iPod photo Camera Connector is USB 1.1 Speed
by Derrick Story
I was one of the many photographers who anxiously read the initial reviews of the iPod photo Camera Connector -- the $29 device that enables you to connect your digital camera directly to the iPod photo and transfer pictures to it. The reviews have been lukewarm, primarily because of the length of time it takes to move images from point A to point B.
I wanted to test this for myself, so I loaded up a Sandisk Ultra II SD card with 122 images that totaled 229 MBs. I then transfered those pictures to an iPod photo using the camera connector.
My test devices were a Casio EX-P505 that has a USB 2.0 connection, a Contax SL 300 RT* with a USB 1.1 connector, and a Belkin Hi-Speed USB 2.0 15-in-1 Media Reader & Writer. I used the same Sandisk card with the same images in all of the devices.
The first thing I want to comment on is that the iPod photo camera connector did recognize the Belkin card reader and imported from it. Some reports I've read stated that the camera connector only reads from cameras, not card readers. This wasn't true in my case.
The next thing I noticed is that it took 8:54 to upload the 229 MBs worth of images from the Casio (USB 2.0), and 8:56 to transfer them from the Contax (USB 1.1). The USB 2.0 card reader was in the same ballpark at 7:57. This leads me to believe that the camera connector itself is only USB 1.1, even though the iPod photo has USB 2.0 connectivity. Odd.
Just for comparison numbers, the Belkin card reader transferred the same images to my PowerBook 17" 1.33 GHz in 4:20. This of course is USB 2.0 to USB 2.0 connectivity.
So even though I like the small size of the iPod photo camera connector, the way it integrates with the iPod itself, and the convenience of being able to transfer photos directly to an iPod, I'm a little mystified at what appears to be a USB 1.1 connector for a USB 2.0 device.
Any thoughts on this are greatly appreciated.
This could have as much to do with the fact that the iPod has to generate a thumbnail for each photo than Apple going cheap on the parts. Resampling a multi-megabyte file into such a small image involves a fair amount of math, and the iPod doesn't exactly have a G5 inside it. Just a thought.
The iPod connector and the Digital Camera Mate
It's a pity that the connector is USB1.1 again. I have a ipod 3rd generation, with 40G capacity. Then I found there is products from Belkin called "Media Reader for iPod w/ Dock Connector". I was excited and bought it very soon. Then I found out that it transfers photos very slow!! so it is also USB1.1 interface. When I went to Thailand and shot about 500M photos, it takes me more than 20 mins to sit in the street and wait it complete! That's just one problem, after download once like this, the ipod showed me battery is almost dead!
Now I bought a Dital camera mate, a small harddisk case with battery and card reader. It operates at USB 2.0 high speed. It only took me only 3 and a half mins to transfer 500M photos. (even faster than the Belkin card reader you mentioned in the above post!) The battery last for 1 and half hours, which means you can download photos for about 20 times of 500M, more than enough for usual usage. I went to Indonesia two weeks agao. I shot about 2000 photos and copied them to the Digital camera mate about 10 times, it works very well than I didn't charge it in the two weeks when I was in Indonesia!
Belkin USB media reader.
The story said the transferring from an SD card through a 15 in 1 Belkin USB card reader to iPod photo (via photo connector) worked.
Why USB 1.1
As I understand it, the USB OTG spec (which I believe the Camera Connector uses) is only ratified for USB 1.1.
|I would be pissed rather than mystefied at this huge design flaw. It's totally worthless. I'm a little sad that this piece of crap accessory is the determinate factor in me ordering an iaudio x5 30gb mp3 player that actually has usb 2.0 photo transfer built into it.|