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Old Sep 26, 2006, 8:37 PM   #1
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I use Lexar CF cards with Write Acceleration, and they really make my *st D fly! They advertise 133x SD cards, and they seem to be similar to the 133x CF cards witrh WA, but I can't seem to find a defenite answer on their Web site.

Anybody have any ideas?
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Old Sep 30, 2006, 12:33 PM   #2
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WA is unique to their CompactFlash cards. Keep in mind that these are totally different memory card types, with big differences in the way they communicate with a device (controller electronics, etc.).

What you want to look for is how fast a card is in the device you plan on using it in.
Using a faster card with most camera models will only help so much, since the camera's processing speed and interface to media is probably going to be a bottleneck at some point.

In other words, you may install a card that's 4 times as fast and only see a small increase in performance, because the camera is not capable of writing to the memory card as fast as something like a fast card reader would be able to write to it.

So, with most cameras, you tend to see diminishing returns with faster cards, after a point (once you reach the speed limitation of the camera's internal processer/interface to media).

From looking at reviews, your *ist D appears to "max out" at less than 2MB/Second to a relatively fast Sandisk Ultra II. Remember, technology is constantly advancing, and your camera is no longer "state of the art". ;-)

In contrast, a much newer DSLR like the Sony DSLR-A100 can write to a fast card like a Sandisk Extreme III at over 14MB/Second (more than 7 times as fast as your *ist D is probably capable of).

Even my Konica Minolta Maxxum 5D can write to an Ultra II at 1 Raw File per second, *after* the buffer is full. Chances are, the Pentax would take around 7 seconds per raw file to the same card after it's buffer is full, because it's interface to media is much slower. You may get slightly better times with a newer and faster card. But, you'll see diminishing returns, since the camera, not the card, becomes the bottleneck after you reach a given card speed.

IOW, your best bet is to try and find someone that has used a given card in the device you plan on using it in to see how well it performs.

Unless it's a newer and faster camera (and even then, you have to take them on a case by case basis), you'll probably reach a bottleneck in the camera's interface to media, long before you get anywhere near what a fast card is capable of delivering.

Also look at a camera's buffer (fast internal ram) size and think about how you'll use one. Most cameras are relatively fast writing to internal memory. So, you only have a slow down once the camera's buffer is full. So, unless you're shooting sports, or plan on using continuous mode with RAW, you may not see any "real world" difference for how you use a camera with a faster card, even if a camera has a faster interface to media.


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Old Oct 9, 2006, 8:51 PM   #3
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So if I buy one of the new cameras with super-fast write times, the 133x SD card would use the maximum speed the camera is capable of? I'm getting a K10D and it supposedly as a 20MB/sec write speed.
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Old Oct 9, 2006, 9:27 PM   #4
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danag42 wrote:
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So if I buy one of the new cameras with super-fast write times, the 133x SD card would use the maximum speed the camera is capable of? I'm getting a K10D and it supposedly as a 20MB/sec write speed.
I haven't seen any reviews with tests of the K10D's write times to media yet.

But, I doubt it will be that fast. The older *ist DS and even the newer K100D appear to take around 5 seconds per raw image to flush the buffer to an Extreme III based on reviews I've located timing these cameras. So, that works out to around 2MB/second (raw files are close to 10MB each from those models).

I would expect the newer K10 model to improve. But, I wouldn't expect to get 20MB/Second out of one (which would be about 10 times as fast as previous Pentax DSLR models).

So far, only one camera model that I'm aware of exceeds 10MB/Second throughput to media (the new Sony DSLR-A100 can do around 14MB/Second). I think it's unlikely the new Pentax K10 will exceed that. You'll need to wait for reviews to find out for sure.

Again, you can see differences in compatiblity between cards, too. As a general rule, the higher end Sandisk and Lexar cards tend to be the most consistent between models. So, a card like the Extreme III is usually a pretty good benchmark for what a camera is capable of delivering (and depending on how fast the camera turns out to be, you may find that an Ultra II is just as fast in it).


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