I take a lot of pictures and have always found getting those pictures out of the camera and into a computer for editing and storage cumbersome. The best experience I had was with my laptop, prior to its death last fall. The laptop had a built in card reader port which made transferring photos super quick and easy. After I got a new desktop computer for christmas, sans built-in card reader, I had to find a new solution to manage my photo transfers.
At first I tried the camera adapter for the iPad, but found I really don’t like editing pictures in my iPad just yet. It may grow on me someday, but for now I’m more comfortable in my native environment with a large screen and mouse at my disposal. So, I tried using the iPad with adapter as a vehicle for transfer rather than editing, but I also don’t really find Dropbox, the main way I get images off of the iPad in a pinch, very useful for moving pictures around because it’s slow and adds an extra step to the process. I am also loath to use iTunes unless absolutely necessary so I knew it would not work for me over the long haul as a transfer method.
I should also mention that I lost the cable for my camera ages ago and haven’t replaced it since I know I’ll just lose it again. I find it highly annoying that firewire and USB cables look exactly the same until you try to shove one into a port only to find you have the wrong one. We have a ton of USB cables so it’s easy to mix them up.
Enter the USB card reader which has become my solution of choice. I actually just killed the first one I bought because it wasn’t optimized for USB2 ports. It worked fine at work, but as soon as I brought it home the new computer fried it up with its super fast 3.0 ports. So, I went back to Amazon and bought the IO Gear, which is made for Windows 7 and USB2+.
It handles several types of popular cards and has a transfer rate of up to 480 Mb per second (faster than my firewire cable). Even videos copy quickly enough that I don’t find myself twiddling my thumbs during the delay. Plus at $7 it’s super cheap too. I keep it in my bag so that I have it at work and home, or anywhere else I happen to be I suppose. The case is sturdy and travels well.