The first digital camera card reader to connect to a FireWire-equipped Mac or PC is poised for release. Called the FireWire Image Card Reader and built by Unity Digital, it will accept CompactFlash Type I and CompactFlash Type II cards. It is expected to ship in the next 30 days at a street price of less than US$130. A Smartmedia version will also be available.
Major features of the FireWire Image Card Reader include:
- Speed. If the manufacturer's throughput specs are accurate, then transfer rates will be as much as 4x faster than any USB-connected reader, and may even eclipse current SCSI-connected readers too. A top speed of 2470K/second was achieved transferring photo files from a 64MB Sandisk CompactFlash card to a Mac, says Unity Digital's Jim Frohling.
- Ease of use. The reader is powered via the FireWire cable, which means it does not require an additional power supply. It should be possible to plug and unplug the reader from the computer without turning the computer off.
- Compatibility with popular CompactFlash cards. It should be compatible with Flash RAM cards including those from Lexar Media, Sandisk, Delkin and Simple Technology, as well IBM's microdrive.
The reader will include a 3.5 foot FireWire cable (the cable is permanently tethered to the reader) that exits into a 6-pin plug, for direct connection to a Mac or PC 6-pin FireWire port (all Macs are 6-pin). Also included will be a CD-ROM with drivers for Mac (OS 8.6 or later) and PC (Windows 98 SE and Windows 2000). For more information contact Unity Digital at +1 949-580-1955.