Photographers Wanting Fast Promotional USB Sticks Should Consider USB 3.0

Over the last year or so we’ve seen a significant increase in demand for printed USB memory sticks from professional photographers who are finally abandoning CD and DVD drives in favour of USB sticks.

The USB sticks are typically printed with the photographers business details and some form of image or logo that represents what they do. It’s also not unusual for the USB sticks to be supplied in some form of presentation or gift box.

The “packaged” solution looks significantly more professional that a CD or DVD and conveys a more contemporary and stylish image. As a “product” it’s also something that is easier to sell and generate some additional revenue from.

Obviously most professional photographers (wedding photographers, portrait photographers, commercial photographers etc.) are using the USB sticks to copy their clients portfolio onto and then although some are using them as part of a sales and marketing campaign to bring life to their work, The pre-loaded images are often supplemented with links to their web site, “special offers” and details of any forthcoming events or shows that they might be taking part in.

When photographers do make the move from CD/DVD to USB Stick one of the things that can take them by surprise is how much slower it is to transfer their photos onto the USB sticks. The primary reason for this is that the typical read/write speed of promotional USB stick is only around 4-8MB per second. This is fine if the sticks are being used by a company as a promotional “giveaway” but if you’re a photographer and you’ve got hundreds of large, high resolution images to copy onto the sticks it could take you a while!

Professional Photographers and USB 3.0

There are a couple of solutions to this:

  1. Specify faster read/write speeds to your supplier – you can get (for a cost) faster USB 2.0 memory sticks but even these “faster” sticks are still going to take a while to load several gigabytes of data onto.
  2. Buy SuperSpeed USB 3.0 memory sticks – they’ll cost more but here’s why they are worth considering:

USB 3.0 has a theoretical data transfer speed of 4.8 gigabytes per second making them ideal for handling large file formats like videos, music and digital photos. USB 3.0 delivers a 10 fold increase in data transfer speed over USB 2.0

Although support for USB 3.0 has been sluggish you don’t have to dump your existing PC or Mac to benefit from the performance improvements but you will have to install a new PCI card to upgrade it to USB 3.0 – this is normally pretty easy to do and the cards will be relatively cheap.

If you’re customer does not have USB 3.0 on their PC or Mac the sticks will still work they’ll just work at reasonably fast USB 2.0 speeds.

In the short term the only drawback of using USB 3.0 memory sticks is cost. For the next year or so expect to pay a premium for USB 3.0 sticks.

The real value of USB 3.0 is the reduction in time it will take professional photographers to load up their branded USB sticks with their client portfolios but these time savings have to be set against the higher costs of buying USB 3.0 drives.

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