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Old Oct 20, 2009, 9:31 AM   #11
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He hasn't updated the tests lately with newer cards, but I suspect the new 600x UDMA mode 6 cards (600x CF cards are now available from Sandisk and Transcend) are going to let these cameras shoot even faster with a full buffer.
Add Lexar to the growing list of manufacturers offering 600x (90MB/Second) CompactFlash cards. Lexar just announced their 600x UDMA mode 6 CompactFlash cards today:

http://lexar.com/digfilm/cf_pro_600x.html
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Old Oct 20, 2009, 9:48 AM   #12
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But remember that the A700 is quite old (relatively speaking) and so may only include the CF Card controller chips that max out at 300X. So the A700 might not be able to capitalize on the extra speed of the 600X cards.

It may just not have been updated in a while, but the A700 FAQ says "The a (alpha) Digital SLR camera supports CompactFlash Type I and Type II media cards with the Ultra Direct Memory Access (UDMA) standard for write speeds up to 300x." (Emphasis mine. -TCav)
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Old Oct 20, 2009, 10:14 AM   #13
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I have yet to see any A700 user tests of newer 600x cards (hence the "suspect" part of my post). ;-)

Rob does have a few tests of camera using newer 600x cards in this article:

http://www.robgalbraith.com/bins/con...=7-10043-10255

But, it doesn't look he's tested them in any Sony dSLR models yet. FWIW, it does look like the Sony A700 has faster write speeds to media using a 300x card, compared to the new Nikon D300s using 600x cards. The fastest results he's posted so far for write speeds to newer UDMA 6 capable cards came from a Canon 5D Mark II (clocking at 45.8MB/Second to a Photofast 533x 16GB card) . But, I suspect some of the other cameras around may be able to outperform it for write speeds to media. We'll have to wait for test results using these new cards with more cameras to find out.
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Old Oct 20, 2009, 6:39 PM   #14
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Thanks for the indepth answer, JimC. Really, I don't need sport-shooter performance and I've never used bursts in my life. Basically, I just want to be able to shoot a consistent run of 1-2 shots per second for a few seconds, put the camera down for a few more and then go in for another round... nothing super-sonic, here. Would the Xsi/Xt1 be able to deliver that?

Come to think of it, perhaps my speed issue is more tied up with the memory card I'm using - hard to say because I purchased it at around the same time that I started shooting mostly in RAW format. I'll have to investigate.

-Bpp
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Old Oct 24, 2009, 3:08 PM   #15
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... perhaps my speed issue is more tied up with the memory card I'm using ...
-Bpp
I have the K100 and writing to the card is slow. I do not think that it is the card, since I was able to pick up some SanDisk Extreme III free during a promotion last Thanksgiving - its the camera...

That said, and your wanting to stay with some sort of body stabilization, that limits you essentially to 3 makes (Pentax, Sony and Olympus). I updated to the K20 about 6 months ago, and have had no problems with SD write speed whats so ever (a 5 image HDR series writes with no problems). The autofocus is a bit faster in low light, however the K7 and KX are very much better/faster (comments from the Pentax forum down below). I also upgraded because I wanted ISO 100. On the higher ISO speeds, for me it's a more difficult comparison in that the sensor resolution is higher, and thus more noise is present, however I think that it is well controlled - and very useable. I have found that ISO 1600 is very usable. I was comparing two shots yesterday K20 ISO 1600 f5.6 1/180s 14.6M with a LX3 ISO 80 f2 1/100s 10MP (I know two completely different sensors - I was working around a DOF issue with my wife's guinea pigs as she has an upcoming presentation to make on a very large screen), and they both look great at 100%+.

As I said, I went the K20 route (I have Pentax glass that I am very happy with and wanted to keep & use) because of the great price, and I would need to wait for another year for the K7 to come down in price. It has worked out well for me - I am very happy. There are limitations to the K20 - the AF is better but not by a tremendous margin. The ISO is good considering the resolution. I have read that the KX ISO is extremely good at the higher ranges.

The K20s are getting harder to find as the new supply runs out. The KX appears to be very popular.

