You're a digital photographer and you're out in the field, trouble is you've just filled up your Compact Flash card or whatever format you happen to be using. That's it - you're effectively out of “film”.
The Belkin Digital Camera Link hopes to get you out of this bind by allowing you to transfer those images over to your trusty iPod, freeing up the space on the digital camera. The secret to this device is that the iPod can have up to 60Gb of storage, which your camera's memory card certainly doesn't.
The Belkin Digital Camera Link is roughly the size of the iPod itself and it's a shame that it has to be so bulky. The unit is powered by two standard AA batteries and the included cable that tucks away neatly inside the device connects to any 4th Generation iPods via the standard connector. On the side of the Digital Camera Link is a USB “in” connector allowing you to connect directly a digital camera to the unit. The front offers a set of three LEDs to let you know what is going on and so you understand what the lights that are flashing away at you actually mean, Belkin has been clever enough to print everything on the back of the unit rather than you having to remember to bring the instruction book.
Connecting devices couldn't be easier and the digital cameras we tested from HP, Olympus and Canon all worked fine. Once the two devices (camera and iPod) are connected its simply a case of pressing the transfer button. Depending on the amount of files you have to transfer depends on how long it will take, but at all times the lights let you know what is going on even when the iPod is full or the battery is low.
Once complete, the files are saved on the iPod. You can't view them as images unfortunately, however you can see the file names and see that the files actually exist before deleting them off your camera. A nice feature is that every separate transfer to the iPod is created in its own folder so nothing is overwritten.
If you are an Apple Mac user iPhoto will automatically launch when connecting your iPod to your computer and then images can be transferred from the iPod. PC users can simply drag and drop the file across from the iPod via Windows Explorer.
While iPod Photo users will be able to benefit from Apple's own image transfer device and view them on their music player, for the rest of us there isn't really that much of an alternative for the iPod.
If you're not just looking for an option to transfer files to the iPod, then the Delkin USB Bridge (reviewed here) made by Delkin not Belkin [confusing isn't it], serves for a more rounded option. The unit, while not as polished as the Digital Camera Link from Belkin, does allow you to transfer to any device as long as it supports USB. The biggest problem however with the Delkin device compared to the Belkin device is there isn't instant feedback that the files have transferred without a problem and if you're transferring to a USB memory stick, you are reliant on trust.
At £60, this unit is the price of a large memory card, however if you've already got an iPod, buying 40Gb of memory cards would cost you a lot, lot more.