Eye-Fi to Send Photos Direct to iOS and Android Devices without a WiFi Hotspot

In case you haven't been following me on this story you can start with my "Shoot Tethered (wirelessly) to an iPad" from a couple of weeks ago here. Back then I decided to try out the Eye-Fi Pro X2 Card in my D7000 shooting wirelessly to an iPad 2 via my MiFi mobile hotspot and I was pleased with the overall workflow. Today Eye-Fi just announced a new card (yeah that happens in technology, deal with it!), the Eye-Fi Mobile X2 which is a cheaper card that offers Direct to iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod touch) and Android mobile device shooting WITHOUT the need for a WiFi hotspot. Removing the WiFi hotspot requirement and going direct in an AdHoc fashion makes this solution even better. However, don't fret if you bought the Pro X2 card like I did. They are going to release a firmware update to the existing cards next week. Keep in mind that the Pro X2 card does handle RAW and Geotagging. The new card does not.

This should open up a whole new world for people that want to shoot with a decent camera and share those images even with some minor retouching/adjustments, from a tablet device directly. I'll be shooting RAW to my regular SD card in slot 1 and BASIC JPG to my Eye-Fi card in Slot 2 on my D7000. Life just got a little more fun.

If you don't have an Eye-Fi card yet, you can get the NEW Mobile X2 8GB card with the Direct Mode love built-in here.

Sorry, still not Compact Flash joy.

As soon as I have the yet to be released iOS App and an updated card you expect a review here.

Promo Video:


Adobe CS5 Evolves: Digital Publishing from InDesign to Tablets Gets Better


Adobe InDesign CS 5.5 improves in the areas of Digital Publishing to devices. It addresses the number one request from our ePUB authors and that is the ability to embed video in your exported ePUBs and yes those videos play on the iPad (or any other ePUB 3.0 standards compatible device). We've also made some improvements on allowing you to layout your publications for print, but also dictate the order in which elements are exported to ePUB using the new Articles Panel. Another major improvement is the ability to either have InDesign generate your ePUB cover from the 1st page of your document or linking to a specific image that is optimized for a small size "bookshelf" on a device such as the iPad's iBooks App. Here's a video on how some of these features work:



What's new in Interactive Digital Publishing to Tablets?

The video below walks you through some of the enhancements to the Digital Publishing Suite in InDesign CS5.




There's more new stuff in CS 5.5

See Greg Rewis' post on what's new in Dreamweaver CS5.5 for HTML 5 and Mobile Authoring here.

See Jason Levine's post on what's new in Production Premium CS5.5 here.

See Paul Trani's post on what's new in Flash Professional and Mobile App development here.

Learn more about Creative Suite 5.5 including a New Subscription pricing option for those that don't want to or need to "buy" Creative Suite Products here.

Also see more CS 5.5 videos on Adobe TV. In case you missed it, Adobe TV can now be viewed on your iPad.


Why is Adobe releasing a new version of Creative Suite so soon?

As you know Creative Suite apps have typically reved every 18-24 months. The world is moving faster than that and many of our publishing customers need solutions for publishing to new devices and in new formats sooner. Now you will see Adobe introduce a major milestone release ever 24 months and a mid-cycle release every 12 months. Johnny L is here to tell us all about it:



Join us for a Live Q&A Today (4/11/2011) 

We will be hosting a live Q&A Today (4/11/2011) on Facebook at 12:00 noon EDT (GMT -4). Join me and the other Adobe Creative Suite Evangelists, Jason Levine, Greg Rewis, Paul Trani for an hour to answer your Creative Suite questions.

Here's the link for the live Q&A


Join us on the CS5 Evolves Tour

I'm  about to head off on the CS5 Evolution Tour with my Adobe Evangelist colleagues!

Details here.


Tour Locations

May 2
May 3
May 4
May 5
May 6
May 9
May 11
May 11
May 19
May 23
May 24
May 25
May 27
May 31
June 2
June 7
June 9
June 14
Sao Paulo
June 17
Mexico City
June 17

Amazon MP3 Beats iTunes to the Cloud

One of the rumors that has been floating around for several months now is that Apple will take an upcoming version of iTunes to the cloud. Perhaps even ship new iPods (normally released in September) that have no storage or very little storage and simply stream YOUR music over the internet to these devices. Music and video streaming is not a new concept. Just look at apps like Netflix and Pandora Radio and you'll see these kinds of services in use everyday. What is a fairly new concept is streaming YOUR music collection over the internet. It seems that Amazon decided not to wait around for Apple and therefore they released their own version for the Amazon MP3 Store.


