
• The card is oddly sized. In comparison to my PNY and SanDisk brand cards, it did not “pop” out of my camera and my card reader as easily as expected.
• I found out as I was writing this review that the Eye-Fi has invaded my privacy by storing my pics on their servers!

Other comments
• I have seen complaints about having to “open a hole” in your firewall for the card to communicate with your computer. Really, I would think this is to be expected.
• I have seen more complaints from Mac users than Windows users.
• And although I have not experienced it first hand, I have seen 3 complaints (out of hundreds) from people saying that their pictures got corrupted by this card. I urge everybody to make their first hundred or so pictures on a new card unimportant ones. – I have purchased bad SD cards too. It happens even with the better known brands.
• There are three versions of the Eye-Fi. Be sure to select the right one for you. The Connect x2 (blue sticker) has the least features. You can get Geotagging and Hotspot access with the Explore x2 (red sticker). And you will need the Pro x2 version for RAW and Ad hoc transfers.
• The Eye-Fi card does not work with all cameras. Check their website at ____________ to make sure your camera is compatible!
• Every time I plug in to my regular card reader, the my computer wants to format the Eye-Fi.

My Setup Experience

Setup of the Eye-Fi went fairly smoothly for me. I plugged the adapter and card into my USB port, browsed to the Start Here > Windows > setup file, and followed the directions on my screen. First thing it wanted to do after installing the software was to download and install an update.

Once the software was installed, it started up and I was prompted to register with my email address and a password. – No other personal information required!

Once registered, I was prompted to do a firmware update on the SD card. This failed the first time. I removed the card, plugged it back in, and started back over with the registration (email and password) step.

The firmware upgrade worked perfectly the second time. I proceeded to add my Eye-Fi’s MAC address to my wireless router. This is the security setup I have chosen for my home. The MAC address was easy to find. I just had to right-click on the Eye-Fi icon in my task bar.

From there I was able to set up my personal preferences. I selected which WiFi signal I wanted to connect to. I tested the connection with my first picture. I told it which networks I wanted to share pictures with (Facebook, Flickr, etc.. I chose none). And I selected how I wanted to sub-folders pictures were sent to formatted. (%Y-%M-%D for 2011-02-25)

Eye-Fi got extra cool points for allowing me to connect to popular photo and video sharing sites such as Flick-r, YouTube, and Facebook AND allowing you to send pictures to your own FTP or FTPS. (SFTP not supported)
After all of this was set up, I put my Eye-Fi to the test! … I tried turning off and on my camera to take more pictures. It took a little longer than expected for the software to realize I was using the Eye-Fi and automatically download the pictures, but not too bad. … I turned off the Eye-Fi software for a few pictures. As expected, after turning it back on and taking a new picture, the download process began. … I also just took several random pics and videos to test the speed of this card. It did well!

My Privacy Problem

While checking out the Eye-Fi wireless SDHC card’s features to write this review, I did come across one BIG complaint. By default, the Eye-Fi card sends pictures from my camera to the software on my computer – Good J . But once the image has been received, the Eye-Fi software passes my images along to their servers for 7 days storage – BAD!!

I did see something about my pictures being available for 7 days while setting the software up. But it was not clear what they were talking about until I logged into my online account and saw my pictures. … This feature and the upgrade which keeps your pictures available long-term could be very useful if you want them. But there is something unsettling about logging on and seeing pictures I never intended to share.

Selective Transfer To The Rescue!

I will try not to hold the shock of seeing my pics online against them too much. There is an option to turn this online sharing off – once you understand that it is going on in the first place.

  • First, plug the card into your computer (using the USB adapter or directly).
  • In your Eye-Fi Center (the software on your computer), select File > Settings > Eye-Fi Card.
  • Click the Transfer Mode icon and the Selective Transfer tab.
  • From there you can change the radio button from Automatic to Selective Share or Selective Transfer.

Now it will be a pain to send the pics online (you will have to use your camera’s built in “Protect” function, which I never have liked to take the time to mess with.) But as somebody who never expected the pics to be put online in the first place, I do not see this as a problem.

Time To Return The Card

Ultimately I ended up returning my Eye-Fi to Walmart. I had specifically purchased it for the Ad hoc and RAW capabilities, which I found out after getting home did not come with my version. However, I would recommend the Eye-Fi connect to any average user who is tired of forgetting their SD card in the reader. And I will definitely be keeping an eye out for good deals on the Eye-Fi Pro!

3 Comments

  1. Mark on May 6, 2011 at 5:53 PM

    Michelle, how EXACTLY do you share the photos to Flickr (or any site) with the “Protect” function? On my Nikon D7000, I scrolled to the photo I wanted to share and pressed the Protect button. Nothing has happened. Am I leaving out a step? I do not want all my photos going to Flickr, but I have not been able to get Selective Share to work. Everything else is working fine.

    • Michelle on May 12, 2011 at 9:26 AM

      I am sorry, I do not know the answer to this question. I had to return my eye-fi because I specifically needed one with ad-hoc function and the version I purchased did not have it.

      I personally would rather keep most of my photos private. So I select which pictures to send to Flickr, Facebook, etc.. one at a time after putting them on my computer.

  2. Mike on September 18, 2011 at 1:19 PM

    I bought the “Pro X2” version back in Feb 2011 and found, while it worked very well, it was just a bit too eager to transmit my pictures and/or video out to the world. I was even more creeped out when I sat down and read their official privacy policy. It was, well, enlightening:
    http://www.unletteredandordinary.com/2011/02/eye-fi-sd-card-innovation-unique-and-li.html

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