Not so many camera manufacturers design their DSLR and mirrorless cameras for use with Compact Flash memory cards anymore, but Canon does, and, about 5 years ago, I started using a USB 3.0 CF card reader made by a company called PixelFlash.

I chose this particular brand of card reader because they said that they use “No-Bend” pin technology. I liked this a lot because it meant that the connecting pins inside the card reader would not bend or break off from heavy use over time, which often happened to me in the past with other, less expensive brands of card readers.

Also, the newest CF cards use UDMA 7 technology. So if the card reader is not specifically designed to support UDMA 7, then it is possible that the card reader can cause the card to develop bad sectors and eventually cause a card failure over time. Not good. So it is best to avoid low quality card readers all together and to check the card reader’s specs first to make sure it supports UDMA 7.

PixelFlash

But with the PixelFlash card reader, the rubber coating on the outside of the PixelFlash casing eventually started to wear out and became very sticky to the touch, which isn’t nice.

I also just purchased a new Sandisk 64GB Extreme PRO 160 MB/s UDMA 7 CF Card this week and, for some reason, the PixelFlash card reader can’t read my new Sandisk card at all. Big problem. So I had to look for an alternative model of USB 3.0 CF card reader for use with the new Sandisk Extreme PRO CF card.

I eventually settled on a Transcend USB 3.0 Model RDF8K Card Reader. It costs less than US$15, has a hard, glossy plastic finish on the outside and is a multi-card reader. This means it supports CF UDMA 7, SD, SDHC, Micro SD, and Memory Stick cards. It also has a blue LED light that flashes on the card reader itself while it is copying files over to your computer, which is handy. The only thing it doesn’t support are the newest SD UHS-2 cards, but less than 5% of SD cards on the market are using UHS-2 at present. And I don’t have any myself at the moment, so not a problem for me.

The Transcend RDF8K reader claims it offers read speeds up to 130 MB/s and up to 95 MB/s on write speeds (depending on the card’s own speed capability). The Sandisk card I just bought supports up to 160 MB/s read speeds, but I found that the Transcend RDF8K only reads it at a maximum speed of about 95-105 MB/s, which is still very fast though.

If you are looking for a fast, reliable, all-around card reader for nearly every memory card type, one that supports UDMA 7 and transfers data at USB 3.0 speeds, then I would recommend the Transcend RDF8K at the moment.