Introducing Cloud Drive


Amazon's Cloud Drive gives you 5GBs of FREE space for your music collection (or any other documents) to reside in the cloud. You can even get 20GBs for a year by simply buying one of their Albums. I bought a $9.99 MP3 album last night and my space was immediately increased to 20GBs with an expiration date of next year on this same day. At that time I can choose to go back down to the free 5GBs of space or pay $20/year to keep the 20GBs of space. When I bought the Album I was given the choice to either download the songs to my hard drive on my computer or just leave them on my Cloud Drive. Had I chose to just leave them there I could download them at any time in the future if I choose to do so. The purchased Album was available for immediate streaming via the Amazon Cloud Player in my browser and the sound quality was good. 


It works with your music too

Cloud Drive not only works with music you buy from Amazon's MP3 Store, but it also works with music in your existing iTunes library (yes including Non-DRM'd AAC files). As a matter of fact you can download the Amazon Uploader and it will automatically sniff out your music collection and offer to upload your music and playlists to your Cloud Drive. I did this with a subset of my collection. I uploaded 396 songs from my iTunes Library on my MacBook Air including all the playlists. The process took about 2 hours to complete, but once it was done it was all there and available for streaming. The 408 songs I have there now only take up 2.8GB of space. The 5GB of FREE space will probably be plenty for me at least for now.


The benefits

The benefits of this service are pretty clear. I've often complained that iTunes needs to be able to sync your library between computers. I have this solution, but this should be something that is built-in. By having my most played music in my Cloud Drive including playlists (a must have) I can now access my favorite tunes from any computer with a web browser. If you're an Android user you can grab the Amazon MP3 for Android App and have instant streaming access on your mobile device as well. It will be interesting to see if we see (and if Apple would even approve it) an iOS version of this App. The other benefit is that this serves as a offsite backup of your music. Granted my music collection is larger than 20GBs and Amazon will sell you more, but it's nice for people with smaller collections to know that their music is backed up offsite in case of a drive failure.

The only downside in streaming is you need to have an internet connection to do so. In the Android App there is the option to download any of your music/playlists to the device so that you can enjoy it offline. That is truly the best of both worlds. You can have all or most of your music in the cloud for streaming and perhaps a playlist or two on the device for those times when you don't have a connection.

Apple, your turn!


Check out the NEW Cloud Drive and Cloud Player here:

How I Broke My D700 By Tethering

If you've been reading my posts for the past few days you've probably noticed a theme: Wireless Tethering/Shooting. Now I'll disclose the reason that increased my interest in wireless solutions for shooting to my iPad or laptop. A couple of weeks ago I taught a workflow workshop in Texas for Precision Camera and Westcott. An important part of my workflow is shooting tethered into Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3. On the 3rd day of this 3 day workshop I just couldn't get the tethering to work. Nothing really changed on my end that I could see and it had worked flawlessly for two straight days, but for some reason I couldn't get past the 1st shot. I tried the usual troubleshooting things, but nothing would get this working again so I moved on. I shot to the card and just took breaks to import the shots via my Firewire 800 CF card reader and showed the class. I got home and didn't think about it again until my next studio shoot. This is when I knew something was really wrong. I tried different cables and nothing would work. Again I had to move on and shoot to the card to get through the session. When I got home that evening I decided to do some additional testing. I tried different cables and again nothing would work until I realized that the cable attaching to the camera seemed slightly more loose than usual. Nothing crazy, but noticeable. I applied a little more finger pressure to the cable end pressing leaning it one way and Lightroom saw the camera. I tried holding it this way as best I could, but the slightest movement would cause a disconnect again. 


