I was rather taken with the wifi capabilities of my (lost) Panasonic all-weather camera. Using the matching app on my Android devices I was able to not only transfer photos from the camera to my phone or to a tablet, but I could also control the camera remotely using the Panasonic app. I used these features quite a lot while tripping around Canada and the USA last year.
So to try to get at least some of that functionality with my Fujifilm FX1 I decided recently to buy a Transcend 32GB Wifi SD-card. According to my research on the web it seemed like it would be a good investment. It is a Class 10 device, and at 32GB has heaps of room for the ZF1’s 12MP images.
I knew before buying the card that there was no capability to remotely control the camera using the Transcend app, however I thought that being able to transfer photos from the XF1 to my tablet, and also being able to use the tablet screen as a large “instantaneous” review screen would be advantageous but there turned out to be a few downsides, so the novelty of having add-on wifi for the XF1 soon wore off!
The Good – Setting up the Transcend WiFi SD-card
Setting up the wifi is very straight forward.
Download and install the Transcend app on your smartphone/tablet, then with the wifi card in the camera, and the camera switched on, connect the smartphone or tablet to the card’s wireless network – WIFISD – with the default SSID and password. Open the Transcend app – you may have to Scan Again to connect – then you are ready to “shoot and view” and/or download images.
So far so good – but then come the downsides.
The Bad – Transfer speeds
The wifi transfer speeds from the card to the tablet are, in my opinion, verging on being unbearably slow. Naturally the transfer speed depends on the image file sizes, but even half a dozen 12MP images (2.6MP) from my Fujifilm XF1 take just under 60 seconds to transfer.
The “shoot and view” mode takes about 6 seconds from pressing the shutter to being able to review the image on the smartphone/tablet screen. Sure – being able to review your photo on a large screen (my tablet has an 8″ screen) allows you to see a lot more detail in the image, but the 6 second delay comes close to negating the benefits of the so called “shoot and view” feature.
The Ugly – Battery Life
The really big BUT about this Transcend WiFi SD-card is the effect it has on the battery life of the XF1.
Whereas with a standard sd-card I would only need to charge the camera battery every 300 or so shots, I found I was having to recharge the camera battery almost daily, certainly every second day – after as few as 25 or so shots.
On several occasions I was out and about with what appeared to be a decent amount of battery left according to the camera’s on-screen battery icon, only to have it cough, splutter and die in the blink of an eye.
Sure – the battery in the Fujifilm XF1 does not have the same amount of grunt as the battery in a larger DSLR for example – but I had expected better battery life.
Maybe these cards are not designed for use in compact cameras, so I shall give it a try in my Nikon D5100 and report back.
There is possibly one other downside to using this card. Transcend say that when transferring images to a PC or Mac the supplied USB card reader MUST be used in case.
Knowing what I know now about this 32GB WiFi SD-card from Transcend – I would not have purchased it, and would instead have gone for another normal, high speed card.
Next time I will save my money up and invest in a camera with on-board WiFi!