Toshiba FlashAir SD WiFi Card Sends Pics Direct from Camera

Photographers can get a Photostream-like workflow using a traditional camera thanks to the Toshiba FlashAir SD WiFi 8GB Card. The FlashAir card lets users access their pictures while still on the card and in a camera. Connect a computer, tablet or smartphone to the built-in Wi-Fi radio and they can browse the card’s contents with a web browser or an app like ShutterSnitch.

We’ve tested a similar product: the Eye-Fi SD card. It also includes Wi-Fi and quickly uploads pictures to sharing sites, a computer or tablet. And like the Eye-Fi, the Toshiba card offers a direct peer-to-peer connection to the card from a Wi-Fi enabled computer, tablet or phone.

Setting up the Toshiba FlashAir SD Card

toshiba flashair sd card

The card works great so long as the user sets the automatic shut-off up in their camera to keep the camera from turning off and shutting down the card’s Wi-Fi. After doing this the Wi-Fi stayed connected longer, but it also drained the camera battery faster.

connect to the flashair like one would any wifi network

The card ships with a generic 12345678 password. After setting the password using a special utility, connect via a computer or device’s Wi-Fi and start looking at the images on the card by typing the address http://flashair/ into a browser.

flashair-web

Viewing Images on the Toshiba FlashAir Card in-Camera

The Wi-Fi serves the pictures fast enough to make it usable. It’s not as fast as a high-end router, even though it uses 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi.

The page that shows the pictures presents them in a grid. Click each thumbnail and it opens the full-size image. The user can right-click on a computer to download the picture. On an iPad we pressed and held the image to save it to the iPad Camera Roll. From there we could do some photo editing with an app like Snapseed or iPhoto, then post the image on Facebook, Twitter or any other service that offers an iPad app.

flashair-web-thumbs

 

Notice that some of the thumbnails don’t show images above. That happens far too often. That’s why we prefer using ShutterSnitch and the iPad to view the images from the card. The app costs $15.99, but this use alone makes it worth the price.

shuttersnitch and flashair card

 

Connect the iPad to the card’s Wi-Fi and then fire up ShutterSnitch. The setup lets the user pick the Toshiba FlashAir Card and then all the new images that show up on the card will download to the app soon after the user presses the shutter button on the camera.

Toshiba FlashAir Card Weaknesses

The card comes with some drawbacks. The Wi-Fi built into the card drains a camera battery faster than other SD cards. The card took a Nikon P7000 battery from about 50% to about 10% in under two hours. The camera battery usually lasts much longer.

TOSHIBA FLASHAIR IMAGE

Toshiba offers a way to help alleviate battery drain. They include an image on the card that the user can protect. Protecting the image using the camera’s menu settings will turn the Wi-Fi on or off.

The card offers Class 6 speed. That’s not as fast as we’d like. We usually buy Class 10 cards in order to do some burst mode shots and to take 1080p video. We didn’t notice a problem while testing the card, but we didn’t use it to shoot a lot of video.

Downloading images from the card takes time. It would be nice if the card offered a way to grab more than a single shot at a time. But ShutterSnitch solved this problem. ShutterSnitch connects to the card and automatically downloads the pictures. This setup works amazingly well.

Recommendation

Despite all that we like the Toshiba FlashAir SD card because it lets us see our pictures almost instantly when paired with ShutterSnitch. No matter how big the camera’s LCD screen is, it still makes it hard to see whether we got the shot. We can more easily judge a shot’s sharpness, color and exposure on the iPad than on a small camera screen.

The first time we saw our picture show up on the iPad without using the iPad Lightning to SD card adapter, we were sold. Seeing it seconds after pressing the shutter button caused our jaw to drop. We’d like to see some improvements in battery usage and a cool utility for a computer like the ShutterSnitch app, but we still think the ease of workflow makes this card worth the extra cost.

3 Comments

  1. YaiRenz Coloma

    05/20/2013 at 2:18 pm

    Thank you, it so helpful. I will purchase the apps that u recommended. I use Canon Rebel SL1 and it drain my battery so fast.

    Reply

  2. Chris Semple

    01/04/2016 at 1:58 pm

    Thanks for your review, but your title is actually misleading – I’d like to point out to other readers the card does not SEND the images, it makes them accessible, then you are left to retrieve them, either manually or with shutter snitch. A technicality, but one that’s taken me an evening playing with it to discover.

    Reply

  3. Ryan

    04/18/2017 at 12:30 pm

    The card IS capable of SENDing images. You can either set it up to be an access point, or a wireless client. We have written software to accept photos the card SENDs and automatically associate it with inventory items currently being viewed, to ease the task of picture association in a production environment.

    It works, but I can definitely say the cards have their issues.
    1. WiFi is not stable, and sometimes we must play a game of power cycling the camera before the pictures start auto-uploading again
    2. battery life of our cameras is seriously diminished, to the point we need to figure out a way to keep charged batteries handy to not interrupt production
    3. camera compatibility can be a bit more tricky than anticipated. Some Canon ELPH cameras (180? I forget the actual model…) actually advertised support for Eye-Fi/Flashair cards, and even had an extra menu item appear when the Flashair card was installed. Never got the card working with these cameras and ended up returning the cameras for ones that had no concept of Flashair, and now they work. With the exception of points 1 and 2.

    Reply

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