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Old Jan 27, 2005, 11:15 PM   #1
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thank you everybody for the good replies to my previous posts. Sorry to be a bother but better a dumb question than a dumb mistake. I'm in the process of ordering a card for my a200 that's on its way. Someone suggested getting a Lexar 1gb high speed flash card. I checked out the regular HS 1gb flash cards and the write time is about 4x, the Lexar professional HS 1gb flash card is listed as 80x (12mb/s), obviously faster. I'm also looking at a 2.2gb microdrive which I can actually get cheaper which has a 3.3-6.5/sec transfer rate. My further questions are:

1. Does the a200 have a burst mode (where it will take more than 1 picture before having to write to the card) and, if so, do I need to worry about getting into all the HS data transfer specs?
2. Will I be disadvantaged, practicallyspeaking, in going with a regular 512-1gb HS flash card, as opposed to, say the Lexar Professional 1gb flash card?
3. Are there clear advantages to using the professional card?
4. Does a microdrive have any disadvantages or advantages? Is this a good consideration?
5. There is also a mention of Write Acceration Technology helping digitals and media work together better. Is the a200 and WA camera? If not, or if so, how does this effect using various media cards with it?

Sorry this is a bit long and technical. I know that each aspect, be it the camera's inner write abilities, the specs of the various cards, etc., has its on plus and minus. But all things considered, I'd like to hear from those with actual experience with the camera and using the various media, what you have to say, and not all the wows and specifications given to purchase various of theitems.

Once again, thank you for taking the time to answer. I know its always a bit of a sacrifice of time and effort and I appreciate it.
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Old Jan 28, 2005, 3:58 PM   #2
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I don't know anything about the A200 and cards, but I would just like to tell you to stay away from microdrives if at all possible. . .They are very fragile. I only use flash memory for my cameras, and it is almost totally indestructable! I know Popular Photography and Imaging ran a test on some CF cards in one of the last issues, and they taped some flash cards to times square, and a CF card survived over 50 hits by cars and trucks. now THATS a tough card. Microdrives are best in PDAs and the like (at least I think). I think that if you want something that is fast and holds a lot, go with something like the Sandisk Ultra II, or the Extreme III card (20MB/s) or Lexar pro 80x card.
Hope that helps some:lol:
Max
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Old Jan 28, 2005, 8:53 PM   #3
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john4us--

Ok, there's lots to discuss so grab a cold drink and make yourself comfortable.

First of all--take a look at Steve's discussion on Flash Memory, if you haven't already. You'll find a lot of background information there. Here's the link:

http://www.steves-digicams.com/flash_memory.html#cf

The A200 uses Compact Flash I & II, as well as Microdrives. As a bonus, the A200 has an accessory CF adapter (purchased separately) that will allow it to use SD & MMC cards as well. I recommend staying with CF cards as they have higher throughput and capacities than the other cards.

Second-- I suggest you go to Rob Galbraith's Professional Photography Website. Rob is a world-reknowned digital photographer and does extensive testing and reviews of all types of flash memory cards. There you will find discussion on the types of CF cards, performance stats on various cards and cameras, and side-by-side comparisons. I highly recommend it. You can find Rob's website here:

http://www.robgalbraith.com/bins/mul...e.asp?cid=6007

Now, on to your questions:

1) The A200 has several high-speed continuous drive modes. One will shoot a maximum of 5 frames at approx. 2 frames/sec. The next fastest will shoot 5 full-size frames @ 2.3fps. The Ultra High-Speed Continous Advance will fire 40 shots of 640x480 images @ 10fps (a great mode for impressing your friends, but I question its practicality).

In all modes the camera takes the shots then writes them to the card. You will see a difference in write times between a standard CF card and a high-speed card. I tested that theory by shooting bursts of pictures on a standard speed SanDisk 64 CF card and a Lexar Professional 80x 1GB card. The Sandisk took significantly longer to write to the card.

2) Disadvantaged with a regular high-speed card? You'd have to tell me what you mean by a "regular" high-speed card. I originally mis-read your question and thought you meant a standard speed card, so I've had to edit my response. What I believe you are referring to is the use of the word "Professional" by Lexar to denote their premium line of flash cards. I'd say that "Professional" is more-or-less a marketing tool by Lexar, rather than a means to define "professional-use" flash cards versus "regular" cards (I don't even know if such a standard exists). High-speed cards, whether referred to as "Professional" (Lexar), or "Ultra II" or "Extreme III" (SanDisk) all come in various speed classes and represent the evolution of flash memory technology. First there were 4x high-speed cards, then 12x, then 40x, then 80x, and now SanDisk has introduced 133x cards with a whopping 20MB/s transfer speed. I'm sure by next year, we'll see even faster memory.

