Friday, February 27, 2009

Eye-Fi and Nikon D90

The economic downturn is affecting everyone. To help stimulate the economy I feel strongly that each and every one of us needs to dig deep and do our part. So, I bought a D90.

I had read that the D90 (and the D60) would at least have some ability to detect Eye-Fi cards when inserted and do something with them. LarryG over on the Eye-Fi forums has a little more explanation of what happens:
  1. In order to see the Eye-Fi Menu item in the D90, you will have to have an Eye-Fi Card inserted in the camera. The camera will then display the "Eye-Fi Upload" option in the Setup Menu between the "GPS" and "Firmware version" menu items.
  2. This new menu gives the user the option to enable or disable the Eye-Fi Card's ability to upload photos when inside the camera.
  3. In addition to the menu, the D90 will automatically provide power to the Eye-Fi Card when there are photo uploads pending or photos being uploaded. Once all uploads are completed, the camera reverts back to the user defined "Auto meter-off delay" power settings in the Custom Setting Menu.
That's all certainly good news because, for one, the D50's meter-off setting was really coarse. Literally, it goes from 16 seconds to 30 minutes with nothing in the middle! I suspect this huge meter-off delay to be the source of most of my battery life problems.

However, this is still much ambiguity on the D90, especially on what impact turning off "Eye-Fi Upload" really has. The meter-off delay tuning is really useful and effectively allows the camera to have a completely smart timeout for powering off the card. On the camera's part this requires just being able to read the Eye-Fi card's status.

But, does "Eye-Fi Upload" actually disable the card's WiFi radio? Is that sufficient if I am, say, on an airplane where I can't use radios of any kind? Is the card's power consumption lower in this mode? The Eye-Fi card itself draws roughly as much power as the SLR itself, so will enabling this option double my battery life?


Tim Bertram said...

In these troubled times (drink) thank you for doing your part.

Berend said...

If you disable "Eye-Fi Upload" from the D90's menu, the Wi-Fi functionality of the card will indeed be turned off, so it's different than simply ignoring the card's status when making the metering timeout decision.

A side-effect of this is that if you you have "Eye-Fi Upload" turned off while you're taking photos, geo-tagging will not work because the card will never turn on its Wi-Fi radio to scan for beacons.


Blogster said...

I got the 2GB Eye-Fi Explorer for my D90 just yesterday. I'm a bit PO'ed since it will not transfer a picture unless either the cameras display is on, or if I cintinue to take pictures. With the display on, it draws a load of battery power, and if I rely on the camera being used to transfer pictures, it will always hang on the last one of two pictures becaue it will shut-off the card before it can complete sending. It appears that Nikon could fix this by a change in the firmware. keep the Eye-fi powered up until the queue is empty. I put the card in my cheap Kodak and it worked perfectly.