Downloading from camera to Mac, best way.

trjwv

macrumors regular
Original poster
Feb 24, 2010
201
0
kentucky...Go Cats
Should I download from my camera via plugging the cable into the camera or pulling the card from the camera and inserting into a card reader? Any difference, I have always heard to pull card and use card reader but not sure why and if this is right. FYI...I take raw and jpeg.
Thanks
 

flosseR

macrumors 6502a
Jan 1, 2009
746
0
the cold dark north
whichever you want, the import process on the machine does not know the difference. Generally it is faster through the card reader than through the camera.
 

jampat

macrumors 6502a
Mar 17, 2008
682
0
Should I download from my camera via plugging the cable into the camera or pulling the card from the camera and inserting into a card reader? Any difference, I have always heard to pull card and use card reader but not sure why and if this is right. FYI...I take raw and jpeg.
Thanks
Card reader is normally much faster and doesn't use camera batteries.

I have never downloaded a card directly from my DSLR. P&S I generally download using the camera as the files are small and there normally aren't many, so it works quickly.
 

FourCandles

macrumors 6502a
Feb 10, 2009
835
0
England
I accept the others' comments regarding (lack of) likely speed differences etc.

Personally (and I realise this is probably a rare viewpoint!) I look at it from a diferent view and I've judged which part of the camera is more robust for repeated use. In my case I think the flap covering the USB socket is much more flimsy that the one covering the SD card, so I use the latter and drop the card into a reader. It also gives me an excuse to keep rotating my SD cards.
 

H2Ockey

macrumors regular
Aug 25, 2008
216
0
Don't go directly from the camera.

Use a card reader.
Can you expand with a reason? Such a matter of fact statement, is it just personal preference?

Jampat expressed the only benefits as far as I know, possible speed and batteries. For now I do use several cards, but never larger than 2 gb, if I had a 8 gig or larger card it would likely matter to me but for now 2 gig UDMA cards do not take that long, and I always have a mostly full battery.

I've wondered many times because it would seem in some circles it is expected standard practice to use a card reader. But why if USB cable to the camera works? Is there some possible corruption risk or electronic damage risk that isn't widely known?
 

chown33

Moderator
Staff member
Aug 9, 2009
8,784
5,168
vertical
Two reasons I use a card reader:
1. Transfers are faster. (YMMV)
2. If I mangle a connector, it won't be an expensive camera repair, it will only be a card reader replacement.
 

luminosity

macrumors 65816
Jan 10, 2006
1,364
0
Arizona
Can you expand with a reason? Such a matter of fact statement, is it just personal preference?


It's just common knowledge. The most basic reason can be summed up in one word: Corruption.
 

H2Ockey

macrumors regular
Aug 25, 2008
216
0
Can you expand with a reason? Such a matter of fact statement, is it just personal preference?


It's just common knowledge. The most basic reason can be summed up in one word: Corruption.
Ok, so i've been using exclusively Camera to computer USB cable for the last several cameras and few computers. I had a PCI-slot card reader many generations ago (both computer and camera) that I used for a card reader but stopped using it after moving to several computers in quick succession without a PCI slot... and finally an iMac.

This subject is something i've quietly wondered about for a long time but never really looked into. Normally the responses to the question are exactly as we've seen in this thread.

I started really looking into this a bunch more today. I really do want to know is there a real significant reason NOT to use camera to computer cable.

I still don't see it. There are a lot of personal reasons, many irrational on both sides of the argument, but I still find the only true factual arguments to be: A *good* card reader will be faster.
 

pdxflint

macrumors 68020
Aug 25, 2006
2,407
14
Oregon coast
Should I download from my camera via plugging the cable into the camera or pulling the card from the camera and inserting into a card reader? Any difference, I have always heard to pull card and use card reader but not sure why and if this is right. FYI...I take raw and jpeg.
Thanks
Ok, so i've been using exclusively Camera to computer USB cable for the last several cameras and few computers. I had a PCI-slot card reader many generations ago (both computer and camera) that I used for a card reader but stopped using it after moving to several computers in quick succession without a PCI slot... and finally an iMac.

This subject is something i've quietly wondered about for a long time but never really looked into. Normally the responses to the question are exactly as we've seen in this thread.

I started really looking into this a bunch more today. I really do want to know is there a real significant reason NOT to use camera to computer cable.

I still don't see it. There are a lot of personal reasons, many irrational on both sides of the argument, but I still find the only true factual arguments to be: A *good* card reader will be faster.
This is really a matter of personal preference. The main advantage of using a reader has been mentioned already, but at the risk of being repetitive... card readers are cheap, especially for the SD usb2.0 ones, and quite small - get a few, throw one in your laptop bag, camera bag, and one in your desk drawer. They keep you from wearing out the port on your camera (probably a fairly moot point, actually) and save wear and tear on the little rubber cover flap on most cameras just to get to the port. You don't have to power up the camera to download your images.