It was time for a repair

On my way out the door to Photoshop World I stopped by my local authorized Nikon Repair Facility – Midwest Camera Repair (these guys are great) and dropped off the D700. They said that it was probably an issue with the port being broken off from the circuit board or the board itself had gone bad. If it was just the port then the repair would be around $125. If it was a bad board – oh oh – "we'll call you." Needless to say I was praying for a "disconnected port." Luckily that's all it was and I was happy to pay for this versus a whole new board. 


I don't want this to happen again

I shoot tethered 99.9% of the time in studio. I can't imagine going back to just looking at a 3 inch LCD. My colleague Tom Hogarty (Lightroom Product Manager) pointed me a device called TetherLock.

The concept is simple. You attach this device to your tripod hole/port (there is a pass-through so that you can still use a tripod) and run your cable through it. When you tighten it it not only keeps the cable in place, but if you accidentally step on or otherwise tug the cable while shooting there will be zero pressure/tension applied to the USB port on the camera. Like I said, the concept is simple. I ordered one here and it works fine. It's crazy expensive for what it is and YES there are several do-it-yourself options (I don't need you to list them for me, I get it 🙂 ), but as I've said before I'm not a D.I.Y. kinda guy. Clearly I'm not the only one with big feet tripping over tethering cables while shooting or this product wouldn't exist. 

The other thing I would recommend whether you go with TetherLock or your own solution, is a USB cable that has a L-Left head on it. This allows the cable to run down flush along the body as opposed to sticking straight out. Here's the one I use.


The Bottom Line

Above setup Bogen-Manfrotto Double Head Accessory Arm and Gitzo Laptop tray that sits right on my tripod.

Built-in WiFi on all cameras can't get here fast enough for me. Until that day happens I'll continue to shoot tethered via a USB cable for my studio shoots. Not ripping the cable out during future shoots is going to be nice and better yet not damaging the camera/USB port is even going to be better.

3 Things I Want In My Next Nikon Body

images compliments of iStockphoto.com

I'm actually pretty content with both my Nikon DSLR bodies. I use my D700 primarily for studio work and my D7000 for travel and event photography. I've had the D700 for a while now and of course the rumors have been circulating for a while regarding a D700 replacement. Even if there were no rumors we all know that there would be a D700 replacement (let's call it a D800) getting announced eventually. In thinking about what I would want in my D800 there are really only three things that come to mind. Sure, I'll take better sensors with less noise at higher ISOs and even a slight bump in megapixels is OK. However, neither of those things would make me want to buy it. I'm not unhappy with the 12 megapixels I have now and the ISO:Noise ratio of the D700 is fine for what I shoot. Nope, those features alone would not get me to upgrade. 


I Want 3 Things


1080p HD Video

This one is almost a given. I can't imagine that Nikon or any other manufacturer would not include DSLR HD video in their bodies from here on out. Although my D7000 has the video features I wanted including external mic support, I would like to see those same exact features in my D800 too. If they have to improve upon them, then give us a 60fps video capture option too. This is not rocket science and like I said, it's all but a given that the D800 would have this.


Built-in WiFi

I continue to be amazed that WiFi is not being built into every camera being sold today, especially the higher end models. After spending a few days shooting wirelessly to my iPad 2 via the Eye-Fi Pro X2 Card, I want this even more. It's crazy to have to continue to transfer images via cables and card readers as the only options. 802.11n chips are small and cheap. If an iPod touch can have WiFi, why not a $2,500+ camera body?


GPS Geotagging

I love the fact that Nikon DSLRs have built-in GPS support right in the camera's menu.

However, the actual GPS receivers continue to be an external option only. I have several different models, but it's time to have this functionality built-in. Again these chips are small and relatively inexpensive. After all you can get an entire portable GPS unit for your turn-by-turn directions for $99 or less. Those devices have touch screens, speakers, storage, etc. The actual receiver can't cost that much by comparison. Also size can't be much of an issue since most modern smartphones being sold today have them built-in. As big as a D700 (D800) is there has to be room in the case. 


I'll gladly take any additional features that Nikon wants to throw my way, but the three things above are the ones that would make it a no brainer for me to upgrade.


