Memory Cards, going SD?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by dan_brown|4, Feb 28, 2011.

  1. Looking at memory cards and prices, the SD cards are a better value, and could be used for long term image storage, as a form of back-up to your computer system. Also, it seems like the CF cards are losing their dominance in the market, and are starting to seem, well, bulky.
    Would you favor Nikon going to SD cards in the pro-line bodies? Any downside to that idea?
  2. How much slower are SD cards? Isn't it possible that the amazing buffer performance in the D3S would be impossible with SD?
    Don't get me wrong, I love SD in my D90, but if it were in the D3S and I was in the market for that level camera, I'd be going Canon.
    Also, the point may be moot, as there is a new replacement for CF cards on the horizon, as I understand it.
  3. Cost per GB of any form of Flash memory, especially card, is many times that of rotating or optical. Don't know about
    longetivity, but that may be an issue as well.
  4. If CF and SD cards had the same performance, I would greatly prefer SD cards, because they avoid the possibility of bent pins. Many things can go wrong with cards, of course, but the pin and socket design of CF cards adds one more potential problem to the list.
    Also, I prefer smaller cameras and cameras with dual cards. SD cards allow bodies to have dual cards with very little added space.
  5. I think SD cards will obsolete CF cards in general, admitting that CF card still has its own forte. I'm not sure if SD card is superior as a long-term storage, though. It should rather depend on the longevity of the flash memory device.
  6. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    SD is slow enough that sprots/news cameras such as the D3/D3S don't use them, at least as of the design from 4 years ago. When I use my D7000, I need to use lossy compressed RAW to cut down image file sizes to speed up the write time.
    Another issue is that SD cards are physically fragile and easy to break.
  7. SD cards feel very flimsy with the thin plastic casing; also to me they are more difficult to handle and I constantly feel I'm going to break them. I would not favor their use in a DSLR which is big for other reasons. I understand they are more practical for the smaller digital cameras.
    I now have one camera with SD card slots, and a few other devices such as my navigator that use them.
    they avoid the possibility of bent pins
    I've make about 150000 pictures with digital SLRs so far, and always take the card out and use a reader to transfer the data. So far no errors, no bent pins, no problems (I did accidentally take out a slow CF card out of my D70 before all data was written to the card, but newer cameras and cards are faster, so this hasn't happened again). Given the choice of a bent pin in a reader, or a camera, I would always prefer that to a broken card, with images lost! Cameras can be repaired, card readers can be replaced, but lost images can never be remade.
  8. Compact Flash technology has wide interface with multiple pins, that possibly allow to write/read up to 4 bytes in parallel, by a single clock timing pulse.
    SD cards have much narrower interface allowing only one byte of data to write/read by a single clock of timing pulse.
    Looking only at potential interface throughput, CF cards could be up to 4 times faster than equivalent technology SD cards. If the camera can take advantage of the UDM and parallel write technology, there is no contest here.
    CF cards always could be made to be up tp 4 times faster than the SD cards of the same semiconductor technology.
    Makers of SD cards also jumped on advertising band-wagon, and advertise SD cards that claim "simultaneous parallel" write. This is like an old DMA technology, that entire packet is move by one logical command, but unfortunately, each byte in the packet must be clocked separately.
    Even if CF cards technology and SD cards technology could possibly be adverstised in similar terms, CF card does it differenty, possibly taking advantage of the wider I/O bus and pinout of the CF cards.
  9. I base my concern about bent pins on (1) having seen bent pins on a multi-pin external hard drive connector that multiple users were handling and (2) on members posting that they've done it on their CF cards and asking what to do next.
    In the interest of objectivity, however, I just did a search for reports of broken SD cards, and members have done that too.
  10. CF Extreme III's transfer data noticeably faster than the same in SD, using a card reader.

    I think they should eventually redesign CF toward the direction of the sata hard drive. To take it one step further, they even could make a locking adapter to retrofit the new style card to the old pin configuration of the camera.

    I've dropped and fumbled both. It's a no-brainer to figure which is easier to retrieve.
  11. if nikon went to SD cards in pro bodies, any market share they've gained among sports shooters from the d3 series would likely evaporate. they're just slower. personally, i feel more confident using a CF card. it is nice that SD cards are relatively cheap and can be used in a lot of other gadgets.
  12. I recently got a 625x CF card and even on my old D70s it shows improved speed, where my previous 266x card would stall after 8-10 continuous, the Delkin keeps going to a good 17-18, and it's fast as can be when transferring with my Firewire 800 UDMA card reader.
  13. It seems that consumer focused cameras are becoming more and more SD or SDHC but pro bodies are staying with CF.
    Like most others here - I have a real fear of breaking an SD card which I do not have with a CF card. Although I use SD when I'm on vacation - and I haven't managed to break one yet.
  14. I thought it was mostly packaging differences. Did not realize there was a speed penalty. Definitely a deal-breaker.
  15. SD and CF are so different. Have you noticed that in the size race, they haven't had to make any changes to the CF cards? But there are SD, SDHD, SDXD and who knows what! The CF card have the same interface type as a hard drive, not so with the SD types, which is why they keep hitting a size ceiling. CF cards will hit their ceiling at 2.5 TB
  16. Firing 7 or so shots at high speed continuous on a 3oos can be done about equally fast on either.
    May take longer to write to SD but I got my 7 shots in essentially the same time; that's all I care about. 20,000 shots on SD with no failures. Cost diddly for 4GB, easy to store, weightless.
  17. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    May take longer to write to SD but I got my 7 shots in essentially the same time; that's all I care about.​
    It is more than that. The follow up question is after those initial 7 shots, when can you fire another 7, and then another 7 more. Soon the write speed of the memory card becomes a factor. That was precisely the problem I ran into the very first day I took my brand new D7000 out to shoot wildlife.
  18. Shun, I didn't know the D7000 offered lossless compressed RAWs. I think the choice is only lossy compressed RAW or uncompressed RAW.
    The thing I like about CF over SD is the card itself is much more rugged. I had an SD card nearly split one time!! For pro cameras like the D300/D700/D3 series I can't see SD being a good idea.
  19. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Actually, the D7000's RAW options are lossless compressed and (lossy) compressed. Uncompressed is not an option on the D7000.
    The first time I used SD memory cards was on a D300S, and I borrowed one from my wife. Within a few days I managed to crack it and shortly after that it was no longer usable.

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