The Forgotten Eye-Fi Card

Remember the wireless storage cards made by Eye-Fi?
If not, you aren’t alone.

The basic idea behind Eye-Fi wireless storage cards was to bundle an SD media card with an onboard WiFi chip. This card, once inserted into your DSLR camera, allowed you to magically transfer images as you snapped them. It’s sad Eye-Fi didn’t succeed, because it was such a cool photography tool.

An 8 gig SD card and USB reader made by Eye-Fi.

Now just another forgotten technology.

Or is it? Obviously the advent of smartphones made the Eye-Fi obsolete. Today most of us carry around phones that come with gigapixel cameras and automated photo backup as standard equipment. But in the early years of this century that was not the case. Smartphone cameras were just okay, and wide open bandwidth for backups was not so ubiquitous.

And if you did own a digital camera, it most likely didn’t include features like WiFi or GPS (features quite common today). So the concept of the Eye-Fi card was a huge deal for photographers who needed to share or back up their work on the fly. As social media became more popular the linking of the DSLR with the smartphone became more valuable. Snap the shots with the “real” camera then manipulate and post them after they’re transferred to your phone.

Eye-Fi struggled to compete by releasing cards with increased capacity, a cloud-based storage offering and even embedded firmware for OEMs. While some camera manufacturers took advantage of Eye-Fi’s proprietary technology, most opted to create their own WiFi circuitry. Eventually the fickle world of technology left them behind and Eye-Fi shut down in 2016.

However, while Eye-Fi may be gone, they are not forgotten. There are still ongoing efforts to make the cards transfer functions usable. While the Eye-Fi mobile apps and Eye-Fi Cloud are no longer functional, the local network transfer function might still work with Open Source software. Unfortunately the Windows and Mac software found on the original cards is no longer useful. It would be pretty great if these cards were still usable, because their wireless transfer feature is still something many photographers and owners of older DSLRs would value today.

Find Eye-Fi Cards on eBay

Over the years Eye-Fi cards have attracted a cult following and the market for good, usable cards is quite active. Prices vary depending on the storage capacity and version. The earlier Connect X2 series are usually the most desirable, as the later Mobi versions required an app to operate.

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