Home > Utility > Total Frustration with Eye-Fi Card

Total Frustration with Eye-Fi Card

December 7th, 2010

Rarely have I been so frustrated with a piece of technology, particularly with one that is supposed to make things easier on me. I had the opportunity to borrow an Eye-Fi Pro X2 8GB SDHC +Wi-Fi card for my camera, and boy am I glad I am not out the $150 it would have cost me to buy one of these.

The Eye-Fi series of SD cards for digital cameras lets you transfer photos wirelessly from your camera to your home computer or one of several online photo services all while leaving the memory card in your camera. This sounds like such a neat idea. I was really excited to get to try it out. Imagine taking a bunch of pictures and then going to your computer to find that the pictures are already waiting for you there. Yeah, keep imagining.


  • Compatible with almost any camera
  • Transfers images wirelessly to your computer or online photo service
  • Includes USB SDHC card reader
  • Compatible with Windows and Mac OS X


  • Software is easily confused
  • No way to know when it’s safe to turn off the camera
  • No way to know how many images were transferred to your computer
  • Still requires plugging SD card into computer to ensure all images are transferred
  • Duplicate images get imported into iPhoto

The Bottom Line

Technically the Eye-Fi technology works (minus some bugs), but as a whole the system fails and left me extremely frustrated. Even when images really do transfer automatically from the camera (and that’s no guarantee), there is no way to know how many images have been transferred before you turn off your camera. In the end you still have to plug in the SD card to your computer to ensure all images have been transferred, and then, rubbing salt in the wound, all of the images are imported without duplicates being detected (iPhoto’s fault as well). If you have a camera that has special firmware supporting the Eye-Fi cards and continues providing power to the card until all images are transferred after you turn off the camera, then that would alleviate some of the problems. Otherwise it only brings a false promise of making your life easier.


Overall: (2.2/5)

Usefulness: (1/5)

Ease of Use: (2/5)

Design: (3/5)

Features: (3/5)

Price: (2/5)

Recommended: No

Full Review

Installation Troubles

Installation software for the Eye-Fi cards is included conveniently on the SD card itself, but to ensure I had the latest software, I downloaded the installation software from the website. Here is the equipment involved in my process:

  • Eye-Fi Pro X2 8GB SDHC +Wi-Fi (comes with USB SD card reader)
  • Canon Rebel XSi (firmware v1.1.0 in accordance with tech note)
  • 24″ iMac with Mac OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.5 (current on updates)

After the software was installed, it ran automatically and began the configuration process. It identified my home network, and after I typed in the WPA password, the software failed to configure the card, or so it said. I removed and reinserted the card several times, and it failed to recognize the card (this behavior would continue long after installation). After restarting the Eye-Fi Center software, the configuration was complete.

During this process, and many times afterward, I continued to get the “disk was not ejected properly” message. I was not able to determine why this kept happening.

This error occurred repeatedly during use.

Failure to Function

I tried snapping some sample pictures and was disappointed to see nothing appearing on my computer. After a few more pictures the first ones started to upload. When I turned off the camera, the confusion began. The Eye-Fi Center software was still expecting some images and didn’t seem to understand that it was not going to be getting them. I plugged the Eye-Fi card directly into my computer, and that just made things worse. After much fiddling I was left with several “ghost images” in the Eye-Fi Center software that refused to go away. When I clicked “Remove this item from Eye-Fi” the image disappeared temporarily and then returned. Days later they are still haunting me in their various forms of partial transference to their next life.

Days later the software was still trying to download long-since-deleted images.

Even If It Worked Properly

Some of these issues can be attributed to various bugs that may be resolved in the future, but even if the technology worked perfectly, there are still problems with the system as a whole that make the Eye-Fi card one of the most disappointing I-was-really-hoping-it-was-going-to-be-great technologies I have encountered. In defense of Eye-Fi when we start talking about systems, not everything is in their control, so I would not say I “blame” Eye-Fi for these problems, but the fact remains: at the end of the day, the Eye-Fi card does not make my life easier.

The first system problem (and one that Eye-Fi has no control over) is that there is no way to know, as you take pictures, which pictures have been successfully transferred to your computer or online service. Without any confirmation, you still have to plug the SD card into your computer to ensure you get all of your pictures. I suppose that in the case where you only took a handful of pictures, you could probably see for yourself whether or not all the pictures were transferred.

Assuming some or all of the pictures were transferred wirelessly, you now have to delete the pictures manually from the camera. Most cameras fortunately have some kind of Delete All command.

