Lexar Professional Workflow: A Comprehensive Overview

Lexar is well-known for producing a variety of memory cards for enthusiasts, hobbyists and professionals. If you require microSD, SD, CF or the modern memory card technology like the XQD and CFast models, Lexar makes lines of products that have different levels of quality and speeds to meet almost every still camera and video storage need. One area that you may not have a lot of experience with is the excellent Lexar range of card reader. I’ve been using Lexar’s Lexar Professional USB 3.0 Dual-Slot Reader for many years and consider it to be the ideal solution for those working on the go and need to access or backup my personal information, as described in my previous review.

What about a professional memory card reader that can be used on desktops? Since I’ve always built my own laptops I have an overwhelming preference for internal memory card readers which I can mount on any of these 5.25″‘ bays including AFT PRO-77U AFT PRO-77U the top pick. While I’m content with this reader it has a few drawbacks. It is the first. It only works with the most commonly used media formats such as CF, SD and microSD. If I want to use the more recent XQD and CFast card I’d need to purchase an individual reader for each of them. The second reason is that there are only two readers for each card type.

If I needed to transfer data from two cards at the same time (and it is possible to do it using Lightroom) and then I’m left with no alternatives. The good news is that Lexar has a great product that can meet these specific requirements (and more) with Lexar Professional Workflow readers. Lexar Professional Workflow readers. Today, I will be reviewing Lexar’s HR1 edition, that comes with an USB 3.0 interface. If you’re an Mac user and would prefer Thunderbolt it is possible to get another version, HR2, of this reader, that supports for both Thunderbolt as well as USB 3.0.

Lexar Professional Workflow HR1

1. Description and features

What is unique with this particular reader it is compared to other readers? It’s first, it’s intended for professionals with more complex workflows and plenty of media cards available which is why it’s called “Professional Workflow”. The second reason is that it comes with an unusual and flexible design – something that no other reader available today provides. The reader has four slots that are empty, and you can purchase any reader you want that fits in each slot. If you only work with SD cards you are able to complete the reader with four SDHC / SDXC cards (compatible with UHS-II up to).

If you are only using CompactFlash and CompactFlash cards, you can achieve exactly the same thing with four CF slots. If you prefer to offer support for a variety of types of formats, then you are able to choose between microSD and SD the CF, CFast and XQD readers.

Lexar Professional Workflow (1)

It’s also a truly distinctive modular structure, you can even connect a powerful SSD hard drive in any of these slots and use it for backup! This is a truly amazing option that merits attention since it’s a major space-saving and useful backup option. You needn’t worry about attaching additional external hard drives solely to backup your data. SSD drives are incredibly quick, which means you can backup your photos and other data quickly. When you’re done, you can store the disk in your bay or put it into rotation to make it a solid backup system.

If you wish to save your backups on a different device (and it is a must! ) You can purchase another SSD drive which you can mirror your backups. Therefore, if you require another drive for this, or you’re running empty, you could simply buy additional SSD drives. They’re affordable when compared to other SSDs available (for instance, the latest 500GB version is available at 135 dollars).

Lexar SSD Drive

Because there aren’t any spinning parts inside this SSD units, they are able to endure some serious wear and tear in the field. Also, you don’t need to worry about losing your data in the event that you fall on them, while with the standard hard drive you’re always at risk to harm it upon collision and possibly lose important data.

The most appealing thing is that every reader and SSD drive can operate independently through USB bus! USB bus! That’s definitely one of the best characteristics that comes with Lexar Professional Workflow. Lexar Professional Workflow – although the bays appear to are always part of the system however, they are able to run independently by using the standard USB 3.0 cable. If you’re planning to travel or even perform a remote job or photography session, the only thing you need to do is pull out the module that you need to use, connect it with the USB cable, and you’ll can have a functioning reader or backup solution that isn’t as bulky. In reality, many photographers begin with just a single module by itself and then expand from there!

Lexar Professional Workflow (2)

Personally, I began using the two SD as well as CF slots like the ones shown above, as I use both of them quite frequently. After returning from shooting, I am aware that I have a mixture of SD and CF information. So, instead of needing to wait for every card complete the transfer of images, I can begin the process of importing images on several cards before stepping out of my laptop. After everything has been transferred, I move onto an additional batch in the event that I have enough.

