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Thread: Memory Card Advice

  1. #1

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    Memory Card Advice

    I have never been concerned about the speed of saving images to memory cards because I have rarely shot action. That will soon change in an upcoming vacation when I will want to be able to save as many files as possible to the memory card before filling up the camera's buffer. What specification(s) should I look for on the memory card?

    If it matters, the two cameras being used are a Nikon D7000 and a Nikon D5100 with a Nikon D80 as a backup in case one of the other cameras fails.

    Thanks in advance for your advice!

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    Re: Memory Card Advice

    The fastest you can afford, Mike.

    In the future you demand may be greater than now or a firmware upgrade could improve the buffer handling characteristics of your current kit.

    I personally use Sandisk and the better ones are Extreme Pro UDMA7 writing at 90mbs/sec on the CF cards and the SDs are Extreme SDHC writing at 30mbs/sec or better and classified as Class 10.

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    Re: Memory Card Advice

    Thank you, Steve. Very helpful! I guess it speaks volumes that I have been using Class 6 cards, huh.

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    Re: Memory Card Advice

    Well, to be honest when cards were very expensive I used to only buy the slower ones and now the highest speed possible is affordable.

    In my antique Canon eos 10D sits one of my very first cards - a 512mb eFilm from Delkin devices and I paid 72UKP for that in 2003! It's not even got a rating on it...

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    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Memory Card Advice

    Mike - I'm a bit like Steve - fastest Lexar or Sandisk cards I can afford. I have had reliability problems with cards frp, several other suppliers including Verbatim and Patriot. To me having a reliable card is more important than read / write speed.

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    Re: Memory Card Advice

    Thanks as always for your help, Manfred.

    Coincidentally, just last night a memory card went bad on me for the first time in my digital "career." I have no idea what happened, but suddenly it will no longer play nice with either of my cameras. Fortunately, it was only a 4GB Class 6 card, so it wasn't expensive.

    Quote Originally Posted by SteveF View Post
    a 512mb eFilm from Delkin devices
    I've got you beat, Steve. I have a 128MB card in my most advanced camera, a NIkon D7000. But I have to admit that it's not used for storing image files; it's used for storing the camera settings.

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    Re: Memory Card Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Buckley View Post
    I have never been concerned about the speed of saving images to memory cards because I have rarely shot action. That will soon change in an upcoming vacation when I will want to be able to save as many files as possible to the memory card before filling up the camera's buffer. What specification(s) should I look for on the memory card?

    If it matters, the two cameras being used are a Nikon D7000 and a Nikon D5100 with a Nikon D80 as a backup in case one of the other cameras fails.

    Thanks in advance for your advice!

    Take a look at my site, I do shoot sports and for a living, I use these in my d7000s.

    The best thing about the D7000s is the dual slots, one for overflow.

    I never use higher than 16GB and have dozens, never put all your eggs in one basket.

    These are the latest, look for the fastest, note the arrows.

    You will find most pros shy from any more than 16GB, because they are more than adequate and as I say no one who works for a living places everything they shoot on just one card then loses it
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Re: Memory Card Advice

    Thank you, Jeremy, especially for the yellow arrows!

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    Re: Memory Card Advice

    take a look at what I shoot

    www.jrs-photography.co.uk

    https://www.facebook.com/JRSPhotography.co.uk

    Surf is with EOS60D 120-400 Sigma

    Powerboats, jet-ski D7000s Sigma 150-500

    ALL with these cards
    Last edited by JR1; 31st August 2013 at 02:06 PM.

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    Re: Memory Card Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Buckley View Post

    Coincidentally, just last night a memory card went bad on me for the first time in my digital "career." I have no idea what happened, but suddenly it will no longer play nice with either of my cameras. Fortunately, it was only a 4GB Class 6 card, so it wasn't expensive.


    Might a low level format help, (in the camera) it has helped others in your situation I understand.

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    Re: Memory Card Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by SteveF View Post
    Might a low level format help, (in the camera)
    One camera wouldn't allow me to get to the menu to format it. The other camera formatted it but displayed the same warning not to use the card immediately after that it displayed before formatting it.

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    Re: Memory Card Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Buckley View Post
    One camera wouldn't allow me to get to the menu to format it. The other camera formatted it but displayed the same warning not to use the card immediately after that it displayed before formatting it.
    Ah! That does sound terminal then.

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    Re: Memory Card Advice

    Sandisk produce two class 10 16gb. Ultra has a transfer rate of 30Mb/s and Extreme at 45Mb/s. Don't know if that matters with your cameras.

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    Re: Memory Card Advice

    Thanks for that additional information, Dave. If the extra cost of the transfer rate of 45MB/s is not ridiculous, it will be worthwhile to have that capability even if my current cameras cannot take advantage of it, just in case a future camera will.

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    Re: Memory Card Advice

    I can only speak to Canon gear since I have never used Nikon.

    When I was shooting with a Canon 40D as my newest model camera, I never even looked at the speed of CF memory cards because I never noticed any difference in these cards.

    However, I purchased three Lexar UDMA 300x cards while I was still shooting with the 40D. I got them because due to a misprint in the rebate announcement, the bottom line cost was ten U.S. Dollars (from a Calumet store, not from the Internet - so these are genuine cards) for each card. There was no discernible difference in acquisition using the UDMA cards in the 40D but, there certainly was a difference in downloading the images using a UDMA capable card reader.