Plan B

I've even got a way that they can make these last two features available optionally for those 5 people on the planet that wouldn't want them built-in to the bodies themselves. There is easy way to give us WiFi and Geotagging in a more convenient way. They could build them into the Battery Grips. A WiFi transmitter in the Battery Grip is not a new idea. Both Nikon and Canon have done this before. The problem is the early ones were both SLOW and EXPENSIVE! It's time to go back to the drawing board and make these grips more functional, less costly and bring them into the 21st century. 



iTunes, App Store and Mac App Store

With the tragedy that has happened in Japan, we can all certainly wait! There are more important things to focus on right now.

Live at Photoshop World: Wrap Up #PSW

photo from one of my InDesign sessions by Jason Lykins

I had a great Photoshop World! While no one would disagree that the weather could have been better without all the rain, the conference continued on and people were generally upbeat. Hey, if it's raining outside, you might as well be inside learning stuff. All four of my conference track classes were well attended and people seemed happy with what they were learning. It's always great being in front of "real users" of our (Adobe) products and getting feedback, even if it's not always praise. 😉


Presenting on the Show Floor

photo by Jason Lykins

I had some good one-on-many time with this intimate setting in the Adobe Booth. I got a chance to highlight some of my favorite features of Adobe Creative Suite 5.


photo by Jason Lykins

I also got a chance to show some tips and tricks using the Wacom Intuos 4 tablet while using a Cintiq 21 inch as my display (Heaven) and Photoshop CS5 in the Wacom Booth.


Shooting Live on the Show Floor

photos by Jason Lykins

I had a couple of short sessions on the show floor shooting live and showing various lighting setups. My first session was at the Westcott Booth and showing a couple of different lighting techniques  with the NEW Spiderlite TD6's. I love doing these sessions with continuous lighting because once I set it up and take a couple of shots, people can walk up and just start shooting.

Continue Reading »

Hey! Are those my images in the NEW 2011 Westcott Lighting Solutions Catalog?


One of things I look forward to every year is the NEW Westcott Catalog! I've been taking my photography more and more seriously over the past couple of years and when a well known company chooses to use one of my images to represent their products, that's a big thing for me. I got a chance to pick up a copy (ok several copies) of the new Westcott Lighting Solutions Catalog here at Photoshop World. Needless to say that I was deeply honored to have not just one image in the new book, but six of my shots featured. Wow! The crappy iPhone shot of the catalog above doesn't do this book justice. Stepping aside from looking at my own images for a minute, this is by far the best version of their catalog yet. There are not only tons of great images from some of the top photographers in the world, but also the book has a new format, layout and it just looks awesome overall!

The NEW catalog is not yet up on their website in PDF, but as soon as it is you'll be able to grab a copy here. If you are here at Photoshop World this week be sure to stop by their booth and pick up a copy.

Don't forget to check out my shots from the Photoshop World Project Runway Keynote.

One more thing….

I was also very thrilled to see my images on their booth too! Woot!

I also have to thank my great models: Aferdita, Cecilia, Lauren, Tika and makeup artist Renata.

Live at Photoshop World: Keynote #psw

I’m here live at the Photoshop World Keynote where the theme is “Project Photoshop”. Photoshop project manager Brian O’Neil Hughes is showing some hidden gems in PS CS5. He’s also sneaking some cool NEW Tablet based technologies to tie into Photoshop as well as some slick NEW lens correction technologies in the Adobe labs.

Needless to say, the fashions are Photoshop based 🙂

Editing a photo with layers on the iPad

The layers animate in 3D!

Launching a new Photoshop Feedback Site. Check it out!

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad 2

Location:Universal Blvd,Orlando,United States

Shoot Tethered (Wirelessly) to the iPad

If you’re a photographer and you own an iPad you probably already know the benefits of showing off your photos on that nice 10″ display. However, chances are at some point you also had a wish to get your images to your iPad either directly from your camera (tethering) or from your computer wirelessly (not having to sync them over via iTunes – even typing it sounds so outdated). There are ways to do it! I’m at Photoshop World this week and I got a chance to try a new combination (new to me anyway) of the latest Eye-Fi Pro X2 SD card and a cool App called Shuttersnitch for iOS. I reviewed the first Eye-Fi a little over 3 years ago. While the technology worked backed then, and like I said in my review at the time, I really didn’t have any use for it. Back then the idea was this card would wirelessly and automatically transfer your images to your computer or a photo sharing site. First of all I have no interest in uploading images to a photo sharing site directly from my camera without some post processing. Secondly even the transfer to the computer was way too slow. You might as well just pop the card in your card reader and transfer them over in a fraction of the time. Lastly back then the card didn’t support RAW files. Yep, it was a non-starter for me. After I did the review I never touched the card again.

