Apple iPod Camera Connector review: Apple iPod Camera Connector

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CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
  • Overall: 7.7
  • Design: 9.0
  • Features: 8.0
  • Performance: 6.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Compact and light; frees your media card so that you can shoot more photos; turns your iPod into an in-the-field storage and viewing device; doesn't need a battery; works in harmony with iPod software.

The Bad Sluggish transfers; no automatic synchronization with iPhoto; transfer process can affect battery life; not (yet) compatible with USB media card readers.

The Bottom Line Make sure your camera is supported before you add this useful accessory to your iPod Photo arsenal.

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Apple iPod Camera Connector

When Apple's iPod Photo first burst onto the scene in October 2004, consumers and reviewers alike cried foul at the lofty price tags of $500 and $600, respectively, for the 40GB and 60GB models. Likewise, digital photo buffs complained about the lack of a transfer feature that let you offload photos directly from your camera to your iPod and view the photos. Apple quietly responded with a revamped and more affordable iPod Photo ($350 for the 30GB, $450 for the 60GB) and the promise that in March, firmware and hardware would be released that would make direct digital camera transfers and subsequent JPEG viewing not only possible but effortless.

At $29, the iPod Camera Connector accessory is a sweet bargain for iPod Photo owners who tote digital cameras, though there's no support for non-Photo iPods. Measuring about 1.5 by 1.2 by 0.3 inches, the Camera Connector is a USB-to-dock-connector adapter that draws its power from the iPod itself and is made of the same smooth, white plastic as the iPod Shuffle. Along with a firmware update 1.1 released in early March, this accessory lets you connect most popular brands of digital cameras (see the compatibility list) via USB 1.1/2.0 and facilitates the transfer of "rolls" of digital photos to the iPod Photo. Thanks to an onscreen interface that's uniquely photocentric, the process is simple and reliable. This experience is a breath of fresh air compared to the guesswork and patience needed for a device such as Belkin's Digital Camera Link , which is a brainless, battery-powered, hulked-up version of the Camera Connector.

The instant you mate the Camera Connector with the iPod Photo, you go into Import mode. Plug in your camera using a typical USB-to-mini-USB cable and turn on the camera; in a few seconds, you'll see stats such as: Photos: 49, Size: 41.9MB. Once you begin importing, a progress meter begins its ascent, and tiny thumbnails render onscreen. You can stop and save at any moment, and the final screen documents how many photos have been imported to the iPod. For the record, it took a bit more than three minutes to transfer 41.9MB from our Canon PowerShot S410 equipped with a SanDisk 128MB CompactFlash card to the iPod, or a very slow 0.2MB per second. Another transfer of 65.3MB from a Nikon D70 camera and an IBM-branded 1GB Microdrive came in at a faster 0.4MB per second. Owners with USB 2.0-compatible cameras will fare much better. A couple of performance notes: Once in our testing process, the iPod wouldn't respond to a Camera Connector-aided connection, even with the camera in viewing mode. Also, while Apple wasn't specific, the company mentioned that since the iPod hard drive is constantly in use during a transfer, iPod battery life will be lower than usual.

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Where to Buy See all prices

Apple iPod Camera Connector

Part Number: M9861G/A Released: Mar 24, 2005
Low Price: $25.00 See all prices

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Mar 24, 2005
  • CE Product Type USB data copier