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Old Jan 26, 2003, 1:55 AM   #1
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Default CF choices/speeds for 5700

I bought a SanDisk Ultra 256MB CF card however, I am looking to get a 512MB or maybe a 1GB CF.

I have heard conflicting reports that the 5700's 'communication' with the card is the bottleneck and that anything greater than 4x speed is not worth the extra cost. Is this true? I have only ever used the Ultra CF so I can not tell the speed difference off hand. Anyone know or have more experience on this subject?

Thanks!
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Old Jan 26, 2003, 6:57 AM   #2
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Quote:
'communication' with the card is the bottleneck
This is true with all consumer digicams and not just the 5700, beside when shooting in jpegs the camera usually buffers the shots up and write them back out at a slower pace to flash. This explains why you can't tell the difference with any speed unless this buffer get full.

When shooting raw files (NEF) or in the movie mode, this internal camera buffer get filled instantly, and theses are about the only times where you'll notice a speed differences between faster cards (ie shorter wait betwen shots). If you never use the raw or movie mode then there's no need to invest in faster cards... unless you want to have it anyway for future use on a professional dSLR or something.

BTW for 1G, the microdrive is hard to beat and also is the fastest in term of write over all existing flashes (ie a sustained 4.2Mb/s write speed!). All advertised flash speeds are for read only which is not what a camera does when it takes pictures... (check the fine prints for write!) :lol: :lol: :lol: You just have to live with the extra 1s start-up time which is masked by the camera anyway when the camera is initially turn-on, and the fact that's its a rotating media! A small price to pay for the cost/Mb saving and the speed advantage... But then some people are just dead set against the microdrives, others just love it after they experienced owning one!
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Old Jan 26, 2003, 10:55 AM   #3
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A few comments on NHL's comments.

Looking at the CF comparison tests in professional DSLR cameras, at this site:

http://www.robgalbraith.com/media/co...ash/index.html

(Thanks go to Rob again for doing this testing!)
I do agree that a MicroDrive is a good media format. But not even the professional cameras can write 4.2MB sustained (Maybe you can? Rob didn't test with your Minolta.) The best I saw in his tests is 3124KB/sec with a Kodak DCS 760. But the next closes was just over 2000KB/sec and it drops from there. And it was fastest only with that Kodak.

I'd read both Steves's writeup about CF in general, and the techincal stuff that goes with Rob's article. They have helped me learn a lot about Cf. I'm sure they say it better than I could (and with more accuracy.)

But the big thing to note is that how the camera writes to the CF makes a huge difference in its performance. Different designs in the meda write their fastest when mated with a device which writes in a pattern that fits their design. This is why the same card can suck in one camera and do much better in others.

But I fully agree with NHL's other comments. Unless you fill the buffer when taking pictures, the faster CF cards are probably a waste of money. And flash by its physical design will write slower than it reads, whereas the MicroDrive doesn't. (Yes, I've written drivers to interface with flash chips.) NHL has posted good info about this in other threads in the past. Just search for them.

The other downside to a MicroDrive is that it uses more power than CF. Be prepaired for that. Carry more batteries and strong ones! So consider the addon batter grip for the 5700. In the long run, I wouldn't be surprised if it were cheaper. (Or consider the 2100mAh battery for the 5700 in the after market.)

I don't know if the 5700 supports compressed and uncompressed NEF. In the D100, the uncompressed writes much faster (but is about 2/3's larger.) I've heard 5 seconds uncompressed, 20 seconds compressed. So if you have the CF space and want to use NEF, then consider uncompressed.

Eric
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Old Jan 26, 2003, 12:15 PM   #4
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Thank you for the help NHL and EricS. That information helps a lot when I pick up my next CF card sometime this week.
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Old Jan 26, 2003, 6:07 PM   #5
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Eric

I agree with you, the Minolta is nowhere near that either... may be the next DCS14n or newer cameras can. I was refering to the theoretical limit that can be achieved with the microdrive when a true H/W IDE interface is implemented like on a laptop PCMCIA card adapter on transfering very large file.
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Old Jan 26, 2003, 7:45 PM   #6
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Interesting, I just realized I had the stock 32MB CF card (forgot all about it) so I decided to compare it to the SanDisk Ultra 256MB CF card I have. The unscientific results are below;

3 different pics on each card at 2560x1700 (3:2 ratio)

Nikon 32MB CF card: 8 to 9 secs.
SanDisk Ultra 256MB CF card: 3 to 4 secs.

Looks like the Ultra was a good choice for my 5700 :-)
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Old Jan 26, 2003, 9:03 PM   #7
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your going to find as you try higher speed cards that speed difference will drop to 0 as you finally reach the cameras xfr saturation point. but then again depending on cost the higher speed card that does nothing for you now may work a bit better later with that ne shiney toy you might get. its the old cost vs return equation.
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Old Jan 27, 2003, 7:35 AM   #8
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koruvs

Quote:
The unscientific results are below;

3 different pics on each card at 2560x1700 (3:2 ratio)

Nikon 32MB CF card: 8 to 9 secs.
SanDisk Ultra 256MB CF card: 3 to 4 secs.
Just a tip... When comparing speed, raw format (NEF in Nikon) is the only accurate way since the file size is relatively constant. With jpegs the file size varies from picture to picture and might not be accurate if you don't point the camera to the same scene or @ different locations (like the store). Even lighting makes a difference in file size!
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Old Jan 27, 2003, 1:28 PM   #9
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Thanks NHL,

I noticed that with JPGs some are 1.3MB some are almost 3.0MB (at 2560x1700). I never use RAW or TIFF, on a 256MB CF I'd only get about 20 pics...130ish on the same card using JPG.
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