SanDisk makes some of the best memory cards available. Their highest-end cards are in the Extreme PRO line, so I was interested to try out their SD memory card reader that is marketed in the same line: the SandDisk Extreme PRO UHS-II SD Reader/Writer.
I’ve been putting one through its paces. Here’s how it performed.
It’s a small, compact device. SanDisk’s marketing material touts the reader as “small enough for on-the-go or in the studio.” And they’re right on that front–it’s small and light and takes up not much more space in the camera bag than a small box of matches.
It’s also self-contained. There’s no need to plug in cables–the USB plug goes directly into your computer’s USB socket.
The USB plug retracts fully back into the body of the device. You slide it in and out with a large switch on the top of the device. Many USB thumb drives these days do that too–it’s the same kind of thing. The difference, though, with this one is that the switch moves not just the USB plug but also the memory card. So as you slide the plug out, the card slides into the device.
That introduces two problems. The first is that it often catches and you have to be careful not to force it. The mechanism feels quite cheap and flimsy, and the catching is an unnecessary annoyance.
The second is that you can’t remove or insert the card while the USB is extended. In practice, that means you can’t remove or insert a memory card while the reader is attached to your computer–you have to unplug the whole thing from your computer.
To test the speed of the reader, I put in a SanDisk Extreme PRO UHS-II U3 SDXC card. If there’s an ideal card to test a SanDisk Extreme PRO UHS-II card reader, this should be it.
I plugged it into a USB 3.0 port directly on the back of an iMac and used LC Technology’s Digital Media Doctor to run the tests. The card was freshly formatted before using each card readers. It’s the same kind of setup I use for my real-world memory card speed tests.
I expected the speeds to be as fast or faster than other readers, especially when paired with what should be its ideal card. But that’s not what I found. Instead, I found it to be very, very slow and not getting read or write speeds anywhere remotely near the card’s capabilities.
I compared it with two other USB 3.0 UHS-II card readers: a Lexar LRWM04U-7000 and a Lexar Professional Workflow SR2 reader (though the hub; it can also be used without the hub). The first plugs in directly to the USB port just like the SanDisk reader. The other uses a cable connected to a hub. I used exactly the same card, exactly the same USB port, and exactly the same tests.
As you can see from the table below, both of those were much, much faster. And both of those were very consistent with each other.
|Sequential Read||Sequential Write|
|SanDisk Extreme PRO Reader||43.2||41.5|
|Lexar Professional Workflow SR2||228.4||180.2|
Surprised at how much slower the SanDisk reader was, I ran the tests again. But the results were the same. So I’m left with the conclusion that the SanDisk reader is simply a very slow reader.
Real-World Download Speed Test
I wanted to see how those tests related to real-world performance. While the device is technically a “reader/writer”, it’s the reader part that I’m most interested in since I’m using it mainly for downloading images from memory cards.
Using the same card, I put 100 high-resolution NEF files on it (NEF is Nikon’s RAW image format). That came to about 7.5GB of data. I used PhotoMechanic with a basic ingest setup (ie. primary destination, single copy only). And they were being copied directly to an internal SSD.
The results were striking:
SanDisk Extreme PRO Reader: 3 min 0 sec
Lexar Pro Workflow Reader: 0 min 44 sec
Compatibility: SDHC and SHXC | UHS-I and UHS-II
USB: USB 3.0 (backward compatible with USB 2.0)
A memory card is not included–it’s just the reader.
While I make a point of trying a bunch of different memory cards from various manufacturers, when I’m shooting for clients, SanDisk memory cards are usually my go-to. I’ve used a lot of them over the years and found them to be excellent: reliable and fast. Pairing them with SanDisk’s own memory card readers seem like it’d be a slam dunk.
But something appears to have gone wrong here. It’s not clear to me why–it’s not like SanDisk is some fly-by-night outfit who doesn’t know what they’re doing. Maybe they outsourced this project to a third party who simply dropped the ball–I have no idea.
The speeds by themselves might have otherwise convinced me that I had a faulty reader. But in looking at feedback on the web by other users, it’s clear that my experiences aren’t unique. Something, somewhere seems to have gone wrong with designing and producing this SD card reader, and it’s not one I can recommend.
What I’d recommend instead is the Lexar Professional Workflow SR2 reader. It’s also a one-format UHS-II compatible reader, is slightly less compact than the Extreme PRO reader, and requires a USB cable to use standalone, but it’s much faster. I have a detailed review of the Lexar Professional Workflow system here.
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Ricoh GR III Accessories & Replacement Parts
Here are the model numbers of some of the core accessories and replacement parts for the Ricoh GR III.
- Ring Cap: GN-1
The ring cap is the small plastic ring that attaches around the lens. Chances are, it's fallen off. While you do have to remove it to attach the lens adapter, it's a poor design that tends to fall off and get lost far too often. I've lost a couple of them now.
