I was looking around on Saturday at the various SD cards for my Canon 500D. I thought that since there are these new fangled wifi-enabled ones, I should consider getting one of those.
My enquiries in Funan Centre initially began at Challenger. They had a 8GB model for S$79 which I thought was very expensive (not that I did any check on the costs yet) and enquired if there were bigger capacity ones. The store assistant said that there are, but they don’t have any in stock.
Great, I thought. I will use the S$79 as my upper limit for this and went from store to store. Funny that some camera stores don’t carry these devices – why that would be the case eludes me, but I reckon, those stores don’t want the extra hassle of having to understand how wifi works!
Finally, I came across Song Brothers (2nd floor, Funan), who not only had the Toshiba 16G models in stock for S$75, and another from PQI, called PQI Air Card for $68. Both were rated at 16GB. Looking at the cheaper one I decided not to get it because the brand was new to me. So, I settled for the Toshiba FlashAir 16GB class 10 SD card with WiFi capabilities. The card is a SDHC – Secure Digital High Capacity model.
The Obligatory Review:
This card is white in colour and when you insert into the camera (or any SD card reader), the wifi hotspot fires up. The SSID takes the form of “flashair_WifiMACAddress”, which in my case is “flashair_e8e0b79af4fc”. Pretty cool I’d say. They have a Android app as well. Even if you don’t use the app, you can connect to this SD card if your device has a wifi capability. All you then need to do is to attach to that SSID and in the browser of the device, go to: http://flashair/.
What you will see is the contents of the DCIM directory on the SD card. You can then download the contents. Nice. What I like about this is that the card does not need to connect to some external wifi access point and no need to connect to any server to make the contents available.
For the purposes of extracting the images out of the card, this method works very well. You can use it in any place so long as your other device can connect to the card via wifi. No dependence on wifi infrastructure and other server systems is very good.
What would be useful is the app on the Android to have some extra cleverness and be able to pull files out of the card and send it to other destinations and not only on the Android device (phone, tablet etc), although I reckon if you pull the images and put them into the folder on your Android device that is set up to upload to picasaweb (for example), then that would suffice. In any case, the code for the Andrioid app is not available – which is pity – for I am sure there will be clever tweaks done to it to make it very useful.
I must note that when I used the card at an event where my older son was graduating from Secondary 4 at SJI, the photos and videos were saved very quickly and at no time did I have to wait before the next shot, all because it is a class 10 card. Nice.
The file structure of the card is as follows:
216 Mar 11 CONFIG
128751 Mar 11 2013 FA000001.JPG
32768 Mar 11 2013 CARDICON
12021 Mar 11 2013 ICON_128.PNG
1800 Mar 11 2013 ICON_32.PNG
1250 Mar 11 2013 ICONINF.TXT
The CONFIG file is what that gets read and worked with by the Wifi stack. The contents of that file is:
The default wifi key is 12345678 which gets replaced by the * as shown in the APPNETWORKKEY above when the card is first inserted and switched on. I cannot find where the actual value is kept for later use. I am sure that there are some hidden areas that the actual key is kept at. Perhaps the wifi electronics has some flash storage for that. I will run testdisk on the card to see what can be found.
I am indeed pleased to see Toshiba setup and provide a lot of details at a new FlashAir developers site and all the configurable details are explained in the tutorials. This does look very, very promising and I am sure that there will be plenty of places that Toshiba’s FlashAir can be deployed, way beyond making conventional DSLRs wifi enabled devices.
All in, I am quite pleased with the wifi card. And 16G is a decent size but with the wifi capability, it does make the use case very interesting.