2. Connect HR1 Base Unit

This base device can be connected to your computer using the standard USB 3.0 cable however should you wish to make use of more than one slot, you’ll require power to the device since it’s essentially an USB hub. Lexar offers a power source for the HR1, so all you need to connect it to the power supply and you’ll be set to go. While every module comes with a USB cable, you’ll be able to put them away until you’re in need of them because the module itself connects directly to its back, which is an USB 3.0 slot. The modules draw energy directly from its USB port and don’t require external power, therefore it’s only the base unit HR1 which does.

3. Build Quality

I’ve been using Lexar Professional Workflow HR1 for more than a year and half. I am happy with its construction quality. I have put the modules in and out, changed them and have used the readers extensively in my job. So far I haven’t experienced any issues on the unit itself or the modules. They CF modules are designed extremely well, and there is no “play” within the slots that could result in a variety of angles and possible pin bending problems. The SD modules have never failed me, and I’ve used several different cards with both. It is truly a robust system built to withstand the rigors of professional use.

4. Speed and performance

Lexar has been updating its modules to use the latest software and hardware since the system was launched. If you’re using SD cards, then the newest edition of its SD card reader is compatible with the most efficient cards that are available, including UHS-II cards that have blazing speeds. This is also true to CF cards, as they are compatible with the most recent UDMA 7 cards. If you’re using XQD or CFast cards Lexar also has them!

The system is fast and efficient regardless of whether you are using the modules on their own or via an HR1 hub you’ll be maximizing speeds of your cards. I’ve tested a few of the UHS-II card with the highest speed and found some amazing speed reading and copying that exceeded 250 MB/second.

Lexar Professional HR1 Copy

At these speeds, if you own a normal rotating hard drive it will more likely to be slow than cards, which will cause an obstruction. If you wish to achieve these speeds, you’ll need to copy your data onto the SSD drives (which is the one is recommended these days).

I haven’t tried the Lexar SSD storage devices yet however when they are available I’ll put these drives to the test, and be able to report on them in a separate article.

5. SSD Backup

As I’ve already mentioned the ability to insert an SSD drive in some of the slot makes Lexar Professional Workflow a whole better option for working professionals or someone who is a lover, since it can be used as a memory card reader as well an option for backup. Instead of mounting external hard drives, and backup files to them, or dealing with cables and additional hardware it is possible to purchase the SSD module (in either 256 GB or capacity of 512GB in July 2015) and save your data on it. Although 512GB may seem like a lot considering the size RAW files are becoming and growing, I am certain Lexar will soon launch more capacity modules. SSD drives are much costlier in terms the GB/dollar as compared to spinning drives, but prices are decreasing daily and their speed combined with their reliability make them an best choice for storage requirements in the present.

Even if you’re not planning on using SSD modules for a full backup but you could still make use of them for a temporary or backup alternative. When you transfer photos from your memory cards it is possible to make a backup of all copied files directly on SSD drives without ever leaving Lightroom. Since hard drives mount like regular drives, and are assigned the drive’s letter You can select “Make an Additional Copy of” and choose the drive within Lightroom that will then automatically back up your entire library on the drive, as well. If something goes wrong, you’ll have this backup that you can recover your documents from.

My personal preference is to utilize the greater capacity of 512GB SSD module as a backup backup. As opposed to copying photos from Lightroom I would set up a backup job that will duplicate your existing Lightroom catalog as well as photos. If you have a lot of images in your catalog and they’re not able to fit in one volume, you might consider breaking up your catalog and backing up your files in batches. Once backups have been completed I suggest storing them outside of your home, in order that in the event of a catastrophe affecting you or theft occurs there is copies to your files…

6. Summary

Lexar performed admirably of delivering its Pro Workflow line of products. If you decide to purchase the HR1 on your computer or HR2 to your Mac You will not be disappointed by the design performance, reliability and performance of the card reader as well as SSD modules. With its distinctive design and capability to operate every module on its own, Lexar engineers deserve high praise for creating an amazing and unique product. I would highly suggest the Lexar Professional Workflow to any professional or enthusiast.