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Save your money if you don't have a recent camera body
on April 19, 2012
I've done some write benchmarks on the 16GB version of this card and others with my Canon 40D. Here are the results:
SanDisk Extreme 60 MB/s 16GB (400X)
17 RAW, 17 seconds to clear
SanDisk Extreme III 30 MB/s 8GB (200X)
18 RAW, 17 seconds to clear
Lexar Pro 1GB 133X
20 RAW, 16 seconds to clear
Kingston Ultimate 4 GB 133X
19 RAW, 21 seconds to clear
Kingston High Speed 1024 MB 80X
18 RAW, 37 seconds to clear
For this circa-2007 DSLR, no card over 133X improves write speeds. No benefit was expected; cameras of this vintage max out at about 12 MB/s.
For more recent bodies, head directly to Rob Galbraith's CF/SD/XQD database. He's tested every significant Canon and Nikon camera since October 2008, starting with Canon's 50D and Nikon's D90, with every significant memory card.
* A few general notes:
There are speed variances even among cards of equal rating. Brand matters. Cameras from Canon, Nikon, and Sony perform best with cards from SanDisk and Lexar. Other brands, even if capable of rated speed in a card reader, tend not to rival those two in-camera.
Card-to-computer transfer rates will be limited by the card reader interface or the camera. Most cameras directly connected to a computer send data at 10-15 MB/s. With card readers, USB 2.0, the most common interface, caps out at about 30 MB/s. Firewire 800 is about three times as fast and will max out this card, as will USB 3.0 and IDE/SATA converters. As well, all CF cards rated for 30 MB/s or more support UDMA.
* Are higher-rated cards faster?
Autofocus, turn-on speed, JPEG writes, movie recording, image review, maximum framerate, and so on are almost completely unaffected by faster cards. Movie recording at 1080p/30 takes just 5-10 MB/s. The sole benefit to a higher rating with a modern camera is reduced buffer clearing time with continuous high-speed raw. Put another way, the card speed only matters after you've banged off those first 20 raw shots at 6-8 fps. I have to list a caveat for certain older bodies; Sony's A850 and A350 from 2009 and 2008, and perhaps other DSLRS not from Canon or Nikon, will have delayed image review with slow cards.
Raw throughput is limited by the camera's processing hardware. Through 2008, most DSLRs maxed out under 15 MB/s. From 2008 to 2011, all but Canon's 7D and 1D IV peaked at around 35 MB/s (e.g., Canon 50D, Canon 5D II, Nikon D300, Nikon D3). Now in 2012, a number of cameras (e.g., Nikon D800, Nikon D4, Canon 1D X, Canon 5D III) reach 70 MB/s or more.
Cards faster than the camera's processing hardware may perform better, but not in proportion to their rating. Canon's 7D manages 24/41/58 MB/s with 200/400/1000X cards, respectively. The same cards with Nikon's D3S yield 24/36/42 MB/s. These diminishing returns apply doubly with SD-based cameras. Nikon's D7000 only writes 20% faster with a 650X card over a 200X card.
Unless you're riding right on the edge of the camera's raw buffer with continuous shooting, you'll never notice these differences. This 60 MB/s (400X) card is for you if you have a recent semi-professional or professional body and regularly hit a buffer limit in raw, or you shoot so much with any camera that card-to-computer times slow your workflow. Everyone else can spend less on the 30 MB/s (200X) version of same.
Please leave a comment if you intend to downvote, I do try to be accurate and I'd much rather know the issue.