3 years later…I have a use for Eye-Fi cards

As with most technologies, they tend to improve over time. While I still have very little interest in the Eye-Fi cards for wireless transfer to my computer (still a bit too slow) or uploading directly to a photo sharing site, I’m intrigued by the thought of shooing wirelessly into my iPad. While there are other tethering solutions for the iPad out there, they tend to all involve using a computer in the middle of the process to tether your camera to and then transmit the images via WiFi to your iPad. This solution doesn’t require a computer beyond the initial setup of the Eye-Fi Card itself.



How does it work?

First you need an Eye-Fi Card. I went with the Eye-Fi Pro X2 8GB card because it’s the only that does support RAW files. If you don’t care about shooting in RAW then you can use one of the less expensive cards. The card comes with a card reader and the software you’ll need to install for your Mac/PC to set the card up. The Eye-Fi card has its own built-in WiFi chip and this latest model supports 802.11n which helps out a lot on the speed! After configuring the card to join your wireless network, you need to disable all other image transfer options. In other words, just setup the card to join your hotspot, but NOT to transfer images to your computer.  I shot with my Nikon D7000. For a mobile hotspot, I used my UNLOCKED GSM MiFi 2372 hotspot. It should work with just about any WiFi network as long as both the card and iPad are on the same network. It also should work with the Personal Hotspot feature of the iPhone.

UPDATE: Eye-Fi Cards now support Direct Mode. No need for a hotspot!

Next you’ll need the Shuttersnitch App

The Shuttersnitch App is the App you’ll need on your iPad to talk with your Eye-Fi card. While this App does have native Eye-Fi support built-in, it’s not limited to Eye-Fi cards. It will work with other wireless camera solutions. I hear that David Ziser and his sidekick Damie Tepe are running around here at Photoshop World somewhere showing this with the Canon Wireless Transmitter (instead of the Eye-Fi Card) and getting some SPEEDY transfers (like 1.4 seconds of FINE JPGs) directly, sans the mobile hotspot (probably in an AdHoc mode). I’ve got to check him out and see how he’s doing this?

Once you log into your Eye-Fi account via the App it sends the secret signal over to your selected Eye-Fi card to pair the two together. Now when both your iPad and your Eye-Fi card in your camera are on the same network, your images will automatically transfer over to the Shuttersnitch App so that you can view them right on your iOS device.

See my Shuttersnitch review here or you can just go ahead and buy the App here from the .

What about the transfer speed?

This was the big question I had that I couldn’t seem to find an answer on, so of course I had to try it myself. It’s good, but not great! As you might expect RAW files are going to be slowest. It could take anywhere from 20-30 seconds to transfer a 14MP RAW file from my D7000. The story gets much better if you shoot JPEG. When I shoot JPEG I get anywhere from 9-13 seconds depending on the JPEG quality setting I use. Also keep in mind that the images are still on the card too for transferring to your computer later. An even better workflow for my Nikon D7000 is to shoot JPEG BASIC to the Eye-Fi card for the fastest transfer to the iPad and RAW to the second SD card slot. Finally! A reason for me to like RAW+JPEG shooting. LOL, Thanks Jason for the idea.

Here’s an idea of how it works:


What about Compact Flash?

Eye-Fi cards have always been aimed at consumers and like it or not SD is the predominant format in consumer cameras. However, don’t fret my CF shooting pro friends. With this adapter you can can stick an SD Eye-Fi card in your CF based camera. NOTE: This Adapter does NOT work with the newest X2 cards and also keep in mind that this is NOT officially supported. You do so at your own risk!


The Bottom Line

If you’ve got an iPad and an SD based camera, the Eye-Fi Pro X2 card plus the Shuttersnitch App is a nice way to go. If you have a CF based DSLR camera, then you might want to consider other wireless transmitter options.

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