Not Sexy But Essential: CF Card Readers


This is not a sexy subject by any means but memory card readers are essential if you have multiple cards for your camera. Today I received my sixth or seventh in the last fifteen months, I loose count because at least four have broken, and that is why I always like to have at least two, one as a back up. If you like my are reliant on Compact Flash Cards the choice is far more limited that other flavours of card. SD cards are the king of memory cards right now.  Most card readers are so poorly built and designed that when you see them you think when will it break rather will it break. Having said all that the second one I bought the Lexar FW800 still works like the day I bought it. It is well designed, when built has Firewire connections and is now discontinued. Now it is almost impossible to get a CF card reader with FW800 connections unless you want to shell out $250 for one from RED which is just an insane amount. I’m a Mac person so of course I have Firewire and prefer it to USB, mainly because I can daisy chain drives together. Essential if you have like me four hard drives connected to a laptop with only two USB sockets.

Since it is almost impossible to get a Lexar Firewire CF card reader and mine went briefly to Australia by accident, it now lives on the desk connected to my media drives unless one the ones in my camera bag breaks which it did the other day. This lead my on the search for yet another card reader, a better built one. One I am unlike to have to replace next week. The choice here in the UK is not great on that score, most of it being made up of cheap USB 2.0 readers that stick directly out of the USB socket. At least one of my previous readers has “bought the farm” because of this, getting knocked as it stuck out so far aircraft had to be redirected around it.

So after toiling over the internet I looking for a Firewire version I, like Lexar gave up. You can kind of understand their rational or moving away from FW00, it is only Mac users that use it wholesale and despite the advertising it is still only a very small amount of the market. Lexar have now opted for the USB 3.0 Standard which is backwards compatible. USB 3.0 promises to be faster that 2.o and faster than Firewire 800 which sounds great but it doesn’t have one of the ability to daisy chance USB products together.

So I have begrudgingly settled for buying yet another  USB card reader but this time one that should last a bit longer. I have purchased Lexar Professional USB 3.0 Dual-Slot Read from 7Daysshop.co.uk and it’s delivery is anything but, more like 10 days.  Sure I won’t able to take advantage of the speed of USB 3.0 but it is very well designed and built like its older and bigger brother. I will always take reliability over speed. The big question is how long will this one last?