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SD card turns digital cameras into Instagram machines

Smartphones are proving to be more popular than standalone cameras when it comes to photos but one company continues to buck the trend. On Wednesday, Eye-Fi released a memory card for digital cameras that directly uploads pictures over Wi-Fi or transfers them to a nearby smartphone or tablet. In theory, the $79 Eye-Fi Mobile X2 can be used to get images from a point-and-shoot or DLSR to Instagram, Facebook, TwitPic or any number of other photo sharing sites.

This can be handy for those that do carry a traditional digital camera but still have the desire to share great shots on photo sites. There are new cameras available with Wi-Fi on them, but the sharing functionality is limited to whatever sites the camera manufacturer enabled in the software. By sending images to a phone or tablet with Direct Mode, which the company debuted last year, pictures can be edited easier and shared with any site or social network through a mobile app.

The Mobile X2 is actually an extension of Eye-Fi’s new product line. It joins the $49 Connect X2 and $99 Pro X2. All three memory cards offer the Direct View functionality. With it, photos can be sent directly to an iPhone, iPad(s aapl) or Android device(s goog) running Eye-Fi’s free mobile client. This eliminates the need to carry a USB cable or Apple Camera Connector Kit for image transfers.

The main difference between cards is in the storage capacity and file format support. The Connect X2 is limited to 4 GB of memory and doesn’t support RAW image files; the new Mobile X2 has the same file limitation but doubles the available memory. Eye-Fi’s Pro X2 has 8 GB of storage, but does support the larger RAW file format; essentially an unprocessed image directly from the camera sensor.

The storage for all three cards can be limiting, but the ability to wirelessly offload images with 802.11n Wi-Fi to a device with additional memory can offset that. And removing the need to carry cables for image transfer is a plus. Eye-Fi says the Direct Mode for the new Mobile X2 will be available in the coming weeks, although the actual SD card with integrated Wi-Fi is available now.

2 Responses to “SD card turns digital cameras into Instagram machines”

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