Does anyone have an idea where to get an adapter that works to connect firewire to a laptop without firewire connection? I've seen very simple looking adapters for firewire to usb and I have doubts they work since most reviews say they don't work. Seems like there should be a functioning interface adapter somewhere. Thanks
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I use a StarTech ExpressCard adapter (EC13942A2) and it works fine on a Dell Win 7 laptop.
The only fully-functional Firewire adapters for laptops that I have seen require an ExpressCard slot like this one: http://www.amazon.com/StarTech-com-ExpressCard-Firewire-Adapter-EC13942/dp/B000RKUKMG ...but for several years now, very few new laptops are equipped with an ExpressCard slot. If your laptop doesn't have an ExpressCard slot, you are out of luck.
Last edited by usually_quiet; 14th Mar 2016 at 10:37. Reason: typo
If you are on a mac you can (and must) go FW400 -> FW800 -> Thunderbolt.
I appreciate that suggestion but my laptop doesn't have a PCMCIA slot. Is there something like this available for plug in to USB port?
If your new laptop is PC/Windows and does not have any kind of expansion slot (95% of current laptops fit this description), then you're SOL. There is no way to add FireWire to a laptop that doesn't have a slot to install a FireWire adapter card. OTOH, if your new laptop DOES have an expansion (ExpressCard) slot, you would be able to buy a FireWire card and pop it in as JVRaines suggested. Unfortunately, ExpressCard expansion slots proved to be the single least-used feature in consumer laptops, so mfrs long ago dropped them to cut corners. Aside from a tiny handful of corporate-oriented laptops from the like of ThinkPad, no new PC/Windows laptops can be made compatible with FireWire peripherals. (As you surmised, there is no USB>FireWire adapter that actually works).
Apple also dropped built-in FireWire support and ExpressCard ages ago, but at least still includes the goofy "Thunderbolt" port which can be converted to FireWire by plugging in a simple inexpensive dongle. All current and recent Apple MacBooks include a ThunderBolt port. Note while it usually works fine, there can be some issues when using a Thunderbolt/Firewire adapter. Some older scanners etc expect to see an actual motherboard FireWire connection, and/or will only reliably recognize a small selection of FireWire expansion cards that were available at the time they were sold. Some digital camera backs will need an additional workaround adapter to supply power: the Thunderbolt port in some MacBooks does not meet their power requirements.
If you only need FireWire to dump videos from a camcorder, your easiest solution might be to pick up an older second-hand PC laptop with onboard FireWire (or an ExpressCard slot). Five or six year old top-line Toshibas and HPs and Sony Vaios are available cheap nowadays, ThinkPads will cost a bit more. Another alternative might be an old (circa-2008) Apple Mac Mini with built-in FireWire 400 or 400/800 port: these are tiny desktop Macs that plug into any random mouse/keyboard/monitor. Use the older computer to pull videos off your FireWire camcorder, then copy the videos to a USB thumbdrive to move them to your newer faster laptop for editing. Or just use the older computer as a dedicated video workstation start to finish, if it seems capable enough to suit you.
Last edited by orsetto; 14th Mar 2016 at 10:52.