Jill Morgan

SD Card speed - is super fast really important?

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SD Cards are on sale at Staples right now and I have one that sometimes the computer will read and sometimes not, so I figure time to ditch that one and replace it.

 

Whether I get a Lexar 633 or 1000 speed, is it that important?  I do occasionally want to do some shots where I hold the shutter for multiple images.  Does it matter much for stills, or really more important for video?

 

Jill

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I'm currently using two Sandisk Ultra 80mb per sec SD cards in my Nikon D610. Sandisk doesn't seem to rate speed in the same way as Lexar but

I haven't even noticed the buffer kick in  while I'm shooting, but I don't shoot sports.

 

Before buying you should consider Micron, who owns Lexar, is discontinuing SD Cards, so while there are plenty of bargains out there I don't know what will happen in terms of warranty

 

https://www.dpreview.com/news/3111535898/lexar-discontinued-micron-announces-the-end-of-lexar-memory-cards

Edited by fotoDogue

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If your computer is having problems reading the cards I would strongly recommend replacing them ASAP. Sale or not.

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54 minutes ago, fotoDogue said:

If your computer is having problems reading the cards I would strongly recommend replacing them ASAP. Sale or not.

 

I certainly plan to.  Probably will get the 1000 as the price isn't that big a difference.

 

Jill

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I have done a test some year ago, but between a CF SanDisk Extreme Pro, spec'ed @ 160MB/s and a SanDisk Extreme Pro SD Card, spec'ed @ 95 MB/s. 

With both I did sustained shooting for a minute with the Canon 5 DSr, which quickly filled the internal buffer.

My theory was that number of shots per minute should be kind of a function of the card speed. 

 

Before I tried I really  expected the difference to be measurable - the CF to be about 30%-50% faster. 

I do not remember the exact figures anymore, but to my surprise the difference between the two test, which I repeated three times, was close to negligible :o

 

Do not know if in my specific setting it is the actual card speed, driving this or if there is a limitation within the 5DSr that does not allow the buffer being emptied quicker. 

Definitely the result should not be generalised. 

Really did it only out of interest and in real life I hardly ever run into the buffer filled.

Though when doing sports the additional handful of shots per minute you get with a faster card may count?  

 

Anybody did a similar test with different equipment? 

Edited by hdh
typo

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4 hours ago, Jill Morgan said:

SD Cards are on sale at Staples right now and I have one that sometimes the computer will read and sometimes not, so I figure time to ditch that one and replace it.

 

 

What are you using to read your cards onto the computer? I've found that after a while multi-format card readers become unreliable (I've had five of them and all have gone the same way, usually after a few months). I found that the solution was to get a USB stick with a single SD slot on the side and that's been working flawlessly for two or three years now. I got one for my CF cards as well and that works perfectly all the time too.

 

Alan

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23 minutes ago, Inchiquin said:

 

What are you using to read your cards onto the computer? I've found that after a while multi-format card readers become unreliable (I've had five of them and all have gone the same way, usually after a few months). I found that the solution was to get a USB stick with a single SD slot on the side and that's been working flawlessly for two or three years now. I got one for my CF cards as well and that works perfectly all the time too.

 

Alan

 

My desktop has a dedicated SD card reader. 

 

Jill

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The faster card might download to your desktop faster. Go for the faster card. You can probably use it in future cameras as well. Maybe you will be shooting 8K video in the future.

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1 hour ago, Inchiquin said:

 

What are you using to read your cards onto the computer? I've found that after a while multi-format card readers become unreliable (I've had five of them and all have gone the same way, usually after a few months). I found that the solution was to get a USB stick with a single SD slot on the side and that's been working flawlessly for two or three years now. I got one for my CF cards as well and that works perfectly all the time too.

 

Alan

I've had the same SanDisk card reader for years and it works perfectly. It takes two sizes of cards, but I only use the one. I'd go for the fastest card, too. I don't know a lot about what speeds are for what, so I err on the side of faster.

Betty

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Do you shoot any news? For that, card speed does make a difference in terms of sending the images to a laptop/device you use to crop/headline images before sending them off. If not, it makes really not a huge difference, as hdh said, especially if the card reader and cabled connection used is then slowing it down a bit again. So for normal stock/other shooting I'd go for a good offer.

 

I'ts worth pointing out that the reason why the Lexar cards are on sale is probably because the parent company has announced a while ago that they're stopping production. Sadly, Lexar will disappear. But I wouldn't let that put me off buying remaining Lexar cards at all, I've always found them reliable. They've been in desert dust and Icelandic snowstorms, no fails.

 

I have a bag full of Lexar and SanDisk cards of varying sizes 16-64 GB mostly  (that's because I'm paranoid, when shooting for clients, I tend to back up shots to two different external hard drives before edit, plus leave them on the card until the client received the finished work, very paranoid :-)  hence the bag full off cards). No Lexar cards have ever failed me and no SanDisk cards have either (apart from some very old 2GB ones that were discarded years ago), the only cards that ever failed me were an 'own-brand' product by a certain British photography retailer (they were called Prospec but have now, mercifully, also disappeared).

 

Edited by imageplotter

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It's the write speed that matter more. I don't know about all makes but I know some just quote the read speed. The write speed is often lower, maybe half that. That's the case with the Sandisk Ultra series. Also take into account how fast your camera is capable or writing to the card. If the card writes at 80MB/s but your camera only does up to 40MB/s, and your last card did 40MB/s, then you won't see a difference. If you move from a 40MB/s write speed card to a 80MB/s write speed card and your camera can take advantage of that speed, then your buffer will empty twice as fast, so you MAY see a difference, at least in theory.

 

Geoff.

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Good point with the write speed, which is what drives the images written to the card. 

I tried to find out internal bus speed within the camera, but was not very successful. 

But most interestingly I came across a site which actually did the test that I did, but in a more sophisticated way. 

 

While the fore-mentioned CF card on average writes about 100MB/s and the SD card writes approximately 72MB/s, the number of JPG images taken in a 30sec period  is 102 images with the CF card versus 101 images with the SD card. 

At the time I did JPG only, with RAW the number of pictures taken shows a more considerable difference. 

 

They did that with quite a few camera and card combinations and should also answer the OP question. 

Here are some direct links: 

 

Canon 1D X

Canon 5Ds

Nikon D5

Nikon D810

A7R II

Edited by hdh
clarity

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Well I bought a Lexar 16GB Professional with 150 read speed and 40 write speed.  On sale for $27.  Should last me awhile.  Might buy a few more. Thanks for all the input.

 

Jill

 

 

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