Up to 1527MB/s sustained performance

Fastest way to get image files into my computer?

Last updated 2009-07-01 - Send Feedback
Related: none

What do you think is the fastest and most reliable way to get image files from a Compact Flash card into my computer?  — John G

I've used the SanDisk Firewire 800 card reader for years on both my MacBook Pro and Mac Pro. It continues to perform admirably on both systems.

The advantage of a Firewire-based reader is that it can plug into any computer with a Firewire port. Ditto for USB, but USB is generally slower than Firewire 800.

Transfer speed depends hugely on the card. Here are transfer times on the MacBook Pro using the Lexar Firewire 800 card reader:

Extreme III: 13.4 MB/sec
Extreme IV:  31.9MB/sec
Extreme Pro: 59MB/sec

The Extreme IV card was 2.4X faster.

For environments with numerous cards to download now, use fast cards, and two card readers simultaneously.

Up to 1527MB/s sustained performance

Newer MacBook Pros

June 2009 model 13" and 15" MacBook Pros have a built-in SD/SDHC reader. It doesn't support CompactFlash though.

ExpressCard/34 readers

These adapters work in computers with an ExpressCard/34 or ExpressCard/54 slot. For Apple Macs, this means only in MacBook Pro models with an ExpressCard slot. PC users might or might not have the slot.

  • Read speed will still depend greatly on the card; you 'll need the fastest cards to benefit;
  • Some models might be slightly bulkier than the Firewire reader (but no cable is required);
  • They can't be used at the same time as anything else in the ExpressCard slot eg an eSATA card.

ExpressCard/34 cards can be used in 54mm slots as well (no Apple Mac has a 54mm slot, but PCs might).

For high volume use, consider the dual-card Sonnet Pro Dual Compact Flash Adapter ExpressCard/34. It appears to support speeds up to 133MB/sec; if you need to download two cards at once, this is an important issue.

The Delkin Devices ExpressCard 34 - CompactFlash Card Adapter is very reasonably priced, but appears limited to 40MB/sec.

See also

Durable and fast, up to 1800MB/s

B&H Deal ZoneDeals by Brand/Category/Savings
Deals expire in 7 hours unless noted. Certain deals may last longer.
$1049 SAVE $450 = 30.0% $20 FREE ITEMS Canon EOS 77D DSLR with 18-135mm USM in Cameras: DSLR
$599 SAVE $100 = 14.0% GoPro Fusion in Video: Camcorders
$1697 SAVE $300 = 15.0% Nikon D750 DSLR in Cameras: DSLR
$2197 SAVE $900 = 29.0% Nikon D750 DSLR with 24-120mm in Cameras: DSLR
$3297 SAVE $800 = 19.0% Nikon D810 DSLR with 24-120mm in Cameras: DSLR
$1399 SAVE $100 = 6.0% ZEISS 18mm f/2.8 Batis in Lenses: Mirrorless
$1099 SAVE $200 = 15.0% ZEISS 25mm f/2 Batis in Lenses: Mirrorless
$1299 SAVE $200 = 13.0% ZEISS 21mm f/2.8 Loxia in Lenses: Mirrorless
$1999 SAVE $300 = 13.0% ZEISS 18mm f/2.8 Milvus ZF.2 in Lenses: DSLR

diglloyd Inc. | FTC Disclosure | PRIVACY POLICY | Trademarks | Terms of Use
Contact | About Lloyd Chambers | Consulting | Photo Tours
RSS Feeds | Twitter
Copyright © 2008-2017 diglloyd Inc, all rights reserved.