Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Product review: SHARKK LIGHTNING 8 PIN 3 in 1 SD Card Reader Camera Kit Connects Cameras, USB, & Memory Cards To The New Apple iPad 4Apple iPad Mini

I tested this 3 in 1 card using my SONY NEX-5N camera, USB memory stick, and SD card with iPadMini. I am attaching a photo collage that I will be referencing in this review, which can be found by following 'customer photos' link under the main photo.

Attaching the camera with USB cable just worked. If you are out in the field taking photos or videos with my camera and want to transfer them to you mobile device there is nothing extra you have to do.

Copying random photos, videos and other files from a memory card/stick (i.e. not directly from a camera but from another external memory) also works if you follow the rules that iPad Mini expects. I describe these rules below.

Sometimes I need to copy files to my iPad Mini while I don't have a Wi Fi or my PC with iTunes handy. I want to be able to insert a memory card and copy the files to my iPad Mini. 3-in-1 card reader allowed me to do this, but it required me to figure out how to use what iPad Mini allows me to do to accomplish my desired goal.

I discovered that not every memory stick works in the card reader. Some memory sticks generate an error message "The connected USB device requires too much power". See photo #1 in collage of photos I am including for reference in this review. The smaller older memory sticks tend to work better. None of my large memory sticks worked, however one of the old non brand name 1Gig memory sticks worked (an old 1Gig SanDisk did not).

The 3 in 1 Card Reader documentation says "When you insert U-Disk/TF/SD card into the reader your iPad automatically opens the photo app which lets you select which photos to import." This is how it worked when I used it directly with the camera. However, when I copied several photos to a memory stick and inserted it in to the card reader and nothing happened.

Turns out I had to follow a very specific format for naming my files and the directory structure where I place them:

✔ 1. Use FAT file format on the USB drive (this is the format used by cameras and thus expected by iPad)

✔ 2. Create a folder on your memory stick called DCIM.

✔ 3. Copy your files into that folder. The files have to be stored directly in the DCIM folder of the memory card or memory stick. No sub-folders are allowed, images at the top level are not seen.

✔ 4. Name the photo images following the camera image conventions:

"_DSC" followed by 4 digit number followed by ".JPG", for example, _DCS0001.JPG.
You can also transfer movies by naming the files with an 8 digit number followed by .m4v extension, e.g. "00000001.m4v"

✔ 5. As soon as I renamed the files on my card/stick to follow these conventions iPad Mini immediately began showing thumbnails of the images that are on the card. When the transfer process is done you'll be asked if you want to delete the images that were just transferred or if you'd prefer to keep them on the memory stick/card.

This technique could be used to move files other than photos or movies, as long as you have an iPad app that knows how to open such files. For example you can zip text files into a zip file myfile.zip and then rename the zip file to be called myfilezip.pdf. When Photo app starts you can import your PDF file. To get the PDF file out of the Photo import folder, you need to open it with an app that knows how to handle pdf extension (for example, Files Pro). Then you can rename the file back to myfile.zip and extract your files.

➨ ➨ Warning: do not leave the card reader plugged into the iPad (even without a memory stick) if you are not using it. I left it in for the day and it totally drained my battery. Without the card reader plugged in I only need to recharge my iPad Mini every few days.

I received this card reader from the manufacturer for an honest review. All in all 3 in 1 Card Reader is a useful gadgets at a very good price. I hope my tips will help you get the most out of it.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.

Ali Julia review ★★★★★

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