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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

October 2006 HelpLine

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Card Reader Or Camera For Download?

Q) I just purchased my first digital camera, primarily to reduce the weight I lug around on forays into the Sierras or along the Big Sur area. In reading a digital forum Website, I learned there's a disagreement, or rather, pros and cons, about the use of a reader or going direct. One person stated he'd never use a card reader because they're generally unreliable with poorly written software that "can malfunction in a variety of ways." Another was in favor of card readers because of the drain on the camera battery and the possibility of dying in the middle of a transfer and possible loss of data. What's your view on the debate?

Pete Margosian
Southern California

A) I've long been a proponent (some would say a fanatic) about using card readers rather than downloading directly from the camera. To me, the pros far outweigh the cons.

You're right about drain on the battery. The rechargeable batteries that come with digital cameras have a finite life span-the technical term is charge cycles. The range of charge cycles might be 500 to 1,000. Once you've used up all of the charge cycles, the battery is finished. And you're right to mention the problem of running out of power during a memory-card download. So instead of using up a charge cycle to download images from your camera, use a reader.

Regarding software, most card readers don't require it. They're usually recognized by current Mac and Windows operating systems.




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