How to Buy an SD Card for Your Digital Camera

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hath80

Fear not, we waded through the specs and grabbed a selection of cards for testing to see what really matters. dvd creator, dvd video tool

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pcsimmons0524

This was such a balanced and informative review.  I really appreciate your advice on SD cards!

 

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kyri

Great review for buying a secure digital high capacity card for your digital camera. Glad you clarified between classes and x-rating. That was very helpful!

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musicman172001

Are there any plans to do similar testing with other memory card formats? In particular I'm interested in Compact Flash since it's another big one for still photography, especially in the higher-end models which rely on speed for professional shoots. At 4-6MB for JPGs and 25-30MB for RAW (and 30-40MB for the RAW+JPG mode) on my Canon 50D I'd love to know what the best option is for a memory card.

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chaosdsm

I think Gordon meant to say Extreme III or Extreme IV cards, not Ultra III/IV which do not exist at this point in time. 

You can see a comprehensive breakdown of EOS 50D / CF card performance here: http://www.robgalbraith.com/bins/camera_multi_page.asp?cid=6007-9672  Along with many other cameras & SD cards as well.

Depending on your needs, full-time Pro, Semi-Pro(part timer), Serious Amateur, etc... you can choose the card that meets your speed & budget needs.  If money is no object & performance is everything, or you're a full-time professional photographer, the choice is pretty clear, SanDisk Extreme Ducatti Edition & you get slower & cheaper from there...

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gordonung

You're right. It was a little late when I posted that last night. Rob's CF database is great. It's a great way to see just how much the CPU is starting to matter in these cameras. The newer consumer cams outshoot the older "pro" bodies in write performance.

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gordonung

It has been some time since we looked at CF but we may revisit it. The 50D's performance should be similar to the Rebel T1i since both are Digic IV based (albeit SD instead of CF). If you shoot JPEG, a card similar to an Ultra III 

should be fine. If you shoot RAW, considering paying for a Sandisk Ultra IV - class card. The 50D should have a pretty deep buffer though so you I'm going to guess you can get by with a moderately fast card.

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chaosdsm

Camera writes can be considerably slower than a given card is capable of achieving.  Even the best pro level DSLR's can fall short of the best cards write speed capabilities.  A more important aspect for some of us is the transfer rate from card to PC, especially for video where you may be copying up to 32GB of video to your PC, in which case a fast high end card can cut your transfer time in half vs some of the slower & cheaper cards.

I've never liked the "class rating" system of SD cards, especially since 80% of the manufacturers don't bother to list the cards maximum speeds, some don't even list them in their white-papers.  It seems to go against the interests of the consumer.  IMO, every memory card should be required to have the maximum read & write speeds listed in MB/sec, this would eliminate a lot of confusion & frustration.

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gordonung

Yes, I agree. If host to PC is important pay for that fast card. For this test thought, I was looking for a good balane between cost to performance. A lot of people find those cheap 16GB quite attractive.

 And yes, I agree. Makers should list max write/read specs listed. One thing I didn't touch on was the lottery impact.

Some "slow" cards are faster than some of the fast cards and there is no rhyme or reason for it.

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Roykirk

Thanks for this one.  I'm looking at getting the exact camera you used for testing, so I know which card I'm getting, without a doubt.

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moko

yea...thanks for this comparison,I have  been wondering what the difference is with these different card speeds,thanks for the info

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Stever

Great comparo and excellent info provided.  I've been very happy with the performance of the Sandisk Extreme III SDHC cards I'm using in my D40, especially when ripping off a sequence of shots.  And, now that I'm looking into buying a video cam, it's good to know that bigger is better over speed.

Thanks!

 

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