What speed memory cards do you use?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by RaymondC, Dec 30, 2017.

  1. I am mainly a tripod shooter or it's just friends/family so memory card issue has never been an issue for me. I found out with my D600 my cards are 30MB/sec read and 10MB/sec write.

    I see that the UHS-1 cards are rated maximum of 105MB/sec so that puts it in the area of the 95MB/sec read and 90MB/sec write cards or the former 90MB/sec read with 40MB/sec write.

    What memory card speeds do you use for your non D5 etc .. cameras ....

  2. kendunton

    kendunton Edinburgh

    48 MB/s for my D7000. I only take one shot at a time so speed is not essential.
  3. Varies. - Since I paid for everything laying around, I am eager to consume it entirely. I have some plain blue Sandisk 1GB SDs still in use with my 6MP or odd P&Ss. "2 rolls of RAW files" seemed big enough when I was transitioning from film. Later I acquired whatever seemed bang for the buck from a reputable manufacturer. - Currently inexpensive 80MB/s read speed Sandisks. My Canon 5D IV is an exception: it gets 4K video capable fast CFs and a pair of fastest available SDs.
    If something comes with a used camera I 'll keep it. The majority of my gear seems slower and less sports capable than Nikons. Sometimes I am filling a buffer and switch cameras but usually I don't need a card that gets written before my flashes recharged.
  4. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Moderator

    Those 95 MB/sec UHS-1 SD cards are reasonably inexpensive in these days. A 64G SanDisk card is about $36 at B&H, and the 90 MB/sec version is just below $30. I would stick with those. Even though you can't necessarily take full advantage of that speed, when you upload your images from the card to your computer, it is a bit faster also.

    Most D5 are configured to use XQD cards. The current ones from Lexar and Sony are really fast and can almost keep up with the D5 shooting RAW at 12 fps.
  5. I still have some 30MB/s read, 10MB/s write SD cards floating around - one was in the Ricoh GR and just got replaced by a 95MB/s read, 90MB/s write card (fastest SD card around - to which I had to resort to when acquiring the D7100). The SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s is now the only SD card I use in all my cameras. The D810 uses SanDisk Extreme 120MB/s read, 85MB/s write) CF cards; I saw no reason to pay more for the Extreme Pro version (160 MB/s read, 150MB/s write) at the time and now don't feel like "upgrading" when CF is a dying/dead card format (and in most situations I encounter with the D810, the Extreme turns out to be fast enough). For the D500, I use Lexar Professional 2933x 440MB/s read, 400MB/s write XQD cards but so far have resisted getting UHS-II SD cards for them. I sure wish Nikon would have configured the D500 the same way as the D5 - with two XQD card slots.

    I find this website to be a good resource when comparing cards and matching them to cameras/shooting styles: Camera Memory Speed Comparison & Performance tests for SD and CF cards

    Sony A7 MkI and MkII series cameras are limited to a bit more than 30MB/s write speeds, so spending more on faster cards only speeds up transfer via appropriate card reader to the computer.

    The Ricoh GR has such a shallow buffer when shooting RAW (even worse than the D7100) that card write speeds don't matter much but using the fastest cards possible at least doesn't constrict the bottleneck even more.
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2017
    Jochen likes this.
  6. Not many, if any, cameras can utilize the full write speed offered by the fastest cards. Have a look here for an old test with various memory cards in the D600:
    Nikon D600 Fastest SD Cards - Memory card speed tests for D600 - Camera Memory Speed Comparison & Performance tests for SD and CF cards

    In my D610, I was perfectly happy with the 64 GB SanDisk Ultra 80 MB/s. Even when shooting at 6 fps. For the D600/610, I can recommend those as a low-cost alternative that is reliable and fast enough not to make you think about speed unless you constantly fill the buffer. If you do, the Extreme 95 (write speed is 90 MB/s) is a better option that I also can recommend.

    In the D800 the silver labeled Ultra felt slow and I learned its write speed was 40 MB/s. I now use the 128 GB SanDisk ExtremePro 95(/90) in my D800E and have the Ultra as an extra card. (I also have a CF SanDisk Extreme for backup in my camera.)
  7. I mostly use 1066x(160mb/s) CF cards in my D800. My SD card in that camera, which stores JPEGs and rarely comes out, is, I think, a Sandisk Ultra.(95 mb/s)

    As others have said, I care more about the speed when moving files off the card.

