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Old Feb 28, 2006, 5:04 PM   #1
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Hello,

I have purchased a 1 gig memory card for my digital camera (right now I am using a 256 meg card).

Will having a larger card somehow slow down how fast the camera functions?

I'm not concerned about the ability to view the images once they picture is taken - I AM concerned about the speed at which the camera will save the image to the card when I take the shot,and the time I will have to wait between taking shots - will this be affected by the size of the card?

Thanks!
Juggernaut
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Old Feb 28, 2006, 5:32 PM   #2
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Juggernaut wrote:
Quote:
Hello,

I have purchased a 1 gig memory card for my digital camera (right now I am using a 256 meg card).

Will having a larger card somehow slow down how fast the camera functions?

I'm not concerned about the ability to view the images once they picture is taken - I AM concerned about the speed at which the camera will save the image to the card when I take the shot, and the time I will have to wait between taking shots - will this be affected by the size of the card?

Thanks!
Juggernaut
The basic answer is NO.

But cards themselves vary in speed. This has nothing to do with size. When you purchase a card keep that in mind.

My machine has a memory buffer which allows me to shoot 22 pictures that go into internal memory, before being written to the card. Since I've never come close to this limit - even a VERY slow card would not slow down my camera.

Caluculate this into your card decision as well. There's no need to spend extra money on speed - if you don't need it.

Dave
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Old Feb 28, 2006, 6:16 PM   #3
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DBB wrote:
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Juggernaut wrote:
Quote:
The basic answer is NO.

But cards themselves vary in speed. This has nothing to do with size. When you purchase a card keep that in mind.

My machine has a memory buffer which allows me to shoot 22 pictures that go into internal memory, before being written to the card. Since I've never come close to this limit - even a VERY slow card would not slow down my camera.

Caluculate this into your card decision as well. There's no need to spend extra money on speed - if you don't need it.

Dave
Hello,

Thanks for the reply.

How do I check the speed of the card before I open the package? hehe...or for that matterafter I open the package?

Thanks!
Juggernaut


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Old Mar 1, 2006, 10:38 AM   #4
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The better, first tier memory card makers make reference to the speed of their cards on the packaging.

Lexar rates their speeds in "x". a 30x card is slower than a 60x card, which is slower than their new 133x cards. A few others use the same ratings.

SanDisk uses the "Ultra" and "Extreme" names (although Extreme also means better tollerance to bad hot and cold.) The Ultra I is slower than the Ultra II, which is slower than the Ultra III.

And there are other factors.
A card can be really fast in one camera and slower in another. This is because the way the camera writes to the card might be a better match for how the card is made. This makes is very tricky to say which card is "Best" as best varies per camera.

Since I use a DSLR, I got to this web page for information about which cards work best:
http://www.robgalbraith.com/bins/mul...e.asp?cid=6007

I do not know of any equivalent to this for non DSLRs.

Eric
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Old Mar 1, 2006, 12:35 PM   #5
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One X by convention is 150k/sec for read speed. Write speed is usually slower than read speed and is what you are interested in for cycle times.

I think most cameras aren't slowed by a 3Mb/sec write speed. If your card is rated in X speeds, 30X is probably plenty. That is a very ballpark number that I think works for most current cameras. You might need less speed, but the only way to know is to test it in your camera compared to a faster card. Imaging Resource at one time compared cards in their camera tests but haven't lately. You might look at their test of your camera. Most testers anymore use a very fast card and leave it to you to figure out how slow you can go. You might go to the board for your camera brand and ask if anyone has any experience with your model with different speed cards.

If no speed is on the packaging or card I would guess it is a "standard" card. They can technically be as slow as 6X or 900k/sec read speed. A "standard" Sandisk SD card slows my camera cycle times by about a second a shot.

Most new devices that take SD cards comply with the new (Dec 05) 1.01 standard which is 66X read speed. That is overkill for most cameras but a conservative choice.

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Old Mar 1, 2006, 12:46 PM   #6
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I suspect that most newer "standard" cards are faster than you may think.

Sometimes you see users of a given model report that a manufacturer's standard card is just as fast as their higher speed cards, particularly with newer cards (even in camera models that can take advantage of a faster card).

IOW, they may not want you to know if they're using the same components in the standard cards to save having to setup separate production lines, with different components, if the price difference between them isn't significant.

But, there's no way to tell for sure how a given card is going to perform in a camera, until you try it, and your safest bet is to ask other users of a camera model how well a card works. Even then, manuifacturers have been know to change component suppliers during production runs (so cards of the same model can have different performance).

I recently tested an old Lexar 4X CompactFlash card in a KM DSLR, that the camera can write to at approximately 4.6 Megabytes/Second. It's even faster than some of the 80x and 100x cards in this camera (but, it's not the fastest available, as some cards test almost twice as fast to media with this camera). LOL

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Old Mar 1, 2006, 1:56 PM   #7
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It seems word would get out pretty fast that Sandisk or Lexar was selling high speed cards as standard. I could see where a company that relabels cards might run across an overproduction of fast cards and throw them in with their standard ones.

The problem is repeatability. The only way you can (almost) know a card is 30X is if it states that on the label or card. The same with transfer rate if it is stated in that form rather than X rating.

You could buy something on sale at a local store and return it if your camera doesn't perform to the same cycle times as in the reviews using a fast card.

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Old Mar 1, 2006, 3:23 PM   #8
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I would like to confirm the above observations. I usually buy Sandisk Ultra 2 memory cards. But recently I picked up cheaply a 1 GB standard Sandisk CF card on Ebay. To my surprise my Canon Powershot S1 completely filled this card with a [email protected] fps movie clip and there were no problems. The S1 doesn't compress very much. For 9 minutes it requires a full gigabyte. Thus this standard card must be really fast. It seems to be like an Ultra 2.
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Old Mar 1, 2006, 3:45 PM   #9
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Well, as I pointed out before, the entire question is becoming almost academic for many cameras.

The size of the internal memory buffer is becoming larger and larger. Your speed of shooting is more dependant on that, then on the speed of the card.

The image is FIRST written to internal memory and THEN to the card. So, one should check the size of the camera buffer.

If you DO shoot continious images, AND the buffer is small, then card speed is a very relevant issue.

So you might ask yourself, "What is the size of my buffer?"

Dave
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Old Mar 1, 2006, 4:02 PM   #10
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I bought a real cheap 1gb card before I had my dslr (so write speed didnt really matter), but now with my KM 5D the difference between it and a sandisk ultra II is HUGE. Then again, thats only when snapping away very quickly, especially in continuous drive. The cheapo card was advertised as high speed (40x or 20mb/s, I dont remember).

Now, I'll only buy lexar and sandisk cards. Prices are too good* to be stingy with this critical little device.

*Sandisk Ultra II 4 gb goes for $190 now!!!!!
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