Review: Lexar Shoot-n-Sync Wi-Fi memory card

By now most of you have heard of the Eye-Fi Wi-Fi SD memory card and what it’s capable of, right? Okay, good. Earlier this year, January to be exact, Lexar announced that they had teamed up with Eye-Fi to bring a Lexar branded SD card with Eye-Fi technology by year’s end. Well, the time has come — Lexar’s Shoot-n-Sync card is finally here and I’ve been testing it out for the last couple weeks. It rocks, but it does have a hangup or two.

From a casual point-and-shooter’s perspective I doubt you’d have any real qualms about performance, but it’s a slow-ass card (something we already knew) and simply can’t hang when shooting with an SLR. That’s not to say you can’t use it with an SLR, but if you’re shooting in high or lo Drive Mode (or whatever it’s called on your SLR) it will bog down after two shots. I hope Lexar bumps up the speed on these Shoot-n-Sync cards going forward.

My card speed gripe aside, the Shoot-n-Sync works well. Setup took less than five minutes. The 2GB card comes in a card reader that’s embedded with Eye-Fi software, so the first thing you’ll have to do is plug the card reader with the card straight into your Windows or OS X machine. Once the application is installed, you just need to set up your home network within the Eye-Fi Manager software. The next step is to link your Shoot-n-Sync card with the photo sharing site(s) of your choice and pick a folder on your computer where images will be uploaded. You also have the option of enabling Geotagging, but that’s an extra $15/year. On top of that, an additional $15/year can be tacked on if you want access to hotspots. All of this takes roughly 5 minutes and you’re on your way.

During my tests, I had images upload to my Flickr account within a matter of seconds but, on occasion, it would take up to a minute for photos to show up on my desktop. The Eye-Fi servers can be a bit finicky at times, but I doubt anyone is going to be anal enough to count the milliseconds in between photo uploads. I don’t believe the size of the image has a lot of bearing on upload times, but I’d be a fool to say that a 2-megapixel image uploads just as fast as a 10-megapixel image. I’m just saying that the upload times aren’t significant enough that you’d be whining about it. Manually transferring images to your computer and then on to a photo-sharing site would take significantly longer.

I typically shoot in RAW, but that does nothing for me when I’m using the Shoot-n-Sync. The RAW files won’t transfer to my computer and it certainly won’t upload to Flickr. Because of this, I’ve been shooting in RAW+, which solves the problem of uploading to my computer/Flickr. But it does cut down on the amount of images that I can take with a 2GB card. Images are uploaded to Flickr (or the photo-sharing site of your choice) even when your computer is off. As long as it can access the network with your camera turned on, the images will upload. When you do turn on your computer, the images will upload to your desired folder.

The S-n-S can be had for as low as $75 on Amazon, but should you want access to hotspots and geotagging it ends up being $105. Compare that to Eye-Fi’s Explore card, which comes with both services right out of the gate at a price of $96, you’d be saving $11. But the Explore card has unlimited geotagging and you’d only be paying $15/year for hotspot access after the first year. I personally don’t care for geotagging, but this is something you should consider if you’re looking at both cards and want that functionality. The S-n-S really goes head-to-head with the Share card and that one sells for $71.

Lexar’s Shoot-n-Sync Wi-Fi SD card works well with the Eye-Fi service and I’d suggest purchasing this one over the Eye-Fi cards for the one-year warranty over anything else. Eye-Fi only gives you 90 days and paying the extra $5 (or whatever it is) is definitely worth it.

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Lexar is also guilty of packaging a small doodad into a ginormous waste of resources.