Compact Flash Reader solutions?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by BasilFawlty, May 8, 2014.

  1. BasilFawlty macrumors 6502

    BasilFawlty

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    #1
    I have a mid-2011 27" iMac, which I love, except for one tiny thing. While it does have Thunderbolt (which I currently had no devices for) it only has USB 2 - NOT USB 3 like the newer iMacs have! It's hard to justify getting a new iMac this soon after buying my current one, but I really wish I had a better solution for transferring photo data from my camera's CF card. Currently I have an older Epson Printer (RX600) with a built-in CF Card reader. The USE Connection of the printer to the iMac is USB 2.

    The card reader works but it is painfully slow when loading images from my CF card using Lightroom. Most of the newer card readers are USB 3, but this variant of the iMac doesn't have USB 3, only Thunderbolt ports.

    I can't find any CF card readers that are Thunderbolt, but I've heard there are USB-to-Thunderbolt converters.

    Question for any fellow iMac users in a similar situation - are there any good solutions for this short of buying a new computer? Does anyone else have a mid-2011 iMac with USB 2 and TB ports who have figured out a solution?
     
  2. ColdCase macrumors 68030

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  3. BasilFawlty thread starter macrumors 6502

    BasilFawlty

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    #3
    Yes, of course it does, but my iMac only has USB 2 so I'm not sure what your point is? If I plug my camera's USB port into my iMac's USB2 port, I'm going to transfer at USB2 speeds. What I'd love to be able to do to speed up work flow is plug the CF card from my camera into a Thunderbolt-capable CF Card reader to facilitate faster image file transfers. Problem is, I can't find any TB Card readers, so I was hoping there might be something like a USB3-to-TB converter so at least I could use a USB3 Card Reader. Or some similar solution that will facilitate faster file transfers from a CF card that using a USB Card Reader which is what I'm doing now (and it is painfully slow, especially when I have thousands of RAW images after a day-long shoot)
     
  4. MCAsan, May 8, 2014
    Last edited: May 8, 2014

    MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

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    #4
    The Lexar dual slot card reader can do CF or SD. It connects to USB3 or 2 ports. It was the fastest card reader I found as it does UDMA. It made down loading big fast cards from my 5DIII as fast as possible. Higly recommended for using with any CF or SD cards.

    http://www.lexar.com/products/lexar-professional-usb-30-dual-slot-reader


    Be aware that no external card reader can make up for having USB 2 as a transport compared to USB 3.

    I fully understand about painfully slow card downloads. After a long day of wildlife shooting I can easily have 64GB or more or raw files to download from one camera. Having a fast external reader helps. To increased the speed more, replace the internal HD with an SSD. That will give you faster boot time, app opening times, and faster data read/write.

    http://www.kanexlive.com/article/thunderbolt-adapters
    http://www.zdnet.com/new-thunderbolt-adapters-drives-on-display-at-macworld-expo-7000027868/
     
  5. BasilFawlty thread starter macrumors 6502

    BasilFawlty

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    #5
    I am going to get the Lexar dual card reader! To overcome my USB2 limitation (which was the topic of this thread), I found a solution and in fact just ordered it from OWC. The CalDigit Thunderbolt Station
    This appears to be exactly what I need! A little pricy but at least I won't loose a TB port (expands to two TB ports and, more importantly, gives my 2 USB3 ports! Woo hoo!
     
  6. itickings macrumors 6502a

    itickings

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2007
    #6
    Please feel free to give us an update when you have everything up and running. :)

    Just a minor clarification, the device won't give you an additional TB port if that's what you meant by "expands to two TB ports". Two TB ports on the device means one for the computer and one free, so as you said, you won't lose a TB port. But you won't gain any.
     
  7. hfg, May 8, 2014
    Last edited: May 8, 2014

    hfg macrumors 68040

    hfg

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    #7
    There are FireWire 800 card readers available on eBay (most have been discontinued as new). You may not have a FireWire port on your laptop, however you can purchase a Thunderbolt-to-FireWire800 adapter fairly reasonably ($29):

    http://store.apple.com/us/product/MD464ZM/A/apple-thunderbolt-to-firewire-adapter

    Not the cheapest solution perhaps, but possibly the fastest given your current computer hardware.


    Edit: It appears you have purchased a TB docking station ... that is a good solution, although expensive, and will offer you more flexibility for the future.
     
