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?

3 comments:

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.

Berend

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.