Written on January 29, 2014 at 6:04 pm , by Christina Tynan-Wood
My daughter is a bit of a shutterbug. When she was 8, she would grab my big, fancy (and expensive!) DSLR camera away from me and run around taking pictures with it. Despite her tendency to cover furniture and walls with sticky fingers and crayon mess at that age, she was very careful with that piece of equipment. She was also quiet and uncharacteristically focused when taking pictures. So I let her. And on her 10th birthday, I gave her that camera. In the five years since, she has surpassed my photography skills and knowledge by miles. In fact, she has surpassed the skills of most casual photographers. We frequently frame prints of her shots and hang them on the wall. She includes photography in every imagining of her future she comes up with. My husband, who disputed my insane decision to give a messy 10-year-old a $500 camera, now tips his hat at my ability to recognize passion in one so young.
I thought that camera would last her a lifetime. But the functionality of cameras has evolved. These days cameras can connect to the Internet so you can post pics directly to Facebook or Instagram the minute you take them. She wants one of those. Of course, she can take photos with her cell phone to post. But for someone who has learned to take great pictures with a real camera, that’s just not the same.
I’ve looked at some very tempting connected cameras lately. Some have onboard Wi-Fi and others are so connected that they blur the line between camera and smartphone. For example, when I was at CES I looked at the newest version of the Samsung Galaxy Camera, a very-high-end mirrorless camera that, like a smartphone, runs the Android operating system. (I liked the previous version enough to put it in the holiday gadget guide.) Many of Sony’s wonderful interchangeable-lens NEX cameras are Wi-Fi-enabled so you can shoot awesome photos and post them directly to Instagram, Google+ or the online photo storage and sharing space of your choice. Not all of these camera are terribly expensive, considering their high-end features and interchangeable lenses for professional results. But I’ve already given my daughter a camera. And she loves that camera and knows all its quirks and features.
So instead of springing for a new camera, I gave her a connected memory card for the one she already has. The Eye-Fi Mobi ($50 for an 8 GB card) will send photos from her camera—almost as fast as she can shoot—to her smartphone or tablet as long as both are connected to Wi-Fi. From there, she can tell her phone where to post the shot, how to back it up, or what to say about each shot as she posts it to Facebook or Instagram.
Some manufacturers engineer their cameras to work seamlessly with the Eye-Fi in order to bill them as connected. But the camera you already own and adore might be compatible with the Eye-Fi too. There’s a full list of cameras that work with the Eye-Fi Mobi card here.
Christina Tynan-Wood has been covering technology since the dawn of the Internet and currently writes the Family Tech column for Family Circle. You can find more advice about buying and using technology at GeekGirlfriends.com.