Compact Flash Cards

Dennis Leighton

Novice Member
I am a novice when it comes to digital photography and have just purchased a Canon Powershot A80. I am now looking to purchase a 256mb comp
act flash card but am amazed at the variation in price. Does the price reflect the quality in a card e.g. as in types of 35mm.film or is there some other factor which I must consider before purchase. I notice some cards say '4x' or '12x'. Can someone explain this to me also.
Very many thanks.


Active Member
The 4x, 12x etc indicates the write speed of the card. However unless you are shooting RAW files it is unlikely you will be able to tell the difference between a 4x CF card and a 40x one.

There are loads of 'unbranded' cards on the market which often are fine but occassionaly can cause a few problems in certain card readers.

Also some manufacturers only recommend certain makes of CF card and there is sometimes good reason for this.

Nikon for example only recommend using Sandisk and Lexar cards. I know of a professional photographer who used a cheap CF card (non Sandisk/Lexar) which caused his camera to fail. When he took it to Nikon for repair, their engineer explained that some of the cheaper cards put extra strain on the encoding circuits which is why they only recommend Sandisk and Lexar.

That said I own a Canon EOS-10D and have 2 cheap unbranded CF cards and 3 Sandisk Ultra cards and to be honest cannot tell the difference between them.

Basically, if you want to be ultra secure and your pictures are very important then go for a big name brand like Sandisk or Lexar. If on the other hand you are prepared to run what is probably something like a 2% risk that the card will fail or that long term use of the card in your camera will cause your camera some damage then buy whatever you can afford.

I personally recently had a bad experience of a cheap CF card, a Jessops own brand one, that failed on the first day of use and because of that I now only use Sandisk Ultra cards.

Dennis Leighton

Novice Member
Very many thanks for that very full and most useful explanation. It has helped me enormously to understand the difference in CF cards.

Many thanks,
Top Bottom