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-   -   Are Microdrive more fragil the CF (

Harley Oct 22, 2002 8:56 AM

Are Microdrive more fragil the CF
I'm trying to decide whether to buy a Microdive or some large Compact Flash cards. I read where Microdrives are more sensitive and more like to be damaged if jolted than Compact Flash. Has anyone have any experience in this to verify if true?

NHL Oct 22, 2002 10:17 AM

In theory a mechanical device is always less reliable than a solid state; however the microdrive is designed for portable applications (such as drop and vibration are taken into considertion) and specs out for them accordingly. Several posters here mainly, D7 owners (some of us even owned more than 1) have use theses device for over a year now with no problem.

The device does take a few extra seconds to spin up when the camera is first turned on, but it's pretty fast afterward, if not the fastest write cycle around, and at $249 its has the cheapest cost/Mb as well (especially if one compares it to flash that have the same access speed, ie x24!!!).

WeekendWarrior Oct 22, 2002 10:17 AM


I faced this question a few weeks ago and decided on microdrive because of cost. Checkout the cost of CFs and for the money microdrive is better buy. I got one for $227 which included a 3 year warranty from Digi4ME. Kingston 512MB CF was $245 and 256MB $109. Of course, one needs to be very cafeful with microdrive but then again that applies to all digital camera equipment.

Considering that I can get 15 minutes of video on my Fuji and over 800 pixs when set to 3M pixel settings, I opted for microdrive.


voxmagna Oct 26, 2002 11:04 AM

The only criticism I heard, was that they could be unreliable at high altitudes, so mountaineers watch out! Apparently, it's to do with the aerodynamic profile design of the heads and the layer of trapped air on which they work - design is optimised for normal barometric pressure and air density, at or around sea level.

Anybody else heard this?

BillDrew Oct 26, 2002 1:57 PM

Altitude is a real problem. The microdrive use air a lubricant so if they stop working at high altitude, they are dead.

Other than that, yes they are more sensitive to handling - in particular to squeezing across the flat dimension. I solve that problem by using the camera's USB connection instead of a card reader. That way I don't have to handle it often - only if I fill up my Gig microdrive and have to swap in my 360M microdirve. And I pull it out about once/year just to reset the connections.

With carefull handling, there should be no problems with a microdrive even if you do use a card reader.

mrdinh Oct 27, 2002 4:28 PM

yes, thats what i heard...but the bottom line...whatever you have keep good care of it and it takes care of you!!!

microdrives are much cheaper if you thats why you ask?

NHL Oct 28, 2002 12:47 PM

A side note here: When flying on a commercial flight the cabin is pressurized, and the microdrive works fine just fine. I use this occasion to review the pictures in the camera or edit them on my laptop during the flight.

I also use the microdrive to transfer vast amount of data between computers/laptops (trust me you don't want to go through a corporate network for this amount of data) and the microdrive is way faster than any flash cards during write!

KCan Oct 28, 2002 3:09 PM

One thing is sure: CF cards go to the washer and dryer, microdrives donít. So, never forget your drive in your shirt pocket Ö :lol:

dirtyharry71 Oct 28, 2002 3:28 PM

NHL take a look at

Microdrive slower than CF for Nikon CP5700
only faster with RAW and TIFF but I don't use those

sjms Oct 28, 2002 4:38 PM

standard cabin altitude depending on flight duration and overall altitude on a commercial airliner is between 5500-8800 ft.

NHL Oct 28, 2002 4:38 PM


Unfortunately the only time where a faster CF cards matter is in RAW/TIFF. In jpeg it doesn't make sense to measure a single shot since the camera can buffer up several shots for write to a slower flash card (ie don't invest in faster cards if all you shoot are jpegs). The cards/microdrive speeds are camera dependent as well, and you can be trigger happy in jpegs, but not in RAW/TIFF where you have to wait for the entire single frame to be emptied!

What I've found is the larger the files, the faster the microdrive is! Don't get me wrong I've plenty of flash cards, but I use the microdrives for their convenience & cost. i.e. I never worry about running out of film the entire day (and all I need is an extra set of battery). BTW I also work with a lot of MPEG video files, and believe me the microdrive are plenty fast for carrying huge files around, not so with flash when used on a true CF+ standard in a laptop!

BTW excellent choice with that Agfa 1680, it was my favorite @ the time!

sjms Oct 28, 2002 10:41 PM


reference this site and see how CF amd MD react in different DSLRs note especially the speed in the kodak dcs 760.

you will see that all cameras do not read/write equal.

NHL Oct 29, 2002 7:38 AM


The DCS's looks better and better everyday... It looks like they truly put in an IDE controller in theses cameras rather than all this 'firmware' only cost concious gears to exploit the speed of the microdrive (10 RAW files, Whoa!). Considering that it takes the microdrive 1-2s to spin up that's fast:

They also must know what they are doing for sticking with firewire instead of the 'faster' USB 2.0 where the bandwidth of the transfers are not guaranteed (as in 1394)...

Tomislav Oct 30, 2002 8:43 PM

Ooops! I am on 8000 ft! Does it matter? Tom

NHL Oct 30, 2002 10:19 PM

You're lucky then, the limit is 10,000ft!


The high capacity of the 1 GB Microdrive enabled shuttle crew to be more productive by giving them extra time to spend capturing images instead of swapping in and out storage cards, as would be the case with lower capacity removable memory formats. In addition, according to Kodak and independent third-party testing, the Microdrive's high performance enables Kodak digital cameras to write images to the Microdrive more quickly than to any other storage technology.

NHL Oct 31, 2002 8:13 AM

BTW There are excellent high resolution pictures that one can download there... I guess this is afterall where some of our tax money go!

On another note, there's probably a reason for using the microdrive over flash in space where Rad-Hard is a must and flashes as well as other solid state memories have their weak link! (especially mass maket low-grade non Milspecs NAND flashes)

karlbass Nov 25, 2002 3:44 PM

are microdrives more fragile....

Posted: Mon Nov 25, 2002 3:24 pm Post subject:


I have personal (bad) experience with the 340 MB drive... it died after 2 years and 8 months of fairly infrequent use . Never physically abused it (dropping or otherwise) and never removed it from the camera. While it worked, it was nice to be able to take virtually unlimited shots.. although it was pretty slow processing them and got slower the more shots it had recorded. I would have to dump the pictures to my PC and purge the drive to get any reasonable response times from it. Also, couldn't use continuous shooting mode with it.

When I contacted IBM tech support about repair or whatever... they said there is no repair service available for it.

Bottom line... unless you have an ABSOLUTE need for the amount of storage they offer, I'd stick with memory cards... multiple if necessary... no moving parts. Even if a flash card does go bad, you're not looking at losing nearly as large an investment and all your eggs won't be in one basket!

NHL Nov 25, 2002 3:54 PM


What went bad?

Did you try a disk utility or fdisk it and start over... There's no doubt that a mechanical device is always more fragile than a solid state. It's their cost/Mb, convenience and speed that is hard to beat!

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