You could increase your odds of having all the pictures uploaded by leaving your camera powered on but for how long? There is no way to know, and it certainly does not help your camera’s battery life. Some camera’s are now beginning to support Eye-Fi cards natively (big Hoorah! there), and some of these will keep the card powered even after you turn off the camera. Hopefully these cameras have a way of knowing when the card is done so that they can then shut off power.

Since you have to plug in the SD card anyway to ensure all your photos are transferred, it does not help that iPhoto fails to recognize that some of the images are duplicates, and so that creates extra work having to delete the duplicates manually. Whose fault is that? Well, apparently iPhoto thinks they are coming from two different sources (they are: one via the Eye-Fi software and one via an SD card), so it is appropriate that iPhoto not assume they are duplicates. Except that they are duplicates, so perhaps iPhoto also needs to be smarter about Eye-Fi cards.

Eye-Fi is in a difficult position. For their product to be useful, they really need tighter integration with the systems that use them. Impressively you do not need your camera or photo software to be aware of Eye-Fi for it to work technically, but practically without the tighter integration, the system is fatally flawed.

Categories: Utility Tags: , , , ,
  1. December 14th, 2010 at 13:21 | #1


    Thank you for putting this review together. But, there are SEVERAL large inaccuracies, which I’ll outline below:

    * You absolutely know when photos and videos have been transfered. Today, 7 of the top camera OEM’s make Eye-Fi Connected, and there are 60+ models, across DSLR’s, P&S’s, and camcorders, that ALL have Eye-Fi GUI in the camera. If you have an Eye-Fi Connected camera, you see exactly what’s going on. Today, after being in the market for several years, it’s nearly impossible to purchase a camera that is NOT Eye-Fi Connected. Here is the list:


    * Your XSi is an awesome camera, but it’s not Eye-Fi Connected. The newer T2i is, for example.

    * Further — you can set-up Notifications. These can be SMS/Text/Email/Twitter and you’ll know exactly which photos and videos have uploaded. You can have your computer off or on — the notifications work even if you’re remote, lets say, at Starbucks.

    * If you got that “card removed” error either you were going through a USB hub, and the card reader didn’t get enough power, or your card reader was bad. If you didn’t go through a USB hub, call our support, and they’ll send you a new reader for free

    * If your’e getting dups in iPhoto, you may be using an old version of iPhoto, or something else is going on. Please call our support, and they’ll work with you. You should never get dups, of photos or videos.

  2. December 14th, 2010 at 13:31 | #2

    Mr Gillat,

    Thank you for the comments. You aren’t pointing out inaccuracies, but I appreciate the workarounds.

    I can’t agree enough that having an Eye-Fi-aware camera would make all the difference in the world, but that’s not what I have (and not what a lot of people have).

    I didn’t address notifications, but that’s hardly a solution. A text for each photo? A text for X number of photos? No, too asynchronous in any event, though probably Eye-Fi’s best option without camera integration. Kudos for thinking of it.

    The card error was without a hub and using two different card readers (the supplied one and my own).

    I have iPhoto ’09, which was the latest version until a month ago.

    Awesome technology. Completely frustrating. Totally sympathize with the difficult position Eye-Fi is in.


  3. December 18th, 2010 at 20:10 | #3

    I have to agree. Great idea poorly executed… Eye-Fi == FAIL.

    I just purchased an Eye-Fi 8GB Pro X2 from Costco and thought I was getting a great deal.. in fact, I checked the mailbox everyday after it said it was shipped in anticipation of the card.

    Unfortunately, it just plain doesn’t work. I keep getting the card ejected message, the registration process is buggy (did you guys outsource the coding on this or what!!!).

    All in all, a mighty fail. I guess I’m just used to Apple technology where, in general, “it just works”. I am glad however that I purchased from costco and will probably get a full refund.

  4. December 19th, 2010 at 00:19 | #4

    I really, really, really wanted the Eye-Fi to be The Thing. Maybe in a few years when I replace my camera I’ll have one with Eye-Fi integration, and all will have been smoothed out.

  5. David
    December 29th, 2010 at 22:41 | #5

    If you have a Mac, don’t buy this product!

    It comes with horrible Adobe AIR junk software because Eye-Fi was too lazy and/or cheap to write proper Mac software.

    The hardware also has the connectivity issues mentioned above with spontaneous “disk was not ejected properly”.

    J U N K.