The camera will work just fine without it. But that will leave some contacts exposed around the lens barrel, which isn't ideal.
The official replacement part is overpriced. But you can also pick up much less expensive aftermarket versions. They're also available in different colors, so you can bling up your camera with a personal touch--or make it look like the Street Edition.
- 【Compatibility】: Designed for Ricoh GRIII (only).This decoration ring is made of high quality...
- 【Easy to use & Protector】:Easy installation and removal and Protects lens barrel exterior.
The GR III has a USB Type-C connector port. When you get a cable, you can get them with another USB Type-C connector on the other end or a more traditional USB Type-A connector. Which you choose depends entirely on what you're plugging into. For example, some newer laptops only have USB-C, while most other computers have USB-A.
- The Anker Advantage: Join the 50 million+ powered by our leading technology.
- Enhanced Durability: Improved construction techniques and materials make a cable that lasts 12× longer.
Battery & Charger
- Battery: DB-110
It's a rechargeable lithium-ion battery rated at 3.6V 1350mAh 4.9Wh.
There are some other cameras that also use the same battery--notably, some Olympus cameras (the Olympus model number for the same battery is LI-90B). So they're quite widely available. You can get the official Ricoh version. There are also aftermarket versions that can be much better value but work just as well.
- This Wasabi Power kit includes 2 batteries and 1 charger for the Ricoh DB-110
- Each Wasabi Power battery features Premium Grade A cells, 3.7V, 1300mAh
- Charger: BJ-11
You can charge the battery in the camera (using a USB-C cable). There are also external battery chargers available. They're especially useful if you're using spare batteries, so you can charge and shoot simultaneously.
- AC Adapter: K-AC166
This is used to power the camera for longer shoots, such as time-lapse, or if you happen to be using the camera for live streaming as a webcam. It connects via the camera's USB-C port.
Wide-Angle Conversion Lens
- Wide-Angle Lens: GW-4
- Lens Adapter: GA-1
- Wired Shutter Release: CA-3
- Easy to operate, Half-press to focus, Full-press to shoot
- Fits macro photography well, eliminates camera shake
- Standard External Viewfinder: GV-1
- Mini External Viewfinder: GB-2
- ✪LCD Screen Protector perfectly fit for Ricoh GR 3 DSLR Camera . Not for other model. Easy to install...
- ✪9H Hardness - Longer tempering time, which made the screen protector has a higher hardness. Prevents...
- Soft Case: GC-9
- Neck Strap: GS-3
- Hand Strap: GS-2
Ricoh has produced a wide-angle conversion lens that takes the standard 28mm view down to a 21mm (in 35mm equivalent). While it does add some extra bulk to an otherwise small camera, it works well and adds a more dramatic, wider view. I have an [in-depth review of it separately](https://havecamerawilltravel.com/photographer/ricoh-gw-4-wide-angle-conversion-lens/).
Something to be aware of, though, is that you will also need to pick up the lens adapter separately. For reasons I really don't understand, the wide-angle conversion lens doesn't come with the adapter, and both are required to make it work. So make sure you pick up one of those at the same time.
Remote Shutter Releases
This is the official Ricoh remote shutter. It connects to the camera via a USB cable, and it's a simple shutter release (i.e., there's no timer or intervalometer).
You can also find aftermarket shutter releases for the GR III.
The Ricoh GR III doesn't have a built-in viewfinder. But they make two versions of an external viewfinder that slides into the camera's hot shoe. It covers both the standard 28mm view as well as the 21mm view if you're using the wide-angle conversion lens. There's also a mini viewfinder; that model seems to be hard to find.
The back screen of the GR III is quite exposed, and if you lie the camera on its back, the screen comes in contact with the surface. Even if you're putting the camera in your pocket, there's a risk of keys or coins scratching the screen.
There's no official screen protector, but there are good aftermarket versions. The one I use is this one. It's essentially a consumable that protects the screen. If you scratch the protector, you can quickly and easily replace it with another from the pack.
You can, of course, use the GR III with just about any camera case or bag. But Ricoh does make a dedicated soft-case that fits snugly around the camera and offers some protection even if you're toting the camera around in your pocket. I've been using one for a couple of years, and it's held up very well, and it keeps my camera safer from bumps and scratches.
Again, there's no particular reason you have to use the official GR neck strap, but there is one. The main part is leather, and it even has a discreet, embossed "GR".
If you do use a different strap, be aware that the strap loops on the camera are very small and won't take thicker (i.e., stronger) attachment loops. So you might need to use some D-rings as well.
There's even an official "GR" leather hand strap! But, again, aside from the branding, there's no special reason to use the official strap. If you do use a different one, you might need D-rings if the thread doesn't go through the camera's small attachment loops.
The GR III doesn't have a built-in flash. It supports the Pentax P-TTL flash protocol.Pentax External Flashes: