Trying Apple’s New USB 3 Camera Adapter for XAVC-S Video

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One of the things I was keen to try upon my return to Canada was Apple’s newly announced USB 3.0 Camera Adapter, which has support for Lightning charging. Jason Snell has already discussed the merits of this adapter for podcasting, but I was really curious to see if it could help me finally import XAVC-S videos from my Sony A6000

The main reason I can’t transfer videos from my camera to the iPad is because that iOS complains that the camera is taking up too much energy during the transfer, and it shuts the whole process down. With this new cable, I should be able to transfer videos over by using a Frankenstein combo of wires:

  • a Camera Adapter connected to the iPad Pro
  • a micro USB adapter connecting my camera to the Camera Adapter (to transfer the video)
  • a Lightning cable connecting a mobile battery or power adapter to the Camera Adapter (to provide power to the iPad)

It’s definitely a tangle of wires and far from simple, but it would be worth it in order to make the iPad Pro a bigger part of my multimedia workflow. So one of the first things I did after my return was to head to the Apple Store and pay $49 CAD + tax for the USB 3 Camera Adapter.

I made sure the A6000 was set to transfer files over MTP. This is necessary because iOS doesn’t seem to detect the XAVC-S files when USB connections are set to “Auto” or “Mass Storage” because they’re in a different folder than the JPEGs and RAW files. MTP seems to detect all of the files on my SD card, regardless of location. However, the downside is that the thumbnails seem to take forever to generate – and they aren’t cached. This means that every time I reconnect the camera, iOS needs to reload all of the thumbnails for every single picture and video, even if those files have been downloaded to the iPad already.

I made sure that my battery was charged and that the Lightning cable was drawing 2.1A of power from my mobile battery. With this Frankenstein setup of three cables leading into my iPad Pro, I tried to transfer a 1-minute video from the A6000…and it failed. The camera reset itself a few seconds into the transfer and iOS kicked up the error shown in my screenshot. 

Just in case this was an issue with my mobile battery, I swapped it out with an AC charger so that I knew the iPad Pro was being properly charged. This also failed.

This has me convinced that this is more of a bug than a hardware issue. Despite having bought an accessory that specifically allows me to charge the iPad during a USB transfer, I’m still experiencing this same issue.

MobileLite

I have one more card to play in this attempt to establish an iPad Pro video workflow: a Kingston MobileLite reader that @cianbrennan told me about on Twitter. This card reader will read the video from my SD card, and then I’ll wirelessly transfer the videos from the reader to the iPad. This has the advantage of only draining the iPad battery and also being totally wireless, but it probably isn’t very fast.


Thomas

My name is probably Thomas (yes, it is). I'll be able to help you figure out why Evernote isn't syncing, or recommend your favourite new RSS reader to you. That's partly because I am enamoured with the iOS ecosystem and hardware, but mostly because I'm Canadian.

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