Canon 550D to iPhone with Toshiba FlashAir

As an avid Instagram user, I wanted to share some of my photos from my Canon 550D. It was a hassle to plug in my old SD card, insert the said SD card into my workstation, do some slight edits on the photo and then finally put it into Dropbox (referral link).

There are many times where you just want to show off the photos you have taken on social media when you are out without a laptop and cameras nowadays are equipped with Wi-Fi capabilities. But the 550D was only released in 2010. Without Wi-Fi capability, I had to add it in: by getting a Wi-Fi SD card.

I looked around for solutions and knew there was this popular Eyefi card out there in the wild. Contemplating between the Eyefi Mobi and Toshiba FlashAir, I went on further research. After reading a couple of reviews, I realized that EyeFi Mobi downloads all the photos to your phone instead of letting you selectively save them. I did not like the idea of space hogging my memory-scarce iPhone. Not minding the poor browser app that Toshiba made for the FlashAir, I made the decision on getting it at about 10-20 bucks cheaper than the Eyefi Mobi.

I purchased the 16GB Toshiba FlashAir III for ~S$60. Upon receiving the package and trying it out, little did I know that Toshiba released an app for the FlashAir cards. It was easy to set-up and get going. With my camera on and the card inside, I went to Settings on my iPhone, looked for the flashair_xxxxx SSID and entered the default password given. Launching the FlashAir app for the first time, it prompted me to change the SSID and default password (or you could do it later) and I did.

Browsing the photos was pretty quick. The app downloaded the cache of the photos and allowed you to save them in a matter of seconds. RAW photos do not work with the card. On my Canon 550D, I selected the RAW+L option to save both JPEG and RAW photos on the card. If your camera just shoots JPEG, you should not have any problem accessing the photos.

Testing it with two iPhones and both with the FlashAir app installed, my parents were be able to connect to the same FlashAir Wi-Fi hotspot and view the photos taken with my dSLR. This is great as it allows multiple connections and simultaneously allows users to download photos to their phones. Friends and family members will then be able to download the photos and post it up to their social media accounts without having the need to receive photos via e-mail or Dropbox!

I removed the card after taking photos for this post (after about five to ten minutes). I can't help but notice that the card got a little warmer than my normal SD cards. Not alarmed by that. After all, there's a Wi-Fi chip built into it.

While exploring the FlashAir app, one thing that caught my attention was that you are able to use the internet while using the FlashAir connection: by manually entering the SSID and password for your home Wi-Fi. But this proves to be a problem if you are outside and needed your mobile data connection. I guess the only way right now is to disconnect from the FlashAir hotspot after downloading the photos. Moreover, I do need to edit my photos before sharing them, so it was not really of a hassle. But I did forget to disconnect and tried uploading a photo to Instagram after editing.

All in all, I am pleased with the SD card and the app. I could work with it despite the small flaw of having no internet connection while accessing the FlashAir app. I can't wait to bring this out and share more photos to my Instagram feed.