This is the latest upgrade to the Camera Link product from Sandberg, making it compatible with the iPad 3 and iPad 4/Mini; but not at the same time. To get the iPad 4 compatibility rather obviously requires the Lightning connector equipped version, which costs the same as the iPad 3 version. Whichever you need, the premise is the same: upload your photos to your iPad directly from your camera. Insert the SD card into the device, make sure it is toggled to the SD setting, and your iPad will display your images and enable you to import them. If your camera uses a different memory card format, no problem as the Sandberg link lets you connect to a card reader via USB and access your images that way. Finally, that media reading only USB connector (USB A female port) can be used to link directly with your camera itself with a standard USB cable. There are some caveats, namely: only .jpg images are supported and they must be stored in a folder named DCIM.
There's not a lot to say other than 'it worked OK' on the image display front, but there is the small matter of how it compares to the competition. The official Apple Camera Connector Kit may be a lot more expensive than the Sandberg Camera Link at £25, but it's parts are also a lot smaller. In fact, the Apple devices are roughly half the size of the Sandberg one in every single dimension. Dropping them on the postal scales reveals the Sandberg at 18g compared to the Apple at a combined weight of 21g. The extra size of the Sandberg device can, of course, be explained by the fact that it enables you to connect your camera to your iPad directly by way of a USB cable (not supplied) as well as by inserting a SD card. The official Apple way of doing this requires two separate devices, one for the USB and one for the SD card. Whichever way you stack it (literally) the two Apple connectors still take up less bag or pocket room than the Sandberg, but that's clutching at straws a little as neither are exactly trouser breakers!
The real difference, during my testing of the Sandberg Camera Link, was a bit harder to shrug off: it simply didn't recognise the microSDHC card from my camera. Whereas the Apple kit is quite happy with the microSDHC slotted inside a generic adaptor, and all images from that card are automatically displayed with the option to import upon connecting to the iPad, the Sandberg wasn't. Nothing happened at all, despite the little USB/SD switch being toggled to the right position. A full-sized SD card worked as expected, as did connecting the camera directly. For me, then, the no-hassle approach of the official Apple kit wins out. It's a lot smaller (I don't need to carry both adaptors, just the SD card one) and it works with all the SD cards I've thrown at it. That alone is worth the extra money in my book. Of course, if you don't use SDHC cards and you do want the flexibility of a multi-purpose all-in-one connector then the Sandberg Camera Link makes for a good value option.