Memory Card Readers
Instead of connecting your camera to the computer (see the next section) you can insert your memory card into a separate memory card reader. These quite simple devices plug into the USB port at the back of your computer. The computer then reads your memory card pictures like another drive. For example, if your computer has C: as its main hard drive, the memory card reader will now become D: drive. With many people having trouble connecting their cameras and downloading images, the card reader makes the job of transferring quite simple. You will have to install software that comes with the reader before using it.
Memory card readers are inexpensive and simple to use. This one accessory may solve many download headaches and also can be used with repair and recovery software in case of problems. You can leave the reader attached to your computer and then download images as needed without having to connect your camera.
The cost of memory cards, like all storage devices, keeps coming down. Expect to pay about $50 for 1 gigabyte or more and about $10 for 128 megabytes. You will notice that the cost per megabyte is much less for the larger size. Card readers cost about $10 to $20 for a basic one and more with extra bells and whistles.
Computers that take PC cards, as many portables do, may accept an adapter that allows you to read your memory card. In this case, you insert the memory card into the adapter and then put this combined card into the PC card slot on the computer.
If you are on the road and want to back up your memory cards, there are numerous portable card readers that can transfer data to a portable hard drive. Then, when you get home, you can transfer that data to your computer. These come in a variety of styles and capacities that can range from 20 to 80 gigabytes, and the more expensive ones have an LCD viewing screen for checking that your pictures are on board.
This technology is certain to change quickly, so your best bet is to go to a big online photography company, such as
If you accidentally delete pictures from your memory card, you can often recover those pictures without a lot of trouble. Computers and cameras don't really delete pictures when you delete them. Instead they mark the space as free, as a space that can be overwritten. Recovering deleted files might be easier than you think if you follow these steps:
When you accidentally delete a picture, do not take any more pictures on that memory card.
Put the card in a card reader.
Use software (see Chapter 17) to bring back the images in virtually any format, including music and video. This software is also useful for formatting, troubleshooting problems with the card, and secure deleting (a full erasure of any specified data).