For this test, I fired off 3 bursts of 20 12-bit, lossless compressed RAW files, otherwise using the same settings from the earlier test. The D300′s buffer can absorb 17 files under these conditions, so this is just enough of a test to begin to see major differences in write speeds.
Latest Update (11/20/2010): Patriot LX Series 600x.
Highly Recommended √+
- SanDisk Extreme Pro. The new king of SanDisk’s line, this card reached 6.7 fps with an effective throughput of 34 MB/sec.
- PhotoFast 533x Plus. This little-known card hit 6.7 effective fps with an impressive 31 MB/sec throughput.
- Lexar Professional 600x. Lexar’s current top-of-the-line card reached 6.7 effective fps and 31 MB/sec.
- San Disk Extreme Ducati Edition. This card initially topped the performance list with an effective 6.7 fps and nearly 29 MB/sec throughput.
- Transcend 600x Extreme Plus. This card equaled the Ducati, achieving 6.7 fps and almost 29 MB/sec throughput. A real contender.
- Ridata 600x Lightning Series. A nice entry from Ritek, equaling the Transcend 600x at 6.7 fps and 29 MB/sec but about $10 cheaper for a 16GB card.
- Lexar Professional 400x. A real performer from Lexar that trumps others in its class at 6.7 fps and 28 MB/sec throughput.
- San Disk Extreme IV Series. The two cards I tested – 8GB and 2GB – were just behind the Ducati and averaged an effective 6.3 fps and approximately 28 MB/sec.
Purchasing links (support this site):
- Delkin 625x CombatFlash. 5.5 effective fps and a speedy 31 MB/sec throughput.
- Hoodman RAW 675x. 5.5 effective fps and 30 MB/sec transfer rate.
- Pretec 667x. Respectable 5.5 effective fps with a 25/MB sec transfer rate.
- Transcend 400x UDMA. Distinguishes itself from its 300x sibling with 5.5 effective fps and 25 MB/sec transfer rate.
- Sony UDMA 300x. This card fared somewhat better in RAW shooting than for JPG, coming in at 5.5 effective fps and 24 MB/sec.
- PhotoFast 533x. The standard version of the 533x performed well, with an effective fps rate of 5.5 and 24 MB/sec throughput.
- Kingston 600x Ultimate. Disappointing 5 fps and 28 MB/sec throughput for a 600x card.
- PNY Optima Pro. This card averaged an effective 5 fps and 24 MB/sec throughput.
- Transcend 300x UDMA. Transcend’s 300x UDMA card hit an effective 5 fps and 24 MB/sec.
- Lexar Pro UDMA. The Lexar edged into the recommended performance tier for RAW shooting, with an effective 6 fps and 23 MB/sec throughput.
- Pretec 433x. Despite its official claim, this card doesn’t approach its listed speeds of 65 MB/sec read and 50 MB/sec write in real world testing. It clocked 5.5 effective fps and 23 MB/sec.
- Hoodman RAW 300X. While a marked improvement over its 280X predecessor, this card only managed 5.5 effective fps and 23 MB/sec throughput in the burst test.
- SanDisk Extreme III 30MB/sec. The upgraded, UDMA-capable Extreme III series clocked in at an effective 5 fps and 23 MB/sec throughput.
- SanDisk Ultra 30 MB/sec. New entry-level card gets good marks at 5 fps effective and 23 MB/sec throughput.
- ATP Pro Max II UDMA. A pleasant surprise, the ATP card — an also-ran in JPG burst shooting – joins the RAW shooting journeymen with an effective 5 fps and 22 MB/sec throughput.
- Pretec 333x. Another also-ran in JPG shooting, the faster of Pretec’s original two UDMA models consistently recorded 5 fps and 22MB/sec in our RAW burst test.
- RiData 300x. 5 fps effective and 22 MB/sec earns RiData its first “Recommended” accolade.
- Patriot LX Series 600x (8GB). Effective 5 fps and 22 MB/sec. Not very impressive for a 600x card.
- Lexar Professional 233x. Lexar’s most affordable UDMA card achieved a consistent 5 fps with 21 MB/sec throughput.
- A-Data Turbo 350x. More proof than manufacturer specs means little, this card reached a merely respectable 5 fps and 20 MB/sec throughput. It’s much better than their “266x” card but not as good as 300x cards from Lexar and Transcend, either.
