SmartMedia Adapters

Last updated 15 September 2008

Card readers

IMPORTANT NOTE: The information on this page was accurate a few years ago, but the ways for moving images from a QuickTake 200 to a modern computer have steadily diminished. Serial ports and floppy drives, of course, are obsolete—Macs haven't had them in many years, and PCs are starting to drop them. Worse, card readers that will handle the old 5V SmartMedia cards are no longer available. All current card readers that I know of are 3.3V-only devices.

Bottom line: if you have a very old computer and you're running very old software on it (e.g., MacOS 9, Windows 98), you may be able to come up a workable solution by scouring eBay listings for old hardware. Otherwise, I'm afraid you may find the QuickTake useless for want of a way to get its images into your computer. Of course, it has a live video output, so you could still use it as a security camera or webcam...

If you have a Windows PC, you might want to take a look at Joe Thompson's tips at the bottom of this page.

The serial cable and software that came with your camera work—well, at least on older cameras—but that's a s-l-o-w way to get pictures from your camera into your computer, and you may have found that the old software no longer works with your Mac OS 10.2 or Windows XP system. Fortunately, there are now much better ways to transfer images.

SmartMedia card in Kingston PC Card adapter in Minolta CD-10 reader

The best bet for owners of USB-equipped computers such as recent Macs and PCs is a USB SmartMedia card reader such as FujiFilm's SM-R2. (If you're lucky, you may be able to find one on eBay.) These readers, which look a bit like a shrunken floppy disk drive with a slot for a SmartMedia card, let you mount a SmartMedia card on your computer's desktop like a floppy or Zip cartridge, then copy files to your hard drive by dragging them in the normal way. But here's the kicker: the files transfer back and forth far faster than with the old serial cable. How much faster? Well, it takes about 17 minutes to transfer a 4MB card full of images via a serial cable. By contrast, I timed my SmartMedia card reader at 17 seconds! Also, a card reader helps save your camera's batteries, since the camera doesn't have to be on while you transfer your images to the computer. SmartMedia card readers are available from Microtech and others for as little as $10. (But see the note below about 5V compatibility!) For example, the widely available Microtech "USB CameraMate" reader handles both SmartMedia and CompactFlash (the more popular memory card format), which makes it good insurance in case you buy a CompactFlash-based camera sometime down the road.

If your desktop PC is an older model that doesn't have a USB port, you can either add an inexpensive ($30) USB I/O card in one of your computer's PCI expansion slots, or obtain a parallel-port PC Card reader—although these are getting harder to find. (Try eBay if you can't turn one up at an online dealer.)

PC Card adapters

If you have a PowerBook or other laptop computer that accepts PC (formerly PCMCIA) Cards, there's a much more compact solution than a card reader, although it costs a little more: SmartMedia PC Card adapter. This business-card-sized gizmo fits the PC Card slot on your laptop, and lets you mount a SmartMedia card on your laptop's desktop These adapters are available from a number of manufacturers (see below) and cost as little as forty bucks.

Kingston PC Card/SmartMedia adapter

A PC Card adapter has all the advantages of a card reader—speed and battery saving—but in addition, it doesn't require any special software (the card shows up on your desktop just like any disk drive, and you can drag and drop files). Also, the adapter is compatible with any computer (Mac or PC) that uses PC Cards, so you won't need to carry two different cables and software if you need to connect to both types of computers. Exception: if you're using Windows NT4, you can't use either a USB card reader or a PC Card adapter—WinNT's primitive device drivers don't support these kinds of devices. Recommendation: upgrade to at least Win2000, if not Win XP. Or save yourself a lot of trouble and buy a Mac. ;-)

The only vendor I know of currently offering a 5V-compatible PC Card SmartMedia adapter is World of Cables. It's available as of September 15, 2008, but there are no guarantees on how long supplies will last.

Microtech, Kingston, Simple Technologies, Viking and Fuji all made PC Card/SmartMedia adapters. BuyComp used to list the Kingston version of this adapter (Kingston part number SSFDC/ADP) for $52, and Egghead reportedly had Microtech's adapter (Egghead stock number CM065815) for $39. I bought the Kingston adapter for use with my PowerBook 1400. Despite the fact that its instructions don't say a word about Macs, it worked flawlessly!

