Sunday, October 6, 2013

Hi-Tech Studio: Fast, Pro CF Cards

By Staff Published in More Gear
Clockwise from top: Lexar Professional 1000X, Hoodman Steel 1000X, Sandisk Extreme PRO, Delkin Devices 1050X, Transcend 1000X, Kingston Ultimate 600X.
Clockwise from top: Lexar Professional 1000X, Hoodman Steel 1000X, Sandisk Extreme PRO, Delkin Devices 1050X, Transcend 1000X, Kingston Ultimate 600X.
Lexar's Professional 1000X UDMA 7 CompactFlash card features 1000X performance (150 MB/s read, 145 MB/s write), UDMA 7-compliance and VPG 20 video capability. If you need the high capacity but don't need the speed, Lexar offers the same card in an 800X version (120 MB/s) that's about one-half the price and still plenty fast enough for nearly every imaginable application. With either card, you'll get best transfer rates when paired with a UDMA-enabled card reader like the Lexar Professional UDMA Dual-Slot USB Reader. Also included is the latest version of Lexar's Image Rescue 4 software. This powerful image-recovery engine allows you to restore most types of photo and video files, even if they have been deleted or if the card has been formatted or corrupted.

The SanDisk 128 GB Extreme PRO CompactFlash card features 160/150 MB/s read/write performance, UDMA 7-compliance and a VPG 65 rating (65 MB/s sustained rate with no dropped frames, ideal for even 4K video). A 256 GB version is due soon. SanDisk has also announced the first CFast 2.0 card, the Extreme PRO CFast 2.0, with 450 MB/s read (3000X) and 350 MB/s write (2333X). It will be available in 60 GB and 120 GB capacities, and compatible with cameras and camcorders based on CFast 2.0 technology. SanDisk Extreme Pro cards are protected from moisture and humidity by a unique RTV silicone coating and are said to perform down to -13 degrees F. Add one of SanDisk's Extreme Pro card readers, and you have a speed team that's hard to beat.

The Transcend 128 GB 1000X CF card offers 1000X performance (160 MB/s read, 120 MB/s write), UDMA 7-compliance and a VPG 20 rating. An up-and-coming name in memory cards, Transcend uses only the highest-quality MLC NAND Flash chips during the manufacturing process and utilizes built-in hardware ECC technology for detecting and correcting errors.


Many newer DSLRs and virtually all mirrorless interchangeable-lens cameras use the smaller SD/SDHC/SDXC cards (which measure 24x32x2.1mm vs. 43x36x3.3mm for Type 1 CompactFlash). The newest SDXC (extended capacity) cards start above 32 GB and potentially can go to 2 TB (256 GB is the largest capacity available today). The fastest SDXC cards aren't as fast as the fastest CompactFlash cards, topping out today at 633X (95 MB/s read, 90 MB/s write), but that's still plenty fast for pro still-sequence and video use. Look for UHS-I or Class 6 or 10 cards (along with the MB/s ratings) for the best performance. As with CompactFlash, you need a camera and card reader compatible with the faster cards to get maximum performance.

SDHC (high-capacity) cards feature the same speed capabilites as SDXC, but top out at 32 GB capacity. The original SD cards topped out at 2 GB and are too slow and low-capacity for today's high-megapixel DSLRs and video use.

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