One thing to keep in mind: The card reader and processing engine in your camera determine how much of that high-speed flash memory will benefit you. It's possible that speed advances in flash memory technology could surpass the read/write ability of the camera. See Rob Galbraith's site for performance stats between various cameras (unfortunately, he doesn't test any KM cameras, but the results are interesting anyway).

3) Some advantages do exist if you buy the high-speed Lexar "Professional" line of flash cards (or any premium line of memory, for that matter). It all depends on what you are willing to spend and if you feel it will suit your needs. One advantage with Lexar Pro is the free image recovery software that comes pre-loaded on the flash card (you can install this on your computer and then format the card to regain the space occupied by the software. This tool will prove invaluable should you have a corrupted card with irreplaceable photos or data on it. All the Lexar high-speed class of cards (including the 40x & 80x Professional Lexar cards) come with a lifetime warranty, vs. the 5-year warranty of their standard speed cards. Then there's the WA technology that comes with the 40x and 80x Lexar cards (which won't mean a thing to your A200--more on that later). I believe SanDisk has a version of their own recovery software called RescuePro on their Extreme line of high-speed cards as well.

4) Micro-drive. I know little about them as I've never used one. Regardless, a micro-drive would not be my first choice of storage due to durability issues. The CF card has no moving parts, and is ideally suited for everyday use. I'd say if you plan on doing more indoor work, a micro-drive might be a good choice, but otherwise, a flash card is an all-around durable performer.

5) The A200 is not a Write-Accelerated camera, nor is Konica Minolta a WA partner. The Lexar documentation states that the 80x card will perform identical to any other 80x speed card in non-WA enabled cameras. Just how much practical performance boost does WA provide? You'll have to ask somebody who has a WA-enabled camera (the cameras and manufacturers that support WA are here: http://www.lexar.com/digfilm/wa_cf.html ).

My recommendations: If you're going to spend $600-700 on a high-performance camera, don't cheap-out on the most important accessory for it: the memory card. This is where your prized photos will be stored. Scrooging the flash card on the A200 is akin to playing your nice, expensive new Yamaha home theater receiver through a set of cheap Jensen car speakers. It just ain't worth the 20 or 30 bucks you'll save on the card.

Lexar is well-known and respected (almost religiously) among digicam buffs, and is frequently mentioned as the card of choice. However, SanDisk makes excellent high-speed cards as well, with their Extreme III line achieving 133x. I've read somewhere that Transcend has made a name for itself with professional digital photographers too, though I've never used one of those cards.

Whatever brand you decide on, I wouldn't choose a card with less than 80x speed, or 512mb capacity for your A200. Prices on 80x memory has never been more reasonable (thanks to SanDisk for debuting their 133x cards!) You'll find the best deals for memory online. Expect to pay significantly higher prices for the same memory in the store.

Hope this helps. Good luck in your choice!



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Old Jan 28, 2005, 11:53 PM   #4
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All points pretty much covered, good post BoneDaddy. john4us, may I suggest you also check Dave's review here,

http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/KMA200/A2A.HTM

You will notice he uses Lexar 80X for the tests.

I have to agree with BoneDaddys' recommendation "If you're going to spend $600-700 on a high-performance camera, don't cheap-out on the most important accessory for it: the memory card." I too use Lexar 80 X, and most of KM's testing appears to be with Lexar cards, but, ironically, I once had an email from KM UK and the sender expressed a personal preference for Sandisk Ultra II. My point being you won't really go too far wrong with either brand. If you can find a much better deal on one, go for it.

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Old Jan 29, 2005, 11:23 AM   #5
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Stevekin wrote:
Quote:
All points pretty much covered, good post BoneDaddy. john4us, may I suggest you also check Dave's review here,

http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/KMA200/A2A.HTM

You will notice he uses Lexar 80X for the tests.

I have to agree with BoneDaddys' recommendation "If you're going to spend $600-700 on a high-performance camera, don't cheap-out on the most important accessory for it: the memory card." I too use Lexar 80 X, and most of KM's testing appears to be with Lexar cards, but, ironically, I once had an email from KM UK and the sender expressed a personal preference for Sandisk Ultra II. My point being you won't really go too far wrong with either brand. If you can find a much better deal on one, go for it.

Stevekin.
Thanks for the support, and pointing out Dave's review, too. Almost forgot about that.

I made a correction to my response of his second question, as I'd mis-read what he was asking.