IMPORTANT: One thing to keep in mind if you buy any of these adapters or card readers is which SmartMedia cards and voltages it's compatible with. Many older versions (like my Kingston SSFDC/ADP) can only work with 5V SmartMedia, and only with memory capacities up to 8 MB. Since the same is true of the QuickTake 200 and DS-7, you might think there'd be nothing to worry about. But newer cameras are using 3.3V cards in larger memory sizes, and...well...you know that someday you're going to upgrade, right? So it makes sense when buying an adapter to get one that works with as many kinds of SmartMedia as possible. Labeling is not always clear about this, so you may have to dig for the info. But your reward will be an adapter that works with your present camera...and hopefully your next one as well. (For example, Kingston's SSFDC/ADPV PC Card adapter works with both voltages.)

Harris Fogel points out that the Simple Technologies adapter has some drawbacks: "On the adapter I have, you have to have the adapter out of the computer, then insert the card, then reinsert the adapter. A couple of times, it refused to mount the card at all." (This appears to be true of the Viking and Kingston adapters as well.) The Fuji adapter, on the other hand, reportedly lets you insert SmartMedia cards while the adapter is in the computer. If you're having trouble getting a PC Card adapter to work, you may want to read these tips on the Troubleshooting page.

Floppy adapter

If your computer doesn't have either a USB port or a PC Card slot, there's one more alternative to the s-l-o-w serial cable: SmartDisk used to offer a floppy disk adapter called "FlashPath" for SmartMedia cards. (Several digital camera manufacturers including Fuji, Olympus and Toshiba also sold the FlashPath adapter under their own labels, but they are all the same device.) Tom Beardmore has a comprehensive review of the FlashPath adapter on the Digital Camera Resource Page site. Be sure you get the model SM-FP3-R FlashPath adapter for SmartMedia cards! With luck, you might find one of these on eBay. Caution: this devic requires driver software, and there's a good chance you won't be abl eto find versions for the latest Mac and Windows operating system versions.

Note that fewer and fewer computers have floppy drives—Macs dropped them years ago, and many newer PCs are joining the trend. Furthermore, even on an older Mac with a floppy drive, the FlashPath adapter will let you read from—but not write to—a SmartMedia card. This really is your least desirable choice other than a serial cable.

Floppy adapter

The FlashPath adapter is a floppy-shaped gizmo with a slot in one side. You insert the SmartMedia card into the adapter's slot and then push the adapter into a computer's floppy drive. Special software (which comes with the adapter) then lets you transfer images from the card to your hard drive. File transfers are more than twice as fast as using a serial cable...though not nearly as speedy as a PC Card adapter or a USB card reader, which is at least ten times faster still. My recommendation: because of its high cost and low speed, as well as the fact that you need to install software in order for it to work, FlashPath should be your last resort.

FlashPath adapters sell for anywhere from $30 to $100 (mostly on the higher end of that scale), depending on the dealer, so it pays to shop around. I've heard that they can sometimes be found at very low prices on auction sites such as eBay, so you may want to check there first. For hints on using the FlashPath software with Mac OS 8.5, see the Troubleshooting page.

Note from a reader

Joe Thompson offers the following tips for using a QuickTake 200 with a Windows PC:

I used EZ-Autocam successfully after seeing it listed on your software page; however, I wondered if there might be a way to extract the pictures from my camera using freely available software. Google's Picasa photo software fits the bill.

After installing Picasa, installing the Serial Twain drivers and hooking up the camera, I started Picasa and hit the Import button. A new window appeared and I was offered a Select Device button which popped down a menu to choose between my USB flash drive or FUJIFILM_DSS. So far, so good.

I picked the camera option and the Fuji serial TWAIN utility came up, but it told me the camera was disconnected or powered off. However, I clicked the Set button next to Close in the utility and noticed the baud rate was set to Auto—just as EZ-Autocam had initially been, and in that case setting it to 57600 was required to make it work. It was here as well—after manually setting the baud rate my camera was recognized by the Fuji serial TWAIN utility, and thumbnails of the images on the card in the camera came up. From there I was able to select any or all of them for import back into Picasa when I hit the Acquire button.

Picasa is really spiffy, by the way.

Also I wanted to pass on that rather than buy a special PC cable for the camera, I reused my old Mac cable for it by purchasing this adapter cable. It's a DIN-8 female to DB female adapter, which is what you need to connect any Mac serial peripheral to a PC's DB9 serial port. The nice thing about using this instead of a dedicated cable is the extra utility of being able to hook up any old Mac peripheral (say, an old dot-matrix printer), not just the camera.



Return to QuickTake 200 page Return to the QuickTake 200/Fuji DS-7 Users' Page

If you have tips or suggestions about either of these two cameras, or if you've found any accessories I haven't mentioned here, send email to Andy Baird so I can put the information on this page.

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