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Digital Card Readers

Do you own and use a digital card reader?
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I can't fathom being without one. I have a Firewire 800 one for my CompactFlash cards (5D, 5D Mark II) and a USB 2.0 one for my SD cards.

Why anyone would plug their cameras directly in to their computer is beyond me. Maybe on occasion for a portable I could see it, but for a desktop? Buy a card reader, plug it in, and leave it there.

8 Responses to "Digital Card Readers"

  1. What card reader do you use for Compact Flash? I've been looking for a decent one that isn't horridly expensive. So many of them are either too cheap in quality, or too expensive in price.

    1. Elmak said on March 5, 2010:

      What card reader do you use for Compact Flash? I've been looking for a decent one that isn't horridly expensive. So many of them are either too cheap in quality, or too expensive in price.

      I don't know how it works for speed (my picture files just aren't that big), but this combo reader has served my needs well for quite a while. The only tip is to put a hard drive in it and leave it. (There are either 8 or 12 screws needed to put the thing together.)

  2. I plug in my camera 95% of the time because I already have the USB cable on my desk and it is easier to just make one connection and turn the camera on, as opposed to removing the memory card, putting it reader, taking it back out and reinstalling it in the camera.

    What about your camera makes a card reader easier/more efficient?

  3. The Plaid Cow said on March 5, 2010:

    What about your camera makes a card reader easier/more efficient?

    It's larger and takes up more desk space. It requires a working battery. Firewire 800 is faster (as is USB 2.0, I believe).

    Elmak said on March 5, 2010:

    What card reader do you use for Compact Flash?

    I have a SanDisk Firewire card reader. The plug is for FW 800 but it came with two cables - a FW400 to 800 and an 800-800 (the one I use).

  4. I plug my camera directly into my computer using a USB cable. However, I'm not a particularly active photographer (nor a particularly good one, either) so I don't have to do this very often.

    I'm curious as to your reasons for saying "Why anyone would plug their cameras directly in to their computer is beyond me." What do you dislike about doing that?

    One reason that I can think of, off the top of my head, is that the dedicated card reader can provide faster access than the USB electronics in the camera?

  5. Gordon Tyler said on March 5, 2010:

    I'm curious as to your reasons for saying "Why anyone would plug their cameras directly in to their computer is beyond me." What do you dislike about doing that?

    Off the top of my head:

    1. It's easier to swap multiple cards out of a card reader than a camera.
    2. Card reading speed.
    3. Card readers don't need a battery.
    4. Card readers are smaller than cameras.

    That's enough reasons for me. What are the benefits of using a camera? You have to open the flap to expose the USB port, so I can't even see "it's slightly faster" as a valid point. The only valid point I see for using a camera is "card readers cost $20 to $40."

  6. Erik J. Barzeski said on March 5, 2010:

    It's easier to swap multiple cards out of a card reader than a camera.Card reading speed.Card readers don't need a battery.Card readers are smaller than cameras.

    That's enough reasons for me. What are the benefits of using a camera? You have to open the flap to expose the USB port, so I can't even see "it's slightly faster" as a valid point. The only valid point I see for using a camera is "card readers cost $20 to $40."

    I agree your reasons are good for you. For interest's sake, here are my counterpoints from my perspective:

    1. I don't own multiple cards. I have one card in my camera and I never get even near to filling it.
    2. Given that I don't take enough pictures in a single session to warrant multiple cards, the speed at which I can download them is not as important.
    3. My camera is almost certainly going to have enough battery power left to transfer the pictures.
    4. I have a compact digicam, not a DSLR, so I'd say that it's probably about the same size perhaps even smaller than a card reader. Although, never having seen a card reader in person, I can't be certain.

    So, I'd agree that a card reader is necessary for photographers who use DSLRs and shoot in large quantities. However, for casual compact digicam users, the camera's USB cable is sufficient.

  7. I answered "no," but I do have a card reader. I answered no because it's a CF-only USB 2.0 card reader, and while my cameras are both USB 2.0, only one is CF (the other is SD I think), so I never (literally, never) use the card reader. It's more trouble for me to pull the card out of the Rebel XT an put it into the reader than it is to just plug the camera in. Since I don't have a SD card reader, it's not even an option for my wife's camera.

    And, as with Gordon, I have a single card for each camera. I put a card into my wife's camera when we got it, and I haven't opened the camera since.

    Since I always have a spare charged battery, this is not a concern for me.


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