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Old Sep 18, 2003, 1:48 PM   #1
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Default Slowdown due to Larger Memory Card


I just wanted to ask you guys if is it a considerable factor when using high capacity memory chips (SD or CF, etc...)? Like is using a 128MB generally slower than using a 64MB one?

Should I go for two 64 MB's or just purchase one 128MB?

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Old Sep 18, 2003, 2:02 PM   #2
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The size in capacity of the CF card has no effect on the speed of the transfer of data from the camera to the card. If you drop ten marbles in a one pound bag and ten marbles in a five pound bag its still ten marbles.

It does take longer to download a full 128mB card than a 64mB to your computer, for obvious reasons - its twice as many shots (aproximately).

I prefer to use several different size CF cards - and decide roughly how many shots I will take per shooting setup. If you have a corrupted card, you at least will not lose ALL of your work.

Just my opinion - Lord knows I have made every error possible in the last 40 years of shooting.
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Old Sep 18, 2003, 2:23 PM   #3
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I see.

I think I will purchase a couple of 64 MB's instead of going for one 128MB card. A sort of precaution eh?

Of course, I could get 2 x 128MB's, or should I say 4 x 64 MB's, but that's overdoing it... :lol:

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Old Sep 18, 2003, 2:39 PM   #4
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I would also look at the cost per MB. The sweet spot for CP is much higher than that right now.

But I also agree, that if you fear loosing the data due to a corrupted card, there is certain something to be said for having multiple smaller cards.

Don't forget that the majority of cameras (basically everything that isn't a DSLR) won't beneft from anything faster than around 12-16x. After that, the speed (and extra cost) is wasted.

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Old Sep 18, 2003, 3:08 PM   #5
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Indeed. I bought a 256mb card while on vacation once, and it worked just as fast as the 8mb, 32mb, and 128mb I already had, or so I noticed. Could depend on the size/quality of image you're taking, and how fast your individual camera works though.

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Old Sep 18, 2003, 3:32 PM   #6
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It all depends on your cameras ability to take advantage of a faster card, and the speed of the card.

I rarely see any media speed tests in real cameras anymore. I remember when Bryan Biggers published some results a couple of years ago for the Coolpix 950 and 990, that did show some faster times for some of the faster cards (but at the time, a 8x or 12x card was considered fast).

The last test I remember seeing was one that Phil Askey did at dpreview.com, using different CompactFlash media in a few cameras (Canon EOS-1D, Canon EOS-D30, Nikon Coolpix 995). Here's the link:


I have seen some references to faster cards being required to get the unlmited 30fps movies in some of the newer Fujis. Ditto for the 3 frames/per second burst mode in the new Kyocera S5R (requires a 10MB/Second Secure Digital Card, then it can take 3 photos (full resolution) per second until the Secure Digital Card is full.

I've got a new Konica Revio KD-510z. It came with a Toshiba 32MB Secure Digital Card (probably around 2MB/Second Write, 3MB/Second Read). I also bought a Lexar 128mb x 2 Memory Stick for it.

I tested the speed using both media types (Secure Digital and Memory Stick), and saw no difference. So, I suspect that the bottle neck was not in the media. The camera tests at 1 photo every 1.27 seconds until the cards are full, regardless of which media type I use.

For my next purchase, I'll probably go with one of the higher speed Secure Digital Cards, just to see if it makes any difference (since I can't find any tests with this camera).

Both the Simpletech and Panasonic 256mb and 512mb Secure Digital cards are rated at 10MB/Second (read and write speed). Their smaller cards are much slower (3MB/Second Read, 2MB/Second Write).

Simpletech publishes the transfer speed in the specifications for their cards. Here's the page for their Secure Digital Cards (click on a card size to see the specs):


Most of the other manufacturers only have the fastest controller in their 512MB Secure Digital Cards. The way I look at it, the price difference between a 10MB/Second card, and a much slower 2 or 3 MB/Second Card is negligible now (in a 256mb SD Card). So, I'll just buy the fastest card available for my next purchase.

If it works faster in my camera, great. If not, then I really haven't lost anything, and it'll probably work much faster for transfers to my PC anyway (once I get around to buying a USB 2.0 I/O card for my PC, and a USB 2.0 card reader for my media).
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Old Sep 18, 2003, 3:41 PM   #7
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I think the idea that "all eggs in one basket" is a bad thing has its downsides as well. Instead of a single 80GB hard drive, should I have eight 10GB hard drives instead? There comes a point where small media is just it, too small. I understand the need for precautions, but media are getting bigger, faster, and more reliable, not to mention cheaper. I remember when people used to say 256MB was too much, and that they'd prefer several 32MB instead. Nowadays 32MB is more expensive than 64MB is some instances, and 256MB is SO MUCH cheaper than a few years ago... anyway, only you can decide what's best for you
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Old Sep 18, 2003, 3:53 PM   #8
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You might also want to know this url with recent data about 256 mb and higher CF cards and test results for several Dslr cameras. http://www.robgalbraith.com/bins/mul...?cid=6007-6111

Next Fuji S602 can record video as long as there is space on CF card, alas this is not possible if a slow cf card is used. This url shows the performance with this camera: http://www.finepix.nl/memcards/

Although we don't know what camera you use, looking at these lists might give a clue which brand performs better than average.
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Old Sep 18, 2003, 5:07 PM   #9
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I have to disagree, I have both the Sand Disk and the PNY 128 mb CF cards, and they are a little slower when writing to the card compared to my 64 mb CF cards, and even slower when deleting pictures from those cards in the camera.
The camera is a Nikon 2500, I don't find it a big problem, but the 128 mb cards are slower.
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Old Sep 18, 2003, 5:08 PM   #10
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in reference to small media being just that too small is an intelligent statement when taking into account the image sizes today on certain models of cameras.
dropping a 512MB card into a 3mp camera and shooting in say normal instead of high just to get 450 shots into the card is playing the odds a little long just in case there is a failure.

i have (1)2 GB card (2)1 GB cards and (2)640MB cards. i shoot RAW 90% of the time. the 2GB card at iso100 gives me roughly 165 shots on my 1Ds. 105 if i shoot RAW+L JPG. higher iso and less shots. i shoot on a field trip about 60-100 shots a day depending on subject availability. the cards are either used up or backups just in case.

just think of it this way. back when film was my dominant medium i would purchase 50-100 rolls for a trip lasting 20-30 days. today i walk around with the equivelent of 10 rolls of film and then i have to laptop it too. luckily i generally have a base to work out of.

i agree that breaking it up is intelligent but relative to the highest quality image your camera can produce and to any future camera you might purchase.
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