I have just received my Camera Buddy and have tested it out by loading three SD cards to it and connecting it to my computer to ensure that the files can be recovered. This review is not, therefore, the result of a long-term test but I will update the review in due course.
The Camera Buddy is well packaged and is supplied with:
- a mains charger;
- a single USB cable which has a mini-usb socket for connecting to the unit at one end and two normal USB sockets for connecting to the computer at the other end;
-a protective carry case;and
- a manual.
There are three different slots on the unit to accommodate the various types of card - I only have SD cards so can't comment on the other types.
After charging up the unit, I inserted the first SD card and held the on-off switch down for a couple of seconds. The unit recognised the SD card and, after I held the copy switch down, copied the contents of the card to the unit. I successfully repeated the exercise with two other cards.
When I connected it to my computer the unit was immediately recognised as another drive. It showed one folder entitled "Files" which contained three sub-folders named SD00001, SD0002 and SD0003. Each of the sub-folders contained copies of the respective SD cards. Incidentally, all of my photos were in RAW format.
So far so good. It's doing exactly what is says on the tin and seems to be ideal for my purposes. The only downside is the documentation. The manual is in two languages: what I guess is Chinese [because the unit was manufactured in China] and a translation into English by somebody for whom English is obviously a second language. In itself this is not really a problem but the manual does have some peculiar contents.
Following the Product Specification, it starts with a section entitled "Hardware Installation" which tells you how to install a hard drive into the unit. Why would anybody want to do this? It comes with the hard drive already installed.
The remainder of the manual seems to be ok bearing in mind the translation peculiarities but it does imply that the hard drive contains two partitions. Mine does not - it has one partition which is all, I imagine, anybody would want on this type of unit.
I'm using Windows 7 and had no problems at all. If I'm reading the instructions correctly, no driver is needed if using WindowsMe, XP or 2000 sp3+, MacOs 10 or Linux 2.4 or above but a driver is needed for Windows98, Windows 2000 without SP3+ or Mac8.9-9.x. A CD containing drivers is not included. If you are using one of the systems that require a driver I would suggest contacting the supplier before making a purchase.
One other weird thing is that I cannot see anywhere in the packaging or documentation where the unit is called a "Camera Buddy." The outside of the packaging refers to a "Digimax .... Portable Storage Device" and the manual refers to a "Photo Bank Hi-Speed Model"
Setting aside the idiosyncrasies of the documentation, the Camera Buddy looks to be really useful. I have bought it to back up my memory cards when I'm on holiday. It's palm sized and will take up relatively little room in my camera bag. I would have given it 5 stars but for the documentation.
I have just returned from a four day break when I used the Camera Buddy to back up two SD cards each day. It contains a battery indicator LED which has four positions - full, two thirds full, one third full and empty. The Camera Buddy worked fine and seemed to take about 8 Gb of files before the indicator dropped down to one third. I recharged each time it fell that low as I didn't want to risk it going to empty. The manual says that it needs to be discharged and recharged a few times before the batteries are fully effective. I would recommend taking your charger with you when travelling. It also charges through the USB cable when attached to a computer.
Having now used the Camera Buddy "in the field" I would continue to rate it at four stars as I am still pleased with my purchase.