  6. Gert
    January 27th, 2011 at 01:18 | #6

    Indeed this product is a fail. Multiple errors, not recognised cards, buggy registration process, overloaded custom support, all signs of an immature product. In 2 days i was busy trying to get this work i managed to overcome registration problems using a “out of company network” PC only (SBS-system) and then it wanted to update the firmware of the card, and then the card died. I suspect that this card just takes too much DC- power from the PC to have it work reliably, that is why it failed using flashing. I never came to the point that i had to cope with the problems mentioned in the articile above.

  7. January 27th, 2011 at 10:54 | #7

    I was kind of hoping that the bad experience was mine alone. As I said, I really, really, want a product like this, but… *sigh*


  8. Erik Halberstadt
    January 31st, 2011 at 00:20 | #8

    Count me in on the frustrated set. I bought the Eye-Fi 16G Pro2 thinking it would be good to upload my RAW files; sure seems like a good idea to be able to shoot continuously without the frequent card-swapping I’ve gotten used to over the years.

    I do have an Eye-Fi enabled Canon T2i, and Windows Vista. I also have, at this point, three or four sets of the same photographs I took four days ago showing up in the Eye-Fi Center. . . it’s still trying to upload 95 images I deleted. And, doing so seems to chew up enormous amounts of system resources: my usually quick system isn’t happy, at all, at all.

    Uninstalling the software, rebooting, and reinstalling doesn’t change it at all. . . if I let the software run, it starts right in again uploading 95 images, thumbnail view still doesn’t show up, and there doesn’t seem to be any way to delete the remotely hosted images at center.eye.fi.

    The support site seems less than mature: a search on duplicates got me a message telling me the word duplicate was too common. What’s up with that?

    At this point, I’m only guessing that the reason changes to my setup haven’t gotten to the card yet is that it still hasn’t finished uploading that first batch of test images. . . I tried turning thumbnail view on a few days ago and that’s not working, either.

    I’m not returning it to the store yet — I really do want it to work and I’m patient.

  9. February 6th, 2011 at 12:51 | #9

    I have a 60d and experienced the same frustration as you all. How something that should be simple gets so screwed up is beyond me? I have being using a canon wireless transmitter with my mark 3 cameras for 2 years and it works great. The eye-fi implementation is seriously flawed. I really wonder how they were able to get so many manufacturers to get behind such a buggy system?

  10. Patrick Robinson
    June 26th, 2011 at 12:00 | #10

    No doubt…Epic fail…

    VERY expensive card since it simply does not work. It fails to initialize no matter how, where, or what you try. It is essentially a company lying to you to get your money.

    This is one of those products that once purchased makes you want to build a specialized rail gun and fire it through the front window of the company that made it to emphasize the point that making the product actually functional is a prerequisite to selling it.

    It’s a wonderful idea.
    It’s a useless product.

  11. ngnome
    August 5th, 2011 at 19:57 | #11

    just bought Eye-Fi Pro X2, so far frustrated.
    does not work. not intuitive.

    simple word: not recommended.

  12. Pete
    October 7th, 2011 at 14:19 | #12

    Took me some time to adjust my habits, and get it set up proper, but now it’s AWESOME.

    Keep trying (and googling) to get it set up right. Well worth the effort.

    Eye Fi Mobile X2. iPad 2. iMac. Canon ELPH 300HS

  13. Rob
    October 27th, 2011 at 17:57 | #13

    Everytime I take a new picture it re-sends everything. I had so many duplicates on my iPad eye-fi app it took almost an hour to clean it up.

    I’ll keep looking for a solution or workaround but if this is functioning as designed then it’s headed to the trash. I’ll wait till someone comes up with a working implementation.

  14. Sonya
    January 10th, 2012 at 15:49 | #14

    I haven’t had any of the above problems, all my photos transfer fine and if I turn my camera off mid way through a photo transfer, when I turn it back on it will continue to transfer and all is good. I don’t get any duplicate problems either.
    If you have your computer near by while the photos are transferring wirelessly, a pop-up appears on the computer showing the progress of the upload.
    The only problem I had was with trying to set up the uploading to facebook, but I think I have got that fixed and working fine now.

