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The Microtech USB CameraMate

Features
The Board
  • Provides transfer rates of up to 1.2MB/sec.
  • Dedicated CompactFlash and SmartMedia slots
  • SmartMedia supports 3.3v and 5v cards up to 128MB
  • Mechanical CompactFlash ejector
  • Spring-loaded SmartMedia ejector
  • For Mac OS 9 & 8.5 or Windows 98

www.microtechint.com
(+,-) $90USD

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Microtech has always been a well-known name in the digital photography industry; they manufacture quality photography equipment and personal computer memory upgrades. Their Digital Photography equipment includes an extensive line of PC Card readers and stand-alone media.

Microtech International is a member of the CompactFlash Association and the SSFDC Forum, ensuring 100% compliance with all standard media formats. Established in 1985, Microtech is a majority owned subsidiary of ADO Electronic Industrial Co., LTD, a Tokyo-based public company.

Technical Impressions

The USB CameraMate was designed to run on G3 Macs, iMacís and PCís running on windows 98 and windows 2000. The compact size of the unit and the use of a USB connection makes this product not only a great digital reader but also a good storage device. The CameraMate Provides transfer rates of up to 1.2MB/sec.

The CameraMate comes with a 1m long USB cable, giving you the possibility to keep the unit close to your work desk. The front of the unit includes a separate CF II slot with a mechanical ejector button and a Smart Media slot with a spring-loaded mechanism.

A distinguishing feature is the unit's ability to work with both leading formats of digital film being used today. Smart Media in 3.3v and 5v up to 128MB, and Compact Flash cards including the new thicker (5mm) CF II form-factor cards in any capacity.

The USB CameraMate is one of the first digital film readers compatible with the IBM family of microdrives. The new IBM 340 MB microdrive and IBM 170 MB microdrive are miniature hard drives in the CF+ type II CompactFlash format.

Microtech offers six different kinds of film readers to fit your needs, supporting all major connections and form factors. The newly announced Digital PhotoAlbum Pro desktop unit offers two separate PC Card slots including a dedicated SmartMedia slot and independent SCSI addresses. Other digital film units deliver internal, external, and portable form factors, in Parallel, ISA, and SCSI configurations.

The Installation

As expected, the installation went without any major hassle. As with most USB devices, your first step will consist in connecting the USB cable to your PC. Windows 98/2000 will automatically detect the CameraMate and will ask for the required drivers. We recommend you to ignore this detection and continue by inserting the installation CD. In the setup process, everything will be re-detected and automatically configured.

After the installation, your windows based machine will add two new drives to your system; one for the Smart Media slot and the other for the Compact Flash slot. The great part about this unit is that you can always disconnect it while you are using your system; windows will simply suspend the drives. You can then reconnect the unit without the need of restarting your system.

Conclusion

Selling at a reasonable $90USD, the CameraMate can be considered as a solid storage choice for people planning to use the new MicroDrive or any other large flash media. Of course, thatís not everything the CameraMate has to offer. If you are an owner of an older digital camera featuring the parallel connection and want to speed up your transfers then we highly recommend you to look at this product. It not only will save your time but also will eliminate the use of your camera transfer software.








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