I just got the new version of eyefi’s mobiPro SD card. Eyefi is calling this the Ultimate WiFi SD Card. Eyefi has printed this phrase on the cover of the package. But can this card stand up to the claim?

I have used an earlier version of the eyefi mobi card and when the company introduced the 32GB eyefi mobiPRO I was curious to see what was improved. I ordered one right away.

Most new cameras now feature Wi-Fi radios for transferring images from the SD card. The photographer can snap an image and transfer to a smart phone for editing and easy sharing to social networks such as Instagram. Instead of waiting until they get back to the computer, photographers can edit and share images in real-time.

But not all cameras have this feature. My Nikon D5100 is an older model which does not. I could sell my D5100 and buy a newer model with Wi-Fi. But that is an expensive solution. A cheaper solution is to use an SD card that has the Wi-Fi. This means I can use the camera hardware I already have while still enjoying some of the benefits of a newer body.

Eyefi is selling the 32GB eyefi mobiPRO at an early bird special price for $79 with 1 year of their Eyefi Cloud service. The package also includes a card reader. Although I have collected several card readers over the years including one is a nice touch.

Cover of box of 32GB eyefi mobiPRO

Inside the box I found a USB card reader, the 32GB eyefi mobiPRO SD card, and a membership card. On the back are instructions for activating the card and the cloud service. I have one of the original Connect X2 cards and one of the first generation 8GB mobi cards. The 32GB mobiPro seemed easier and more straight forward to setup than either of those card.

I launched the eyefi app on my iPhone and tapped the gear to bring up the Settings screen. From there I tapped Manage Cards and entered the activation code form the membership card. I tapped a few more button to install the mobiPro’s profile and I was ready to go.

Inside box of 32GB eyefi mobiPRO

I inserted the mobiPro into the SD card slot of my Nikon D5100 and started snapping photos. The mobiPro is a class 10 card so I was able to use the full 4fps shooting speed of my Nikon D5100.

The mobiPro has RAW image support. When I was done shooting I launched the Settings app on my iPhone 6 and connected to the Wi-Fi signal of the mobiePro. Back in the eyefi app I was able to transfer RAW images to my iPhone. I did not time the speed of the transfers but they seemed snappier than the JPG transfer of the 8GB eyefi mobi.

I know that when using eyefi cards in the past that the battery of the Nikon D5100 was short. Perhaps this was because I kept the camera on while shooting to prevent the loss of the connection between the mobi and the iPhone. I have not tested it yet but given how robust the connection of the mobiPro seems I will have less fear of losing signal and I can turn my Nikon on and off as needed. Battery life should improve.

One of the complaints I had about the earlier mobi SD cards is that I could not choose which images I wanted transferred to my iPhone or iPad. With the earlier cards, connecting the iPhone to the mobi card meant that all the images on the SD card were transferred. My Nikon D5100 has a resolution of 16MP. Depending on the number of images I shot I could easily exhaust the storage of my iPhone. The eyefi mobi is one of the reasons I bought the 64GB iPhone 6. I often found myself running out of space while transferring images when all I really wanted was one or two images to share via social media. The mobiPro has a selective sync feature. I can choose which images I want transferred to my iPhone.

I couldn’t find the settings for this in the eyefi app. This was frustrating but it turns out I needed to use the eyefi desktop app to set up the mobiPro with this feature. I found the instructions on the eyefi website. If I had paid attention to inside of the eyefi mobiPro box I would see the text directing me to the place on the eyefi web site with the necessary information.

I installed the mobi desktop app on my MacBook Air, insert the mobiPro via the USB reader, and configured the mobiPro per the instructions. Once complete I removed the mobiPro and inserted back into my Nikon D5100. I shot a couple of test images. To enable selected transfer I marked the image I wanted to transfer as locked. I launched the eyefi app and waited for the iPhone to connect. It was at this point I ran into problems. Neither the MacBook Air or the iPhone were able to connect to the mobiPro card. I tried repeatedly and after several attempts I had it working. This is the flaky network connectivity issues I had experienced with the earlier cards. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.

Is the 32BG mobiPro the Ultimate WiFi SD card? Perhaps not. The initial setup was easy but setting up the selective sync didn’t go as well as I expected. Eyefi could invest some effort in making the WiFi connection more robust. I would be a very frustrated user if I only discovered about the selective sync setup needing a computer while I was out on a photo walk. Selective sync setup should not require a computer.

But assuming network connectivity issues don’t plague this device I think I will enjoy using the mobiPro. The weather is improving and I have a number of photowalks planned for April and May. The 32GB mobiPro has arrived just in time for me to selectively share photos from my adventures.

sandwich, food

I took a drive down to Cherry Hill to visit a friend to talk about his website, social media and running a business. I’m no expert, but I provided guidance on using WordPress to host his website content. WordPress is a popular content management system with wide developer and designer support. Choosing a template was the easy part but I went over the basics of creating content as well as some SEO basics.

We talked about social media, something I’ve worked hard to learn much about over the last few years. I’m getting better at using it and the rewards for a small business can be significant.

