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Old Jan 28, 2003, 1:08 PM   #1
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Default Compact Flash reader vs. downloading from camera

I'm new to digital photography, so excuse my ignorance here. I just bought a Fuji FinePix S602 and a 128MB Viking Compact Flash card. I also purchased a Viking Intelliflash media reader - unfortunately, before the camera arrived. The camera came with its own software for downloading pictures (I guess I should have known that). My questions is this -- is there an advantage using the media reader to download my pictures to my PC instead of using the software that came with the camera? And, to download from the media reader, do I just move (or drag and drop) the files from the reader to a folder on my PC? (The reader only came with a sheet on how to install the software/device, not on how to actually use it to download.) It seems to me that the only difference is that, to download directly from the camera, I must plug in the USB cable to the camera to do the download, whereas with the reader, I must remove the Compact Flash from the camera and insert it into the reader. I guess what I really want to know is, did I waste money buying the media reader, or is there really some advantage to using it as opposed to just downloading directly from the camera. Thanks in advance for any guidance you can offer.
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Old Jan 28, 2003, 2:49 PM   #2
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I'm just a newbie 'round here, but offhand the biggest advantage to me would be twofold... One, if you don't want to always have your camera physically with you to download the pics, you can simply take the media (say you have a reader at the office and your camera at home or whatever). You can always look at your media without having to tie up your camera. Similarly (and my second point) is that you don't have to use your camera's battery when transferring pics (if I understand correctly).

Those are kind of obvious points... I am sure the experienced people here could tell you more subtle advantages...
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Old Jan 28, 2003, 3:29 PM   #3
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Default Advantage of the reader

Generally speaking, the readers are much faster than downloading the pictures by plugging in the camera. My experience has been that the CF reader I use is many times faster than the camera connection.

On the other hand, for people who aren't comfortable with Windows or who don't have some other software package they want to use to edit and correct photos, the camera software and interface is often the easiest to use. Canon's for example, is virtually automatic once you hook up the camera. If you use a reader, you need to know how to create a folder to put the images in, and if you're going to edit them you need to know how to do that.

With the reader, you can very quickly download the photos off the card, verify that they are there (important step) then delete them from your CF card to have your camera ready to go again.
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Old Jan 28, 2003, 4:56 PM   #4
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I use a reader for all the reasons mentioned, I have 2 128Mb cards and I just swap a full one for an empty one. Now there are people here with an issue about contact life and is it good for the cam or not. Using a reader gets you into a discipline of copying/renaming the cam originals to an archive directory locking the file attributes and checking them before you decide to delete off the card. Some cam download progs 'move' the files with immediate delete, and I think that could be dodgy if the file transferred to HD contained errors (which I've had - big black chunks of image missing).

I feel more comfortable doing it with Smartmedia with less contacts which need to be used to keep them clean, but I've recently bought a microdrive.

I've changed my view on this as there are 50 little pins to mess up and it's expensive - so I do leave that in the cam as much as possible. I would suggest you get big enough media to avoid changing cards on location, that's when loss or damage is most likely to occur. VOX
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Old Jan 28, 2003, 7:24 PM   #5
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Having a microdrive, I am more sensitive to handling issues than other folks, but it is clear that most memory problems are a result of handling even with solid state memory. Problems are rare even with reasonable handling so it isn't a real big issue for solid state memory. With a Gig of memory, I don't have to worry about swapping memory very much like the folks with little dinky 128M cards do

Likely your camera looks like a removable hard drive when you connect it - the same as using a card reader. Compare the time it takes to copy the pictures with both methods and you will find out if the card reader is worth using. If they run at about the same speed, I think downloading from the camera is better - but not by a lot. If the card reader is much faster (likley), use it. If the camera is much faster (very unlikely), use that method.
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Old Jan 31, 2003, 9:46 AM   #6
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Thank you to everyone who responded to my questions. You were most kind and most helpful!
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