The thing is, you either can carry a little plug-in card reader, or carry a usb cable... you still have to carry something. It's much faster to just pop the card out, stick it in the reader, and done. If your camera battery goes down on you while you're downloading photos from the camera, you could lose them. No problem with the reader. Only thing to keep in mind, it's generally advised to not delete the photos from your memory card via the computer, but to put it back in the camera and reformat it each time. Supposedly, this will minimize the risk of file/card corruption.

In the end, it's not a major issue which way you choose to go. I use card readers because of the reasons I mentioned above. You can do the opposite if that's more comfortable to you.

Mostly it's about habits. Whatever makes you comfortable, just do it. There's no "right" way, but keep in mind that they don't sell millions of those little card readers for no reason--they're useful.
 

AlaskaMoose

macrumors 68000
Apr 26, 2008
1,576
1,299
Alaska
It makes no difference, really. While a card reader may be slightly faster, downloading from the camera does not put stress on the card's electrical contacts from removing and reinstalling it.
 

rusty2192

macrumors 6502a
Oct 15, 2008
997
81
Kentucky
I just got my first dslr, a Canon Rebel XT (350D). It uses CF cards. In my quest for a low priced entry dslr I saw several cameras on eBay with bent pins for the CF card. Is this a real risk to worry about with removing the card to use a card reader every time?
 

H2Ockey

macrumors regular
Aug 25, 2008
216
0
I just got my first dslr, a Canon Rebel XT (350D). It uses CF cards. In my quest for a low priced entry dslr I saw several cameras on eBay with bent pins for the CF card. Is this a real risk to worry about with removing the card to use a card reader every time?
As I said earlier I spent a good amount of time looking into this today trying to find a reason other than speed to use a card reader since I am used to the cable method, I'm comfortable and don't feel like switching.
What I found is many who have made their decision based on the fear of a potential problem which would/should only occur if you are doing something wrong. With care and some choices you should be fine either way.

Many who chose camera cable did so because they were worried about:
damaging the card through handling
static discharge damaging the card while handling
bending contact pins in the camera or reader or loosing a pin into the card
wearing out the card slot on the camera
cheap readers corrupting their cards
wearing out the card door on the camera

Many who chose card reader did so because they were worried about:
damaging the camera while hooked to the computer either through falling off of their desk or from power spikes/surges through the USB cord
damaging the USB port on the camera, or wearing it out through repeated use
using up the batteries
mysterious corruption of the card by this method
wearing out the flap/door to the USB port on the camera

Now of all the fears seem to have some basis in fact, however most of the fears can be alleviated by simply doing things the right way.

Don't force the card in a slot. It should slide smooth and snug, if it takes effort you are potentially damaging something.
Eject the card properly from the computer after copying files, no matter the method. Never unhook the USB cable from a reader or camera while the files are being copied or any folders or pictures on the card are open. Copy the files however you do by whatever means, but don't read/edit/look at the photos while they are on the card, from a reader or camera, big potential for corruption ESPECIALLY while they are still being copied to the computer.
Jury seems to be out on cheap card readers, lots of anecdotal stuff about them going bad and destroying a card.
LOTS of anecdotal stuff about USB hubs going bad and destroying whatever they were hooked to, be it camera or card reader and the card.
Don't use questionable memory cards.
This last point could have a lot to do with the question of bent pins and EBAY. I read lots of stories about cheap cards that didn't fit right and bent pins in the camera or on the reader. Also the cheap cards seemed to be responsible for a lot of corruption of individual files. Some that were say 8 gig when purchased and initially formated became 6 gig cards after being used one time. Memory is cheap, buying cards from a reputable source seems like the best bet to prevent issues, then just take care to copy the files correctly and all should be good.
As an aside to the point about wearing out USB or Card slot on the camera, I don't recall which site I saw it on, and i'm paraphrasing the numbers but the USB port on most DSLR or newer P&S cameras should be good to ~10,000 cycles plugging and unplugging, and the card slot to 50,000. If you are doing it right you should not have an issue, the card is meant and designed to be removed and installed a lot... likely the shutter will die long before either the usb port or card slot on the camera.

sorry for the ramble, but it has been my pet project for today.
 

joemod

macrumors regular
Jun 8, 2010
196
23
Athens, Greece
Greetings,

I have a Canon 1000D and an old Canon PowerShot A95. I am using the camera to pc(now Mac :) ) approach since I like the way Canon Software organizes the images in date named folders. It saves me a lot of time and effort.
 

joepunk

macrumors 68030
Aug 5, 2004
2,554
13
a profane existence
I used to use my old Nikon L11 to download my images mostly because it could read both regular SD and SDHC cards. I worked just fine until the camera recently took a tumble off of a bed and now is no longer working. I am now looking around for a dedicated card reader because my Nikon D50 doesn't read HC cards.
 

pdxflint

macrumors 68020
Aug 25, 2006
2,407
14
Oregon coast
I did buy a used Sony digital 8 camcorder primarily so I could transfer older 8mm video tapes into digital files through the camera's firewire port directly to my Mac (iMovie.) Problem is... the firewire port no longer worked, it was a bit loose and had obviously been used quite often, or the cable had been tugged on while attached to the camera. Camera ports are not as physically strong as you think, and accidents can happen whenever you have a cable attached to your camera as mentioned above.
 
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