As a reward for helping him out my friend packed me some of his restaurant favorites to take home for my family. This vegan buffalo wing sandwich is delicious. The purple cabbage added a nice crunch and texture, and the sandwich has just the right amount of ranch dressing. I’m not vegetarian but if I lived or worked in the Moorestown area I could see myself eating this regularly.

It’s been a few hours since version 2.0 of John Saddington’s photo publishing application, Pressgram, debuted on the iOS App Store. You can tell that John has put a lot of effort — some heart and soul — into improving and simplifying the Pressgram user experience. Some old features have been removed and some new and exciting ones have been added.

No more socializing

Pressgram 1.0 was released with both a publishing component and a social networking component. While the publishing component has been retained and expanded, the social network has been “deprecated”. Pressgram no longer feels like an Instagram clone with the ability to publish to WordPress. Users will no longer be able to follow each other or “heart” photos. That part is gone. I’m sure it was a tough decision for John, and he probably received a lot of flack for it, but I think removing the social layer was a sound decision.

More social sharing

Although, Pressgram the Social Network is in the bit bucket, Pressgram the app has added more social sharing options. Pressgram 1.0 had options to share a photo post to Twitter, and Facebook while simultaneously publishing to a WordPress blog. Version 2.0 adds the option to share to Google+ and publish to Tumblr, Blogger, Squarespace, Moveable Type, and TypePad. Wow! I think that covers all the major self publishing platforms. The fact that Pressgram can now post to Google+ gives it a leg up on any other photo publishing app on the market.

Simplified workflow

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Upon first launching Pressgram 2.0 I was presented with a screen with two large buttons and three smaller boxes. First and foremost are the icons for snapping a photo and one for choosing a photo from the iOS photo library. But first I wanted to set up the app so I tapped on Settings.

Once in settings I could setup my publishing options. I tapped Accounts and connected my self hosted WordPress account and my Google+, Twitter and Facebook accounts. I am not restricted to one account per platform. I can create connections to multiple accounts. If I have separate twitter accounts for personal and business use I can create an entry for each.

John leveraged the built-in iOS account settings for Twitter and Facebook. Setting these up was a quick two-tap process. Setting up WordPress was a bit more involved but still simple. Just be sure to enter a category and tag for the WordPress account.

If you have multiple blogs, regardless of platform, you can choose which blog is your default for image posts. If you have one main blog where you post most of your images this will save some steps in your publishing workflow.

Another workflow feature is that the user can specify that the camera is the first thing the user sees when launching the app.

Image settings

The Global Settings section of Pressgram Settings has options for adding a watermark, saving the original photo to the iOS photo library, and adding a link to each post to help promote Pressgram. But, the settings I am most excited about are the ones allowing me specify the image resolution and the retention of EXIF data.

I use a WordPress plugin that adds a caption with EXIF data to my posted images. For my purpose and for the curious photographer I want the EXIF data to be shown. I think keeping the EXIF data was a feature requested soon after Pressgram 1.0 was release. John listened and delivered.

The Pressgram Store

Pressgram 2.0 ships with a some nifty Premium features which can be enabled with an in-app purchase. I bought them all (a total of $15). Yes, it was a bit indulgent but if you are serious about your iPhone photography you’ll get them all as well. You don’t have to buy them all at once. You can buy them one at a time ($0.99 each) as your needs and budget allow. Tap each premium feature to get a description of what each does. I think I’ll be spending a lot of time messing around with the vignette and clarity adjustments in the refinement pack. The photography graphics in this part of the apps are very well done.

Snap & Publish

So now I had everything all setup. Time to publish. My office is not in an attractive neighbourhood so for my first post I used a photo I took earlier in the day. The Pressgram photo editor gave me options to crop my image, apply a filter, adjust exposure, clarity, texture etc. All of these adjustments can be layered. Once you have the photo just the way you want, you can add a border or layer text on top. There is something here for everyone.

After editing the image, you can tap the check mark and Pressgram takes you to the next stage of the workflow; publishing. Here the user can set a title for the post, add some text for the body of the post or go back to editing.

One added feature that I almost missed is that from the publishing page I can add another photo. This is something the original version of Pressgram did not have. In the original the user is restricted to publishing a single square image. With Pressgram 2.0, the user can publishing multiple and various sized images in the same post. Oh yeah!

Once the user completes entering the post information, a single tap of the check mark takes the user to the last stage. Select the one or more publishing options from the ones you’ve setup and tap the check mark. Boom! Done!

But wait. I forgot something. Back on the startup page there was a button titled Drafts. What’s that about? Well, if for some reason you change your mind about posting in that moment or your iPhone battery craps out before you hit publish, don’t worry. You can save or recover your post as a draft for posting later. In fact you can have multiple draft posts waiting. This allows for non-instant posting. Capture a photo now, add some text with your first initial thoughts, then edit later and post when you’re ready for the world to see your creation. Brilliant!

2014-03-20 18.27.34

Wrap Up

In some ways Pressgram 2.0 is the app that I think John originally set out to build. Snap, filter, publish an image to any platform of the users choosing. I don’t miss the social network part of Pressgram. I can use the social networks I already have. Now off to snap photos.