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Fastest Way To Transfer Files from SD to Computer?

Anthony Perlas , Jun 20, 2012; 04:34 p.m.

It takes me about 45 minutes to transfer a full 32 gb worth of photos from my Canon T3i with a mini-USb to USB2.0 on my computer. This is a long time to wait.
Is there a faster way to do this?
I noticed on my laptop that has an SD card reader that importing 32gb of files only takes about 20 minutes (less than half the time). Maybe I could fancy up some network techniques but that would mean having to recopy the files on Lightroom on a another catalog.
What are some ways I can use catalogs on this?
In the end I want to put all my photos on my desktop.


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Geoff Sobering , Jun 20, 2012; 04:37 p.m.

I use an external USB card-reader. They're pretty cheap. If you have USB-3 (and a fast enough card) you can get transfer rates near 90 MB/s). The Lexar USB-3 is (I think) generally considered one of the best.

Matt Laur , Jun 20, 2012; 04:47 p.m.

Agreed. A nice fast card reader is cheap, and should transfer those files in just a few minutes at most. Plus, you're not risking your camera by tethering to an external AC-powered device, and you're not running down its battery for 45 minutes while you move files. Plus, you can shoot on a new card while the previous one is being transferred. Card reader, no question!

Michael Ging , Jun 20, 2012; 06:20 p.m.

I use a sandisk extreme card reader that will download a card very fast, even with large bit RAW files. I use the Sandisk 3 extreme cards as well.

Puppy Face , Jun 20, 2012; 06:35 p.m.

Yep, a direct camera connection to a computer is the slowest way to upload.
If your notebook has a PC card slot you can install a USB3 card reader. And, of course, you'll need to use the latest speed demon SDHC card (like a SanDisk Extreme Pro). If no PC card slot, you won't gain much with another USB2 reader over your built-in.

Wayne Campbell , Jun 20, 2012; 06:57 p.m.

If you have a recent generation iMac there is an SD slot right along right side of the screen, just below the DVD slot. Seems pretty fast to me.

Tudor ApMadoc , Jun 20, 2012; 07:10 p.m.

I would recommend the benchmarks done by Ron Galbraith at http://www.robgalbraith.com/bins/reader_report_multi_page.asp?cid=6007-9438

The speed of the card will have a huge impact on throughput

Marcus Ian , Jun 20, 2012; 09:45 p.m.

LR also makes importing from anywhere to your local catalog quite simple. When I hook up a card reader and start to import, it automatically looks there first to start importing (per my preferences) w/ a couple clicks. You can import from anywhere your computer can see.

Mark Anthony Kathurima , Jun 21, 2012; 06:01 a.m.

Yes, I think the only time I'd connect my camera directly to my PC is when shooting tethered. For file transfers, a USB card reader is definitely the way to go!

Ed Avis , Jun 21, 2012; 08:35 a.m.

I assume you are talking about a desktop computer. If it has USB3 then get a USB3 card reader. If not then you can get a PCI Express card which provides USB3 and also includes a USB3 card reader to fit in the front panel of the computer. I have ordered such a gizmo and I'll report back in a few weeks when I've tried it out.

If your PC is older and has only USB2, then still a USB2 high speed card reader will improve things and would be a bit cheaper than buying the USB3 expansion card.

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