If you are out in the field shooting photos or videos, time is the most critical element of your post-production flow. When I cover events like New York Comic Con or Toy Fair, my goal is to get my videos finished ASAP so I can be among the first to get my footage online. It doesn’t matter how good your pics or video may be if you can’t get them done and uploaded in a timely manner. One of the things that slows this down is ingesting my footage from my cameras. Thanks to Kingston and their MobileLite G4 USB 3.0 card reader, I may have found a device that substantially cuts down the time it takes for my footage to get off the cards and onto my computer.
The Kingston G4 USB reader is a tiny SD card reader that can fit in your pocket with plenty of space leftover. Compatible with Macs or PCs with Windows and Linux operating systems, this reader can handle varieties of SD and MicroSD cards. It’s meant for portability with laptops, but can easily replace the average card reader for most Desktop users with the power built inside. It’s a USB 3.0, so it moves along faster than other models, and is more universal than a Thunderbolt port. Mac users with newer computers will need an adapter to use this, but it’s worth it.
My test for this was quite simple – I had an SD card filled with about 100 gigabytes of 4K footage from my Panasonic GH4 camera. This was from some recent toy review shoots that I needed to unload so I could begin editing. I decided to pit this MobileLite against the equally small Vanja SD Card Reader, similar to this one which I discovered in May via a Youtuber I watch who put this on his list of must-have devices for shooting in the field. As the control in my experiment, I also used my the card reader in my computer, an iMac from 2015.
The Vanja was quite slow, taking around an hour to deal with this pile of footage. The MobileLite G4 took slightly over 15 minutes, roughly the same speed as it took using my computers built-in card reader. I also tried this using the Photos App on my Mac, which I quite honestly can never really recommend since it seems slower somehow than just using the built-in card reader on its own.
I also used my GoPro knockoff camera, which uses MicroSD cards, and gave it a similar test (not using my computer this time since I did not want to use the SD Adapter and wanted to purely test the two readers). Again, the Kingston device blew bast the Vanja card reader, proving to be the superior card reader.
The MobileLite G4 is a real powerhouse SD card reader, and comes at a very affordable price. At the time of this article, it typically goes for around $20, but I have seen it drop as low as $10 on sales, so expect to pay anywhere between that range for this little guy. It’s an amazing bargain when you consider the rate of expediency with it compared to other devices, as well as its compact size. For computers that don’t have built-in card readers, this is the absolute perfect tool to add to your arsenal for unloading photos or video from memory cards.