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Different compact flash cards

Discussion in 'Photography Forums' started by stevetiler, Aug 12, 2004.

  1. stevetiler

    stevetiler
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    Hi all,I've just recieved an Ixus 500 which appears to be great!My question is:is there much difference between the canon high speed cf card that was bundled with the camera and my old "normal" fuji cf card?
    Steve
     
  2. Peakoverload

    Peakoverload
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    Not so that you will notice.

    The difference between high speed cards and 'normal' cards is only really noticeable on cameras that are 5MP+ and shoot RAW in burst modes.

    If you camera has a buffer for a certain amount of shots then the quicker you can clear that buffer by writting the images to the card the quicker you can start shooting again. However the speed of the 'normal' CF cards is more than fast enough if you are shooting in JPEG or even TIFF on virtually all cameras. Really the only time you need one of the fast CF cards is if you are shooting in RAW at burst modes of 3fps or more.

    RAW files are much larger and so therefore take longer to write so the faster your card is the better. However the actual write speed is primarily governed by the camera in other words your CF card may be able to be written to at 40x but if your camera can only write at say 20x then you will obviously only get 20x.

    Some cameras are much faster at writting than others, especially when it comes to RAW files. My Canon 10D for example is painfully slow at writting RAW files even on 40X CF cards when you compare it to the Nikon D70 which is incredibly fast. By comparrison the D70 is around 5 times faster than the 10D!

    When I first got my 10D I used to shoot only in JPEG at the highest resolution and could notice no difference whatsoever between the write speeds on my 40x Sandisk Ultra cards and my unbranded 'normal' CF cards. However when I started shooting in RAW the difference was quite noticeable. Interestingly though when I shoot in RAW the difference in write speeds beteen my Sandisk Ultra 40X cards and my standard Sandisk card is very minimal. This is because the camera itself can only write slightly faster then the normal card anyway.

    Hope that makes some sense!?!?
     
  3. seany

    seany
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    Good info there peak. My S1 takes AVI's at 30fps, i've heard you need a faster card or frames drop. Is that bull mate? Also is there any way of finding out how fast your camera writes?
     
  4. Peakoverload

    Peakoverload
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    Yes there is a good chance you will need a fast cf card if shooting video as the buffer in your camera will fill up very quickly. If it cant empty this buffer by dumping it to your cf card its only option is to drop frames until such time that space in the buffer becomes free.

    As for finding out the write speed of your camera that is a bit more tricky. Very occassionaly I think, and I stress think, that some manufacturers include this information in the manual but at the back in the specifications table. Your best bet though is to contact the manufacturer direct.

    As a rough rule of thumb you could see what CF cards the manufacturer recommends for your camera. For example Nikon recommend the Lexar Pro range for the D100. You could then find out the speed of the Lexar Pro cards (much easier than finding out the speed on the camera) which would then give you a rough idea of how fast your camera is. This is a very rough way of finding this out but it may be better then nothing.

    Personally I just did it through trial and error. I've just had a look on the Sandisk website and found that the Ultra II cards I use are 66x (not 40x as I previously wrote) and have a write speed of 9MB per second. I couldnt find the speeds of the standard card but for some reason I seem to think they are 20x. If that is correct then this would probably suggest they are around the 3MB per second mark. Again I don't actually know the speed of my 10D but working on the difference between how long it takes to write a RAW file on a standard card compared to an Ultra II card I would guesstimate that it is around 5MB per second mark.

    If anyone does know the actual write speed of the 10D I'd love to know!
     
  5. stevetiler

    stevetiler
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    Thanks guys,makes more sense now!
     
  6. seany

    seany
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    Thanks again peaK for the detailed reply.
     

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