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Old Jul 21, 2006, 12:10 PM   #1
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One of the drawbacks of my Sony DSC-R! is the time it takes between shots when shooting in RAW. I understand that this is because the camera has a small buffer, which would seem to indicate that the bottleneck is the speed with which the camera can write to the storage medium (the camera uses Memory Sticks or CF cards). Is this correct?

If so, would I see any performance improvement if I used a very high speed CF card (such as SanDisk's newly announced Extreme IV)?

Also, what are the advantages of CF cards versus Memory Sticks? (My own opinion is biased by the fact that I just lost a large number of pics due to a defective Sony Memory Stick Pro 2GB.)
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Old Jul 21, 2006, 2:50 PM   #2
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Advantages for CF are cheaper prices at bigger capacities, faster speed and very future proof.

Yep, agree that lack of RAW buffering is serious minus for that camera.
Also limiting factor is cameras internal processor, if it could use all available speed writing of RAW to good CFs would take under two seconds so in that aspect fastest CF cards don't give any better value than middle priced.

But at least Transcend 120x cards are very afforably priced currently compared to Sandisks so you might want to check those.
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Old Jul 21, 2006, 4:12 PM   #3
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The reviews I have read indicate that the camera has the fastest write speeds with memorystick pro cards. I suggest you take a look at the review on this site and at dpreview to check what they had to say.

Either way, the two shot buffer is still the limiting factor.
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Old Sep 30, 2006, 1:53 AM   #4
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Could the buffer be increased at all by some kind of software update by Sony?

I have just purchased the R1 and while waiting for it's arrival am searching for a new CF card. I have used SanDisk in the past but only in your typical digital camera. I Really want to take advantage of the cheap prices of the Transcend but I don't know too much about them. I am going to be traveling around Japan for a few months and would like to decent actions every once in a while. any recomendations?
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Old Sep 30, 2006, 7:50 AM   #5
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No, you can't increase the buffer size.

Think of a cameras's buffer as being like the RAM in your PC, and the memory card as being your PC's hard disk drive.

The buffer in a camera is very fast internal RAM that the photos are stored in as they are being written to the memory card. But, unlike the RAM in your PC, the RAM used for a camera's buffer is not upgradeable, and the buffer in the DSC-R1 is relatively small, given the size of the image files produced.

So, the only way to increase throughput is by using a faster memory card (unless you want to shoot in lower quality modes to get smaller file sizes). But, using a faster card 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). I don't know where that point is with this Sony.

As for the Transcend 120x cards, I don't know how fast they would work in this camera. It's hard to say unless you can find someone that's tested it. In most cameras, it seems to work pretty well. But, I've noticed that in some models with extremely fast interfaces to media, it's much slower than a Sandisk Extreme III.

For example, the Sony DSLR-A100 can write to a Sandisk Extreme III card at over 14MB/Second. But, it writes to a Transcend 120x Card at less than 7MB/Second. The Sandisk Extreme III is more than twice as fast in that camera.

But, most cameras won't have an interface to media that's anywhere near as fast as the new Sony DSLR-A100. AFAIK, it's write speed to media is the fastest of any camera on the market right now. It's buffer isn' t that big. But, it's write speed to media is very fast. No other DSLR model even comes close to matching it's MB/second throughput to a memory card yet.

The fastest test in the DSC-R1 I've seen yet from a reviewer, was using a Sandisk Extreme Memory Stick Pro Card. But, some of the newer cards (either Memory Stick Pro or CompactFlash) could be faster. The only way to know would be to find someone that's tested them in it.

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Old Oct 10, 2006, 7:53 PM   #6
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Related question, I am planning to buy a Sony DSC-H5 and when placing the order the salesperson was so insistent that I needed high-speed Memory stick Pro at a discount of $119 per GB, that I decided to cancel the order.

Gut feeling says I should buy a standard 1 GB card, play around with it, see if it fits my needs and then see if I need to take the leap to a high-speed card. Or was the salesperson trying to pull a fast one on me.

I don't see anything that I will be doing to test the memory that much. I doubt I will shoot much video if any and I may take a few fast multiple shots at a sporting event.

I live in the states too, so what do you think. I am looking to learn:-).

Thank you!!!
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Old Oct 10, 2006, 8:22 PM   #7
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I ended up going with the Transend 4GB 120x that I got for under a $100 at my local Fry's (NorCal). I haven't had any problems at all (it's only been a few weeks). My Sony dsc-r1 doesn't support video so I couldn't help you there but the read/write speeds are fine. The r1's small buffer is the biggest bottelneck.
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Old Oct 26, 2006, 2:04 AM   #8
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Sandisc Extreme 3, Memory Stick Pro Duo, 1gig .. about £55 UK, Jessups.
Sony DSC-R1 .....

Shooting Raw it takes 4 seconds.


On DP review forum, guy in a thread was gettign 4sec Raw write time with the Sandisc Ultra 2, which at the moment is going very Cheap at Jessups in UK.
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Old Oct 26, 2006, 6:47 AM   #9
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Just thought I would add some recent info I got from Sony:

The Sony R1 is only designed to work with up to 6GB memory cards. Larger than that and you will get error C:13:01.

I tried an 8GB CF card and got that error. So I emailed Sony support and they told me about the 6GB limit.

Now is that dumb or what?
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Old Oct 26, 2006, 6:01 PM   #10
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Yes, that is pretty lame.

But, if you still have the card and want to use it, you could probably delete the existing partition (I use the free Ranish Partition Manager for this purpose), then create a 6GB partition (I typically use the New Partition Wizard in the Windows Disk Admin tools for this purpose), format it as FAT32, and leave the rest of the space unused.

Did you try different cluster sizes with it? Sometimes, you can use a larger cluster size (with a 32KB cluster size being a popular choice) and get around "quirks" with media compatibility.

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