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Old Nov 12, 2003, 3:07 AM   #1
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Default need education on CF cards/microdrives

Just bought my first digicam, a used Canon Pro-90. Steves review says it's microdrive compatable. I've read microdrives are faster and hold more data, but drain the battery faster? Not sure if that's correct. At any rate, I'm trying to decide whether to invest in several CF Cards, or a 1GB microdrive, and am not sure I understand them well enough to decide. Also should I download using the USB or a card reader? If a reader, then wich one should I get? In case it makes any diffrence, my PC is a 300mhtz pentium with 128MB of RAM, and a 4GB hard drive, running Win- 98 second edition. Sorry for the stupid questions, I'd just like to actually understand why I shoud consider one over the other.
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JDBraddy
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Old Nov 12, 2003, 7:14 AM   #2
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Price is the major reason to consider a microdrive, and that might not be as much of a factor as it used to be. You should also look at some of the "digital wallet" kind of devices that allow you to download to a portable drive (hard or CD) in the field.

Microdrives are more fragile than solid state memory, but I have had no problems with mine in the past three years. I do not use a card reader since it seems that pretty much all reports of memory problems (solid state and microdrive) seem to be caused by handling - still rare.

You will hear a fair number of folks suggesting several smaller cards instead of one large one to avoid having "all your eggs in one basket". That is an incomplete comparison: a better one would be to have all your eggs in one basket while hitting those baskets with a hammer instead of keeping them in one well protected basket. If you have several cards, you will be handling them more often so increasing your risk of problems. If you never take the memory out of the camera, the risk is much lower.

If you take care, problems are rare no matter which way you go, so I'd suggest that you decide pretty much on the basis of price.
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Old Nov 17, 2003, 9:28 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillDrew
Price is the major reason to consider a microdrive, and that might not be as much of a factor as it used to be. You should also look at some of the "digital wallet" kind of devices that allow you to download to a portable drive (hard or CD) in the field.

Microdrives are more fragile than solid state memory, but I have had no problems with mine in the past three years. I do not use a card reader since it seems that pretty much all reports of memory problems (solid state and microdrive) seem to be caused by handling - still rare.

You will hear a fair number of folks suggesting several smaller cards instead of one large one to avoid having "all your eggs in one basket". That is an incomplete comparison: a better one would be to have all your eggs in one basket while hitting those baskets with a hammer instead of keeping them in one well protected basket. If you have several cards, you will be handling them more often so increasing your risk of problems. If you never take the memory out of the camera, the risk is much lower.

If you take care, problems are rare no matter which way you go, so I'd suggest that you decide pretty much on the basis of price.
Ok, I considered your advise about not taking cards in and out of camera, and about choosing based on price. I thought the most objective way to estimate value of diffrent cards might be to divide the price by the number of megabytes. I watched E-bay for a few days. 256mb CF cards where selling for around $40ea. that's about $0.16 / mb. 512mb cards for just under $100 or $0.19 / mb. I just won an auction for a 1GB CF card for $152.50 shipped. That's $0.15 / mb. So it came out marginally cheeper, and with that much capacity, combined with the fact that I'm downloading directly from camera to computer via USB cable, I should rarely if ever have to take the card out of the camera. In the event I ever shoud, the seller of the camera, couldn't find a UV filter listed in the product decription, so he agreed to substitute a 128mb CF card in it's place. So hopefully I'm all set. Thanks. JDBraddy
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Old Nov 22, 2003, 9:13 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boxlock
..., combined with the fact that I'm downloading directly from camera to computer via USB cable, I should rarely if ever have to take the card out of the camera. ...
Other folks have different opinions, but I think that is a good way to go with any kind of memory. however, you should take the memory out occasionally (once/twice per year) to reseat the connections.
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Old Nov 23, 2003, 11:46 AM   #5
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Most of the discussion focused on price but is speed a consideration when deciding between regular CF and microdrives?
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Old Nov 23, 2003, 11:53 AM   #6
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Speed depends on the interface and will vary with the cameras... with the right interface the microdrives are no slouch. Check the latest 4G for example on a camera optimized for it. The same is true with PC where a hardisk access speed varies with what system chip is on the motherboard...

Most cameras don't put in a true hardware interface, but emulate this bus through software drivers (or changed with a firmware update)... for really true speed check out the writes on laptops through a true hardware based PC card!

...2G anyone? :lol: :lol: :lol:
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