The Eye-Fi

A while back, when I started shooting more often, I wanted to coordinate (with a map) where I was shooting. I thought that as my skill improved I could go back to some of my favorite spots and take shots to see this improvement. Also, I like seeing on a map where I've been, and with Smugmug I can share that map with people. iPhoto 09 also allows me to do that. So I had one side of the equation all set, I just needed to get the GPS coordinates. I was telling my friend about this need and he told me about Eye-Fi. I was stoked! No new camera, no GPS thingy with somewhat complicated software to merge GPS data with photo data; it was all done on an SD card! That day, many months ago, I was ready to put down the cash for one, until I read the fine print; it only gets a location through wi-fi networks that are registered with some 3rd party. Great if I'm shooting around in a city, but not so great when in the middle of nowhere. So I forgot about Eye-Fi. Until MacWorld where I won an Eye-Fi Geo.
I was kind of excited to try it out, I mean it's free so that's always good, plus I'd be in San Francisco trying it out so I should get pretty accurate location results. So I stuck it in my SX10 and headed over to Golden Gate Park. I'll be the first to admit that I wasn't crazy about my shots there. I'll have to see if I even uploaded them to Smugmug. If I did hopefully they'll be at the bottom of the post. Shooting was no different than if I was using my usual 4 gig SD card, except the Eye-Fi Geo is 2 gigs. It wasn't until I got home when the card did it's thing.
First the surprising good news. I never thought it was that big of a deal to plug my camera in to transfer photos from it to the computer, until I saw how easy it was with the Eye-Fi. After telling Eye-Fi what I wanted to have happen to my pictures (go to a folder, or imported to iPhoto) I turned my camera on and pictures just started appearing in iPhoto. That was really slick and cool. As a side note, other versions of their cards allow you to upload to your photo sites also. This feature can be added to my card for $10 a year, not all that bad but not a feature I see needing right now.
The unsurprising let down is in the "geo-tagging". I was unaware, but Golden Gate Park doesn't seem to have any wi-fi, at least not in the areas I was at, so the card ended up tagging all of my photos at the first wi-fi hot spot I came across when leaving the park. If you go here you'll see the majority of the photos look to come from the corner of Irving and 3rd. The 1 or 2 photos from inside the park were taken with my Prē, which has true GPS tagging. Not exactly what I was hoping for, but I suppose it get's me to the area. For my specific needs this card isn't going to cut it for reliable geo-tagging, but I did take some photos in Japan Town that were tagged correctly, so in the city it works well.
Kind of neat, you can register unregistered networks so it can be used in geo-tagging. I was able to register my wi-fi network and within a couple weeks noticed when shooting around the house it was tagged. But honestly the wireless transfer was really what impressed me, and will probably keep it in my camera. Other things to know; I suppose in order to give customers different price points for their products not all cards can do the same things out of the box. For example, my card won't touch any video I happen to shoot; those will need a physical connection to get over to the computer. You can of course pay for these services yearly, but choose your card carefully as it'll probably be cheaper in the long run to get the more expensive card.

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