The iPad seemed like a pretty useless tool to me until I saw that you can tether wirelessly to it right from your camera using relatively inexpensive Eye-Fi cards!! Sweet! Until I realized that since I use a Canon 5DmkII (with one CF cards slot) things would be a little more complicated. Regardless, for all those with an SD card slot in your camera just head on down to this post at F-Stoppers to learn how to set it up, and for more detailed info, be sure to check out Rob Galbraith write up on the topic. Now the route for 5DmkII users will need to consider a few more issues before jumping for joy. Luckily I have spend a few too many hours researching its feasibility for me and to save you several hours of scouring forums and blogs. Basically, we have A FEW OPTIONS with the main ones being 1) coupling an Eye-Fi card with the RIGHT CF/SD adapter, and 2) by using the Canon WTF-E4 II and an optional portable router to tether to the iPad. Now you ask yourself what are other options? WHAT EXACTLY DO YOU NEED TO MAKE THIS WORK? Find out the details after the jump
DISCLAIMER: These are here just to share what has worked for some BUT might not necessarily work for you. But it is nice if it works out.
In order to make this happen we just need to use a 5DmkII compatible SD/CF adapter along with the Eye-Fi card. At about 120$, although this setup is the least expensive it also has its faults. It’s KEY to understand that are some common issues with using CF adaptors you should know about such as data corruption, wifi signal reduction or the cards just not working (more info here). On a positive note, a few combinations that seem to work pretty well. Also, previously to make this work you would need to jailbreak your iPad to use an app called MyWi to create your personal hotspot. But since Eye-Fi just recently released Direct Mode, jailbreaking isn’t necessary and you can find out how to set it up here [ UPDATE: I have the Eye-xi X2 PRO card with DeLock adapter and made it work – WITHOUT Jailbreaking – with my 5DmkII and iPad 2 but that said I would recommend getting a portable router as well (read below)]. To receive the images on your iPad (or iPhone) you will need to get ShutterSnitch in the App Store – it’s a bit pricey at over 10$ but it’s well worth it. Now here are the details on how to transmit the images from your camera to your iPad and I’ll also share where you can get some of this stuff:
Synchrotech Adapter + EYE-FI 4G PRO (the original – NOT X2!) [UPDATE: FORGET OUT THIS, GO WITH X2]
This was a few years ago but I’ll include it just because it’s another setup that is known to work. See how Jesse Rosten made it happen for him at his blog post here. This workflow works but the current Eye-Fi X2 SD cards are released and are you can make it work with them too. Also, good luck getting your hands on an original Eye-Fi card and the storage is limited to 4GB which isn’t much. That’s why you should consider the following options
EYE-FI 8GB X2 PRO card + DeLOCK CF/SD Adapter (Update: It Works with 5DmkII!)
I got this DeLock CF/SD Adapter after finding several reports that it works with 5DmkII & Eye-Fi X2 PRO 8GB on this video and on forums posts here and there. To my delight, I have been using it for a few months now and got it to work with an ad hoc wireless connection from the card straight to the iPad (without MyWi or jailbraking it). But as mentioned there are risks to consider with these setups but it’s worth investigating. For this reason, before even thinking of using this setup for any commercial shoots I’ll test it out some more to see if any file corruption occurs or random disconnections occur – as these are my main concerns. This week I got a alarming Error 02 message and the card just froze and stopped responding for 10-15 sec; luckily I was just testing the setup during a lighting test but if this was during a commercial shoot I just might freak. Hence, I’ll just use it for personal work for now. Note that the Delock only works with UDMA cameras (e.g. 5DmkII) but does not work with non-UDMA (e.g. my 40D) so I would need a second adaptor for my 40D [Update: I’ll soon post a video to review “in the field” practical use of the setup – follow me on twitter to be the first to know]. There is also another option.
EYE-FI 8GB X2 PRO card + Semco ESDCFII:Extreme SD/CF Adapter
Although I have not tried this one personally, it is reported (forum post by one of EYE-Fi’s Co-founders) to work with the Semco ESDCFII:Extreme Adapter – available at Amazon.com <
The word on the Eye-forums is that it should work but I haven’t tested it myself yet – worth trying if you are North America. There are numerous reports that this combo works for the 5DmkII and other UDMA cameras. NOTE: If you are in UK or Europe notice that there is a VERY similar but NOT identical product: CF/SD adapter by Komputerbay on Amazon.co.uk < IT DOES NOT WORK! (see images on the sides) I just tried it last week: the card can’t format on the 5DmkII and on the Canon 40D neither; so I’m shipping it back with refund I shipped it back and got my refund.]
ADAPTORS WITH REPORTED ISSUES:
JOBO adaptor, Komputer bay adapter (mentioned above) – both don’t allow camera to format eye-fi card – these are just some of the ones I know of but there are probably loads.
TIP 1) ADD A PORTABLE ROUTER TO THE MIX
To make the above setup more reliable I would definitely recommend getting a portable router such as the Aluratek Zalip CDM 530 AM (got mine from Ebay for around 100$). It works like a charm and makes the setup more stable for two reasons.
1) It will dramatically increase the range of the setup as the router can transmit much further than the very limited range of the Eye-fi. Just keep the router near your camera to ensure optimal speeds for transfers.
2) It create a wifi signal with the same network name to which the iPad and Eyefi automatically connect once configured. Find out how to set it up at this great Youtube video by troll hunter. The main advantage of this router is that it has a changeable battery which allows for prolonged shooting in the field.Tip: get a few extra batteries for it as well – they are only a few extra bucks on eBay.
TIP 2) REMOVE THE METAL PLATE OFF THE ADAPTER
This step took me about 2-3 minutes to do at a slow and careful pace and will extend the range of the eye-fi signal. Ii won’t do miracles but it will help. All I used was a flat mini screw-driver to slide it in between the card and the metal plate – and then just “pop” the plate out on each side. You can also use an “exacto” knife or any small & flat tool. For the DeLock adapter, the metal plate is very easy to remove as it’s not glued to the card. Disclaimer: Do at your own risk. Make sure to NOT have any objects that create electrical static around you when performing this – e.g. standing or having walked on a carpet just before doing this. This is probably self-evident but just in case this would be your first time opening electronics apart. That said, this is a pretty simple hack.
In any case, there are still some uncertainties in using Eye-Fi cards with the 5DmkII and that’s why there is a much better option, but it’ll cost you.
Now this is a more solid setup but will set you back about 700$ (you can get it at B&H or Amazon . You can check you the official specs there. It is also a much safer and sustainable setup as you can use any memory card you like and thus not limit yourself to 8GB as with Eye-FI. Check out Rob Galbraith write up on this here and there (but you might as well read all his pages ; ). A portable router can also give some additional stability to the setup as it can produce a stronger and more secure signal than the WTF – as a result, this can also lower battery consumption for the transmitter. I have the Aluratek Zalip CDM 530 AM portable router that I use to augment the signal from Eye-fi card and it will do the same thing with the WTF-E4. I recommend checking out this informative Youtube video by troll hunter. The main advantage of this router is that it has a changeable battery which allows for prolonged shooting in the field. All in all, using this transmitter to tether to the iPad is definitely a better option (than using Eye-Fi)but I guess the price point will make us decide the want vs need factor.
That would be the cheapest and simplest solution but at the look of things now it seems Eye-Fi is pretty focused to the SD market that is ~80% of all cameras. I wouldn’t hold my breath but who knows….maybe they will come soon.