Comparison of Image Transfer Options

The Time-Lapse Package comes with a pair of SD cards so that when the first card is nearly full, you can swap in the empty card, bring the full card back to your office, and download the images. This is the most efficient way to transfer image data, because you don't have to wait on-site for the images to download.

Many customers have their Time-Lapse Package installed in inaccessible locations. This requires another download option. A USB extension cable is a popular option. Wi-Fi and cellular upload options are also available.

Does USB download take longer?

The camera's USB port is not quite as fast as a dedicated card reader, but it's pretty good.

Wi-Fi and cellular download is significantly more complex and relatively slow, but it can be a great option to avoid a trip to the site!

Speed Test

We tested various transfer options in our lab with a 54 MB sample of images. The SD card used was an Eye-Fi Pro X2 16 GB, as it supports both standard SD and Wi-Fi transfer. It's advertised as "class 10" memory. Here's what we tested:

  • SD card in MacBook Pro internal SD card reader
  • USB download from Canon Rebel T3 over 2 meter passive USB extension cable
  • Wi-Fi download in Direct Mode from an Eye-Fi Pro X2 to a MacBook Pro

Download of the same set of images via each of these methods was timed.

Results

Method Elapsed Time Speed
Card reader 2.9 seconds 18.5 MB/s
USB transfer 4.2 seconds 13 MB/s
Wi-Fi 52 seconds 1 MB/s

Conclusion

USB is similar in performance to a card reader and is a reasonable substitute when the Time-Lapse Package is installed in a way that makes SD card retrieval inconvenient. Wi-Fi transfer is much slower, but could add convenience by reducing the number of trips you have to make to the site.