  8. BasilFawlty thread starter macrumors 6502

    BasilFawlty

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    #8
    Now that you mention it, you're right. I guess I thought there would be another TB port on the other side that you would use to plug in to the computer, but I guess not. Oh well, my only reason for this thing is to give me USB3 capability.
     
  9. nebo1ss macrumors 68030

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    #9
    Does your machine have an expresscard 34 slot or did Apple already drop that option on the 2011. If you have one you can get an Expresscard with USB 3 interface.
     
  10. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

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    #10
    But FW is not an improvement over USB 2. That is why Apple dropped both in newer machines for USB 3 and TB.
     
  11. BasilFawlty thread starter macrumors 6502

    BasilFawlty

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    #11
    No, it doesn't.
     
  12. ColdCase macrumors 68030

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    #12
  13. hfg macrumors 68040

    hfg

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    #13
    FireWire 800 is almost twice the speed of USB 2.0 (800 vs 480 Mb/sec), both of which pale in comparison to USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt. However, most flash cards used by photo enthusiasts will limit the actual transfer speed despite the higher potential transfer bandwidth available.
     
  14. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

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    #14
    My bad, I was thinking of FW400.

    But the hand writing is on the wall about FW. If is not part of newer designs. It will be interesting if the next Mini has it.

    USB 1.1 = 12 Mbit/s
    Firefire 400 = 400 Mbit/s
    USB 2.0 = 480 Mbit/s
    FireWire 800 = 800 Mbit/s
    USB 3.0 = 5 Gbit/s
    eSATA = Up to 6 Gbit/s right now as it depend on the internal SATA chip.
     
  15. glenthompson macrumors 68000

    glenthompson

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    #15
    I have a CalDigit thunderbolt station which provides USB 3. Testing it with an external drive gave speeds at the max of the drive. It may be more than you want to spend but it works well.
     
  16. rjbenson83 macrumors regular

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    #16
    Isn't the bottleneck in this situation the card itself? I don't know if any memory card out can saturate USB 2
     
  17. Nemic macrumors member

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    Mar 18, 2012
    #17
    I started a thread about using Thunderbolt for my digital camera CF cards. I use the Seagate GoFlex thunderbolt adapter with a cheap CF to SATA interface card.

    I posted my findings here:

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?p=14859567#post14859567

    I used this method on safari last year. I was taking thousands of photo's each day and I found the transfers to be very fast. I am going to Africa again next month and I will be using the same solution.
     
  18. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

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    #18
    Have a successful shoot and lots of fun in Africa! We have been to South Africa twice. We plan on 3 weeks in Kenya in November 2015. Can't wait.

    We sold off all our Canon 35mm DSLR equipment and have gone micro four thirds. The equipment is so much smaller and lighter that 35mm. We are getting to old to each carry around 50 pounds of camera bodies and glass. ;)

    Part of moving to M43 was also dropping CF cards for SD cards. At least there are finally some seriously fast SD cards starting to show up now that the Panasonic GH4 is out. It shoots 4K video and needs a card that can take a serious video stream. I use the SD reader in my rMBP. I have not found any speed advantage in an external USB 3 reader so far for SD cards.

    Again, good luck in Africa!
     
  19. RMo macrumors 65816

    RMo

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    #19
    This. What is the speed rating of your card? It should be printed on it. I'm not as familiar with CF as I am with SD, but the latter has varying classes that correspond to different read/write rates, and the class is printed on the card. With CF I think they just write the theoretical speed (or some "x" rating as with optical drives). You won't improve transfer speed if the card is the bottleneck. USB 2.0 is surely not your bottleneck, but you could be right the card reader on your printer might not be taking advantage of the full speed of your card.
     
  20. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

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    #20
    Rob has tested lots of cards for their read/write speeds.

    http://www.robgalbraith.com/multi_pagee519.html?cid=6007


    For CF cards max speed you want the card and card reader to do UDMA 7 protocol. I used Lexar 1000x cards for fast downloads. Also you minimize write times in the camera when it wants to write the buffer to the card.
     
  21. itickings macrumors 6502a

    itickings

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    Apr 14, 2007
    #21
    It's ancient history now, of course, but even FW400 is actually faster than USB2 as the technologies work in completely different ways.

    USB won over firewire because it was way cheaper (resulting in more devices) and still fast enough to be decently useable, not because it was faster/better.
     

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