A good card reader is a requirement in your photography arsenal, for quickly copying images to your computer (or anyone else's, for that matter). Hundreds of different models are available, and today we'll be taking a look at a selection that cater to different types of user. There's something for everyone!
If you're a little strapped for cash, a cheap, budget card reader may well be perfectly fine. If you know that you'll only ever need to read one type of card (SD, for instance), you can opt for a specific type of reader and save a few dollars.
You'll tend to find that cheaper models are usually slightly less robust, a little more flaky in terms of connection reliability, and come packaged with a fairly flimsy USB cable.
Here is a selection of budget card readers you might like to consider:
- Digital Concepts SD/MMC Reader
- Zeikos ZE-MSR19 Memory Stick Reader
- Ge Jasho97930 Compact Flash/Microdrive Card Reader
When you're shooting huge RAW files on a high-end Digital SLR, speed might start to become a factor. If you need to copy images across to a computer quickly, certain card readers are better suited than others. The connection type is also worth considering - Firewire 400 is marginally faster than USB2, and Firewire 800 is twice as fast (if your computer, and card, support this).
Here are a few of the faster card readers available:
- Lexar CompactFlash FireWire 800 Card Reader
- Hoodman Raw FireWire400/800 CF Card Reader
- Sandisk Extreme FireWire Reader
Power & Versatility
The third category of reader to consider offer versatility - the ability to read any card you could possibly throw at it. This is an optimal solution if you own a number of cameras with different memory card formats, or if you know you'll need to help out friends from time-to-time who own different models.
Personally, this is the option I go for. There's no way to know when you'll need to read a certain type of card for one reason or another, and it's best to be prepared!
If versatility is your thing, it's worth taking a look at a few of these options:
- Digipower DP-FHC07 3 in1 Bluetooth Adapter, USB Hub and Card Reader (is there anything this doesn't do?!)
- Kingston 19-in-1 USB 2.0 Flash Memory Card Reader FCR-HS219/1
- Transcend P8 15-in-1 USB 2.0 Flash Memory Card Reader TS-RDP8K
What Do You Use?
Which card reader would we find in your photo bag (if there's one there at all)? Let us know what your preference is in the comments, along with what you look for in a card reader.