For me - I am set for several years. I am hoping that the AF improvements in the K7, coupled with the improved ISO in the KX when married together in the K7 replacement (after it comes down in price) will be a wonderful platform. Thus, I am happy until then with what I currently have. Maybe by then my skills will be vastly improved so that it will be a worth wild upgrade.
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Old Oct 24, 2009, 3:24 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Ballpointpenner View Post
Thanks for the indepth answer, JimC. Really, I don't need sport-shooter performance and I've never used bursts in my life. Basically, I just want to be able to shoot a consistent run of 1-2 shots per second for a few seconds, put the camera down for a few more and then go in for another round... nothing super-sonic, here. Would the Xsi/Xt1 be able to deliver that?
Almost any modern dSLR will do a bit better in that area compared to your Pentax. Your camera only has a 3 frame buffer shooting raw (the amount of space available in faster internal memory), with very slow write speeds to memory cards (it needs around 3.6 seconds for each raw file, regardless of card speed). So, after 3 shots, your frame rate is going to slow down to the speed it's able to write to the card (approx. 1 photo every 3.6 seconds).

If you take a look at the review conclusions here at Steve's (last page before the sample images in each review), you'll usually see some performance tests with card speeds a typical user may have. For example, you'll see these results using a Sandisk Ultra II (a popular 66x card when that camera came out) when shooting raw:

Quote:
Shooting in RAW mode slows things down a bit. The Continuous burst mode captured 3 images in 8/10 second, with subsequent shots at 3.6 second intervals as buffer contents were processed; it took about 10 seconds to empty a buffer full of RAW images.
http://www.steves-digicams.com/camer...-review-7.html

If you check the K100D review at dpreview.com, you'll see that Phil got slightly slower results when shooting raw using faster Sandisk Extreme III and Lexar 133x PRO Cards.


http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/pentaxk100d/page10.asp

IOW, your K100D's speed is the bottleneck, not the speed of the memory card once you get into reasonably fast cards.
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Old Oct 25, 2009, 11:46 PM   #17
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Thanks for the advice, guys. It is indeed the camera.

What this also means, though, is that almost any of the current entry-level DSLRs should be able to satisfy my frame-rate requirements. That only leaves the lens, the megapixels and the price.

With this in mind, I will simply keep my eyes open for good lens and camera deals and try to jump on them if they arise. I had mentioned that I was willing to spend $1200 if necessary... but if I can satisfy my requirements and only spend half of that amount - that only makes my life better.

I will try hard not to be brand-biased in this.

- Bpp
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Old Oct 26, 2009, 6:21 AM   #18
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To see how a camera stacks up in that areaz, check the specs for the number of raw photos a camera's buffer can hold (some manufacturers publish that info), and read the conclusion section of the reviews here to see what to expect shooting raw (number of photos before camera slows down, etc.)
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Old Nov 1, 2009, 8:48 PM   #19
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So I've been looking at the Canons, Sonys and Pentaxes. There is, to be sure, something inexplicably sexy about that A700 - its advertizing photos make it look like quite the mature machine. Moreover, I recently picked up a really cheap Minolta Maxxum SLR kit on craig's list. That kit came with the standard 28-80 zoom but also with the 50mm/3.5 macro which is supposed to be quite good. These lenses are compatible with the sony, are they not?

...besides that, though, the Pentaxes have been monopolizing my attention. The new Kx seems to be the logical continuation of my K100D and it actually seems better than the sony, iq-wise. Also, Amazon has the Pentax 16-45 DA lens being sold at quite a reasonable price - that would probably make a nice combo with the Kx.

The Canon Xt1 has the megapixels... but, for some reason, there is nothing really drawing me in that direction.

Really, if I was being true to my principles, I'd just get the discounted Km with the aforementioned lens: killer value, I'm sure... but there are so many attractive choices. Do prices tend to drop even more towards Christmas?

-Bpp
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Old Nov 1, 2009, 10:24 PM   #20
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Yes, those lenses will work on a Sony dSLR. And if you're serious about the A700, you really need to get hot. They are getting rarer and rarer as we speak.

No. Prices that would drop for the holiday shopping period would have probablly already dropped. That's about what happened last year, but this year, things are a little more uncertain, so who knows?
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