:?
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Old Feb 3, 2005, 10:05 AM   #6
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I intend to get a CF, probably an 80x, when I can afford it, but I have had fine expereince with microdrives. I do a lot of hiking in winter/wet conditions. Imagine hiking in snow all day keeping the camera warm in your sweaty shirt, followed by leaving the camera in the tent overnight in freezing conditions. Repeat next day. Horrible places for cameras let along microdrives. With my Fuji 602z I have taken 25,000+ pics on a 1G microdrive and not had a problem. Anticipating getting an A200, and needing more than 800 pics for a trip, I bought a 2G microdrive (for $99) and have used it in the Fuji 602 and A200 for a few thousand pictures. No problems. Using the burst mode on the Fuji 602z was a delight, but the A200 is slower (approx 5 frames in 2 sec vs 1.2),butrefresh doesn't seem too different and seems just fine on the A200 with the microdrive. A fast card presumably only helps the refresh, so I would be very interested in specific gains that anyone has measured in fast CF vs microdrives. As I said, I expect to be in the market for a 4-8G CF, but have to say I've had (undeserved) fine experience with the microdrives.
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Old Feb 3, 2005, 11:01 AM   #7
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ok from the point of reliability a good quality solid state CF card will out perform a MD in just about any situation.

right now MDs are getting more prevelent use in products like ipods and other toys of which non carry warranties over 1 yr. and the downward price momentum of SSCF and now the combination of competition from other manufacturers and volume output has pushed their prices down too.

right now at http://www.zipzoomfly.com you can get a 2gb kingston elite pro 8mb write 10mb read capable (card will outperfom cameras capability. your camera will be the factor in the actual xfr rate) for $119 after a $30 rebate. warranty is lifetime. should it fail it will be replaced. a MD after the 1 year warranty is up becomes a unknown quantity. you also have a better chance of recovering images on a SSCF card even if there is a failure. with a MD if it doesn't spin or you here the clicking of death you are generally out of luck.

http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/Produc...ductCode=82239

speaking of weather and environment.i have a 2gb cf sscf card in my garmin 2610 gps that remains in my car all the time. temp vary widely from below 0 deg f to above 120 deg f inside. it works well except on those real cold mornings the screen is a wee bit slow to react.
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Old Feb 3, 2005, 11:10 AM   #8
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as to the specific gains of SSCF over a MD. yes there are many and documented.

http://65.110.81.28/bins/multi_page.asp?cid=6007

on each camera the MD was well in the lower part of the xfr speed band.

0n 4-8gb CFwhat camera are you going to put it in. it better support fat32 or it won't see past 2gb. also i hope your upgrading your hardware a bit.

the current pricing is from $~359 for 4gb to about ~$700+ for 8gb

i currently work with 2 bodies a 1Dmk2 and a 1Dsm2 and at this point use multiple 2gb cards (6). of those 6 card one is an extreme 3. the xfr rate in either of the cameras is inconsequentially faster the the ultra 2 cards of the same size. remember with these cameras the images are big the buffer is big too. and its still lmited to the 7+MB/s catagory.

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Old Feb 4, 2005, 10:38 AM   #9
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Thanks for the pointers sjms. The data and shopping hints are quite useful

The thread in which you and Iposted was about CF for the KM A200 which is what I was discussing. The timing tests you pointed to don't include the A200 -- I am still interested in that -- the two cameras I looked at on that site showed speed gains on the write times of 1.3 or 1.7 by going from microdrive to fast CF. I don't expect SLR performance from my A200. Here is what I see with the 2G microdrive. Very imprecise -- just looked at my watch -- but I did repeat the experiments. Prefocusing, time 0: press trigger; I shot 5 frames; clicks ended at time 2 or 3; write led starts blinking at time 8-10; ends at 15; 10.4MB was written; using xfine adds1 second, writes 13.7MB. It looks to me like I am getting around 1.7MB/sec writes. Seems pretty good. It seems to me that assuming a speed up 70% in writes from a fast CF I might save 1.5 sec on a 15 recycle time. That is speculation. Anyone have experience with the A200 they can share?

sjmsrepeated the oft read claim that microdrives are less reliable. I believe the statement, yet (I am a mathematician and naturally test "axioms") find it curious that some solid state CF vendors package the recovery utilities with their devices, and despite the claims of fragileness, I've never heard anyone mention a microdrive failure. I would be interested in hearing about reliability of microdrives from people with more experience than I (2 drives, 30,000+ pictures, no problems), but I am primarily interested in timing tests of burst mode of the A200 using fast CF.

Best, Cliff
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Old Feb 4, 2005, 1:10 PM   #10
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what i was showing there was you can put a 133x card into the "fastest" camera on the market and the camera will be the limiting factor the transaction most of the time. your camera.
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