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Old Dec 17, 2002, 8:55 AM   #1
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Default Slow writing to a 128mb card

I purchased my camera a month ago and it came with the standard 16mb Xd card. The camera saved the shots to the card ultra fast. i was impressed.

I just bought a 128mb card and even when it's empty it takes a lot longer to save the shot.

Why is this the case??
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Old Dec 17, 2002, 11:10 AM   #2
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What camera?

-Steve
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Old Dec 17, 2002, 11:38 AM   #3
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Fuji 3800.

It's mega fast on a 16mg card but slow on a 128mg card. Apparently it's still faster than most cameras/cards.
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Old Dec 18, 2002, 3:33 PM   #4
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I found the same with my oly5050: xd is the fastest, but i have a suspicion that larger cards are overall slower. Mine writes faster on a 32mb card, than my 128mb.
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Old Dec 19, 2002, 5:19 AM   #5
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Isn't this something to do with the 'cluster size' chosen to format the card in the cam?. Most pc formatters look at the media size and make larger clusters to ensure that the same address space is used to link to larger clusters.

Unfortunately this leads to ineficiency when writing small file sizes since there will be more of the larger cluster unused. Don't forget this is probably 16 bit format, with limited file table capacity.

It would be interesting to see if the large and small cards both have the same formatted structure using Norton or equivalent . And if not, re-format the larger card to the same structure as the smaller card, in the pc. The assumption made by the cam formatter, might be 'if you use a big card, you're going to put fewer big (less compressed) files on it' so larger clusters are better- but that's not always the case is it?
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Old Dec 19, 2002, 5:00 PM   #6
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Even though we have an alphabet soup out there of different flash types: SM, MMC, sD, xD with various proprietary interfaces. The camera manufacturers or their software developers usually start with an a higher API layer that 'handshake' with various flashes like a hardisk interface:

http://www.samsungelectronics.com/se...es/filesys.pdf

This application notes is an example for SM, but it holds true for all flashes (yes even CF and MemorySticks) since they are all based on the 'NAND' structure. A flash is usually composed of physically small blocks and large pages that do not correspond exactly to a camera buffer/picture size or a logical structure of DOS/FAT. Access to a flash is especially slowed down (ie longer access time) when it crosses a block or a page boundary hence slower write time with larger devices. Along with the picture write cycles, the cameras internal firmware also have to "manage" other tasks as described in the application note which are not trivial... nor speedy as a device grow larger!

BTW, CF cards already comes with a hardisk interface, and MemoryStick is the worst with a serial one (think about the APIs that have to handle this flash serially). No wonder Sony is thinking about a 'PRO' version...
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Old Dec 19, 2002, 6:13 PM   #7
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There's more here:

http://www.samsungelectronics.com/se...lash/Flash.htm
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Old Dec 20, 2002, 9:20 AM   #8
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The point is testing any flash card in a specific camera (ie sample size of one) for speed is not the most reliable. It only shows the speed limitation of a camera based on its preference for certain card type(s) (or sizes) which the original camera manufacturer have set their design goal on. The same flash card (or size) when installed in a different camera will have a totally different speed based on the above notes depending mostly on the firmware of the specific camera which manages the flash cards!.

For the true speed of any flash, a PCMCIA adapter is the only real test (yes - even xD can be put on a PC-card adapter), where a real hardware ATA interface is implemented and not a 'soft' low-cost firmware approach of a consumer camera! When tested this way the speed of any flash card is several magnitude faster than the limit imposed by the specific of a camera design.

The CF standard really shines then when it is used or tested in this mode like some professional dSLR. The least of which CF is a true 16-bit interface (the most pins of any cards) and not 4/8 (or serial) when it's implemented properly (and not run in an 8-bit mode like other flashes which it is capable of)! Another benefit of having an ATA interface is like a hardrive one can do post-write where a new cycle can be accepted even while the old data are still being written (this is another benefit of the microdrive).

http://www.stevesforums.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=5340
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Old Dec 20, 2002, 10:05 AM   #9
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Yes, but surely what's most important is what the firmware and hardware in the cam makes of the card brands, formats and sizes put into it, since you're saying there's nothing there that you the buyer seem to be able to change, if subsequently you find the cam is too slow at writing (the bigger cards).

I've got 128Mb SM in my cam, and don't see any big difference in write times to 16Mb and movie modes work fine with oem brands, but from what you say, there's less to worry about with SM, since functionality is more in the cam than on the card.
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