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DPChallenge Forums >> Hardware and Software >> SD cards - how fast?
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12/29/2015 03:42:17 AM · #1
Probably a dumb question, but I'm good at those...

I'm in the market for several small capacity SD cards for street/travel shooting. In the past I've tended to use Sandisk Ultra C10/U1 cards, the write speeds of which Sandisk are rather vague about. I notice now that everyone seems to be touting the advantages of high read/write-speed (60-90 MB/sec) C10/U3 cards, which are considerably more expensive. But unless you shoot in burst mode a lot do these cards actually make any difference? Am I correct in believing that (within reason) the speed at which files are written to a card is irrelevant unless the buffer is full? If so, then as I don't think I've ever filled the buffer of my X100S it seems a little pointless forking out for high speed cards. Am I missing something?

Cheers,
Q.
12/29/2015 04:05:37 AM · #2
Yes and no. If your card is writing slower, your buffer will fill faster as your camera can only write as fast as the card allows. In short, your buffer holds what your camera and card combo is unable to write instantly, with the amount of data stacking. So, if this is the same speed card you use now, and you have had no problems, then I wouldn't worry. Note this is a different answer if you shoot video.
12/29/2015 06:34:44 AM · #3
Originally posted by spiritualspatula:

Yes and no. If your card is writing slower, your buffer will fill faster as your camera can only write as fast as the card allows. In short, your buffer holds what your camera and card combo is unable to write instantly, with the amount of data stacking. So, if this is the same speed card you use now, and you have had no problems, then I wouldn't worry. Note this is a different answer if you shoot video.


Yep, that's pretty much the same way I saw it. Looks like the 45MB/sec Sandisk Extremes will do me fine. And only $10 for 8GB cards. :)
12/29/2015 07:32:07 AM · #4
It's also important to note that you camera needs to have a chipset to write that fast. Just because the SD card is super fast, doesn't mean you can take advantage of it. For instance, the 5dIII can only write to SD cards at something like 22MB/s, no matter how fast the card itself is.
12/29/2015 08:53:46 AM · #5
Originally posted by giantmike:

It's also important to note that you camera needs to have a chipset to write that fast. Just because the SD card is super fast, doesn't mean you can take advantage of it. For instance, the 5dIII can only write to SD cards at something like 22MB/s, no matter how fast the card itself is.


Agreed...I recently bought some 90mb cards but my camera doesn't support them as well as the slower ones...my slower ones are faster...ya...figure that out..
12/29/2015 07:42:47 PM · #6
The Fuji X series can use the new SDXC cards...these have an extra row of contact points and are the fastest type currently.

//www.fujifilm.com/support/digital_cameras/compatibility/card/x/

Here $25 will get you a 64GB high speed SDXC card.

I spent a bit more and got the Lexar brand, though I'm sure PNY is fine. The Lexar claims to be faster. But the high speed interface will help in either case!
12/29/2015 07:43:43 PM · #7
Originally posted by Neil:

The Fuji X series can use the new SDXC cards...these have an extra row of contact points and are the fastest type currently.

//www.fujifilm.com/support/digital_cameras/compatibility/card/x/

Here $25 will get you a 64GB high speed SDXC card.

I spent a bit more and got the Lexar brand, though I'm sure PNY is fine. The Lexar claims to be faster. But the high speed interface will help in either case!


BTW - I haven't timed them, but they are faster than I am :)

Message edited by author 2015-12-29 19:43:58.
12/29/2015 10:38:35 PM · #8
Thanks everyone for your input. I still keep coming back to the point that though, that if I'm not filling the camera's buffer then the speed at which the camera writes to the card is largely irrelevant.

Q.
12/30/2015 09:24:05 AM · #9
Originally posted by Qiki:

Thanks everyone for your input. I still keep coming back to the point that though, that if I'm not filling the camera's buffer then the speed at which the camera writes to the card is largely irrelevant.

Q.


Absolutely. The only benefit, then, is the card-to-computer transfer speed; assuming you have a fast card reader, a faster card will give you much faster transfer speeds. Again, if you don't need the speed, you're willing to grab a cup of coffee while the files transfer, then why spend more on fast cards? We might consider fast cards more "future proof" but they would be so only at very large sizes, which you don't currently need.
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