Yes, its free! If I may, this seems to be making a mountain out of a grain of sand. I never transfer from the camera, it is too slow a process, I just stick the card in the appropriate reader and blink a few times and it is done. Cameras have removable cards for a number of reasons, one of which is that manufacturers are aware that whatever interface they include will be superseded by something faster. Transfer speed is important to professional photographers. I don't use Lightroom or Photoshop so my options are Nikon Transfer or Image Capture (Mac software) and Nikon Transfer works just fine for me, on a Mac. Using another program to import files shouldn't be a problem if you don't restrict yourself to using the camera as the interface. I have no information on whether or not Nikon have prevented the use of Mass Storage mode in the interface but my most recent camera is a D4 built in around 2011 which has a "High speed" USB interface. Certainly my USB 3 XQD reader is faster than the camera, whether a Z series camera would be faster I don't know. May I admit here that I can't see any good reason not to remove cards from cameras. All cards have "wiping" contacts which are designed to remove any contaminants from the mating surfaces when the card is removed or inserted, for that reason alone it seems a good idea to remove the card occasionally.