Tuesday, July 5, 2011

iPad 2 as external monitor with camera. iPad tethering. UPDATE

I know this post has been long overdue but I thought I should put this together since I know many people have been curious about the eye-fi card with Canon 5D Mark II (5DMII).  There are actually plenty of resources out there but it's quite difficult to track it all down and get precise information.

How to shoot tethered with Canon 5D Mark II with an iPad using the with Eye-Fi pro x2.  Since Eye-Fi Pro currently does not make any CF cards for the 5DMII you will need to get a SD to CF Adapter.  As of right now Eye-Fi is not officially supporting the use of adapters but they have shown that the following adapter will work.

You can find the CF to SD adapter at amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004K079UU

The important about this adapter is that the 5D Mark II is a UDMA camera and this will allow the SD card to be read inside the camera.  If you want to read more about this SD to CF adapter read here: http://forums.eye.fi/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=1352&start=30

The other thing is of course the Eye-Fi 8GB X2 Pro.  You will need the X2 Pro, it's the only one that will work with RAW images.  So when you take photos, you will need to capture in both RAW + JPEG.  The JPEG images will be the one that will transferred directly to your iPad.

Next, using Eye-Fi Direct Mode or Shuttersnitch.  Both have their own pit falls but I'll provide you with some feedback as I've used them both.  I'll start with the easier and simpler option.

Shuttersnitch VS Eye-Fi Direct Mode

Eye-Fi Direct Mode Review: 

Pro: The software is free and works for both iPhone and iPad.  The software is easy to install and configuration is not too bad just as long as you follow their instructions, there are only a few steps.  The Eye-Fi card will create it own hotspot so your camera can connect to it to allow the photos to be transferred to your device or PC. 

Cons: The tricky and hard part is for the Eye-Fi card to pair with either your  iPhone or iPad.  You will have to load up the app on iPad/iPhone, start taking photos, and then the Eye-Fi card will create it's own Wi-Fi hotspot.  Caveat to that according to Eye-Fi, it will only create a hotspot if there are no other Wi-Fi signals around.  STUPID! No matter where I go there are always Wi-Fi signals around and it will inevitably cause problems. 

IF and WHEN the  the hotspot does shows up, the Eye-Fi card will be paired with the iPhone/iPad and you can start transferring your images.  Due to large battery consumption the Wi-Fi hotspot will shut off after a minute or two of being idle.  You will have to try to pair it again, a tedious process as you do not have control of when or how long the Wi-Fi hotspot is enabled.   I find that to be the biggest issue as I usually spend time taking photos, setup for the next shot by posing my subjects, or moving to another location nearby.  By the time I start taking photos again, the Wi-Fi hotspot is gone and I have to wait to see my photos again to be transferred.

NOTE: I have yet to test out the feature in which the Direct Mode will connect to a external wireless connection and use it to upload photos.  This will by-pass the need for the SD card to create it's own unstable WiFi signal.

Shuttersnitch  Review: 

The cons in this method will deter many users, so I will describe it first before I mentioned why I prefer this methodology.

Cons: The app now as of this writing is $15.  To simplifier the configuration and remove extra equipment, your device iPad / iPhone will need to be jailbroken to install the MyWi app.  The MyWi app will allow you to create your own WiFI hotspot without the need of  using a wireless router or other devices to create a wireless hotspot.  Unfortunately the app is $20, but MyWi is such a great app in general, and I used  its other features so I did not mind spending more money for it. 

Shuttersnitch currenly does not have any written manuals but it has a Forum with instructions on there.   You're stuck have problems? Check the forum, still no solution?  Feel like giving up?  Read the reviews on the app and many have ran into this scenario many times, it's an expensive lesson. 

As of this writing from reading the forums and issues, when taking RAW + JPEG photos, Shuttersnitch will transfer both the RAW and JPEG and not just the JPEG! Yes it's going to try to transfer a typical 30MB Canon 5D Mark II RAW file even though your iDevice will not be able to read it.  That is why your transfer is going to be slow and at times suck!  This is just how the current works because when it sees the RAW+JPEG combo it sees it as a combo and download them together. 

Pros: Configuration is relatively easy, as I'm an IT person I was able to figure out how to go about pairing my Eye-Fi card to Shuttersnitch.  What makes Shuttersnitch so great is that once you pair it with MyWi with a stable Wi-Fi hotspot that is on at all times and pair it with your Eye-Fi X2 Pro.  Once you take a photo it will appear on your device and there are no issues.  It always appear and has everything available to you.  Just that simple no issues transferring it just works as expected, BUT the MyWi will drain your battery.  It's a sacrifice I'm willing to make since it so much smoother!

 Overall: I think the technology is great and being able to wireless transfer images from my device from the camera is great.  I've found it to be a headache as the Eye-Fi X2 Pro will sometimes give me error messages that it's unable to read the data.  I have to turn off and the camera on.  Or it's too slow to save my images as I take bursts of RAW images.  I've almost given up on the whole wireless idea and started using the MIC iPad CF card reader.  Now I take my photos, transfer them at the end to my iPad, review them all at once.  No other apps to deal with easier and more consistent but not perfect.  Sucky part, $30 from China and no refund! 


  1. will this work with my Canon 7D???

  2. Gabriel,

    To to make sure I give you a reliable resource to verify the answer to your question, If you follow the link I listed in my post about the SD to CF card adapter, http://forums.eye.fi/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=1352&start=30

    You will see a post from Ziv (Eye-Fi Moderator), indicating that the adapter works for UDMA cameras and the Canon EOS 7D is one of those cameras.

    "Remember -- this adapter works ONLY in UDMA cameras. The old 5D didn't support UDMA. So I would stick with the 7D and 5DmkII." ziv

    It has also been verified from a user also.
    "I can confirm that the Canon 7d and the 5d MK2 both work with the Delock #61796 sd to cf adapter. Transferring perfectly with no errors." cliffmurphy

    Looks like you're good to go and give it a try yourself. Let me know how it works out for you!