    I don't pay much attention with other cameras on speed as the files are a lot smaller and I also am not usually dumping a few hundred photos at a time off them.
  8. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Moderator

    I just added a second SanDisk 64G UHS-II SD card for the D500 and my eventual D850 (currently using a loaner from Nikon). The XQD is my primary card on those bodies, but since I often use the backup mode, I try to use the fastest SD card available, so as not to slow down the D500. I probably wouldn't use the D850 in any "machine gun" type shooting.

    The SanDisk 64G UHS-II SD is about $120 nowadays. About 4 years ago, back in 2013, I paid about that same price for the 95 MB/sec UHS-1 SD, which are now $36. I am sure that the UHS-II cards will depreciate pretty quickly in the next few years.

    I also have two 128G UHS-1 SD for my D750, etc. Since I am moving to XQD now, unless I start losing them again, I probably have all the SD cards I would need. I no longer use CF memory cards, as I don't use my D700 and D800E much any more.
  9. 95MB/s (actually U3 for the one I just pulled out, I think others are U1) Sandisk SDXC, Lexar mostly 1066x CF, for my D810. I normally write JPEG to SD (mildly for backup, mostly for convenience) and raw to the CF. When I shot a wedding I used both as backup for raw, but that got painful the moment I put a "slow" class 10 card in.

    I got the fast cards when I had a D800 because of the "hang until written" behaviour with live view (every little helps). The D810 fixed that, but they're cheaper now anyway. I eventually shelled out for a Lexar card reader, which is by far the best behaved I've used.

    I'm anticipating updating the whole lot when I get a D850 anyway (obviously I need XQD, I'll probably get UHS-II). I'll at least keep the SDs as backups (and for other cameras); what happens to the CFs may depend whether I decide to keep the D810, although currently I expect enough as a trade in that I probably won't. I'm not sure the very occasional use of my Eos 300D justifies holding on to 64GB CF cards (or even if it'll take them).
  10. I use the cheapest brandname I can buy. I don't do video or rapid succession so there is no advantage to paying for better cards.
  11. When the D800/600 came out in 2012/13 what was the speed of the Sandisk Extreme cards? Just want to get an indication..
  12. I shoot a D610 and a D7000, both of which take a pair of SD cards. I decided to test my assortment of cards to see which might offer the best capacity for "machine gun-type" shooting of wildlife. I counted the consecutive frames I could shoot before the camera hit the full-buffer slowdown, and timed how long it then would take for the buffer to clear (i.e., for the green light to go out). I did this recording 14 bit raw in slot 1 plus jpg fine in slot 2.

    I tried 30, 45, 60, 80, and 90 mb/s Sandisk cards, and I got the same result using all of the cards in both cameras. The faster cards didn't help - the camera was the limiting factor - all of those different speeds are faster than the camera can take advantage of.

    While this might tell me I don't need to buy anything faster than 30 mb/s in the future, that would only be true if I never buy a camera that can use faster cards. I suggest buying for the future - stick to 30 mb/s or faster, but I recommend buying the fastest cards you can easily afford. There can be a down side to buying a card that is substantially faster than was available at the time the camera was introduced - it has been a while, but I have seen posts in the past from people trying to use the latest, fastest card in a several-generation-old camera and encountering problems (my guess is that a much faster card leads to timing issues in the read and write processes in the camera, but that's just my estimate).
  13. I usually use memory cards from same period as camera body. I have always tried to get second best card available at time. Old cameras have 10MB/s cards. Then there are 20MB/s cards. Latest and greatest ones are advertised as 95/90MB/s, but when transferred to computer the performance is not that much higher than older ones.
  14. In my experience, it depends massively on the card reader. I have a USB 3 Lexar reader that was worlds faster than previous ones, and it absolutely makes a difference which cards I'm using, unlike some old USB2 readers I own. (It's also my only reader, after about six tries, that works fast and correctly with all the cards I've got, though I'd like to think we're now past the worst of the compatibility issues.) I'll be renewing my search for a reader when I get a D850 and need to add XQD and UHS-II to the mix, hopefully with USB3.1 or thunderbolt.
  15. Sort-of Koan
    Is a 128 GB card too many eggs in one basket?
    Is it more likely to lose a card when you have more of them?
  16. It used to be that larger cards were slower for image review (I never quite diagnosed why). I've not so much noticed with my recent cards, but it was why I used to stick to 16GB. These days I usually go 32 or 64. I'd rather have several cards than one big one, if only in case of failure. I'm not that good at losing them.

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