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PostPosted: Sun Jan 28, 2007 11:31 am 
Camera Labs & all - Congrats for your great site and good advice from you and all people in the forums :lol:

I just ordered on-line the EOS 400D w/ the standard 18-55mm kit for 1,013 Swiss Francs/CHF (~$813, Euro 629 Euro, GBP 414). Your excellent reviews helped me a lot. Finally, the in-store hands-on experience was key to choose as the EOS 400D felt much better in my hands than other rival 10 megapixel cameras. Anyway, I was looking what Compact Flash card to buy (CF I,II) and I am confused with the product offerings - I would appreciate your perspective. Specifically:

1) I am not sure how much difference in timings a CF I vs CF II type makes, especially, for single shots (are we talking seconds or miliseconds?). I am not so much into the continuous frames shooting nor interested in "saving" 1-2 minutes in faster uploads to PC as I believe a USB 2.0 CF card reader will not make so much big difference between type I and II :?: .

2) Type II CF are now typically sell at 20% premium vs Type I of same size/brand in Switzerland (e.g. SanDisk Ultra II 4GB vs 2GB) and I wonder whether it is better to use this money for a bigger size Type I CF, e.g. 4GB Type I vs 2GB Type II. Sandisk Type I 4GB sells currently at +60% premium vs Ultra 2GB Type II). I am not sure also if a bigger size card (of the same type) becomes slower when uploaded with pictures in the camera, thus, it would be better to have 2 X 2GB vs 1 X 4GB.

3) Another puzzle is the brand name. Considering SanDisk Ultra 4GB Type II as index 100 (in their site they mention min. 10mb/sec), there is also FujiFilm High Performance (80x -I don't know what speed is that) at a price index of 116 and Kingston Ultimate (100x - I think this must be ~15mb/s) at price index of 120. Note also that Kingston Ultimate CF Type II at 2GB is selling in Switzerland at an index of 151 vs SanDisk Ultra Type II 2GB, i.e. 109 CHF vs 72 CHF (or $87 vs $58)!

I know the price differences between all these types and speeds may not seem material enough (e.g. +/- 20-30 USD), considering that someone has spent $800 for the camera itself, but I am frustrated :twisted: with the companies because they make very difficult for the consumer to compare and decide how much to pay relative to his needs - it was difficult to find detailed information on the performance of these cards. For me, the average user, who focuses on nature and family event photography, 2-4 films per instance/excursion, I don't want to pay any extra of what I really need (as I try to do with my camera and lens purchases, however, available camera/lens reviews like yours help sunstantially in that area).

Right now, I am more into getting the SanDisk Ultra Type II 2GB (at 72 CHF, i.e, $58, Euro 45, GBP 29) and wait 6 or more months for an additional CF Type II at 4GB when prices will drop further. I believe that it is the wisest to do but not sure :?: . What Type, Size, Brand CF card would you recommend? Any experience and watch-out(s) for specific brands, sizes?

Thank you :wink:

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2007 2:25 am 
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Hi Pastelos, welcome to the Cameralabs Forums - and congrats on your 400D purchase - that's a great price for the kit.

That's a great question about memory cards, but before discussing speed, a quick note on types.

Type-I and Type-II refer to the thickness of a Compact Flash card. Type-I is the most common, but the cards with built-in mini hard disks like the IBM Microdrive use the slightly thicker Type-II format. Most DSLRs which use compact flash memory have slots which can take either Type-I or Type-II versions.

So I assume all the cards you're referring to are Type-I in thickness. Even the latest 8GB Compact Flash cards use the Type-I format.

The difference between them is speed. The faster cards allow your camera to read and write data more quickly, and this can have quite a difference on how long it takes to record an image to the card and free-up the camera, or load a number of thumbnails during playback. Some cheaper cameras can't exploit the speed of faster cards, but most DSLRs should do.

At Camera Labs we use Sandisk Ultra II cards for testing and they provide a good balance between speed and value. Sandisk and other manufacturers offer quicker cards at higher prices, so it's up to you if you want to go for them. I wouldn't buy anything slower than their Ultra II models though unless you're on a very tight budget.

As for understanding the speeds, most memory card manufacturers refer to 4x, 8x speeds etc. But 8x what exactly? Well believe it or not, the speed rating is actually the same as that of a CD ROM. So 1x or single speed is 150KB per second and 10x would be 1500KB per second, or approximately 1.5MB per second. Cards which boast 15MB per second are operating at about 100x. The very fastest cards today may be operating at speeds up to 133x.

Note Lexar's Write Acceleration feature needs to be supported by the camera to enjoy the full speed, so always check the camera specs.

I would also beware of buying Sandisk or other big brand name cards on ebay as there are a lot of very convincing fakes out there with smaller or much slower memory chips inside. Camera Labs forum member Seemoss talked about this in the Sony forum, and there's even a guide Exposing Fake SanDisk cards on ebay.

Ultimately I think you'll be very happy with the Sandisk Ultra II cards you've short-listed. One final note: you may prefer several smaller cards to one big one, as if you lose one card, you won't lose as many pictures! I tend to use 1GB cards.

Hope that helps!

What brands and speed of cards does everyone else use? Any best-buys or warnings?



 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 03, 2007 11:21 pm 
Gordon - thanks for the reply. I got the SanDisk 2GB Ultra II and works fast :D . I am very happy with the EOS 400D as well. I found the 18-55 lens honest deal, good value for money. Quality of photos are meeting expectations :lol: . Your review on the camera is very fair. Congrats!

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