  15. Jacques
    January 16th, 2012 at 17:01 | #15

    I’ve had an 8GB Pro XE for about a year now. Initially, I had it set up to transfer images directly to a jailbroken iPad running MyWi….that was an intermittent success. I used it most of last year just as a regular SD card, ignoring the Wifi function – of course, no issues there. Now I’ve had it set up again for about three months. I’ve had a firmware update and a few software updates. I’m using it with an Intel iMac on OS X 10.7.2 and iPhoto ’11 9.2.1 – and it works. I’ll look for the little thumbnail window that shows the transfer, and not finding it, discover that my images have already transferred. They are still on the card though as I’m using the “endless memory mode” on the card (set to 80%).

    I was initially very, very frustrated, but have somehow hacked my way to solutions and/or the software updates eliminated eventually the causes. Looking at the message thread here and the final few posts, you can see that there has been a learning curve which now seems to be catching up with the initial promise.

  16. Humpty Dumpty
    January 19th, 2012 at 23:08 | #16

    I’d like to respond to the original author who stated he kept getting a “Disk not ejected properly” error message…

    On the Mac, that message means that you’ve unplugged a device without software ejecting it first. Whenever you connect your Eye-Fi card to a computer via the provided USB adapter, the card shows up on the Mac desktop as an ordinary USB disk. You can open that disk and see all your images and even drag copies to your desktop if you want. My main point is that, when you’re ready to eject the card, you should never just reach and unplug it from your USB port. You must “software” eject it first. Meaning, you must either drag the Eye-Fi disk icon on your desktop to the trash to eject it, or click the Ejection triangle located next to the Eye-Fi disk icon in the Devices list in Finder windows. Only then is it safe to physically unplug your Eye-Fi card from the USB slot. Doing this is standard procedure for ejecting all disks on the Mac, and has been for an eternity. And if you’re a long time Mac user, you should already know this. If you eject the disk properly (by software ejecting it first) trust me, you will NOT get such an error message…

  17. January 20th, 2012 at 06:30 | #17

    @Sonya It’s nice to hear a success story.

    @Jacques Nice to hear that you also got it working eventually.

    @Humpty You describe a well-known and long-standing annoyance on the Mac, but you’re wrong in this case. The error message comes up _while the device is still plugged in._

  18. Michael
    April 24th, 2012 at 19:23 | #18

    @ROBERT H.

    I have the same problems. The included card reader seems to work for only a few minutes, then disconnects. This is very bad during firmware updates. unfortunately, the card is not recognized at all in any other card reader(it was prior to the last firmware update). I had high hopes when i purchased, but its only barely satisfactory. It also needs better integration with Aperture to preserve location data.

  19. Dale S
    May 6th, 2012 at 07:57 | #19

    I have a Macbook Air, Sony Android Tablet and Motorola DROID RAZR that all use the Eye-Fi software with no issues. However I have had BIG problems with my Nikon D7000 and the card, yes it’s firmware supports eye-fi. I can’t use the card for important functions because about an hour into shooting you will get a message on the back of the camera LCD that say’s “CARD is corrupt”. When this happens everything is lost. It has happened to me 3 times now. Luckily after the first time it happened I set my camera to record my raw images to the SDCARD in slot 1 of the camera and jpegs now go to the Eye-Fi in slot 2.

  20. Dick J.
    December 30th, 2012 at 16:17 | #20

    I’m using mainly with a Canon G1X, Macbook Pro, iPad, and iPhone5. It works OK, if finally getting all the photos transferred after 4 days counts as OK. I’m not getting any error messages or duplicates. It transfers to an Eye-Fi folder in my Finder Pictures and then automatically creates a subfolder for each date. I then import these into Aperture if I haven’t already imported them off the SD card reader. When it has transferred immediately to my iPad it is cute to show other people. But they are no longer around when it takes several days to complete. All in all it strikes me more as a novelty. It also works OK with my Canon 5D Mark III which has a menu for it, but not for full size files. It works OK by lowering the resolution to a smaller file size. If I were taking someone’s portrait, just taking a few shots, and wanted to show them the results on my iPad at the time of the shoot, it would be useful for that. Except I’d normally prefer to shoot the portrait at full resolution.

  21. January 27th, 2016 at 14:20 | #21

    What happens when you reach 8 GB of storage on the SD card? Will it broadcast new images beyond that continuously to the external device or must you wipe the card clean and start fresh? (after double checking all images have transferred)

  22. Scott
    April 13th, 2016 at 03:22 | #22

    Ok so on the Mobi Pro how do you get it to delete the picture after it has uploaded it to the network. I got this card so I can take pictures and they upload directly to my computer and then keep the card empty so it never fills us. I just cant see how to do it. Thanks for any help

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