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Card readers for 5D/7D CF cards


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#1 Dan Collins

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Posted 19 October 2009 - 09:11 PM

I'm looking at buy one of the new canon 7D's and I'm thinking through all the accessories that I'll need with it. I will be buying sandisk extreme IV 8GB CF cards. Will any older CF reader work or do I need a new reader to go with the faster speed of the newer cards? I'm wondering if there are bandwidth limitations on some of the older CF card readers that will slow down ingestion of video too much. Or is the transfer speed not dependent on the reader, but just the card and interface to the CPU?

I'm looking for a good deal, like everyone else. I'd prefer both USB and firewire plugs, but either will do. I've seen some readers as cheap as $10, but since CF cards have been around so long, I don't know if there have been major changes in them.

I appreciate any help form those more tech savvy and up to date than myself!
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#2 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 19 October 2009 - 10:02 PM

Within reasonable limits, a CF reader is a CF reader. Some support type II cards, which generally means microdrives, but you're unlikely to hit those and I believe neither the 5 or 7 support them anyway, so it's moot.

The real issue is speed. If you can find a firewire one that's a reasonable, though not infalliable, indication that it's going to be of decent performance. The cheap ones are much more likely to disappoint when you calculate what actual transfer rate you're getting from your expensive 300 speed cards. Unfortunately firewire readers tend to be made out of the very finest hand-polished unobtainium so you may just need to find a USB one that reviews well.

The real concern for me on the 5 was the amount of unreadable files we got. Of course, that can be an error in anything from the camera, the card, the reader or the PC, but we found it necessary to make double backups of everything and even then I believe we lost a couple of takes entirely. I'd ideally do that on two completely different laptops with different brands of card reader, then if anything's broken you can go to your backup. For critical shots, unquestionably do a visual verification after you've dumped it off the card, and dump it off the card immediately after the shot. We had really quite severe trouble with this since h.264 is not in the slightest tolerant to single bit errors (as you'd expect, since it's not supposed to waste bits).

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