Memory card for D800?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by willscarlett, Dec 31, 2012.

  1. I'm wondering which memory card I should buy for my D800, as I got a $50 gift card to Unique Photo for Christmas. I'm definitely going to stick with a 32 GB card, but I'm going to be shooting video as well. The camera came with a 32 GB 400x CF card, which writes at 60 MB/sec. I've also used 200x cards in the D800, which write at 30 MB/sec. Does using a higher rated card, such as a 600x card (writes at 90 MB/sec) help in reducing rolling shutter artifacts, or do you want a card that writes faster to keep up with high speed shutters or image buffering? I'm primarily asking this question about video tho. Will using a card that writes data faster help control rolling shutter, or is that a flaw of using DSLR cameras for video?
    Also, since the camera came with a CF card, I'll be buying an SD card for the extra card slot. Why are CF cards more expensive than SD cards tho?
  2. The card will make no difference. The only way to reduce 'rolling shutter artifacts' is to use the highest frame rate possible. Unfortunately the D800 only offers 60fps with its 720p format. If your videos are not going to be viewed on a large screen, you probably won't notice a difference between 720p and 1080p. 30fps (in the 1080p mode) will pretty much eliminate it as well since you can't use a shutter speed less than 1/30. I would have thought that Nikon would have made 1080p with 60fps available on the D600 and the D800.
  3. So, I'd be fine using 200x, 400x or 600x cards? Why the cards that write data so fast then?
  4. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Moderator

    For video, I think as long as you use class 6 or faster SD cards, you are fine. Today, almost all cards are now class 10.
    Even full HD video is 1920x1080, so per frame, the size is actually very small, but the frame rate is high. You need really fast memory cards if you capture a lot of consecutive still frames, such as shooting a D4 "machine gun" style. The D800 is not really a sports/action camera. For most people, you don't need very fast cards.
  5. Thanks for the replies!
  6. I can't speak to the use with video, but with still shooting the faster cards are for clearing the buffer quickly so that you can shoot a longer burst before the camera slows down.
    Think of the buffer as a tank that holds water. You're pouring water into the top. There is a pipe leading out the bottom. You are pouring water in faster than it drains. You can pour at full speed until at some point the tank is full and you'll have to slow down. The larger the pipe leading out the bottom, the faster it drains, and the longer you can pour before slowing down. And once it fills, a larger pipe means your slow pouring rate can be faster. A fast memory card is a large pipe. With a 60MB/s CF card I can shoot about 50% more frames before slowing down than with an Amazon brand class 10 SD card.
  7. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Moderator

    Andy, again, my point is that most people don't buy the D800 to shoot in bursts. 4 frames/sec is not exactly burst and you don't need 36MP for sports. To me, the D800 is for slower studio type work or landscape, etc. For those applications, there is no need to spend a lot of money of fast memory cards.
  8. Memory cards are always on sale. I purchase several Lexar Professional 400x UDMA cards for the same price as much slower non UDMA 'generic' cards a while back (I believe UDMA cards are faster than non-UDMA cards). If you are not rushed, wait for a sale and get the exact cards you need speed wise.
    While the D800 is not considered a typical sports camera, I shoot primarily sports with it and generally never fill the buffer with the fast cards. But my older, slower cards do. I agree with Andy - a fast card make a big difference when heavy shooting is needed.
  9. So random question - why are CF cards more expensive than SD cards of the same spec?
  10. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Moderator

    Generally speaking, CF cards are still faster, but the big difference in these days is that a lot more cameras and other devices use SD than CF, so you get the volume discount from mass production for SD. In fact, among current Nikons, only the higher-end DSLRs still use CF, such as the D300S, D800, and D4. Even the D600, D7000 are SD only and so are all current Coolpix and Nikon 1 mirrorless cameras. SD is a much much larger market.
  11. Thank you all so far. This is another matter of opinion, but two 32GB cards or one 64GB card?
  12. I concur that any "fast enough" card will do for video, but the reason for me to get fast cards for my D800 was the time it takes to dump raw
    files to the card. Ignoring the time it takes to empty the buffer, the D800 effectively locks up when shooting in live view until it's written the
    image. For stills in live view, card speed matters.

    I'd think carefully about the 32GB idea - large cards are appreciably slower for file review. I have a 32GB card that's in the same class as
    some of my 8GB cards, yet it's appreciably slower in use - on the D800 and my D700 (and I believe this is known behaviour, not just me or
    this card). I went with 16GB (UDMA7 and UHS-1) cards as a compromise between speed and size. I'd be even more wary about 64GB,
    especially if it means buying a slower card.

    Of course, if you need the space, there may be no choice - but I went for some fast cards, with slower and cheaper ones available when
    speed matters less.
  13. Also, remember to update your readers! I just upgraded to a USB 3.0 CF/SD reader (Lexar) and it made such a difference.
  14. John-Paul,

    I use 2 64gb cards, so I don't need to lug a notebook with me when I travel. It is personal decision, some like to have
    multiple smaller cards, some like bigger size.

    Speaking of USB 3, I also recently got a Lexar reader along with the new 800x CF card. 800x reads three times faster
    than it writes, and it makes a difference comparing with Sandisk Extreme SD when you dump huge amount of data to
    computer. To me it has better value than 1000x.

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