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Old Jan 12, 2003, 2:42 PM   #1
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Default Newbie: CF vs SM

I've got a Fuji S602 that can take both compact flash and smartmedia. What shall I buy? Pro's and cons of both please!
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Old Jan 12, 2003, 4:02 PM   #2
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SM
Pro's - Size (if you need to carry a couple of hundred cards!)

Con's - Cost per Mb, Capacity max of 128Mb now and no future plans for larger.

CF
Pro's - Most easily available card type, Lowest cost per Mb and Capacity max of 1Gb now and 4Gb soon!

Con's - A bit bigger than other cards
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Old Jan 12, 2003, 4:39 PM   #3
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I don't think the cost of each type comes into it. Where I get my media from, they are both the same price for 64MB, and SM is a pound cheaper for 128MB.

As said above, SM cards are only available up to 128MB, this is their physical maximum so you won't see any better ones in the future. It's therefore easy if you want more than 128MB, you'll have to go for CF.

As far as read/write access times are concerned, it's hard to compare the two becuase even though SM cards are standard, the CF card's interface controller is built into the card so their speed vaires by manufacturer (as far as I understand it). According to Fuji, SM cards read at 5Mb/s and write at 3Mb/s whreas CF cards typically read at 850Kb/s and write at 150-1800Kb/s. It's easy to see which is the faster here, but bear in mind that new faster CF cards are being released now, and there are IBM's microdrives, so you may want to look into the speeds of those too.
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Old Jan 12, 2003, 5:01 PM   #4
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I've never seen SM reach 5MB/s in real world applicatios. Not even with USB 2 or firewire readers. CF on the other hand gives me sustained read speeds of 3.9MB/s, bursting to nearly 15MB/s (on a firewire reader). I think Fuji over estimateed SM's performance prowness. In any case, SM is a dead standard now, but 128MB SM should drop in price in favor for it's xD format that replaces it.

Other pros for CF is that it's an open standard, and most manufacturers (except Sony* and Toshiba) use CF. Sure consumer digicams do not get the same 3MB/s write speed as the pro digital SLR's do, but the potential is there. I have yet to see any pro camera use another format other than CF or a PCMCIA** card (or thethered to a computer).

Cons would include the afore mentioned size of CF compared to other medias.


*Sony did at one point make two CF using cameras, but no longer.
**CF is so close to PCMCIA, no special circuitry is needed to adapt CF to PCMCIA, losing nothing in the way of performance
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Old Jan 12, 2003, 5:20 PM   #5
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another con to SM

due to the advent of xD the further development and expansion of the SM product will probably be curtailed. both fuji and olympus were the main developers and and marketers of the SM product concept. now with them both on the xD bandwagon(which can be placed in a CF camera by use of a adapter(see olympus website)) SM will fade to grey as new xD cameras take their place. of course SM will still be available for a few years (at least 7) until the RIP sign is placed over its final resting place.
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Old Jan 12, 2003, 5:25 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marokero
I've never seen SM reach 5MB/s in real world applicatios. Not even with USB 2 or firewire readers....
Note that I quoted 5Mbits/sec, not 5MBytes/sec. But I was just going with data on this page from Fuji's web site anyway.

My current camera only takes SmartMedia and I have always been happy with these cards, but I have to say that given the option I would probably go for Compact Flash due to the larger sizes available. That is unless the 128MB SM prices dropped significantly with the rising popularity of the new xD format, but I doubt they will for a long time yet.
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Old Jan 12, 2003, 5:42 PM   #7
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just remember to read xfr rate specs carefully. there is burst rates and then sustained rates. specs can be misleading to the unprepared consumer.
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Old Jan 12, 2003, 6:51 PM   #8
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Quote:
**CF is so close to PCMCIA, no special circuitry is needed to adapt CF to PCMCIA, losing nothing in the way of performance
Not only it's close to PCMCIA, the CF stanfard also transfers and handshakes @ a wider 16_bit. Whereas SM is only 4 to 8_bit, and one can almost judge any flash card type by the number of contacts on them (xD has 18 pins vs SM's 20, remember to take away a few power pins and their control signals)... Look at the original MemoryStick, it's actually a serial interface with two status pins! No wonder they have to go to a denser I/O on the 'Pro' version and incompatible with the old... The xD may gain its speed through a linear memory mapping like MMC instead of a more formal hardisk interface, but still the controller that goes into CF is what makes the speed difference! BTW CF has a total of 50 pins (for future expansions), ATA/IDE anyone?

http://www.stevesforums.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=5192

With the s602 however only the microdrive can keep up with the continuous video data that the camera put out... and the s602 is very efficient @ managing SM flash cards (hey Fuji is one of the original SM inventors), while some slower CF cards will choke on the video streams due to the incompatibility of the controllers! For taking jpeg pictures any card will work...
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Old Jan 13, 2003, 8:47 PM   #9
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rejoice 2 and 3mp users:
Quote:
SM will fade to grey as new xD cameras take their place.
while this happens, you will be able to buy these 128mb cards at low,low prices as they are becoming extinct: load up.
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