I’ve had couple of emails asking for more information on my previous post, so here we go.
Been testing different scenarios, different network and workflow configurations… and I have to say, I really like this.
When I compared it to a toilet in train in my previous post, somebody asked did I have to look for the train for a long time… :-) True, it takes a while to get the system set up ( i.e. to find that train… ;-)) But once you’ve figured it out, it is rock solid. No additional configurations (if you don’t want to), just flip the hardware on basically. Sure, in Canon WFT you have to select your setting set (one out of five) if you haven’t done it beforehand and set it on but that’s about it.
I’ve built now couple of workflows which I can use on the field – and tested them so that they really do work. And came across couple of maybe useful pointers as well.
1) First my basic set up: using an EOS 1D mrk4 with WFT-transmitter thru the portable router to the iPad running ShutterSnitch (see my previous post for more details). Rock solid, accepts incoming images from several cameras simultaneously. As I shoot lots of images e.g. in my work in sports , I’ve set the transmission not “all” but I send the selects with “set”
2) Second – call it “extreme lite” set up: using Canon IXUS 300 HS, EYE-FI 8gb Pro X2 card, router and an iPhone – or and iTouch – running ShutterSnitch. All the hardware you can put in your pocket, weight I’d say c. 600-700g (iTouch is a bit lighter, charges faster, and the battery lasts longer).Transmission to “automatic / send all”; as with IXUS one doesn’t shoot burst of dozens of images continuously. Edit in the iPhone, if you want to (whatever app’s you like) and FTP-away (again, if you want to).
In addition, my iPhone is also equipped with a free Eye-Fi app (but you need to have at least one card to obtain/activate the app). So all the images shot with the actual iPhone can be uploaded to the same (or adjacent) folder than the images coming from the Eye-Fi cards.
3) Third: I have a laptop around. Transmission of images from the Canon EOS 1D mrk4 thru Eye-Fi. The only thing I have to do is to bring the camera (or powered card actually) to the same WLAN (either my own, or one which I have approved for both the laptop and the card) and it starts operating. Immediately all the images are transferred from the camera to the laptop.
Jpg’s and/or RAWs, however you choose. Or naturally, if you prefer, you can send just the images you select. Actually, as one selects with “protect” button in the eye-fi configuration, I think all the images you have marked as protected will transfer the moment you enter the area of WLAN coverage (i.e typically in large stadiums you might have wlan in the press tribunal or press center, but not around the whole place). Haven’t tested this though.
If you like to work with remotes, you can use the WFT-transmitter on the Canon to control the camera thru the laptop – or iPad/iPhone. Even fire it – although I have to say, I go old school here: multimax pocket wizards. Much better range and no delay, i.e more robust set up. And have the Eye-Fi take care of the transmitting the images to your laptop.
YES, I know it sounds crazy, how can you have two transmitters in one camera, isn’t there a conflict of IPs? No, since the IP’s are transmitter specific, not camera specific.
4) Fourth: as I mentioned in above, my IXUS is now standardly filled with an Eye-Fi 8gb Pro X2 card. When I use the camera – be it for stills or video – the only thing I have to do when I get home is to turn the camera on. My computer is set up to receive immediately – when it recognizes this card in the network – all the new stills and videos to their predesignated destination folders. So (at least theoretically) I don’t ever again have to take the card out to the camera and insert it into a card reader.
5) Fifth: I also – as an exercise – built couple of folders for my clients, each containing an FTP-watcher. Now, if I set the Eye-Fi to load into those folders, the images get immediately relayed to my clients. If you want to keep them yourself as well, all you have to do is to set one intermediary step using eg. Photomechanic Live Ingest -function which allows you to transfer your images automatically to multiple locations/folders/droplets…. But as I said, this was just for fooling around, seeing what might be possible.
And so on…. Basically, sky is the limit. All my cameras now – including my tiny IXUS – either do have routinely transmitters on them or I can just put one on when I need them. I have a track record of broken transmitters in the past when I just left them on all the time, so I try to take them off if I know I won’t be using them for a while. And no need to lug around unnecessary weight either.
Canon WFT or Eye-Fi?
Well, depends what you are after. Canon is far superior in what it can do. Basically, it does everything except the groceries… You can control your camera remotely, you can flip destinations on the fly, it acts as a server, it has a good range, … It also costs quite a lot – and setting it up can be tedious, if you are doing it for the first time. But it is a solid, very professional tool.
Eye-Fi is relatively easy to set up and it is also relatively cheap (50-150€ about). It is extremely lightweight. Range is not great (they promise 13m indoors and 27m outdoors, haven’t tested it), but that has to depend on the camera model (i.e. how much material gets around the card when inserted – and is it plastic or metal). Eye-Fi doesn’t do very much: it transmits images and videos – either all or your selection – but that it does very well. Very simple to use.
(Sure, it has geo-tagging and some other bells and whistles, but I try to see the relevance to my line of work).
One pitfall – and which can be a major one, depends on the camera you use: Eye-Fi is SD-format. Yes, you can insert it into a CF adapter to run it e.g. in Canon EOS 5D mrk2. But: eye-fi does not officially support this, you need a specific type of eye-fi card (actually, one of the cheaper models) and a specific type/kind of a SD to CF adapter. You might have corrupted data during transmission and other problems… but then again, you might have not.
As I am professional in this, the “might have” is not an option and I made conscious decision to NOT to use an adapter. But, feel like experimenting, go ahead and try it (and let me know, how it works, I’m really interested to know). The Eye-Fi website actually gives you couple of pointers as which might work best – but stressing very heavily that they do not support this.
As in my previous post, I gave credit to Rob Galbraiths article which actually got me into this. It is very, very good and extensive, absolutely worth reading.
Next time: more about the iPad (yes, you’ve guessed right, I’m waiting today what is going on in Cupertino, before I start throwing around too strong opinions about the future…)