I use a special memory card in my digital camera, called an Eye-Fi card, to automatically transfer the digital photos I take to my iPad, smart phone, laptop, and even my web site over a wireless network. I got one that has 8 GB of memory ($44) and slides into my digital camera just like a normal SDHC memory card. If a regular 802.11 wireless network is not available, the Eye-Fi wireless card (powered by my camera) can set up a private wireless network with my iPad and still transfer my photos to it.
This is a dream come true for an outdoor writer like me because it means I can post process photos and videos on my iPad or an iPad mini and write articles anywhere I go without needing extra wires or even a wireless network, as long as I have enough battery storage to keep my camera and iPad powered up. If I add a rechargeable battery pack to this set up, which has enough juice required to recharge an iPad, I will be all set for documenting multi-week hikes as long as I can stop in town once a week to recharge my batteries.
While more and more point and shoot cameras (Nikon Coolpix, Canon Powershot) are starting to include wi-fi digital transfer, the thing I like about the Eye-Fi wireless card is that it works with existing digital cameras, letting me switch it between the different cameras I already own. I have a fair amount of sunk cost in my cameras and I’m not about to give up on superior optics just because a POS camera has built-in wifi.
One of the great things about the Eye-Fi card is the simplicity of setup. It only took me a few minutes to get the unit set up on my desktop computer and on my iPad before I headed outside to try it out on the trail. The packaging is remarkably Apple-like if you know what I mean, with a 2 page graphical instruction book, and plug and play set up.
In addition, if I transfer my photos from my camera to another device over an Internet connection, a copy is automatically saved to the Eye-Fi cloud, where it is stored for 7 days free of charge. From there, I can have it automatically transferred to one of dozens of photo editing and sharing sites including Flickr, SmugMug, YouTube, Picassa, Facebook, EverNote and many others. In fact I can even copy all of my photos to an FTP backup server I manage. This is far better than getting locked into Nikon’s, canon, or some other manufacturer’s proprietary photo sharing network. Plus for another $50/year, I can store all of my photos permanently in the Eye-Fi cloud for convenience.
The Eye-Fi card is available in many different sizes including 4GB, 8GB, and 16GB options. I’ve found the best prices at Amazon.com, where the 8GB card costs $44, but it is also available at brick and mortar stores so you should shop around for the best price.
This card has really revolutionized the way I work and the ease in which I can share photos with my family. Give it a try and let me know if you like it.