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Two Cents: Lock It Up

Lexar's LockTight CompactFlash locks down images on a Nikon D2X digital camera.

by / December 8, 2005
Lexar's LockTight CompactFlash security system is designed to eliminate unauthorized access to images, data and material stored on a user's flash memory card. The accompanying software locks and unlocks the card. Access to the digital content stored on the card is limited to authorized users through card-level, 160-bit encryption. A Lexar Professional CompactFlash Reader is required for a computer to recognize the LockTight Card.

Instead of relying on locking images onto the camera, the LockTight system locks the memory card itself. Users must have the reader and software to use the password to open the card. The card -- available in 512 MB or 2 GB -- offers 80X sustained write speed, equal to 12 Mbps.

The company sent a Nikon camera to test along with the Lexar unit. The D2X digital camera offers 12.4-megapixel resolution. That's right -- 12.4 megapixels. The LockTight system is currently only compatible with this and Nikon's D2Hs. Both are professional-grade cameras, and frankly I was a little overwhelmed by this one. The price tag alone -- more than $6,000 -- was enough to make me jittery.

The camera arrived with a Nikkor 120 mm zoom lens, and needless to say, it takes high-quality manual and automatic-focus photos. Images can be saved as RAW, JPEG and TIFF files. It includes an 11.1v 1900 mAh lithium-ion battery with charger and AC cord. There is also a USB adapter for data transfer.

The camera weighs 2.5 pounds, not including the lens and battery, and has a 2.5-inch color LCD screen with 235,000 pixels and white LED backlight.

There is an on-screen menu for setup, custom functions, shooting and playback. A microphone records up to 1 minute of audio that can be played back with an image. Users can view thumbnail images -- either four or nine images on the screen -- or choose an automated slideshow mode to play back full-screen photos. An optional wireless transmitter allows image transmission via WLAN, and even remote control of the camera via computer, running the included Capture software.

LockTight did its job of securing images and restricting them to certain users, but I barely scratched the surface of the camera's features. Those who require high-resolution photos and many flexible options to control aspects like exposure, focus and white balance -- for different types of lighting: sunlight, incandescent, fluorescent, etc. -- would enjoy this camera.

I received the Mac-only beta version of LockTight (it's now available in Mac and PC versions), so I enlisted help from our Design Department staff, since they have Macs and more photography experience. Special thanks to Gerardo, Erin, Tom, Kelly, as well as Kris Pfeifer, for help with this review.

Lexar LockTight CompactFlash:
  • 80X professional CompactFlash with write acceleration technology
  • Bundled with Image Rescue 2.0 and 30-day trial of Photo Mechanic 4.3
  • Ideal for digital cameras with 5 megapixels and above
  • 512 MB: $149.99
  • 2 GB: $409.99
  • CompactFlash Reader (available for Firewire or USB 2.0): $89.99

    Nikon D2X:
  • High-resolution 12.4 megapixel CMOS DX Sensor with 4-channel output for 4,288 x 2,848-pixel images.
  • 5 frames per second continuous shooting at full resolution, for 21 JPEG or 15 NEF images.
  • Top shutter speed: 1/8,000 second
  • D2X Digital SLR Camera Set: $5,499
  • 24-120 mm Nikkor VR Zoom lens: $719

    Rating: 4 out of 5

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    Miriam Jones Chief Copy Editor
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