Friday, October 19, 2012

Nikon D800/E and Eye-Fi Card Incompatibily Warning

Eye-fi upload for Eye-Fi X2 Pro cards does not work properly in Ad hoc or Direct mode in the Nikon D800/E cameras, due to the design of the SD port (more metal in the camera’s body, blocks the signal). I was able to establish ad hoc (Direct) contact with my laptop computer using an 8 GB Eye-Fi X2 Pro card when I was testing for my book; however, I was only a few feet away. The problem is simply that the D800/E camera has such a strong metal body that the Wi-Fi signal from an Eye-Fi card cannot make it out of the camera very well, seriously reducing the card’s signal range.

This has also been a reported problem in the older M-series Leica DSLR cameras because of their metal bodies, so much so that Leica has included a glass plate, in their brand new M series line, over the SD card slot, to allow Eye-Fi signal to escape.

Eye-Fi posted the following information on their website:

“Eye-Fi engineering has found and confirmed a compatibility issue with the Eye-Fi card that impacts the use of Direct Mode in the Nikon D800. We are currently investigating an issue with the D800's SD slot that appears to contribute to a lack of steady signal while the Eye-Fi card is in Direct Mode which makes the Direct Mode feature incompatible with the camera. The Nikon D800/D800e passes all other wireless network tests and is compatible with wireless transfers via a wireless router.”

I called and spoke to Eye-Fi about this issue. A senior technician was pulled into the conversation. Even though their paragraph above states that the card is compatible with normal (non-direct, non-ad hoc) Wi-Fi image transfer with a Wi-Fi router in the middle, the senior tech said the company does not list the Nikon D800/E as compatible (in any way) with “any known” Eye-Fi cards.

This is a troubling situation, for the simple reason that Nikon has included Eye-Fi support in the camera for a device that has insufficient signal strength to be used at any useful range with the D800/E. The technician stated that you may or may not be able to use an Eye-Fi card to communicate with your tablet, smart phone, or computer. It varies according to the signal strength of your Wi-Fi router (for internet transfer), and the send/receive signal strength of your tablet, phone, or computer (for Direct or Ad hoc transfer). Because of the inconsistency, they now list the card as incompatible.

I have included this information in the errata document for my book, which can be downloaded, but wanted to post it for the benefit of those who are considering purchasing an Eye-Fi card to use with their D800/D800E cameras. Even though Nikon has given the camera Eye-Fi support, it may or may not work well, or at all, for you!

Keep on capturing time...
Darrell Young

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