Sandisk Extreme Firewire Compact Flash Card Reader – Faulty

Well, being a wedding, and studio portrait photographer, I wanted to upgrade my crappy CF card reader for a riced, uber one.
The faster I could find, the Sandisk Extreme Firewire Compact Flash Card Reader. Product specs indicate it’s meant to copy at 40MB/s, run via Firewire, and requires an Extreme IV card to make the most if it.

Having a 2Gb Extreme IV CF card, I thought I might as well. I was hoping to be able to use it on my Laptop while out and about, or at the photography stall I have at the Fishermans Warf Markets in Port Adelaide.

So I hunted. While the Sandisk website indicated a few suppliers in Australia, I wanted to try before buying, especially as I was toying with the idea of the extreme USB card reader instead. Unfortunately none of the photographic stores in Adelaide seemed to have it. I couldn’t find any at Diamonds, Ted’s, or the Twin City Camera House.
Eventually I gave up and purchased the unit online from a store in Melbourne.

Finally, I received the unit, only for disappointment. It wouldn’t fit into my Laptop. It wouldn’t accept the 4 pin firewire interface. After doing some searching online I found that on most other online stores that was actually explained. Unfortunately it wasn’t shown on the Sandisk website, nor Camera Action’s :(
I then plugged it into my desktop. “Unknown device detected, please install the drivers“. WHAT THE??? Plugging the device in and inserting a CF card caused the LED to light up on the reader, but windows XP wouldn’t detect it. I tried on another computer, this one with a PCI firewire card, instead of built in… Nothing, Zilch, zip, nada, null.
This computer wouldn’t even detect the card reader, even though the light would come on. A check of windows XP’s device manager showed it had detected an unknown device, but unlike my other computer it didn’t even want me to trying installing some non-existent drivers. The device is meant to just plug in and work.

I then emailed the store, and sent the faulty card reader back. Unfortunately there are no stock of the Extreme USB card readers in Australia that I could swap it for, however the store did contact Sandisk who advised there is was a faulty batch of card readers. Arggh.

Anyway, hopefully some time this week I’ll receive a replacement Sandisk Extreme Firewire CF Card Reader, and not a faulty one.

-Crappy Product Shots-

Photo of the Sandisk Extreme Firewire Compact Flash Card Reader

Photo of the back of the Sandisk Extreme Firewire CF card reader

Note the weird plug on the back. This isn’t any standard firewire port I’ve come across before, however they come with an 8pin -> weird plug converter.

By Michael Kubler

Photographer, cinematographer, web master/coder.


  1. Wish I had read your review before I purchased the card and the reader!! I have 1600 pictures on my card that I can’t get to read without this reader and to no avail this will not work on 3 different computers!!! I am sticking with more old and trusted methods next time!

  2. I was sent a replacement Sandisk Firewire reader which the store said they tested, however I haven’t gotten that to work either. About the only thing I haven’t tried it in is a Mac, as I don’t have one on hand, but it should work on Windows XP.
    As such, I’ve put the reader into the ‘expensive door stop’ box. Would’ve been great if it worked as expected… or even at all.

    That’s not to say that Sandisk don’t make great cards, just I won’t be buying one of their card readers in a while.
    Plan B is an Eye-Fi card using an SD -> CF adaptor and cheap wireless router, but a generic USB card reader works fine for the time being.

  3. Well as i’m a photographer as well, and a mac owner, you can send it to me as i’m after one to use with my D300 and ducati cards. seriously!

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