One major advantage mobile phones hold over digital cameras is the ability to share pictures as soon as they are taken. Mobile phones don’t necessitate that you wait until you get back home on your computer before sharing those pictures, or keeping your family and friends waiting before they can view that interesting video you just took.Now while this is a good thing, it also has its bad side. Mobile phones make it easy for us to share pictures, but this also means that the quality of the picture will get watered down a fair bit.
In this article however, we will be looking at how you can make use of just two devices and your digital camera to share high quality pictures to image sharing platforms like Flickr, Facebook and twitter, and with just a few button clicks.
What will you need?
Firstly, you need a digital camera that has an SD card slot. Most cameras come with this so it shouldn’t be much of a problem finding one. After you have that sorted, you will then have to get a Mi-Fi modem from 3. The next tools you need to have are an Eye-Fi card, a computer, mobile broadband coverage and 20 minutes to set things up.
Putting the tools to use
As soon as you have your Eye-Fi card, your Mi-Fi modem and a computer, you are now ready to transform your camera into an automatic image sharing device. Now, you need to decide on what you want to do with the pictures as it will influence the choice of Eye-Fi cards you are going to buy. There are different cards for taking and sending pictures in RAW and there are also cards that allow you to capture, geo-tag and send small sized but quality pictures.
To really enjoy this, you need to get at least an Eye-Fi Pro X2, which is an SDHC card that comes with 8GB and an 802.11 wireless transmitter in it. The Mi-Fi device will help you create a small Wi-Fi hotspot so that your Eye-Fi card can get on the internet. If you are getting the Mi-Fi card from 3, it is going to cost you £7.50 monthly for 18months with 1GB worth of data allowance. You can also decide to pay upfront and get 3GB worth of data in lump but you must use up the data in 3 months. Paying upfront for the Modem will cost you £69.99.
After buying the Mi-Fi and Eye-Fi cards, you have to set them up so you can use them in the field. To do this, you need to first of all install the Eye-Fi software. After this is done, you can then setup the Mi-Fi connection. For you to setup the Eye-Fi card with the Mi-Fi, you have to be within coverage of the mobile broadband network that issued the Mi-Fi, in this case 3 UK. As soon as you have the Mi-Fi up and running and sending out wireless connection signal, open up the Eye-Fi software and choose to setup the Eye-fi over the Mi-Fi connection.
Mifi sharing options
When the network is recognised and everything finally setup, the next thing you have to setup will be your sharing options. In the UK, you can share pictures via Snapfish, Kodak Gallery, Evernote, Gallery, SmugMug, Flickr, MobileMe, Picassa and of course Facebook.
Setting up the sharing details is also very easy and you have the option of making the transfer either automatic or manual. If you decide to make it manual, then you will have to select a button you will have to press on the camera to share a picture. This is very important if you know you’ll take pictures you wouldn’t want to share immediately. After picking the site you want to share your pictures on, you can also set other advanced options, like the size of pictures, where you want them stored etc.
Watch the Mifi data limits
It is important that you do not forget your data limitations while setting up this process. Some cameras (an 18MP one for example) can snap pictures sized 5MB. Thus uploading pictures from this kind of camera in an area where the 3G connection is not exactly wonderful could take time. The more pictures you snap and upload the faster your data plan allowance will get used up. If you are only going to be sharing pictures on Facebook, then it’s advisable that you reduce the file size. This reduction does not affect the size of the stored picture so you do not have to worry about the picture losing its quality.
As soon as you have completed all this, and the settings have been saved on your Eye-fi card, then you are ready to put your camera to work.
No Wifi Hotspot, no problem
So, when next you go to an event where there is no Wi-Fi hotspot, all you need to do is to turn on your Mi-Fi device, plug in the Eye-Fi card into your camera and then start taking pictures. If you selected automatic sharing, then your images will begin appearing almost instantly on the sharing site you selected. At this stage, you can then pull out your smartphone to see which pictures have been shared.
That’s the end of the tutorial! You can now share high quality pictures, much better than most smartphones can offer, with your friends without having to wait until you get back home and get on your laptop.
Remember, you will only realistically be able to do this if your Mi-Fi is able to access the 3G or 4G broadband network. This underlines the importance of only buying Mi-Fi from providers that have extensive coverage across the UK. Otherwise, you will be disappointed. Good luck trying to share high definition pictures over a 2G network!
O2, Virgin Media, 3 and EE are all networks you can get Mi-Fi services from. You can contact them to see what their offers are and decide on the best one for you.