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Thread: SD cards, noticeable difference in speeds?

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    SD cards, noticeable difference in speeds?

    Hi everyone,

    I'm looking at getting another memory card just so that I have a bit more room to move while I am in New Zealand in a few weeks. I have a 8gb Extreme III SDHC card at the moment (plus a couple of standard 2gb cards that will be my absolute last resort)

    Basically, what I want to know is, how much difference will I notice on my camera between the Ultra II memory card, and the Extreme III memory card? Is it worth forking out the extra for the faster card? Or is the difference not really worth the dollars?

    For example - I can get an Ultra II 16gb for $79.95 (off cheapchips) or another Extreme III 8gb for $64.95.... should I go for space or speed here?

    (sorry had to put this cute thing in )
    Ellen
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    Please CC my photos, and edit where you want! Got lots to learn so please pass on instructions....

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    As with everything, it really depends on what you are shooting. If you are shooting sports and need the speed the the X3 is the way to go, if your doing landscapes then the few seconds wait (if you're shooting raw) won't bother you.

    I'd probably go the 16Gb if your travelling for a while, and throw in the 8GB if you find you need the speed.
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    can't remember Tannin's Avatar
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    Depends on your form of photography and style, Ellen. If you rattle off lots of shots in a short time (as is typical for sport or birding or anything that is action photography) then the Extreme III should give you a noticable and very welcome improvement in time to buffer-full, and time after buffer-full to buffer-empty. You will also get a very handy improvement in upload speed if your card reader is up to scratch.

    On the other hand, if you mostly fire single shots, or at most bursts of two or three, not frequently repeated, then you won't gain a whole lot.

    The K10D apparently has a pretty good write speed and can benefit from the Extreme III's speed, though (I'm guessing here) probably not much if at all from the Extreme IV. It's a bit old for that. I notice that my 40Ds and 1D III all like the Extreme III, but befefit very little from the Extreme IV; the newer 50D, however, takes full advantage of it.
    Tony

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    Rather than trying to explain, i found this site so valuable. They list every brand of SD and CF cards.
    Also you can checkout specific cards to your camera model.

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    can't remember Tannin's Avatar
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    Galbraith only tests with Canon and Nikon bodies, so you will need to figure out what C or N body has about the same card write speed as your Pentax.

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    Quote Originally Posted by philwillmedia View Post
    One thing to bear in mind -
    It doesn't matter how fast the card can write, if the camera isn't capable of writing as fast as the card, you're no better off - err, does that make sense??
    of course Phil! What u are trying to say is that the buffer write speed of the camera must be able to take advantage of faster SD cards, otherwise it can only write to the camera's limit, not the card.

    Fortunately, the K10D is no slouch in that department and will be able to make use of faster cards and their write speeds, and you will see a noticeable difference if you use an Extreme III card vs. a generic card, especially when shooting Raw

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    The other advantage of fast cards is the increased speed your photos can be transferred to the PC. Take an Extreme IV and place it in a firewire card reader and upload the photos to your PC, and you will notice the speed difference compared to place a slower card in the same reader.

    So the benefit of a fast card is not just what it allows in camera.
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    remember there's burst speed and sustained speed. My view is Sandisk is overpriced ____ with suspect advertising, I'd rather go for a class 6 than a class 4 that claims to be 20mb/s - clearly something wrong. Your going to burst 1 pic and that's it?

    Just get a proper class 6 8GB for $30 and be done with it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by reaction View Post
    remember there's burst speed and sustained speed. My view is Sandisk is overpriced ____ with suspect advertising, I'd rather go for a class 6 than a class 4 that claims to be 20mb/s - clearly something wrong. Your going to burst 1 pic and that's it?

    Just get a proper class 6 8GB for $30 and be done with it.
    I think u have it a bit mixed up with the 20mb/s speed, just because a K20D for example takes a raw at around 23mb per file, does not mean its limited to bursting 1 pic per second

    I just did a burst in RAW for 3 seconds on a 40D next to me, using an Ultra 2 card rated at 20mb/s, 18 shots in 3 seconds at 6fps - each raw is 10mb average - 180mb right there.

    the image goes to the camera's buffer before the memory card.

    I dont think Sandisk is overpriced, for myself and other pros we wouldnt have any other brands in terms of reliability and speed. But if u are not shooting for money, then it is a waste buying Extreme III and IV cards honestly.

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    I mean Sandisk can claim 20mb/s speed all they want, how do you know that it lasts 1ms or 3s? You know for sure it's not sustainable or else they'd be class 20.

    Sandisk regular cards have the worst reliability and speed in the history of SD cards. And Many brands match their Ultra/Extreme performance at under 50% cost. Sandisk is a big marketing machine - a regular Panasonic card will best their Ultra series - , that's why they lose my respect.

    The correct test for speed is to copy 180MB files from your PC to the card. Does it finish in 3s? How do you know your 40D buffer isn't responsible for 150MB of that 180MB? Chances are any other card could have done 17 shots in 3s, and saved you $50. It's like buying a racing car based on their 'top speed'.

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    Thanks guys for all your replies! I did kind of lose you guys towards the end there, but I am thinking the same as etherial - I'll mostly be shooting landscapes and candids I think so not really going to need the speed, but will need the space.

    Thanks

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    Sorry, back on topic,

    My friend got 20fps in jpeg on his K20D using a generic class 4 card. In raw, it's about 4fps, seemingly for as long as you want. I remember also trying K10D raw, est. 3.5fps also seemingly for as long as you want.

    My Nikon gets 3fps for about 2s, I think the processor is the bottleneck. Nikon's never been good at fps I'd rather have more fps for a shorter burst tho - I've never held down for over 1s.


    For the canon:
    "The EOS 40D captures up to 6.5 frames per second for a continuous burst of up to 75 large JPEG images (17 in RAW)"
    Yeh, so the card didn't make any difference there either.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ellen View Post
    Thanks guys for all your replies! I did kind of lose you guys towards the end there, but I am thinking the same as etherial - I'll mostly be shooting landscapes and candids I think so not really going to need the speed, but will need the space.

    Thanks
    Look forward to seeing some of the photos, NZ is still on the list of todo places for me...
    Mic

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    Quote Originally Posted by reaction View Post
    Sorry, back on topic,

    My friend got 20fps in jpeg on his K20D using a generic class 4 card. In raw, it's about 4fps, seemingly for as long as you want. I remember also trying K10D raw, est. 3.5fps also seemingly for as long as you want.

    My Nikon gets 3fps for about 2s, I think the processor is the bottleneck. Nikon's never been good at fps I'd rather have more fps for a shorter burst tho - I've never held down for over 1s.


    For the canon:
    "The EOS 40D captures up to 6.5 frames per second for a continuous burst of up to 75 large JPEG images (17 in RAW)"
    Yeh, so the card didn't make any difference there either.
    Like i said before, its all up to the camera's buffer size, which plays a more important part in the initial writing speed

    and my old K20D using a crappy ebay card will top out after 4 seconds when shooting at 20fps at 1.5mb each in live view, card is too slow to process it, wacked in an 8 gig ultra 2, there was no pause.

    I doubt the 4fps since my old K20D camera is 3fps and averages up to 38 jpegs, 14 raw or 16 in DNG format.

    whereas the K10D can do unlimited jpeg - in fact, i can even set the timer for the camera to continually take photos as long as the card doesnt fill up or the battery runs out - handy security camera there.

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