Buy Lexar Pro UDMA 300x Cards from Adorama: 2 GB, 4GB, 8GB
Buy Sony UDMA 300x CF cards from Adorama: 4GB, 8GB, 16GB
Buy Extreme III Cards from Adorama: 4GB, 8GB, 16GB, 32GB
Buy Lexar Pro 233x Cards from Adorama: 2GB, 4GB, 8GB
- Super*Talent 600x & 533x. These cards turned in near-identical performance of around 4.5-5 fps and 16 MB/sec effective throughput.
- SanDisk Extreme. This so-called “60 MB/sec” card reached a measly 4 fps effective and 18 MB/sec throughput, earning this overpriced dog a spot on the Crap List.
- Kingston 266x Ultimate. The Kingston led a pack of cards whose performance was a bit disappointing, at just 4 fps effective and 14 MB/sec throughput.
- Ridata 266x Supreme. Ridata’s second effort reached 4 fps and 14 MB/sec throughput.
- Apacer Steno IV 300x. This entry hit 3.75 effective fps with 14 MB/sec throughput.
- Transcend 266x. Transcend’s faster UDMA card hit 3.75 effective fps and 13 MB/sec throughput.
- Delkin Pro UDMA 305x. Delkin’s card just topped 3.5 effective fps and nearly 12 MB/sec.
- A-Data Speedy 533x. A Crap List awardee due to its ridiculous label claims, this card reached just 3.3 fps effective and 12 MB/sec throughput.
- Hoodman RAW 280X. Hoodman’s card limped in at 3.3 effective fps and 11 MB/sec throughput.
- Calumet ProSpec 305x. This very likely re-badged card has mediocre specs of 3.3 effective fps and 11 MB/sec throughput.
- EP Memory 266x. Ho-hum performance of 3.3 effective fps and 10 MB/sec throughput.
- Calumet ProSpec 420x. Another re-badged “improvement,” it sucks even worse than its predecessor at 3.0 effective fps and 11 MB/sec, and made The Crap List.
- Delkin PRO UDMA 420x. Ugly 2.9 effective fps and 13 MB/sec throughput. Belongs onThe Crap List with its twin the Calumet.
- BiWin 150-300x. This 16GB monster struggled to reach 2.9 effective fps and a 9 MB/sec throughput rate.
- Patriot 266x. 16GB card reached 2.9 fps and 9 MB/sec.
- A-Data Turbo 266x. A-Data was sucking wind at 2.7 fps and 11 MB/sec.
- FileMate UDMA. Drags across the finish at 2.7 effective fps and 8 MB/sec.
The ranks of the also-rans included the following sub-par performances: Pretec 233x (2.3 fps and 9 MB/sec), Ridata 233x Lightning (2.3 fps and 8 MB/sec), Wintec Professional (1.9 fps and 6 MB/sec), and Transcend 133x (1.7 fps and 6 MB/sec). Two non-UDMA cards yielded the following results: Transcend’s 120x 2GB card hit 3.2 fps and 12 MB/sec, while the Kingston Elite Pro 133x 4GB card reached 2.2 fps and 8 MB/sec – quite respectable compared to some of the above UDMA cards.
Latest update 10/16/2010: Added Kingston 600x Ultimate.
Updated 10/6/2010: Added Lexar Professional 400x.
Updated 9/15/2010: Added Ridata 600x 16GB, Patriot 16GB 266x, Wintec Professional 8GB.
Updated 9/6/2010: Added EP Memory 266x and FileMate UDMA.
Updated 6/6/2010: Added results for the SanDisk Ultra (200x).
Updated 4/12/10: Added results for the Delkin 625x CombatFlash, Hoodman RAW 675x, and Delkin 420x.
Updated 1/16/10: Added results for the Lexar Professional 600x, Trascend UDMA 400x, Super*Talent 600x & 533x, and Calumet ProSpec 420x.
Updated 12/26/09: Added results for the RiData 300x and A-Data 533x cards.
Updated 10/28/09: Added results for the SanDisk Extreme Pro and Extreme cards.
Updated 8/27/09: Added results for PhotoFast 533x Plus and 533x.
Updated 8/3/09: Added rating for Pretec 667x, Transcend Extreme Plus 600x.
Updated 4/2/09: Due to the switchover from MLC to SLC memory by many of the smaller card makers, I’ve readjusted the recommendations to reflect the new, generally faster speeds of many of the middle-of-the-pack
cards. The “Highly Recommended” class now truly stands out from the rest, and these are the first cards I personally put into my D300 and D300s.