Card Errors

Okay so I got two 64-gig SD memory cards for the princely sum of $50 each at Future Shop.

Amazing. Each card will hold a 1000 or so raw files and tens of thousands of JPGs at smaller sizes.

But they won’t run in my Canon videocameras 😦  (Canon videocameras has issues with some class 10 cards.)

Now I knew that when I bought the cards and the sales guy even warned me but I thought what the heck 64 gigs for $50 it’s a steal. And they are. The cards work fine in my Nikon D-90 and Olympus Pens.

But and there’s always a but….But for some jobs they’re not the best choice.

I’m shooting a runway fashion show on the weekend and that means shooting in high-speed bursts and $50 cards are not going to be able to keep up.

Cards come in three (0r more these days) speeds. I rate them as cheap, expensive and really expensive. Just kidding 🙂 but it’s true.

In real terms cards come in slow, medium and fast speeds. Increasing the speed of the card (and the cost) allows the camera to run faster in burst modes and allows for a larger number of images to be captured before the memory card cache fills up.

Now for most average shooters cheap, slow cards are perfect. Buy as many as you want. I now buy 8- and 16-gig cards whenever I see them on sale ($20-$30 or so). They aren’t fast at this price but for 99% of my shooting they’re perfect.

Here’s a tip: Always buy name-brand cards such as Sandisk or Lexar. Avoid no-name discount store cards as they can be unreliable.

But if you’re shooting sports, birds in flight or models on a runway buy 16 GB cards such as SanDisk’s Extreme Pros and get out your wallet. These cards run at what’s called 300X speed (shown on the card as 45MB/s just to confuse things). They sell for around $70-$90 and are worth every penny. Again don’t be fooled by another SanDisk 45MB/s card which looks like the Pro but sells for under $20 which means it can’t be running as fast as the pro IMHO.

A lesser card 16 GB sold under the name PNY on Amazon goes for $18 but runs at less than half the speed. And don’t let the word professional which appears on the card fool you. Everybody says their card is a “professional” card.

Here’s a reality check: A really really good fast 64-GB card (95MB/s which equals 300X speed) sells for around $250 but it will let me shoot runway models for hours and hours.

BTW if you’re shooting with one of the newer full-frame cameras with their FX-size sensors and abilities to capture 25 or 30 plus megabyte raw files you’re going to need robust, fast and expensive cards of the best quality from name-brand manufacturers.


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