    Now that I am shooting with Canon 7D cameras, I certainly notice a difference. I shoot with the 300x Lexar cards as well as a couple of 400x cards and a couple of 16gb 800x cards. All of these are UDMA capable and the write speeds when I am shooting with my 7D cameras are far faster than my non-UDMA cards when shooting with my 7D.

    I believe that part of the difference is that they are faster cards to begin with and another part of the difference is that the 7D can take advantage of the UDMA capability in writing while the 40D could not.

    The 7D files are quite a bit larger than those from the 40D. Even though my 7D can write fast and has a large buffer; I can still certainly notice the difference between the 300x-700x UDMA cards and the slower non UDMA cards. I have not noticed any discernible difference in shooting the 300x UDMA cards as opposed to the faster 700x cards. I assume the difference is there but, I don't notice any slowdown in the 7D shooting like I did with the non-UDMA slower cards.

    The download difference between using a UDMA capable card reader and a non-UDMA card reader is night and day with the UDMA reader offering far-far faster downloads. This is quite important when I am shooting on vacation and have well over 50 GB of imagery on several CF cards to download in the evening after I get back to my hotel room. I need to download all the images because I will be shooting the next day and want these cards fresh. I am also usually quite fatigued after a full day of shooting and the non-UDMA card reader download speeds seem interminable.

    One thing that I wish is that Canon would have oped to include dual memory card slots in my 7D camera. These would be a heck of a lot more useful for me than the "print from camera" and "JPEG or RAW While Shooting The Other Format Button". I'd happily trade either or both of those capabilities for dual memory cards. That's not too much to ask for. Several Canon 1D cameras and some Nikons have dual card slot capability. Heck even my old 1990's vintage Olympus C5050Z point and shoot had dual memory card capability...
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 31st August 2013 at 09:17 PM.

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    Re: Memory Card Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by rpcrowe View Post
    Heck even my old 1990's vintage Olympus C5050Z point and shoot had dual memory card capability...
    So, pray do tell, where did they install the steam engine ...


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    Re: Memory Card Advice

    Mike, for my 2 cents worth I have to say the truth all depends on what quality you are shooting and what you term as "action" shots. Continuous shooting for three frames? 10? In most cases it's the camera that is the choke, not the card. Going too fast on a card can be a waste of money depending on your camera. At 8 fps on the slowest card I have, 30MB/s, I cannot get the camera to slow down at all taking JPEG and it only starts to slow down in raw around 24 pictures. On a 60MB/s card the raw isn't a problem at all. In my case the higher speed latest and greatest cards provide zero benefit and I can buy the others on sale. And yours is a newer camera. You don't mention video so I'll pass on that as I have no experience.

    The extreme Pro's are at 95MB/s. If your style even your max fps isn't challenging 30 then you're wasting $$$.

    Specific to the D7000 from dpreview....

    The continuous shooting performance of the D7000 is midway between the D90 and D300S. The D7000 can manage 6fps maximum shooting speed, and can capture images continuously up to 100 JPEG frames (but not necessarily all at the same frame rate - see below). This is 1.5fps faster than the D90, but still some way off the maximum 8fps achievable with the D300S and MB-D10 grip. The D7000's buffer is smaller than the D300S as well. We found that even with a fast card, no more than 32 pictures can be taken in a burst at the maximum frame rate before the camera has to slow to clear the buffer. In JPEG (Fine) mode this drops to 22 frames before the frame rate slows.


    JPEG (Fine): 6 fps for 22 frames, then 2 frames at 3fps captured every second (approx) up to 100 frames in total. Approx 10 seconds to recover.
    JPEG (Normal): 6fps for 32 frames, then 4 frames at 4fps (approx) followed by 2-3 frames at 5fps (approx) up to 100 frames. Approx 10 seconds to recover.
    RAW: 6 fps for 10 frames, then 2 frames at 2fps captured every 2-3 seconds. 16 seconds to recover.
    RAW+ JPEG (Fine): 6 fps for 10 frames, then around 0.5 fps. Approx 22 seconds to recover.

    All tests conducted at 1/250 sec in AF-S mode with a 16GB Lexar Professional 133x Class 10 SDHC card.

    Just for your own real life information I would suggest you go ahead and buy a faster card, test it out as you would shoot and make a relevant decision on what others you're going to purchase.

    Let us know how you make out.

  18. #18

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    Re: Memory Card Advice

    Continued thanks to everyone.

    The real issue is that my wife, who has less experience than me, will be shooting action shots of moving animals regularly for the first time. Every time she has occasionally done that in the past, she has held the shutter release down nearly forever hoping to get one decent frame. So, the buffer definitely fills up.

    There is no practical way to test how she would shoot and I'll also be shooting in a way that I'm not used to doing. So, I also doubt that I could conduct a practical test for myself in advance.

  19. #19
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    Re: Memory Card Advice

    Actually the 1990's vintage Olympus C5050Z P&S (it was really more of a bridge camera but, that term was unknown at the time) had a lot of bells and whistles. It had RAW capture capability, two memory card slots, a full regimen of auto and semi auto exposure control, burst capability, audio record capability to record information about various images and video (although nit HD video) capability. I used it for several years but the only shortcoming of this 5 MP camera was, like many P&S and bridge cameras of today) a long shutter lag between tripping the shutter and acquiring the image. The shutter lag was the main reason that I switched to DSLR cameras.

  20. #20
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    Re: Memory Card Advice

    As a somewhat tongue in cheek answer to your question, here's a review of a couple types of SD cards and their durability...
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUw9T...elDg2Vnk_fxlDT

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