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Old Dec 28, 2008, 3:22 PM   #1
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I've been looking at the new 30mb/s version of SanDisk's Extreme III SDHC memory card. I currently use the 20mb/s version of the Extreme III card in my K200D. Has anyone tried the new card with this camera yet? Of course, both cards will work fine. Just wondering if a 50 percent boost in card speed would make a noticeable difference in burst speed - or any other area of performance - for me. I realize it's not just a function of the card. But, as we all know, some cameras respond to faster cards more than others.
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Old Dec 28, 2008, 4:45 PM   #2
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Hi Biro,

I tried to do such a comparison with my K20, but ended up getting two 20MB/sec cards instead of one each 20 and 30. I'm satisfied with the performance of the 20MB/sec Extreme III Sandisks, so I didn't persue it any further.

My "problem" with the K20 had been the longer delay before I could chimp a shot because of the large file sizes coming out of the 14.6MP sensor. This was exacerbated by shooting continuous bursts. Compared to a Transcend 4GB Class 6 SDHC, the 20MB/sec Sandisk Extreme III 4GB SDHC in the K20 would write a 5 shot burst over twice as fast, shortening the time before I could display a review on the LCD from 3+ sec to about 1+ sec

I read a post somewhere where the poster measured the max write speed of the K10, and it was a bit over 16MB/sec. I tend to doubt that the K200 with the same sensor would write much faster.

Just my opinion, but I don't think getting the faster card would make any difference -- but I cannot substatiate this with any actual experience or facts.

Scott
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Old Jan 6, 2009, 3:30 PM   #3
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Well, Scott, it's been about a week since I e-mailed Pentax USA on this question. So today, I picked up the phone and called them. A very friendly and helpful tech support guy (who really sounded like he knew what he was talking about) told me that Pentax has never published specs for the write speed of either the K20D or the K200D.

When I told him I was thinking about upgrading from the SandDisk Extreme III 20mb/sec edition to the 30mb/sec edition, he said - quote - "I wouldn't do it." He said that the faster card, of course, will work fine in my camera (and the K20D). But that I'd be paying for performance I wasn't using. The only potential advantage, he said, would be in transferring images to my computer - especially if I had a card reader built for the 30mb/sec speed.

We continued to talk for a couple of minutes and we both agreed that our guts told us the write speed of both cameras was probably somewhere at or slightly below 20mb/sec - which generally supports that 16mb/sec figure another poster was talking about.

So, the short version for anyone who cares: The Pentax K20D and K200D seem to be able to benefit from 20mb/sec memory cards. If you're currently using, say, a SanDisk Ultra II card then upgrading to an Extreme III can still make sense if you want to squeeze that last bit of potential performance out of the camera. But the 30mb/sec version of the Extreme III (or any other card brand) shouldn't result in any performance boost.

Kudos to Pentax for having informed and forthright people ready to answer questions honestly. You don't get that everywhere.
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Old Jan 6, 2009, 10:12 PM   #4
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Thanks for the info. Now I don't feel so bad about having only bought the SanDisk Ultra II for my new K20. I debated back and forth and decided I wasn't ready to spend the extra money yet. Sounds like I didn't lose that much.

Patty

p.s. That reminds me. I e-mailed Pentax about the warranty a few days ago and haven't heard back either. Maybe I do need to call them.

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Old Jan 7, 2009, 12:48 PM   #5
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What's more, Patty... haven't the newest versions of the Ultra II been upgraded to 15mb/sec? I seem to recall seeing that on boxes recently. I think you'll do fine with what you've got and I'll keep my Extreme IIIs.
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Old Jan 7, 2009, 1:26 PM   #6
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I read somewhere that there was only one camera available yet (don't remember which, but it wasn't anything I use) that could utilize the faster rate of the 30 mb/s version of the Extreme III, so the 20 mb/sec (133X) version should be the fastest any of us could use. The Ultra II is 60X, which should be adequate for most shooting. Burst shooting with Raw or Raw+ jpg might require more, depending on buffer size and length of burst, as well as file size and write speed of the body being used.

BTW, Lexar has a rebate program on their 133X CF Professional cards (and on UDMA readers which will speed up transfer to the computer) - you can get up to 3 2GB cards for $30 each (B&H price, higher elsewhere), with a $30 rebate for each, so they are essentially free (the program ends soon)! The readers are backward compatible to non-UDMA standards (their UDMA CF cards are 300X). There are a lot of these cards (and larger capacity ones) for sale at cut rate prices on ebay with "the UPC codes carefully removed" from the otherwise still sealed boxes - guess how they got them (certainly not to use themselves)! The rebates on higher capacity cards are good, but not quite as favorable.
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